I forgot to add that I would prefer it if the winner were Mauresmo, Petrova, Dementieva, Vaidisova, or Kuznetsova. I would not be upset if any of the other players in my sig won, but I would prefer the ones named above.
With Lindsay and Serena out, I vote YES. Part of the reason Clijsters, Henin, Mauresmo etc. haven't gone further than they have is because of the aforementioned two. The other reason is Venus. She's formidable. She should be very intimidating to anyone on the grass. Maria on the other hand despite being the clear favorite by sportsbooks has a lot of question marks. First of all is she healthy. She claimed the ankle was fine but who knows. Second, her matchplay has included no wins over impressive competition. I think too much stock is places on these 2nd rate tourneys right before the tournament to establish form but she did lose on her surface last week to an unranked player. They might as well be exhibitions for the top 5 players or at least one's with major experieince going into later rounds of Grand Slams.
Also Venus and Sharapova have a tough seeding make it a tougher road for the 2 favorites. As a 4 seed she might even face Hingis in the 4th round. Venus too could have a tough road if she has to face Vaidisova in the 4th round. The one thing that noone points out and yes I know grass is Maria's surface, but Maria is 1-9 against the top 3 players in this tournament. Venus might intimidate EVERYONE on grass, but I don't think Sharapova has that psychological effect against any of the top players save for that nut job Petrova who might face Sharapova in the quarters.
Regardless I think Venus is going to be harder to beat, but if you give me Henin, Clijsters, Kuznetsova, Mauresomo - all with winning records against Sharapova along with other tough outs like Petrova, Dementieva, Vaidisova and Hanutchova, give me the rest of the field I will take my chances. This is not a Nadal situation or even a Henin situation where one person dominates so completely the surface. A healthy and determined Venus would be close, but is she as determined to win the tournament than last year? She had a lot to prove last year and did it. Not sure there will be same sense of motivation this year.