Tokyo Olympics, Euro 2020, Wimbledon - July to be the blockbuster month for sports
Bring out the red marker pens and get ready to block your dates as the sports calendar is teeming with tournaments bound to keep your sports cravings fully satisfied.
Remember the time in the not-so-distant past when you were sitting aimlessly in front of the television - flipping through the sports channels, in the desperate hope of catching something - anything being broadcasted 'live'?
Just as the COVID-19 pandemic tightened its noose around the world and staggered life as we knew it to an utter standstill - tournaments kept getting cancelled or postponed like a stack of dominoes. Although the grip hasn't loosened much, sports has made a resounding comeback with live tournaments being played again.
The days have rolled and we have arrived at 2021, albeit the situation is far from the 'normal' we were familiar with - but the sports fan has a busy roster ahead as July promises to be absolutely action-packed.
Bring out the red marker pens and begin crossing out the dates as the sports calendar is going to be chock-a-block in July - so stock up on your adrenaline and a lot of popcorn, as this is the best month of the year!
It is football o' clock - Euro Cup 2020 and Copa America
It is already a gala time for football fans as the Euro Cup and Copa America fever has taken over since the beginning of June. Both tournaments were scheduled to take place in 2020 originally but the pandemic forced it to happen later, thus keeping the fans waiting more impatiently.
The ongoing Euro Cup 2020 has seen a lot of thrillers take place already - in fact, most of the matches have been nail-biters and the pre-quarterfinals of the Euro Cup is enough evidence to testify that. In what will go down inevitably on the pages of football history, Spain and Croatia contested in an epic clash which ran into extra-time and saw Spain win 5-3.
In another match on the same night, underdogs Switzerland clashed with World Champions France in another mind-boggling affair that went on to the penalties and saw Switzerland emerging as the surprise winner.
As the Euro Cup 2020 has progressed to the knock-out stages, every match is very crucial now and the excitement in the camp is numbing. Come July 11, Europe will have a new champion crowned, clashing with the dates of the Wimbledon men's final as well.
Apart from the Euro Cup, there is also the Copa America taking place in full force in Brazil, simultaneously. With the quarter-final actions set to begin from July, all eyes will be on the heated encounters between Peru and Paraguay and Brazil and Chile. July 11th will once again be the all-important deciding day for the Copa America champions, as well. Phew!
The oldest Grand Slam tournament makes a return - Wimbledon Championships
Struggling to combat the spread of the virus, the Wimbledon Championships were cancelled in 2020. Unlike the French Open and the US Open which got rescheduled and postponed and played on later dates of 2020, the Wimbledon authorities decided to call off the oldest Grand Slam last year.
The only grass-court Grand Slam that is still played, the prestigious Wimbledon Championships made a thumping return in end-June, with fans attending the high-octane, dramatic matches. Along with the return of the Big W, the oldest Grand Slam tournament is also seeing Sir Andy Murray - a 2-time Wimbledon champion scripting his comeback as he played a gruelling five-setter against Oscar Otte to set up a third-round date with Canadian youngster, Denis Shapovalov.
Also featured in the comeback list is a certain King of Grass - Roger Federer, who has been an 8-time champion at the All England Club. The Swiss great was missing in action for the larger half of 2020 as he underwent a couple of surgeries on his knee. However, the 39-year-old champ is back to his favourite turf and is looking to claim a ninth title here.
There is also an ever-hungry Novak Djokovic, the defending champion, who is in top form after his French Open 2021 win and the Serb World No. 1 will look to equal with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on the Grand Slam tally.
All in all, Wimbledon, so far, has been pretty dramatic and the action is only supposed to get more intense as we go into the deeper stages of the tournament. Also concluding on the same weekend as the Euro Cup, the Wimbledon Championships will block your dates till the 11th of this month.
The most-awaited sporting extravaganza of the year - Tokyo Olympics 2020
Finally, last but not least - the much-awaited Tokyo Olympics will grandly open in the Japanese capital city on July 23. Spelling 2 weeks of non-stop sporting action as athletes from all over the world will flock to Tokyo aiming for Olympic glory, the sports fan's excitement is predicted to peak at this point.
With India sending in a 115-member strong contingent led by the likes of Vinesh Phogat, Neeraj Chopra, Manu Bhaker and Deepika Kumari - Indians are expected to stay glued to the sporting action as the country's Olympians will attempt to embark on a medal rampage.
The Olympics - which is the greatest, grandest stage of sports - will be the hunting ground of the Indian athletes looking to add on to the 28 medals the country has from the previous Games. With incredibly in-form players heading to Tokyo, it won't be a surprise if we see the Indian contingent contesting in quite a few medal matches!
All in all, July is going to be absolutely crazy and the back-to-back tournaments are bound to keep the sports fan in a tizzy – swinging in between channels, sighing over losses, jumping at wins - a whole potpourri of emotions are about to burst the dam and make July the most memorable and the best month of 2021, no questions asked