Wimbledon Women - Ones to Watch
I normally write about serious things like tea, eating and sleeping, but I thought for something a little different I would put my sports pundit hat on and write about another passion - tennis.
With Wimbledon fast-approaching (and the inevitable "can Murray do it again?" talk) I thought I'd highlight some of the players I think it will be worth keeping an eye on, and as tradition dictates, it's ladies first...
Serena Williams - Despite a shock second-round loss at the French Open (and only making the fourth round at the Australian Open) the world number one will always be the favourite when in the draw of any tournament. When Serena is at her best she is pretty much unstoppable and she will be determined to make it to the later stages of a grand slam this time. And when she went out in the first round of Roland Garros in 2012, Serena went on to win her fifth Wimbledon title.
Maria Sharapova - After winning her second French Open and fifth grand slam a couple of weeks ago, the Russian will be looking to continue her momentum into the tournament that launched her into the spotlight when she won it ten whole years ago. Despite it probably being her favourite surface, Sharapova has had fairly mixed results on the grass - she did make it to a second final in 2011 (losing to Petra Kvitova) but last year only made it to the second round.
Eugenie Bouchard - As one of the rising stars of women's tennis, Bouchard is the only player to have reached the semi-finals of both grand slams this year (losing to the eventual champion at both).
Bouchard saw Sharapova's famous victory at Wimbledon as a moment of inspiration, and as a former junior champion, the young Canadian knows her way around the grass herself.
Sabina Lisicki - The big-hitting German's game seems to come alive at Wimbledon - she was the runner-up last year and reached at least the quarter-finals in her three previous appearances. She defeated Serena Williams en-route to the final last year but a nervy performance saw her lose in straight sets to Marion Bartoli. Maria Sharapova might want to keep one eye on Lisicki's place in the draw - the German has a habit of beating the current French Open champion at Wimbledon (Kuznetsova in 2009; Li Na in 2011; Sharapova in 2012 and Serena in 2013).
Tsvetana Pironkova - Though unlikely to take the title, Pironkova's game - like Lisicki's - comes alive on the grass courts and is a player whose unorthodox style is worth watching. The Bulgarian caused a stir at Wimbledon in 2010 when she defeated five-times champion Venus Williams en-route to her first grand slam semi-final. She beat her again the following year, losing to eventual champion Kvitova in the quarter-finals. Last year she made it to the fourth-round where she lost to former finalist Agnieska Radwanska.