Wimbledon braced for one last 'Manic Monday' in 2021 edition

After their traditional 'Middle Sunday' of rest, Wimbledon 2021 returns with with 'Manic Monday' on July 5 as the Round of 16 commences.

Novak Djokovic in action at Wimbledon; Credit: [email protected]

After their traditional ‘Middle Sunday’ of rest, Wimbledon 2021 returns with with ‘Manic Monday’ on July 5 as the Round of 16 commences. However, there is a catch – this will be the last time the tournament will have either of these days. Wimbledon, a Grand Slam so steeped in tradition where players must still play in all white, will be dropping a tradition as old as the Slam itself.

Reactions to this have, of course, been mixed. Angelique Kerber, who won the singles title at Wimbledon in 2018, says she will miss it. However, wise old head Roger Federer understands why it is happening.

“Everybody wants more days. Look, more days means more revenue, more options, more this and that, I get it. I don’t think they did it only because of revenue. I think they just think it’s going with the times, as well.”

Indeed, in an era where player burnout due to a relentless schedule is an all-too-common sight, extending the number of days might just give athletes some much-needed breathing space.

But it isn’t just the new rules soon to come into effect that is heralding a change in the sport. It is also the fact that the current Round of 16 has a number of very fresh faces.

Wimbledon 2021: a change in the guard?

Of the 32 singles players still in the men’s brackets, 26 have not been to the Wimbledon quarterfinals. In fact, 20 are participating in the fourth round for the first time.

American Sebastian Korda will face Karen Khachanov and is making his debut at Wimbledon. The same is true for Ilya Ivashka from Belarus who faces Matteo Berrettini.

Berrettini, a 2019 U.S. Open semi-finalist, has the most number of aces (60) among all the remaining players.

Novak Djokovic’s opponent, Cristian Garin of Chile, and Federers, Lorenzo Sonego of Italy, had a combined record of 0-5 at the All England Club until 2021.

The other men’s matches see Daniil Medvedev take on Hubert Hurkacz and Alexander Zverev is set to do battle with Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Russian Andrey Rublev will face Marton Fucsovics and Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut will face promising upstart Denis Shapovalov.

In the women’s draw, Kerber, Madison Keys and Karolina Muchova are the only ones to make it to Wimbledon’s last eight before.

Kerber faces Coco Gauff, a 17-year-old American whose stock is rising. Gauff made it to the fourth round in 2019 and made the Roland Garros quarterfinals last month.

Britain’s Emma Raducanu is another youngster making waves. She is a wild-card entry ranked 338th in the world and this is her Grand Slam debut. Amazingly, it’s also the 18 year old’s only second tour-level event.

Ashleigh Barty’s opponent, 2021 French Open champ Barbora Krejcikova, is also making her first Wimbledon appearance. Elena Rybakina will face Aryna Sabalenka and Liudmila Samsonova will take on Karolina Pliskova.

Sportslumo Desk

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