Wimbledon’s Manic Monday: An Embarrassment of Riches

It's my goal to be at Wimbledon next year, and I look forward to having to figure out how to navigate what has come to be known as Manic Monday, when they play all 16 matches, eight each for the men and women, in the round of 16. Today I'll be watching on TV with six channels of coverage, and it is almost impossible to figure out what to watch. I am enjoying imagining being there. What would I choose to watch? They've got matches on six different courts, and you can only be at one place at a time. And check out this list of matches for today:

The Women

  • (1) Angelique Kerber vs. (14) GarbiƱe Muguruza. Last year's finalist versus 2015's finalist.

  • (7) Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. (9) Agnieszka Radwanska. A two-time Grand Slam winner versus the 2012 Wimbledon finalist.

  • Magdalena Rybarikova vs. Petra Martic. (Two unseeded players about whom I know little. I don't actually have anything to say about this match.)

  • (5) Caroline Wozniacki vs. (24) Coco Vandeweghe. Former world number one and two-time U.S. Open finalist versus the rapidly improving American, who played her first Slam semi at the Australian earlier this year.

  • (10) Venus Williams vs. (27) Ana Konjuh. The five-time Wimbledon champion versus a player who wasn't even born when Venus first played here.

  • (13) Jelena Ostapenko vs. (4) Elina Svitolina. This year's French Open champion, who just turned 20, on a rocket trajectory to the sport's highest levels, against a player who's never been past the quarters of a Major, but who has been consistent enough to bring her ranking up to fifth in the world. Svitolina is only 22; expect to see this match-up many times over the course of their careers.

  • (6) Johanna Konta vs. (21) Caroline Garcia. The British number-one, whose improvement over the past two years has been nothing short of astonishing, against the sometimes-controversial Frenchwoman, already having her best-ever Wimbledon, seeking her second-straight Slam quarterfinal.

  • (2) Simona Halep vs. Victoria Azarenka. The player who really should have won the French Open this year, against a two-time Slam winner and former world number-one.

I have sometimes referred to the women's game as "Serena Williams and a parade of also-rans, but it's sure not that at Wimbledon this year. I know little about Rybarikova and Martic, but all the other matches are fascinating match-ups.

The Men

  • (1) Andy Murray vs. Benoit Paire. The two-time Wimbledon champion against the insane short-shorts-wearing Frenchman.

  • (24) Sam Querrey vs. Kevin Anderson. The American who knocked off Djokovic here last year against a former top-ten player trying to rise in the rankings again after struggles with injury.

  • (4) Rafael Nadal vs. (16) Gilles Muller. Rafael Nadal has so far this year only been the runner-up at the Australian and the champion at Roland Garros. You could call that a pretty good year. Gilles Muller is playing at his career-high ranking.

  • (7) Marin Cilic vs. (18) Roberto Bautista Agut. One of three players outside the Big Four to win a Slam title since 2006 and a definite dark-horse contender here, against the always-tough, just-dispatched-Nishikori Bautista Agut.

  • (5) Milos Raonic vs. (10) Alexander Zverev. Last year's finalist against the rapidly maturing, has-all-the-tools Sasha Zverev.

  • (3) Roger Federer vs. (13) Grigor Dimitrov. The Greatest of All Time against a player with a very similar style of play, whose five-setter against Rafael Nadal in the semis of the Australian this year took enough out of Nadal's legs that Federer was able to get that break back in the fifth set of the final.

  • (8) Dominic Thiem vs. (11) Tomas Berdych. They say Thiem's monster power game isn't suited to grass, but he's easily having his best Wimbledon ever. He'll certainly be tested against the powerful, big-serving veteran Berdych.

  • (2) Novak Djokovic vs. Adrian Mannarino. Is Novak back? This may not be the match in which the former number-one gets tested, but Mannarino was able to put Gael Monfils out of his head-case misery in the last round, so he can't be disregarded here.

The men's matches aren't quite as juicy as the women's, but still: holy crap. If we expect Murray, Djokovic and Nadal to all win easily, and if I'm going to let the Querrey-Anderson and Cilic-Bautista Agut matches go by unwatched (and I am), then that still leaves three terrific-looking matches.

If you need me today, you can find me in front of the TV.

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