Spotlight will shine brighter on Ivanovic at Wimbledon


Can Justine Henin win her first Wimbledon title? Will Amelie Mauresmo repeat? Along with the Williams sisters, the usual suspects will grab most of the headlines at Wimbledon. But what about the more subtle, off-the-radar stories that also are worth paying attention to on the eve of the year's third Grand Slam?

1. The good young Americans -- who have been struggling -- might have a reasonable performance at Wimbledon. They're due. Even though they are not a great crop, they have underachieved. No one is going to get through to the semifinals or final, but I think we will see some modest U.S. success, and don't be surprised to see some Americans (other than the Williams sisters) reach the round of 16.

2. Australians Samantha Stosur and Alicia Molik have underachieved at Wimbledon in the past. If Australia hadn't made the mistake of playing on the Rebound Ace surface -- which Stosur and Molik have played on virtually their entire lives -- they would be contenders to win Wimbledon. But because they aren't familiar with grass the way Australians used to be, they have been at a disadvantage. Still, it's time for an Australian to have a really good run, and I think one of the two of them will.

3. How will Serbians Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic do now that they are on everybody's radar screen? This will be the first Wimbledon in which both will have big expectations, and I'm looking forward to seeing how they handle it. Jankovic got on the radar when she beat Venus in the third round last year in three tough sets. Jankovic has been a workhorse and a consistent top-four player all year long, and she has a game that does well on grass. She has already proved in the last 12 months that she can deal with the pressure of being a top-four player and maintain that status. The question now is whether she can take that next step of getting to a final or winning a Grand Slam. That remains to be seen. She has a game that translates to all surfaces, but at what point will she hit the wall (Jankovic is playing both Wimbledon warm-up events)? She's playing more than any top player I can remember since the 1970s, and there will be a point when she hits the wall.

Ivanovic is coming off an amazing French Open, and it's always interesting to see how a player -- after that first huge Grand Slam moment -- backs it up.

4. It won't be a big deal in the United States, but it will be a big story in England: The English women once again will be a disaster, and it's just a sad continuing state of women's tennis in this country. I don't know if Andy Murray (because of his injury) and Tim Henman (because of his age) will do anything, but the fact that English men have had a presence has added so much to Wimbledon, while English women have had nothing going on for almost 25 years. It's depressing not to have any home interest past the first round.

5. Equal prize money. Will there be story lines that the women aren't carrying their load in terms of equal prize money? Will there be criticism of the women in the first year of equal prize money? This would be a good year to have a lot of competitive matches (8-6 scores in the third sets), a couple of unpredictable results and a really good final. This would be a really good year for that to happen.

ESPN tennis analyst Pam Shriver won 21 singles and 112 doubles crowns, including 22 Grand Slam titles, and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2002.