Wimbledon 2013 Women’s Draw: Playing Poker

The 2013 Wimbledon Championships women’s singles draw has presented a fantastic opportunity this year for those who play their cards right from here on in. Just like playing WSOP poker, who can make the most of their opportunities, perform under pressure and select the correct options in the heat of the game, stands to be rewarded with a berth in the women’s final.

Seven of the Top 32 seeds lost in the 1st round and a further thirteen of the remaining 25 seeds lost in the 2nd round. Former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova is now the only Top seed remaining in her half of the draw despite five former World No.1’s starting out right alongside her.

The 1.82m Czech needs to keep her WSOP poker face on, block out all the pressure of being the heavy favourite to play her second Grand Slam singles final by only challenging herself to specific tasks under her control on court.

The 23-year-old Kvitova is pictured setting the ball in place to launch herself at the ball during her service motion at Wimbledon. The 2011 champion had both the No.2 seed Victoria Azarenka and the No.3 seed Maria Sharapova, who have well and truly out performed her in the past three Grand Slams, presenting a formidable road block to her path to the singles final.

On Day 3 all five of the former World No.1 ranked women where defeated: Azarenka, Sharapova, Caroline Wozniacki, Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic leaving just seven women’s seeds of the original sixteen in the 3rd round. A further two seeds lost in the 3rd round to leave Kvitova, No.15 Marion Bartoli, No.17 Sloane Stephens, No.19 Carla Suarez Navarro and No.20 Kirsten Flipkens as the top cards left in the pack.

When the above mentioned scenario occurs the typical response is that they “don’t deserve it” or “only got through because she was lucky she didn’t have to play” so and so. The fact is that you can only play with hand you are given, demonstrate your skill and win when other more fancied competitors could not.

As fate has it, men’s No.2 seed Andy Murray finds himself in the same situation, being the only Top seed left in his half of the draw, with exactly the same seed as his next highest ranked opponent, the No.15 seed. Nothing is a given in tennis, as this trio of former Wimbledon champions: Nadal, Federer and Sharapova, all losing to players ranked outside the Top 100, testifies to.

In my opinion, every player is presented with the same task: follow the same rules, win six main draw singles matches in a row at the same tournament and on the same court surface, by being able to summon a higher level of tennis than his or her opponent each day to play for the Championship.

Each time a tennis player walks on court for a match they have their own perception and reaction to what confronts them. The man and woman from the bottom halves of the draw who can play the game better than his or her opponent at the critical swing stages of the remaining matches will see:

“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;”

as they walk out onto Centre Court at Wimbledon next weekend to play for The Championship!

Photo credit: Marianne Bevis

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