When was the last time that Australia celebrated a men’s singles champions at Wimbledon? To answer the question, requires thinking back over ten Wimbledon championships, to 2002. The player in question? Lleyton Hewitt. What a final it was, comfortably over-coming Argentina’s David Nalbandian in three sets.
So, 13 years later and who can the passionate and noisy Australian support back at Wimbledon in 2015?
For Lleyton Hewitt, the game is sadly over. Having lost in a thrilling five set match to Jarkko Nieminen in the first round, the Wimbledon favourite said an emotional farewell to SW19. However, as an Australian era came to an end on court number 2, emotion of a different kind was being released by Australia’s next great hope, Nick Kyrgios.
Kyrgios defeated Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon last year and the feeling is, the young Australian has the potential to win Grand Slam tournaments. However, outbursts of petulance, such as threatening to stop play during his first round, straight-sets win over Diego Schwartzman, will not help. After the match, John McEnroe commented on how he liked the emotional side of Kyrgios but he has to back it up with his game.
Seeded 26 for the tournament, there’s no doubt that the ability is there for Kyrgios to succeed at Wimbledon. However, sitting in a quarter that features Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov and Richard Gasquet, it’s a tough ask for the Australian to go further, than the quarter-final stage he reached last year. Having said, that, Raonic has been injured, Dimitrov has been out of sorts and Wawrinka has never performed consistently at Wimbledon. The key factor for Kyrgios, could be keeping himself together at crucial times. Has the young Australian got the temperament to succeed at the highest level?
Elsewhere, Bernard Tomic, the number 27 seed, battled through a five set match, coming back from 2-1 in sets, to reach the second round. Tomic is an interesting character, who is currently at odds with Tennis Australia regarding his exclusion from the Davis Cup quarter-final against Kazakhstan. With a potential meeting with Novak Djokovic in the third round, Tomic can ill-afford to let that get in the way of the job at hand. The question is, does Tomic have the game to trouble Djokovic? Can the Australian stop the world number one from returning his first serve regularly?
It appears as though the draw has been less than favourable for Australia’s top male players at Wimbledon 2015. Can the explosive nature of Nick Kyrgios push him through a tough quarter and will Bernard Tomic set up a meeting with world number one Novak Djokovic? If so, how does Tomic trouble the Serbian?
These questions will be answered, as the tournament progresses but with odds of 40/1 for there to be an Australian man winning Wimbledon this year, perhaps they have already been answered?