The reigning French Open champion Maria Sharapova will begin her campaign at the 2014 Wimbledon Championships with a first round encounter with British wildcard Samantha Murray. This marks just the first time these two competitors will meet on the professional circuit.
Maria Sharapova is coming off a magnificent fortnight at Roland Garros and will now be looking for an encore at the Wimbledon Championships – the site of her first Grand Slam title at age 17. Although she had another chance to win the title in 2011, she has never relived that magnificent fortnight in 2004 since then. She has been drawn into a tough quarter that will certainly do her no favours, as she could likely face Serena Williams or even Andrea Petkovic before even reaching the quarter-final round.
26-year-old Samantha Murray may have been gifted a wildcard into The Championships, but she will have to contest a tough opening match against a former champion at the event. This is her second time in the Wimbledon main draw, as she faced Italy’s Camila Giorgi in her lone contest at the event.
“I’m really pleased to be given a wildcard again as it’s such an amazing tournament to be involved in,” said Murray, 26. “I had my first practice session on Tuesday and it just feels so good to be there and walk around the place again. “I’m still getting used to everything that goes on at Wimbledon.
“I was a little nervous last year and started slowly. I was up against a really good grass court player but I think I got better the longer the match went on.”
There is no doubt that Sharapova is the favourite in this opening round match. Samantha is currently riding a four-match losing streak, which include losses in two consecutive tournaments in Nottingham as well as Eastbourne, while Sharapova is coming off her fifth Grand Slam title. Issues arise when you consider the Russian has not played any warmup matches on grass to adjust to the surface. It is unlikely to impact her against Murray, but is also worth considering.
Prediction: Maria Sharapova in Straight Sets