So here it is, another fortnight at the All-England Club for some jolly old Lawn Tennis. One of the biggest tournaments of the year of course but for me, I will be placing no significance on that whatsoever. I refuse to make the same mistakes I made at Roland Garros and pretty much every Grand Slam I've traded, where I put a huge emphasis on making more money than normal and upping my goals so that the tournament becomes a yard-stick of where I am at with my trading. This time, I won't be looking to do anything other than continue steadily making money, getting even tighter with those mistakes and even more consistent.
This past week has been a difficult one for me and one that I would quite like to just brush under the carpet. I had aimed to get to the root of the focus issues I'd been having but as it turned out, they were only highlighted even more. I had a stinker on the Monday, my mind just wasn't at the races and yet again, I was at a loss as to why I couldn't just get it together. As is becoming the norm though, I pulled it back round on Tuesday and was steady for the rest of the week. Unfortunately, there were so many disruptions due to rain in both tournaments, that I was unable to play a good chunk of matches. The gaps in play also wreaked havoc with my concentration as games were constantly stopping and re-starting. All of this meant that when I did trade, I was well below the standards I set for myself and on occasion was lucky not to suffer some large reds. All-in-all, I'm very pleased to get this week over and done with and relieved to come out of it with the profit I got.
So where do I go from here? Well, the whole spectacle and excitement of Wimbledon should be more than enough to get the juices flowing and I'd be massively surprised if I can't get focused every day. The only issue will be rain delays, of which it looks like there will be plenty. At least there is the roof on centre court, so there should always be something to watch. But looking further ahead post-Wimbledon, the tour returns to clay for a month, so I'm hoping that will enable me to re-focus and produce better results. I think the issue can be narrowed down to 2 things; lack of other mental stimulus and lack of breaks. I've noticed that when I do take some time out to go away and do something different for an hour, I return to the ladders in a much better frame of mind. The problem is, I don't ever take that break! It was almost impossible to do this over the past week due to all the uncertainty with rain delays. I always had one eye on the screen for updates and couldn't go away and commit to doing something else.
Wimbledon first week will have plenty of matches available, so missing one or two here and there won't be so difficult. This is the complete opposite of how I've approached every other Grand Slam, where I've hardly ever taken a break because I don't want to miss out on all the great opportunities that are constantly appearing. It's not going to be easy for me to just ignore a game that might look very appealing to trade but in the long run, I think it will help me. But I really must get this issue sorted quickly. It's infuriating because now, even though I am having the odd bad day due to poor focus, it's not putting the whole week in jeopardy as it has done in the past. One bad day would normally lead to several bad days but now, it rarely goes beyond that. So I'm one bad day a week from producing the consistency I need to be successful. It's almost as if I need that jolt to the system to make me focus and start producing.
As for Wimbledon itself, I really fancy a Murray v Federer final. I fully expect a Nadal v Murray semi final in the top half of the draw and in the bottom half, you can guarantee Roger will make it. The only real question mark is how will Djokovic react after his defeat to the Swiss maestro in Paris? Will the bubble burst now that the unbeaten run is over? Even if it doesn't, I would still favour Roger to win that semi and I'm not being biased as a Brit when I say that this could be Andy Murray's year. He's playing superbly on all surfaces and you couldn't say the same about Nadal right now. As for the rest of the pack, is there anyone who could produce an upset? Again, Juan Martin Del Potro looks the likeliest candidate and he is due to face Nadal very early in the draw. If there is going to be an upset, I'd say that is the game and possibly Nadal won't have gotten into his stride, being round 2 or 3. Djokovic is due to play Troicki around the same time and I know this will sound crazy but you just never know! If Novak has been deflated by Roland Garros (and don't forget, he's not played a grass court tournament in the run-in), Troicki might just take advantage. He has the weapons to do well on grass and is in the form of his life - remember, he should have knocked Murray out of the French Open. I suppose the fact he didn't says as much about him as it does about Murray though! Anyway, it's just an idea I'm throwing out there because in all honesty, I'm grasping at straws for a major upset with the men! There's more chance of another 3 day marathon match between Isner and Mahut than one of the top 4 not winning Wimbledon. I wonder what the odds are on that? Worth a penny or two?!
With the women however, it's a different kettle of fish. Clijsters is injured, though I'm 100% certain she would not have won anyway. The big interest is the return of the Williams sisters. Anyone who watched Eastbourne will tell you that Serena has no chance. She managed to beat Pironkova but then, she could have still had that blood clot on her lung and still over-come Ronkers, who is having a horror year. She looked better in her defeat to Zvonareva but was clearly well below the fitness standards required to win a Grand Slam, as Vera edged past a visibly knackered Williams. It says a lot about the quality of the WTA when you see the world number 2 just squeezing past someone who has not played a game in a whole year and almost died just a few months earlier! But with Aravane Rezai followed by potentially Kirilenko and Bartoli, I can assure you Serena will be going out early.
The same can be said when analysing Venus's games as she beat 2 top 20 players before Hantuchova knocked her out. Venus is due to face Mad Vera in round 4 and there I would expect the lack of match fitness to catch her up and the Russian to be too strong for her. She may also face Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez or Jankovic before then, so either one will be a tough contest and may produce an upset. As for the rest, one name stands out about all else - Maria Sharapova. It almost feels right, as though this year is destined to be the year that she returns to re-capture the crown she won, what, 7 years ago? Things just seem to be pulling together for her at the right time and she is my personal fave to take the trophy. Goerges and Petkovic both look to be running out of steam after good clay seasons. Kuznetsova? Don't make me laugh! This girl has concentration and mental issues that even put me to shame! Stosur for me, still isn't anywhere near her consistent best. Li could face Sabine Lisicki in round 2 and that could be the end of the road the way the German is playing. Watch out for her because as an outsider, she is the one most likely to cause an upset. Plus, she loves grass and has just won Birmingham. Wozniacki? Same as The French, someone with a big game will knock her out eventually. She potentially has Sania Mirza in round 2. I know it sounds crazy but....................!! More realistically, Gajdosova, Goerges and Sharapova are in her quarter of the draw. No chance.
Zvonareva has reached the final before, so we know she can do it but she remains well short of her best lately and so I will say she won't win. Marion Bartoli is another losing finalist of old but this year, I believe she CAN win. Her form is probably the best of her career and she beats the very best week-in, week-out. So I'm going with Sharapova or Bartoli for the title. I kind of want to say Kvitova and Azarenka too but they let me down in Paris so I'm leaving them out. Along with Lisicki I will add Jelena Dokic for a possible upset. She has Schiavone first round, which should be quite a game and I think the Dok has a great chance of duffing up the Italian on her least favourite surface. Just for fun, I'm also going to go very leftfield and pick a complete outsider to do well, so I'm going with................Tamira Paszek. Loves grass, great young talent, in top form and seems to like the big stage. Plus, her quarter of the draw lacks the big names that the others have. Happy trading everyone!