After the mess & drama over Olympics, it’s time for Lee, Hesh, Bops & Sania to perform at Wimbledon

It’s going to be a gruelling fortnight for the Indian foursome at the Wimbledon, fresh from a round of tedious haggling, vis-à-vis Olympic selection. Talk then is in the past, the focus shifts to tennis. For India’s doubles stars __ the all Indian pairing of Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna, reigning Australian Open champions Leander Paes and Czech Radek Stepanek and Sania Mirza, pairing with the sunny American Bethanie Mattek-Sands __ the writing is in the weather at the Wimbledon which begins today, says a report in The Times Of India.

“Form hasn’t quite been with the Indians in doubles even though Sania and Bhupathi combined to win the French Open title, their second Grand Slam crown as a team, a fortnight ago. Paes, who began the year in stirring fashion, enjoying a fruitful first quarter, hit a block on the clay court stretch that spilt onto the grasscourt season. Since April, the Kolkatan has won just four matches in seven weeks of tournament play. The 39-year-old, partnering Stepanek, will have a chance to set that record straight when they open against the Colombian combine of Alexandra Falla and Santiago Giraldo at the All England Club,” says the report, adding that interestingly, Paes and Stepanek find themselves logged in the same quarter of the draw as the No. 7 seeds Bhupathi and Bopanna. Should matches go according to ranking, they will meet in the last eight in what should be a cracking contest.

Meanwhile a report in Indian Express says that the Grand Slam drought grows longer for Roger Federer. He has remained a serial winner elsewhere, but he has not won one of the four titles that matter most since January 2010 and has not reached a major final for more than a year.

But with Wimbledon beginning on Monday, the lure of Federer’s enduringly elegant game and blockbuster tennis résumé remains powerful. Insiders like the former Wimbledon champion John McEnroe and the top-flight coach Darren Cahill are still picking Federer to win, ahead of the defending champion, Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal, younger stars who have surpassed him in ranking and Grand Slam relevance in the last three seasons.

Federer, who turns 31 in August, also continues to wax optimistic. Even though he has lost in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in his last two visits, he maintains that this should be his time of year: a time when playing conditions are quicker; a time when aggressive shot-making reaps more rewards; a time when he can tie Pete Sampras and William Renshaw for the men’s record by winning his seventh Wimbledon title.

“You think, man, if you’ve been able to do it six times, you can do it seven; it’s just logic, right?” Federer said on Saturday. “But I’m aware of how difficult it is, and it’s up to me to raise my game to do it again.”