I called it right at the French Open and I’m telling you that Maria Sharapova will win back-to-back majors and hold the Wimbledon trophy over her pretty head in a fortnight.
Sharapova looked superb again in her first round match against sexy Anastasia Rodionova, winning 6-2, 6-3, despite a little stumble in the third set. Her service game was as strong as it was at the French Open, where she cruised to the championship, her return of serve was outstanding, her forehands blistering and her court movement crisp.
It appears as though the 6-foot, 3-inch superstar is finally growing into her body. She seems to have found the innate ability to push her tall, lithe frame around the court with ease instead of the plodding movements she would display earlier in her career. Her timing is impeccable and shots from both wings crisp and penetrating, a sure sign that her footwork is proper and she is on the ball instead of lunging for shots like she once did.
With Serena and Venus Williams on the downside of their careers and seemingly non-factors at majors, Sharapova needs to beat only a few really talented players, such as Victoria Azarenka, who is somewhat out of shape and nowhere near where she was when she won the Australian Open earlier this year, the classically underachieving Caroline Wozniacki, Agnieszka Radwanska, who never fails to disappoint despite immense talent, streaky Petra Kvitova, and the buff Sam Stosur.
Sharapova is all about tennis these days and she has proven her critics wrong by climbing back to the top of women’s tennis despite a series of injuries and trouble with her serve. She is a credit to the game and a true inspiration for young women, as well as boys, who have to battle through injury and tough times to get to where they want to be. If only other players with enormous talent had the guts that the Russian beauty possesses.
This Wimbledon is all about Sharapova and Roger Federer the men’s side. He also looked incredibly sharp in his opening round match and I’ve got him finally breaking through and winning that 17th major. Either Rafa and Novak or both will be knocked out before the semis, allowing Roger a much easier path to the title.
Fed and Maria will make a nice couple when they dance at the winner’s ball upon conclusion of the tournament.