Take a break: the summer sporting calendar
So, the end of term is upon us and I bet you’re wondering what on earth you’ll be doing this summer. Some may be on internships whilst others travel around the world. One thing is for sure though: you won’t be short of sporting entertainment this summer!
Tennis – Wimbledon
Although this month is drawing to a close very quickly, there is still the small matter of Wimbledon to sort out, which rounds up on 6th July. Get the strawberries and cream out to prepare for what is likely to be one of the most open tournaments for a long time.
We’ve already had some shocks as Murray’s 19-game winning streak on grass came crashing down against Stepanek at Queens and Rafa was knocked out in the Gerry Weber Open by Dustin Brown. Wawrinka, Dimitrov, Monfils and Gulbis are all exciting players who offer strong backhands, serves and agility on the court, which would make Djokovic, Nadal and Murray shudder. This is always the case with the women’s tournament but the men’s tournament, more than before, is likely to keep you on the edge of your seat.
Football – The World Cup
However, stay in that chair after your afternoon of tennis because – just in case you weren’t already aware – the World Cup is on.
The greatest footballing stage is set in Brazil for one of 32 teams to lift the iconic trophy. Many people have hinted at a Brazil win, but for me the favourites are the Netherlands and Germany. Whilst Argentina offer creative flair, these European forts will, and are currently using defensive strength to break out with creative and direct attacks. Of course, we have been able to very briefly cheer on our Three Lions who have had the weight of expectation lifted off them for this tournament. This should be an enjoyable and relaxing experience… said no one ever. Stay on the edge of your seat- 135 goals in 48 games so far? This will be tight!
Rowing – Henley Royal Regatta
As we saunter into July, there is an opportunity to get your dresses and jackets out as Henley Royal Regatta takes place from 2nd to 6th July. This is the largest club rowing competition in the world as schoolboys and international crews are brought together to race on the famous course. It is a unique race as spectators stand along the whole course whilst the rowers go head-to-head, meaning there are no second chances; if you lose, that’s it. Nihil Secundus. Crews spend the whole season working up to this one race, meaning the intensity and quality of the racing is very high. There is always guaranteed to be a good race on a very sophisticated day out.
Formula 1 – Silverstone Grand Prix
Onto the tarmac now, as the Formula One calendar reaches Silverstone on 6th July. This year is very special because Lewis Hamilton is the odds-on favourite to win on his home turf. Since the introduction of the smaller engines and lower noses this year, Red Bull Renault have been off the pace with Mercedes leading the way, frequently gaining first and second place in both qualifying and on race day with the very successful, very competitive Hamilton and Rosberg. Because of this success, a tasty rivalry between the two team-mates has developed. Rosberg tops the table with 165 points whilst Hamilton has 136, with the nearest contender being Red Bull’s newbie Daniel Ricciardo with 83 points. Clearly Mercedes have prepared better than anyone thus far, so this is a unique opportunity for Rosberg and Hamilton – so long as they maintain a working relationship. Conditions in Britain make Silverstone a relatively easy course to manage. It’s all about speed and power, therefore there could be a couple of surprises thrown up in this intense rivalry.
Cycling – Tour De France
On 5th July, the gruelling Tour de France begins in Leeds and ends on the Champs-Elysees on 27th July. Last year, Chris Froome won the race in style as Team Sky were coveted in cycling glory. This year, there are doubts as to whether Bradley Wiggins, four-time Olympic gold medallist, will be participating having been injured in the Tour of Switzerland. There are always high viewing figures for the Tour de France; personally, I put this down to spectators finding the sport relatively easy to follow as the jerseys are contended through stages. With the opportunity to see the vast majority of France along the way, the Tour may even inspire some to get on the spinner themselves! Either way, the Tour de France offers something for everyone over the summer.
Having reminisced over an excellent World Cup, Wimbledon and Tour de France, you may think that’s it now- but no, August throws up even more sporting excitement. This transition is made easier with the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow from 23rd July to 3rd August. Presented across the BBC, prepare the red button for a huge variety of different sports on show. From long-distance running to floor gymnastics, Great Britain will be represented in all events. Heroes of 2012 such as Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford will be displaying their talents again. Don’t put those England flags away too soon after the World Cup group stages, you’ll need them later!
Football – English Premier League
We get to 16th August: Lo and behold, the Match of the Day theme tune will ring loud and clear as the Premier League starts again. Yet again, the title race already seems wide open. City are likely to add to their options and Chelsea have already started improvements. Liverpool will hope to keep Suarez but will now suffer from his four month ban implemented after the Uruguay game with Italy where Suarez bit Chiellini; Following this it is expected that Suarez will indeed be absent for the first nine games of the English Premier League. Then, Van Gaal, one of the most decorated managers in the footballing world currently, is set to grace the Premier League. You only need to look at the first few fixtures to get excited: Liverpool v. Southampton, Everton v. Arsenal, and City v. Liverpool all stand out. The heat is on straightaway. As new technology is advancing the game further, you can be guaranteed that this season will be as dramatic as the last.
Tennis – US Open
Finally, as we start making preparations to come back to university, we can enjoy the third major tennis tournament of the year: the US Open. Running from 25th August to 8th September, the talents of the tennis world will be on show yet again on ‘Deco-Turf’ tarmac. Rafael Nadal currently holds of the title after beating Novak Djokovic in a four-set thriller last September. In a similar way to Wimbledon, there’s a huge variety of players in the standings at the moment and it is much the same story with the womens’ competition. It is well worth following the tournament online; as we’ve seen from the French Open, no-one is safe on the tennis court.
There we have it. Whether you are glued to the screen or you have the tickets to take you across the sporting world, there is no lack of entertainment this summer. Of course, there are also the England Tests, a variety of rugby league games, Mayweather’s next fight in September, as well as the World Youth Games in China. So much is going on, and that’s part of the fun; you scroll through the channels in your typical summer slumber of procrastination, find a sport and suddenly get glued to it. Sport can, and will, offer an entertainment, escape and encapsulation this summer.