“Manic Monday” is one of the best tennis days of the year, if not the best one. Traditionally, all Wimbledon Round of 16 matches of both Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ Singles are played on the same day, which is the second Monday of the tournament.
After the conclusion of the third round, fans are given a day to rest and be ready for the full immersion. Indeed, unless the rain makes it impossible to follow the schedule – something that happened only four times in history – Wimbledon is famous for its “never on Sunday” policy. In other words, no matches on the Middle Sunday, giving an opportunity to breathe ahead of the Manic Monday. Its match-ups are usually lit, with big matches often happening at the same time that drive fans crazy, in their attempt to follow them all. Hence, what nickname would suit this day better than Manic Monday?
After half a season of inconsistency, on the WTA side, with the best players out of the competition or losing in the early stages of big tournaments, Manic Monday is what every fan needs.
Among the 16 players left in the draw, there are three of the first four seeds – including #1 and #2, seven Top 10, six Slam Champions – four of which are multiple Slam Champions, three former #1, eight of the Race to Singapore Top 10 and thirteen players ranked inside the Top 30. Therefore, statistics promises high quality matches, full of fun and very unpredictable.
Top half of the draw
Statistics aside, every single match-up promises entertainment. #1 Angelique Kerber, who is striving to reach the final to maintain her top spot in the ranking, is going to face 2015 Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza, who seems more relaxed and who is playing her best tennis since last year’s title at Roland Garros. Aga Radwanska, who saved two match points in her Round 2 match against Christina McHale and managed to come back from a set down in Round 3 is going to face Svetlana Kuznetsova, who is not a grass court lover, though she managed to ease past former quarterfinalist Ekaterina Makarova in R2. Only one of these four great players is going to make it to the semifinal, and it is honestly impossible to predict who it will be!
The other semifinalist in the upper part of the draw will come from other two interesting Round of 16 matches. The “outsider R16,” in the section left open by the early exit of #3 seed Karolina Pliskova, will see two great comeback players facing each other for a QF that would mean the world for them. Magdalena Rybarikova, who ousted Pliskova, came back earlier this year after two surgeries and lost only one match on grass this year, will face qualifier Petra Martic, ranked outside the Top 600 in April, who made it to the Round of 16 both in Paris and Wimbledon starting from the qualies – in the final round of Wimbledon qualies she even saved six match points! Then, CoCo Vandeweghe, a quarterfinalist back in 2015 ,is going to face former #1 Caroline Wozniacki, who is displaying a good form, galvanized by the final she reached in Eastbourne.
Bottom half of the draw
As far as the lower part of the draw is concerned, the four match-ups promise to be so good! Grass court lover Ana Konjuh is going to face Venus Williams, who despite her age – she made her first US Open final the year Konjuh was born! – is playing flawless tennis, and whose experience, given by the fact that she’s the only one who has won this tournament before, may make the difference. Roland Garros champion Jelena (or better, Alona) Ostapenko, who’s playing with a tremendous attitude, making people believe she’ll never lose a tennis match again, will face super in form Elina Svitolina, in a match that could be epic.
Moreover, Johanna Konta, who’s not feeling the pressure of playing on her some soil at all, will have to overcome Caroline Garcia if she wants to reach the QF and keeping the hopes of the Brits alive.
Finally, the last Round of 16 match, which probably is the best one: Victoria Azarenka, who is playing her second tournament after her pregnancy, will face Simona Halep. Both players are extra-motivated: on the one hand, Azarenka knows that the field is well open, and that even though it’s just her second tournament, she definitely could win it. Halep, on the other hand, wants to forget the big disappointment of Roland Garros’ final, and wants to make it to the final to catch the #1 spot in the rankings.
Apparently, everything seems so perfect, that the only problem should be finding something to do on Middle Sunday, hoping the Manic Monday comes early!
Though, there is something which is… euphemistically not perfect: Wimbledon’s schedule!
Indeed, only two Ladies’ Round of 16 are placed on big courts. Something that actually could be understood, given the fact that the other four will see Djokovic, Murray, Federer and Nadal competing – I honestly think that regardless of who’s competing in it, Wimbledon would put four Gentlemen’s matches anyway, but that’s just my thought.
On Centre Court, Venus Williams vs Ana Konjuh; on Court 1, Johanna Konta vs Caroline Garcia. Fair enough, even though there are definitely better match-ups; Venus is a five-time champion, and hasn’t played a match on Centre Court yet. However, though Konta is a Brit, and therefore treated in the best possible way, I honestly think that other matches should be put on Court 1, despite of the nationality of who is playing.
What is really upsetting, actually, is the fact that the organizers put FOUR (!) Ladies’ matches at the same time, at 11:30 AM GMT, making it impossible for the fans to follow them all. Kerber vs Muguruza, Radwanska vs Kuznetsova, Martic vs Rybarikova, and Ostapenko vs Svitolina will happen at the same time! Why not mix Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s matches? Why putt all of these matches at the same time, avoiding the possibility of watching them all? I honestly have no answer.
To sum up, if the enthusiasm of having so many fun match-ups won’t be reduced, it is definitely a pity that organizers put all of these matches at the same time, as an appetizer to “apparently most appealing” Gentlemen’s matches. I think that two men’s and two women’s matches at 11.30 would have been a much better schedule. But… there’s nothing I could do, if not be ready to go crazy in my attempt to follow them all!