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The Championships 2014 according to Evert and McEnroe

John McEnroe and Chris Evert with the Championship trophies in New York
by Nicholas McCarvel
Wednesday 18 June 2014

With six Wimbledon singles titles between them and countless Grand Slam victories and historic accolades, Chris Evert and John McEnroe know a little bit about playing on the grass of the All England Lawn Tennis Club. On Tuesday, the two American commentators laid out their thoughts and predictions for The Championships 2014. 

Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams
Evert: Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams

Dark Horses – Men
  “[Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov are] two guys that I think have made the biggest advances, who we've been waiting on the longest to potentially do some serious damage at a major event, and they're starting to show that. If they have a little bit of luck and things fall their way, they could make a real run in this tournament.

Dark Horses – Women  
“I think Genie Bouchard has shown a lot of positives in the last six months as far as stepping up, not being afraid to play the top players, not to be afraid to play on a stadium court, dealing with the pressure so well. Especially after the French, she almost beat Maria Sharapova. She likes grass. She likes to step in and take the ball early. She has power, I think she's one to watch. Others to watch: Petra Kvitova, Sam Stosur and Simona Halep.”

What are Maria Sharapova’s hopes?
“As far as Maria Sharapova goes, if she can do a double, the French and Wimbledon, that would be the greatest year she'll ever have in her life. That would be an incredible feat for her. Number one, is she going to have a letdown after winning the French? Number two, remember all the slipping and sliding, the problems she had last year? She's so tall, she can't get down low for the ball, she doesn't have that secure footing. But as far as confidence level, you've got to give that to her. But I'm still favoring Serena a little bit.”

What is to be of the new Andy Murray-Amelie Maursemo pairing?
McEnroe: “[Amelie Mauresmo] had an extreme amount of pressure on her at the French Open – she wasn't able to be herself there. Eventually, later in her career, she was able to succeed and win a couple majors. From that standpoint she's got the understanding of what it takes emotionally and mentally to maybe get through and add that extra percent or two.”

Evert: Mauresmo's very qualified obviously. Amelie, she's been a good coach before. I think she and Andy click well together. I like the line he said, ‘With my mom, I've always had sort of the female influence around me concerning my tennis.’ Women listen more, which is probably true. I think if he continues to carry on with [Ivan] Lendl's influence and takes what Mauresmo has to offer, I think he's in a pretty good place right now.”

So what are Murray’s chances to successfully defend his title?
“There's no one that's been under more pressure to win a major event than Andy Murray. The fact that he's done it takes a lot of pressure off him. That should be understood. Having said that, anytime you taste what it feels like to win it once, you obviously want to win it again. So there's an element of pressure you put on yourself for starters because you sort of want to see what that feels like at least one more time. Clearly now people know he can do it, they're going to think he should do it again. You throw in this new coaching thing, that makes it a little bit harder to get your groove quickly.”

Serena has won just one of the last four majors. Can she come out on top here?
“I think there's going to be a lot of pressure on her because she did not do well in the last two Grand Slams, pretty much had bad losses. If she can get through the first week, that's going to be the big thing. Once she gets through the first week, gets the ball rolling, gets more comfortable on the grass, she'll be unbeatable. She has one thing no other woman player has, she has the serve. She's walking on the court two-love or three-love already.”

Martina Hingis returns to Wimbledon, this time in the doubles draw. [With Vera Zvonareva.]
“She's hitting the ball great. She's obviously winning a lot of doubles matches, so she's still crafty, volleys really well, quick at the net. I would have loved to have seen her play singles personally.  But I guess that's not going to happen.”

McEnroe: “Maybe it just shows you sometimes when it's later than you like, you realise how much you love it and miss it. I don't know what she's proving. I think she could still play doubles. She could lose first round, win the tournament. Maybe she just likes to be around it.”

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