The French Open is less than a week from getting underway. Traditionally Wimbledon starts around two weeks after the conclusion of proceedings at Roland Garros. However this year a change in the tour schedule means that Wimbledon will begin three weeks after the climax of the French Open.
This change could prove a more important decision than some may think. In tennis an extra week can make a lot of difference. Just this month Novak Djokovic pulled out the the Madrid Masters as he looks to gain an added week of rest before the run in to the French Open. It is clear that players value recovery time.
The players asked the tour to push Wimbledon back an extra week and they were happy to comply. The ATP tour organisers also pushed Wimbledon back an extra week in order to fit in the new Aegon Open Nottingham, though it is likely many players will choose to skip this event in favour of the extra week of break before the start of Wimbledon. None of the “big four” of Djokovic, Murray, Federer, and Nadal have announced any intention to attend the tournament.
What makes the push back of Wimbledon truly significant is the aspect of momentum. The winner of the French Open will surely be full of confidence and once they charge their batteries they will be raring to go for Wimbledon. However, unlike previous years, the added week’s wait will kill off much of the momentum gained. This is especially applicable to Djokovic as he plays no other tournaments between Roland Garros and Wimbledon. In other words Djokovic will spend three weeks waiting for Wimbledon to start which may leave him rusty heading to SW19.
There is certainly no correlation between winning the French Open and going on to claim the Wimbledon crown. Granted that is difficult to judge considering that Nadal has won 9 of the last 10 French Opens. Nadal has only followed up a French Open victory win a win at Wimbledon twice. On the other hand, it is argued by many that grass is Nadal’s weakest surface.
A similar story applies to the woman’s tour. There is a multitude of tournaments for the woman to choose from with a total of four taking place in the three weeks prior to Wimbledon. The addition of that extra week is again expected to be exploited by the likes of Serena Williams who will be aiming for her sixth Wimbledon crown later this Summer.
It is certainly poised to be an absolutely fascinating next two and a half months in the world of tennis. Plenty of strategic breaks are expected to be utilised by players on both the WTA and ATP tours as we head toward both the French Open and of course the Wimbledon Championships. Will the extra week to Wimbledon prove pivotal?