This year marks a special and very rare occasion for the sport of tennis and all of its patrons. Not only will the All England Club host the Championships, but the most historic tennis and croquet club in the world will also play host for all Olympic tennis matches this summer. That's right folks, order a double shot of Wimbledon for the second time in All England Club history.
The only previous time was in 1908 when the All England Club hosted tennis matches at the fourth running of the modern Olympics. The Summer Games did return to London in 1948 but the sport of tennis had separated itself from the Olympic movement.
The Olympics are set to kick off in Wimbledon about three weeks after a champion is crowned at the annual Championships but first thing's first. The tournament that made the town of Wimbledon famous.
Tennis fan or not, most people are at least familiar with Wimbledon. If you are one of those fans who doesn't know a lot about Wimbledon then let me take a quick second to give you a "When/Where/What" breakdown of this worldly event.
When: June 25 - July 8, 2012
Where: All England Tennis & Croquet Club - London, England:
The All England Club is specifically located in the suburb of Wimbledon.
What: One of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments. This annual tournament features 128 singles (men & women), 64 single-sex doubles pairs (men & women), and 48 mixed doubles pairs.
The Championships always offer an amazing display of athleticism that combines the demand of durability with the drive of competition. However, looking ahead to July, I can safely say that this might be the most exciting year in the history of the Championships. We might see someone capture a gold and a Wimbledon Championship in the same summer... at the same historic venue.
It is fun just to think about the possibilities for such a unique year in tennis.
Look for Novak Djokovic to repeat as the men's Wimbeldon single's champion. Djokovic has been lights out for about 2 years now and he has become the clear #1 in the world. He is my pick for both the Championships and for the gold at the Summer Games if he chooses to compete.
On the other side of the coin we see the career of tennis legend Roger Federer coming to and end. Perhaps the most dominant player in tennis history, Federer approaches the twilight of his unmatched career. Federer has a record 16 major single's titles and that gives him 2 more than Pete Sampras who was previously considered by most to be the best ever. In my eyes this year represents the last opportunity for Federer to win a major and possibly tie Sampras for most Wimbledon victories at 7. Whether Federer's career ends on a high or low note I think he still goes down as the best ever. For now.
In the middle of Djokovic and Federer we find Rafael Nadal. Nadal has been a force for half a decade now but has faced tougher times recently. He won the French Open last year for the 6th time, which tied Bjorn Borg for the modern record, but his last non-clay major title was at the 2010 US Open. For a moment we expected Federer to pass the torch to Nadal and he would become the new tennis phenom. Then Djokovic stepped in and said hold on just a second.
What seemed to be a seemless exchange between Federer and Nadal became a hijacking. Djokovic now sits atop the tennis world. He has won 3 majors in a row (Wimbledon '11, US Open '11, Australian Open '12) and if he wins the French Open in May he will accomplish the career Grand Slam and be in line to accomplish the Golden Slam when he arrives at Wimbledon.
* Golden Slam - winning all four major tournaments and the gold medal in the same calendar year.
Steffi Graf is the only person in tennis history to complete the Golden Slam. Djokovic could become the first man to accomplish the feat.
Either way it will be a tremendous summer at the All England Club.
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Written by: Craig Kibler