After succumbing the first half of 2011 to Novak Djokovic, all eyes -- well most eyes -- are back on Rafael Nadal, the two-time Wimbledon champ who will set out to defend his 2010 title. Just days after winning his sixth title at Roland Garros, Rafa played at Queen's Club where he lost to Jo-Wilfred Tsonga in the quarters. But he took the next week off and should be the man to beat at the All England Club.
The United States' best shot at a Wimbledon title this year is perhaps in doubles. On the men's side you've got perennial contenders Bob and Mike Bryan, and on the women's side No. 1 seed Vania King, who along with partner Yaroslava Shvedova, won the 2010 doubles title. Other doubles title contenders include No. 3-seeded team of veterans Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond and No. 5 team Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Meghann Shaughnessy.
Maria Sharapova has struggled with injuries since winning Wimbledon in 2004, but after a strong semifinal showing at Roland Garros last month the former world No. 1 is a legitimate contender once again.
Li Na may have been a late bloomer on the women's tour, but 2011 has been a banner year for the 29-year-old. In January, Li reached the Australian Open final and two weeks ago she followed that up with the French Open title, the first Slam won by an Asian player. With the Williams sisters back in the Wimbledon draw, Li may have a tougher time, but you just can't count her out.
Serena Williams & Venus Williams
Venus and Serena Williams are back and no matter how they fare at Wimbledon, the rest of the ladies in the draw will need to step up their game. The Williams have dominated at the All England Club since 2000 where they combine for 9 of the past 11 singles titles. Their Wimbledon party has only been broken up two times, by Maria Sharapova in 2004 and Amelie Mauresmo in 2006. Serena returned to the courts in Eastbourne where she played for the first time in a year. Venus also returned at Eastbourne after missing most of 2011 due to injury. Will they be as good as they once were? It really doesn't matter. Their names in the draw are enough to make the rest of the field better.
With much attention focused on the Williams sisters' return to action, the pressure is off -- a little bit -- of world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, who has maintained the top spot since last October despite never winning a Slam. The Dane won last week's tournament in Copenhagen without dropping a set, but will the title inspire some major success?
At 28, three-time Wimbledon finalist Andy Roddick is still America's best chance to win the tournament. Roddick has won the Queen's Club tournament four times and knows how to work the ball on the grass. But will it be enough to contend with Nadal, Djokovic and Federer?
Like Tim Henman before him, Andy Murray will walk onto the courts at the All England Club bearing the weight of a nation, a nation that has not seen a men's Wimbledon champion since Fred Perry won the tournament in 1936. The Scotsman enters Wimbledon fresh off his second Queen's Club title but will he have enough momentum to see him through the second week?
Yes, Roger Federer is still a contender which he proved just two weeks ago after knocking a seemingly untouchable Novak Djokovic off his undefeated pedestal. The six-time Wimbledon winner knows how to handle the grass courts and despite his No. 3 seed will be a heavy favorite to tie the record for Wimbledon titles.
After a historic undefeated run that began with last year's Davis Cup final and carried him into the French Open semifinals, pressure is off Serbia's Novak Djokovic, who will try for his second major win of the year. The Australian Open winner took time off following his French Open exit at the hands of Roger Federer and should go deep in the Wimbledon draw.