June 26, 2021
Jelena Ostapenko just won Eastbourne in such spectacular style that you wonder what she can achieve at Wimbledon.
Watching her beat Anett Kontaveit 6-3, 6-3 by the sea, it was shard to believe that Ostapenko is unseeded on grass.
She is a Grand Slam champion after all. She shocked the world by winning the French Open in 2017.
Now those Ostapenko guns are blazing once more.
It took her just 65 minutes to claim her first title on grass.
No big name will want to face the 24-year-old Latvian at Wimbledon.
She looks capable of out-hitting anyone in this form and a first title since 2019 has done her confidence a power of good..
Maybe tragedy has changed Ostapenko’s mindset. She lost her father relatively recently and such a terrible moment in life puts other issues into persepctive.
For years she had struggled to live with the weight of expectation that came with triumph at Roland Garros.
Now she seems to just want to seize the day and play freely.
You could see the thrill in her eyes when she held the trophy.
Ostapenko said: ‘Thank you guys for coming, it was a great week. I want to congratulate Anett and her team for their great week. I just enjoyed this week so much and it’s great to win a title just before Wimbledon. It gives me confidence.
‘I was just trying to enjoy it and play without expectations. I won’t be hard on myself again and now it is time to play some great tennis at Wimbledon.’
That should serve as an ominous warning to those who are arriving at the All England Club with their own title hopes.
Kontaveit won’t allow this defeat to derail her. She said: ‘Congratulations to Jelena, she played a really great match but I’ve had a really good week and I’m pleased with the way I’ve been performing this week. I’m feeling ready for Wimbledon.’
She might hope to avoid Jelena though. Savage returns stunned Kontaveit and despite her big serve she never properly gained a foothold in the final.
Ostapenko played at her own frantic pace and simply blew the favourite off the court with her awesome power.
The pocket rocket is on fire and the Wimbledon 2021 title is there for the taking.
Can she do it? If Jelena is as good as her word, the answer is yes.
She really does need to play for fun and dismiss any sense of expectation.
If Ostapenko can maintain this carefree momentum, there is no reason why she can’t take down some huge names and go deep.