The picks: 2024 Wimbledon, the men’s final

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic over Carlos Alcaraz

Exactly one year ago, Carlos Alcaraz won Wimbledon, after he beat Novak Djokovic 6-4 in the fifth set. It was a magical moment. But now, he has to try to do it  again, but Djokovic will change it up, and nail it, a lot. The 37-year-old has won Wimbledon seven times, which is incredible, but Alcaraz just won Roland Garros, and he is on fire, once again. 

The Serbian must know that he has to change it up, a little bit more, and attack, early.

“He already beat me here in a thrilling five-setter. A huge battle on the court,” said Djokovic, who beat Lorenzo Musetti in the semis. “He is as complete a player as they come, so it is going to take the best of my abilities on the court overall to beat him on Sunday.”

Alcaraz has also won the 2022 U.S. Open, so in the final, he is very focused. Yes, he can make some odd errors, but he can adjust it, whether he can charge the net, or be more patient. His forehand and his backhand are hard and very steady, and his first serve is getting better all the time. The celebrate man can also find his return, where he is going, and try to slap it back. The 21-year-old knows that he has to figure it out, what he must do.

“Winning Grand Slams is difficult. Obviously changing from clay to a grass court, totally different surfaces, totally different game of play,” Alcaraz said. “Let’s say I’m going to try. I know that’s going to be a really difficult and big challenge for me, but I think I’m ready to do it.  I’m sure he knows what he has to do to beat me. It’s going to be a really interesting one.” 

Yes it is, and on Friday, he out-though Daniil Medvedev in four sets. He yanked it all around, and he made him tired. However, Djokovic leads Alcaraz 3-2 H2H. After Djokovic lost at the 2023 Wimbledon final, he rose again, beating him at Cincinnati 7-6 in the third, on the hardcourts, and then, he beat him agains, 6-3, 6-2 at the ATP Finals. 

Alcaraz can lock it in, but Djokovic is fancy than he is in his famous backhand, and he is also superior with his first serve. However, the Spaniard is better with his terrific forehand, and he is faster. Yes,  he can try to trip him up, but Djokovic   has won 24 Grand Slam titles, a record. Of course he wants to win another one, and raise the trophy, way up high. Djokovic will do it again,   7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.

The picks: 2024 Wimbledon, men’s semis

Daniil Medvedev
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Carlos Alcaraz vs. Daniil Medvedev

Back in the 2023 U.S. Open, Medvedev beat Alcaraz in the semis and in the final, Djokovic put him down over the Russian. Since then, Medvedev has won many matches, but he has yet to win another Slam again, but the Spaniard has now won three majors, recently at Roland Garros.  

They have played each other six times, and Alcaraz leads Medvedev 4-2. At Indian Wells in March, Alcaraz  edged Medvedev in the final. Yes, the now 21-year-old is younger, but Medvedev is 28-year-old, so he does have more experience. However, from the baseline, if Alcaraz is on fire, and he can be very creative. 

“[Medvedev] is a really great player,” said Alcaraz  “The same semi-final as last year and hopefully I’m going to get the same result. He is in really good shape. I have to play my best. I have to believe in myself and try to keep going if I want to beat him. It is going to be a difficult one, but I’m going to enjoy it.” 

Medvedev can be really steady, and he can hit it down the line and crosscourt, but he doesn’t really like to go into the net. Or maybe he will.

“That’s still the most important thing on grass. You serve aces, you serve on the line, you’re less in trouble, and you feel better,” Medvedev said. “That’s where you can put pressure on his serve.  He’s a tough player. He can hit strong. He can slice. He can dropshot. He can volley. He knows how to play tennis. Just need to be at my best, like kind of how [I beat Jannik  Sinner] and try to win.” 

This is a toss up, to a degree, as on the grass, both of them have to really think what to do, each hour. Medvedev is cranked up, but here at the 2023 Wimbledon, at the semis again,Alcaraz beat him 6-3, 6-3, 6-3, and then he won the tournament. He is aiming again, and on Friday,  Alcaraz will win it 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3. Another blaster.

Novak Djokovic  vs. Lorenzo Musetti

Surprisingly, the Italian just beat Taylor Fritz 6-1 in the fifth set, and he was so darn good, nailing with his forehand and his backhand on Wimbledon. However, last month at Roland Garros, and in the third round, he played against Djokovic. In the fifth set, he lost, 6-0. Ouch. Yes he was a little bit hurt, but still, the Serbian just kept on chugging. Cleary, the former No. 1 is better against Musetti, but he is only 22-years-old, so he is finally rising. He has though about it when he mentally struggled in Paris on the clay against Djokovic.  Now he has to improve in London.

“I think I analysed that match really well and the key moments where I could do better,” said Musetti. “I put myself in that position. I think in the past weeks, starting from Stuttgart, I started to feel more continuous on that, on the attitude.” 

He certain did that when he beat the Americans, here, such as Fritz, but now Musetti has to figure out against Djokovic, who can be very patient, and smash his forehand. Djokovic is still very fast, and his first serve can go anywhere, and with his forehand and his backhand, he can flat it out, or spin it. Since he won a Slam for the first time, in 2008 at the Aussie, he was very good, but Djokovic was not great at the net. Right now, though, he improved so much, year after year.

Musetti is very logical when he can run side to side, and mix it up, too. He has some slice it, he can whack it. But really, Djokovic is a little bit more experienced, and if he isn’t playing fantastic, he can re-adjust it. Therefore, Djokovic will win another semis, in four sets, 5-7, 7-5, 6-3, 6-2.

The picks: 2024 Wimbledon, fourth round

Taylor Fritz

Alexander Zverev vs Taylor Fritz 

The American has never gone deep at Wimbledon, but now,Fritz  is starting to lock it in. He has to, as they have played each  other at Wimbledon, and the German, Zverev, took it, twice. Zverev leads Fritz 5-3, but Fritz beat him at Indian Wells and the United Cup on the hardcourts. However, two months ago, Zverev kicked him in Rome. 

Yes, Zverev is better than he is, but slightly, and perhaps Fritz will be more patient, and charge to the net, too. He does really like to rallie, but also, he can push him closer to the baseline, and smash it. Zverev is always super steady, and when he is feeling very good, he can attack. His first serve is big, and his return is comprable. Both of them are thoughtful, on the court,  but at times, they cannot think, when they are losing. Fritz does believe that he can beat him, when it goes deep, but Zverev just reached into the finals at Roland Garros, so he really wants to continue to try and win a Slam for the first time. There, Zverev will take it 6-4 in the fifth set, touching on the lines.

Novak Djokovic  vs. Holger Rune 

These two have played five times, and it was very tight, all three sets. The former No. 1 Djokovic is leading 3-2, and at the end of the tournament in the 2023 ATP Finals, he won it 7-6, 6-7, 6-3. They know each other pretty well. Plus, occasional they practice together, so they know each other, on the court, and off.

The  21-year-old Rune is much younger, but Djokovic is a little bit more experienced.

“I’m expecting a tough battle. I think that’s always how it’s going to be when you play Novak,” Rune said. “He’s one of the toughest competitors of all time and one of the most successful players, so I’m expecting nothing but a great level from him.”

Djokovic is playing pretty well, as at Roland Garros, he had to stop as he was hurt, physically. But he became better, and it looks like he can run fast, and be healthy. But it is hard to say whether he won’t injure his sore leg, again. However, he is ready to battle, for hours.

“When it comes to playing on the court and competing, obviously we both have that fire,” Djokovic said. “I’m sure that on Monday we’ll see a lot of fireworks on the court. He’s a spectacular player, no doubt. He loves the big stage, loves playing on grass. I think he’s a very, very tricky opponent. It’s going to take my best tennis to win.”

Four years ago, Rune looked pretty decent, but he was still trying to add some new shots. Also, he was he steady, but not powerful enough. He can be erratic, yet currently, he is playing excellently. They have never played against each other on the grass, so while Rune will try to assault with his forehand, rather than his famous backhand. However, Djokovic is more calm. Rune will put together some fantastic shots, with some big weapons, but Djokovic will mix it up, a lot, and he will win it in five, crazy sets.

Danielle Collins vs. Barbora Krejcikova 

For the millionth time, Collins will retire at the end of the year, so currently, she threw away with the pressure, so now, Collins will just swing away, and to try to snare it. The 30-year-old has had her best season, which is surprising, but she knew that when she leaves, she can be satisfied. She will find it out, eventually. On the court, though, she can collapse, when she gets upset. Here at Wimbledon, though, Collins has to be set, bend down, and rake the ball.

She is the same thing with  Krejcikova, as last year in San Diego, she beat Collins on the hardcourts 6-2 in the third. Krejcikova is a terrific doubles player, as she has won seven Slams,  and three years ago, in the singles, she won Roland Garros, so when she is on, the Czech can chop anyone. However, this year, she has not gone deep over the past five months. Maybe she is back, but the consistent player is up and down. This time, Collins will win it in another three sets, pushing to the wall.

Jelena Ostapenko vs. Yulia Putintseva

No one really knows how the Latvian is hitting on the courts, and pulp it with her forehand and the her backhand.  Six years ago, Ostapenko won Roland Garros, and then it looked like that eventually she will become No. 1. But she didn’t, and while she also went measureless at the Aussie Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, she couldnt go back into the final. Close, though.

On Monday, she will have another chance to dash Wimbledon.  Over the past four months, the veteran Putintseva has been very sensible. She has beaten a number of very good players,  and two weeks ago, she won Eastbourne. She is scrappy, and her backhand can be huge, but to win it, Putintseva will have to try to fool with Ostapenko. She will test it, but she won’t be able to. Yes, Ostapenko can have so many errors, but in a match, when she is sense a bull, she can have dozens of winners. Ostapenko will take it, in two, insane sets.

The picks: 2024 Wimbledon, third round

Holger Rune

Holger Rune vs. Quentin Halys

The Frenchman Halys is certainly struggling, month after month, but in the qualifying, he does throw it all around. Maybe he can reach into the top 50, someday, but in order to do that, he has to improve his return, and at that net, too. But at least Halys has won five matches in a row, so he must be feeling good.

The Denmark, Rune, can smash the ball, side to side, and he also can chuck in some cool shots. He can be steady, and he can be forceful, too. Last year he was ranked No. 4, which was terrific, but now he is No. 15, so he slipped, a little bit. But things can chance, so on the grass, he can bend down and pick it up. Rune will keep it in, and he will win it in three, interesting sets.

Novak Djokovic vs. Alexei Popyrin

Yes, the multiple Grand Slam winners Djokovic is starting to play well, again. A month ago, he was hurt, and he could not play in the events, but last week, he began to feel very good, so now, his famous backhand was much more steady. Maybe he will get a sting, again, but he is pleased, so he will try to dominate in the first week, so in the second week, he will be able to play for many hours, and put it away.

Djokovic will try to thrash against the Australian Popyrin, who has had a very decent year, but he is not there, yet. In Melbourne, in January, in the second round, Djokovic beat him in four tough sets. In the court, Popyrin will try to attack him, early, yet the Serbian will mix him up a lot, and Djokovic will win it in another four sets, 6-3.

Elena Rybakna vs. Caroline Wozniacki 

The one-time Grand Slam champion edged Leylah Fernandez 7-5 in the third set, and she almost lost, but she hit two huge serves, and her confidence climbed. Now she has to face against Rybakna, another former champ, and she is extremely powerful. Wozniacki is very steady, and she is quick, but Rybakna can go for the lines, when she has a legitimate shot to try to go for it. Her forehand and her backhand almost  goes deep, but this year, she lost some key matches, when it was damn close. The veteran Wozniacki knows that, so she wants to play loyal, and move her around with her massive backhand. Wozniacki is feeling good, but assuming that Rybakna won’t get hurt, she will GRAB it in three, fascinating sets.

Danielle Collins vs. Beatriz Haddad Maia

We all know that Collins will retire at the end of the year, but currently, she has to play ball, and win it, each day. It is impossible for everyone, yet during the matches, it is possible to slap the lines.

The No. 20 Haddad Maia had a fine 2023 year, but over the past five months, she has struggled, losing a lot. Maybe the Brazilian will spread, finally, but Collins is highly aggressive, and she can bombardment when she can. Yes, the American can throw in a lot of errors, but this time, she will be more controlling, and Collins will win it two, long sets.

The picks: 2024 Wimbledon, second round

Gael Monfils
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Stan Wawrinka vs Gael Monfils

Talk about the veterans. They have played each other six times, and it is split, but there combined age is 72-years-old. And they are still there, on the court. They have never played against each other in the grass, but they did it  at the Aussie Open and Roland Garros, which was won by the creative Swiss.  Wawrinka has won three Slams, and Monfils did reach into the semis at RG, and  he is super fast, yet he could not reach the finals. Oh, well, he probably won’t do it, but he can win a number of matches. 

Monfils totally loves in the rallies, but on the grass, the points are short. Yes, Wawrinka is declining, yet he has his tricky one-handed backhand, He will win it in four, wild sets.

Frances Tiafoe vs. Borna Coric

Well what do you know, it is back in town, again. Or maybe not. The American Tiafoe has had a medicare year, but eventually, if he understands exactly what he has to do, then he should go into the top 15 again. He has to do it, though.

Coric is another person who can play terrific at an event, and then he disappears. He is very steady, and he will try to nail it down the line, but it could be too short. Seven years ago, he reached into the top No. 12, and it looked like that he could go even further, in the Slams, but he could not. Who knows why, and there for, Tiafoe will take it in five, brutal sets. 

Tommy Paul vs Otto Virtanen

The Finland Virtanen has played a lot in the Challenge Tour, and he beat a number of wins, learning how to play. Yes, he hasn’t reached into the top 100, but he did qualify, so he must have played excellent. 

However, Paul just won a tournament at Queen’s, so he is flying, high. Last year, here, he lost in the third round at Wimbledon, losing in five, brutal sets. This time, he has to push himself, early, and put the opponents into the wall. It is hard to say how he will do at the Slams, but on Wednesday, Paul will take it in three, OK sets. 

Emma Raducanu vs. Elise Mertens 

Raducanu  had a solid when,  beating Renata Zarazua 7-6(0), 6-3, but her opponent, Ekaterina Alexandrova, pulled out, just before, due to an injury.  So Raducanu figured it out against Zarazua, and she looked pretty decent. There is a lot of pressure now, as many people want to see that the former U.S. Open champion Raducanu has returned. She has to play really well, immediately, as she has to play against Elise Mertens, an intelligent person. Mertens can look solid, but at times, she can back off, and then eventually, she can lose. Last year, the current No. 33, was pretty good, but recently, she has lost a lot. Therefore, Raducanu will win it in  two, tight sets.

Bianca Andreescu vs. Linda Noskova 

Noskova is coming up early and often, just like the Czechs do, each year.  She is only 19-years-old, so she still has a lot of work to do, but she is already in the top 30, so on the court, she can crush the ball. Yes, this year, in the past four months, she lost to early. Perhaps she was confused, but she did go deep in January, in Brisbane and Melbourne. Now she has to do it again, fast.

Andreescu just came back, as last year she was hurt again, and she was gone for a while. She can be very consistent, and she can be aggressive, but she doesn’t blast her serves, or to sprint at the net. It is a toss-up, yet Noskova will grab it it in three, bizarre, sets.

Emma Navarro vs. Naomi Osaka

The American Navarro has had a good year, improving herself, and while she has lost in some tough matches, but at least she is there, battling. She does have some cool rallies, and she can also attack with her backhand. However, on grass, it is different, and she is going to have to put it away, as she has to play against the former No. 1, Osaka. She is not quite there, yet, but Osaka is coming, gradually. She is a little erratic, but already, she is darn good. She has won four Grand Slams, yet the Japanese has never gone into the third round at Wimbledon. She must do it ASAP, as on the court, she can be brilliant. Osaka doesn’t love grass, yet, but she will out last Navarro 7-5 in the third set.

The picks: Wimbledon, women, first round

Caroline Wozniaki
Ron Cioffi/TR

Danielle Collins vs. Clara Tauson

This will likely be the last time that the American will play at Wimbledon, as she has decided to retire in the fall. She has had an amazing year, winning so many terrific matches. However, on the hardcourts, on the grass, she has been so-so. But that doesn’t mean that next week, she can start playing spectacular. That is a huge, if, though.

Collins will has to face against Clara Tauson, who is pretty young, and over the past five months, she has won a a few good matches, when she upset Jelena Ostapenko, and she almost stunned Elena Rybakina, but she didn’t. She is gradually improving, but she is not as good as Collins is, and the American will win it in two decent sets.

 Caroline Wozniacki vs. Alycia Parks

The former No. 1 Wozniacki has never won Wimbledon, but she  did grab it at the Aussie Open.  She decided to start again, after she retired, so now, it can be difficult to try to dominate again. However, Wozniacki has a wonderful backhand, and her speed, too. Her forehand is still not great, but decent, and her return was darn good.

She has to face against the Alycia Parks, who just won a small event in Italy. She must be very satisfied, but before that, she didn’t win many matches, this year. She is ranked No. 121, so maybe she will turn the corner, but  right now, Wozniacki will beat her somewhat easily, in two sets.

Naomi Osaka vs. Diane Parry

Will the four time champion, Osaka, being to understand what she should do on the grass? On the hardcourts, she was tremendous, but at Wimbledon, she shaked her head because she didn’t know what to do. However, now she is more mature, and thoughtful, so if she can be patient, and bend down, and then she can explode. 

The Frenchwomen, Parry, is creative, but this year, she had a few good wins, but not many. Yes, she is trying to hit her backhand, harder, and try to hit her first serve. It can be fun to watch her, but while Osaka  still isn’t great, yet, but soon, she likely will.  Osaka will win it in two cool, sets.

Victoria Azarenka withdrew before match with Sloane Stephens.

Pretty cool: Jessica Pegula wins in Berlin

Jessica Pegula
Rick Limpert

At the start of the event, Jessica Pegula wasn’t sure that she was ready to win an event. But in the weekend, she battled, each point, and finally she grabbed it, winning the tournament in Berlin. In the semis, she beat Coco Gauff 7-5, 7-6(2), and then in the final, she edged Anna Kalinskaya 6-7(0), 6-4, 7-6(3). That was her best year, and her forehand and her backhand was super consistent. The veteran has yet to win a Grand Slam, but when she is on her toes, she can play for a very long time. 

The 30-year-old is still trying to stay in the top five, and maybe if she can reach into the second week at Wimbledon, Pegula will have a decent chance to snare it.  

“I knew I could play well on this surface and giving myself a couple of extra weeks on grass clearly paid off,” she said. “I played some really good tennis this week and I feel like I beat some really good girls, especially on grass. To be able to gut out a win like that is cool.”

She was out for two months due to her rib injury, and when she same back two weeks ago, she was a little bit rusty. Yet when she is on the court, playing, she can read her game, and hopefully, hit it where she wants to. She may not be the most powerful hitters, but she can move side to side and put it back. Grass is important, though, and it can be very fast and low, so when you can have an opportunity, try to crush it.

 Last year at Wimpy, Pegula lost against Marketa Vondrousova 6-4 in the third set in the quarters. If they play each other at Wimbledon, that will be another super close match. Right now, though, the American is rising again.

“This is the most grass-court confidence that I’ve had probably going into Wimbledon. Hopefully that pays off as well,” Pegula said. “Being able to tough out a couple of matches and have a couple of long matches, especially for the body to get ready, and dealing with a lot of the rain delays too. That’s always possible at Wimbledon as well, so that was good prep mentally as well. I feel like I’ve been through a lot this week, so if I could handle this week I think at Wimbledon I should feel pretty good.”

She will, but there will be 10 people who have a chance to win it at Wimbledon. It can be  Vondrousova, who won it last year, or with the No. 1 Iga Swiatek, Gauff , Aryna Sabalenka, Elena  Rybakina , Danielle Collins, Madison Keys , and on and on.

 How about this, though, that Yulia Putintseva won Birmingham, over  Ajla Tomljanovic  6-1, 7-6(8). She is another person who finally likes the grass. “It’s great and it’s confusing because I’ve always been good on clay, but now all of a sudden, I’m good on grass,” the 29-year-old said.  “I’ll take that! It’s great!”

The American Tommy Paul won the title at Queen’s, beating Lorenzo Musetti 6-1, 7-6(8). In the first set, the Italian Musetti  was nervous, and he made lots of errors, but in the second set, the 22-year-old was more  consistent, but not enough. Paul found the lines, and he was steady, and he also bashed his  backhand. Believe it or not, he is now No. 12, ahead of all of the U.S. men.

“All the Americans are pretty close. We push each other with results, I would say. I mean, it’s definitely a healthy competition between us,” Paul said.

In Halle, the No. 1 Jannik Sinner outlasted over Hubert Hurkacz 7-6(8), 7-6(2). He has definitely been more than consistent, even when he isn’t playing terrific. However, he can try to be patient, and wait until he can jump on the ball. He has never won Wimbledon, but he could in a few weeks, and really understand on the tricky grass. “I’m very happy about this tournament because [winning for] the first time on grass court, it’s a good feeling,” Sinner said.

Andy Murray injured again, can he play Wimbledon?

Andy Murray

Andy Murray became hurt again, and he had to pull out in Cincy Championships, in London, Great Britain,  but hopefully when Wimbledon begins, he will look respectable, on the court. The Scot has won it twice, yet to win it again would be stunning, as he hasn’t gone very deep at the Slams for the past four years. It is lucky that he will retire at the end of the summer, and wave goodbye.

 The other day, he practiced with Carlos  Alcaraz, as the Spaniard just won Roland Garros. Murray just practiced with Alcaraz, and the 37-years-old was pleased.

“I was really excited to practice with him, well, because I love watching him play. [Carlos] for sure one of my favorite players to watch,” he said. “He’s obviously one of the best players in the world, so I was really pumped to go and practice with him. It’s interesting for me, having played against Roger [Federer], Rafa [Nadal], Novak [Djokovic], getting the chance, like, I practiced with [Jannik] Sinner before the Australian Open, practiced with Carlos and stuff. It’s cool for me to get a chance to play for this newer generation and see what do they do better or worse or differently to, the guys that I competed against my whole career. I really enjoyed it.”

Unfortunately, Murray pulled out of the cinch Championships, in London, as he won the first match, but he had to retire after five games due to his super sore right leg. In the past three years, it was difficult, as his injury mounted. However, he did beat a number of good players, but not over the spectacular competitors.

“Although the last few years might have seemed okay, it’s been hard, it’s been really hard on the body. Physically it’s been tough,” he said. “A lot of days where it’s not been that much fun to train and practice and everything. But, yeah, obviously I have tried to work through it and find ways to get on the court and compete at this level. But tennis is a really, really hard sport.”

That is for sure, because usually, after 35, your body is starting to break down. It is possible to have a terrific couple weeks, but then, the pain will come again. Eventually, you have to retire, pretty soon.

Regardless, he has now 1000 matches, which is amazing. The former No. 1 has played some tremendous matches winning the 2012 US Open, and the 2013 and 2016 Wimbledon. He would yell a lot, on the court, but he was so darn consistent, both sides.  Mentally, if his body was hurt, he didn’t really care, and to stay in there. That is why he has won 46 titles.  

“There’s the kind of mental side of things on the court, the way that you’re dealing with,  stressful situations,  in the matches and everything. There’s sort of like a performance state you want to get into, and then also how you deal with the highs and lows of the wins and losses, and also the day-in, day-out kind of training and traveling and being away from friends and family and things that, you obviously need to take care of as well,” Murray said.

He will have to, and last year at Wimbledon, in the second round, he lost against Stefanos Tsitsipas in five dramatic setters. Maybe he can do it, or maybe not.

He did speak with Alcaraz, off the court, and the 21-year-old really listened to what he said. He knew that, and now he has won three Slams, too. A great comment.

“Every time that I talk to him, we had a conversation, I was really focused,” Alcaraz said. “Every word I’m hearing from him, it is amazing for me,” he said. “He watched a lot of my matches. Yesterday when I practiced with him, he congratulated me about the French Open, that it was an amazing stuff. He’s a legend.”

Alcaraz is playing in cinch Championships, but lost in straight sets to Jack Draper in the round of 16.

“I love watching him play. I mean, his style, it’s really amazing to watch. He’s really aggressive. I love these kind of players.”

Four Slam champions were given wild cards into Wimbledon: Naomi Osaka, Angelique Kerber, Emma Raducanu and Caroline Wozniacki.

There was a fine match on Thursday with Jessica Pegula taking out Donna Vekic 6-4, 7-5.

Both Taylor Fritz and Sebastian Korda won, so maybe if they can really understand on the difficult grass, they will even further, just like Pete Sampras did.

Sebastian Korda is rising, almost the top 20

Sebastian Korda
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Sebastian Korda has reached into the final at ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, and the American has played very well this week. However, the 23-year-old is still up and down, but that is why that he will reached into the top 20 for the first time. He might reach into the top 10, at some point, as long as he can stay the course, and understand whether if he has to hit harder, or be more patient. He plays a lot, not only in the United States, but also in Europe. He has been doing it for a very long time, as he lives in Florida, and his father, Petr Korda, also played, and he won the 1998 Australian Open. 

He talks with his son, but Petr also has to watch his daughters, Jessica and Nelly, who are pro golfers on LPGA Tour. At the top. Wow.

However, Sebastian Korda not only his dad, but another coach is Radek Stepanek. The Czech reached No. 8, and he won five titles, but he never was able to go to super deep at the Slams. Maybe Sebastian Korda will try to do so, but he does want to go much better.

“Radek, we’ve been around each other for basically my whole life. My dad coached him for 15 or so years, so he’s family,” Sebastian Korda said. “He knows me better than anyone else out there. We’ve put in a lot of great, hard work. It’s been unfortunate that I had a wrist injury for so long [in 2023], so you can’t really do too much. Now hopefully that’s passed us, and we can put in some good work.  We’re definitely trending the right way. We’re playing some better tennis now and putting a lot more work on the tennis court, which is great. Hopefully we can have some better results in the near future.”

Last year, he did get an injury, and he stopped for three months. He was barely so-so, so gradually, he got a little better. This week on the grass, he beat  Tommy Paul in the quarters,   which was huge, but he has yet to beat a top 10 in 2024. Very good luck in the final, because he has to face against the No. 9 Alex de Minaur. Korda will have to play excellent, as he hasn’t beaten anyone in the top 10 since a year ago. Plus  de Minaur beat him in Rotterdam. Is Korda  really rising?

Speaking of which, Coco Gauff  is No. 2, and that is terrific, but in the semis at Roland Garros, she could not play consistently, and she lost against Iga Swiatek. She wasn’t hitting the ball, cleanly, and she went to make way too errors, a lot. She is still young, but she has been around for four years. Yes, she has improved her forehand, and with her serve, too, and it is still good, but not great, yet. She has won one Grand Slam, and eventually, she will grab it again, but  exactly when? Maybe at Wimbledon, coming up?  Perhaps, as Gauff will rush the net a lot, on the grass, and to attack. Swiatek has now won four Slam in Paris. She is just so darn good, with her forehand, her backhand, and returning. The No. 1 Swiatek hasn’t won Wimbledon either, so that will be a huge challenge. The same goes with Gauff, who hasn’t won it either, so  there has to be eight players to go very deep  in the second week. But which one?  

“If you’re playing against anybody in I would say the top 10, I feel like the margins are smaller. Even against Ons [Jabeur]  I felt like my margins were smaller,” she said. “And that’s just when you play higher-ranked players, you know that some mistakes that you make aren’t going to — when you’re playing somebody who maybe isn’t as experienced or just not as talented maybe, you know that eventually you’re going to get back some of the mistakes.  When you’re playing anybody, honestly, in the top 10 at this point, you know that you can’t give anybody free points. I feel like against her and against any top player you do feel like your margins are smaller because you know they’re probably not going to give that back to you. If they do, it’s not maybe at a scale of somebody who’s less experienced.”

That is correct, when you are playing, you almost have to play well and win it. If someone is sick, and slow, or kick it out, then you could win, almost easily. However, if she is playing terrific, then you have to play almost perfect.  

 Gauff said that while she lost against Swiatek, she wasn’t horrible. However, she has to be calm, and accurate.

 “I think it was the execution that I didn’t do well on. I had a couple of break points early in the first set to break back,” who will play in  Berlin, next week.   “I made errors, a lot of short ball errors. I feel like I wasn’t always, hit off the court today. Now if I want to transcend to the next level, there’s a different way to play. Not that I can’t play defense, not passive, but making them work for the point, but I also know if I want to win more and stay at the top, then I have to be aggressive in certain moments and especially against [Iga].”

Carlos Alcaraz: three-time Slam winner

Carlos Alcaraz
Courtesy of Babolat

In the Roland Garros final fifth set, Carlos Alcaraz was locked in. He knew that if he could crack the ball, everywhere, then he could win another Grand Slam. He certainly did, when he defeated Alexander Zverev 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2.

That was stunning. However, in the last two sets, he became to hit it very hard, and he attacked, whenever he had to. He had played for hours, but he believed that he could still smash the ball, and throw in some incredible shots.

“I know that when I’m playing a fifth set, you have to give everything and you have to give your heart,” Alcaraz said. “I mean, in those moments, it’s where the top players give their best tennis.”

He has now won three Grand Slams, winning Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open. He is only 21-years-old, and if the No. 2 continues to be healthy, he can certainly win many more Slams. He is content and he is getting better each month.

“Different tournaments, different aura, but I’m going to say: same feeling. I mean, winning a Grand Slam is always special,” he said.

No. 4 Zverev had a fine event, but in his last two sets, he collapsed, and he looked tired. Maybe in the final of a Slam, he could be be more forceful, or try to rush the net more.

But not with Alcaraz, who is so much smarter. In the semis, the Spaniard edged Jannik Sinner in five, tough sets. Once again, he hammered his forehand and his backhand.

“Last year I clearly failed that exam, but this time we’d done our homework,” said the Spaniard. “This year I managed to do much better. I think I passed the exam, but not with flying colors. It’s something I have to keep improving and as the years go by, I’ll feel even better.”

The Italian Sinner became No. 1, for the first time, and while he couldn’t win at Roland Garros, at least he won the Australian Open, the  ATP Masters 1000 title in Miami, and he reached the semis at Indian Wells, Monte Carlo and RG. He was disappointed in Paris, but now he is thrilled.  That was a gigantic achievement.

“It represents a great result of work ethic. It was one of my goals for myself and my team this year,” he said. “The most important goal is always to improve as a player and as a person, surrounding myself with great people. In the last period I’ve played some really good tennis. I’m very happy to be in this position.”

Here comes the grass
Will Alcatraz, Sinner or Zverev grab the Wimbledon title? Maybe, but it is totally different on the lawn. Perhaps a few of the American men will go deep there, such as Taylor Fritz, Ben Shelton, Tommy Paul, Sebastian Korda and Frances Tiafoe.

Fritz is not playing this week, but the rest are, in Netherlands and Germany. Even the current No. 12 Fritz lost super early at last year’s Wimbledon, so is it possible that maybe one American can reach into the second week? That would be good, as the US guys won it at Wimbledon, such as Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. Sampras won it seven times, and Agassi did it once in the 1990s and the early 2000s. Will the young players push it and learn from it?