The constant battle of rain and sunshine over grass courts means the glory of Wimbledon is nearly upon us. Running at the historical English courts from 2 to 15 July, it’s time to reflect on the performances of the tennis greats at the recent Roland-Garros and predict who is most likely to take the prestigious title – and a whopping £2.25m prize money – at Wimbledon 2018.
1. Rafael Nadal
Well, the ‘King of Clay’ has done it again. Nadal celebrated his 11th French Open title after dominating Dominic Thiem, despite an injury scare very near the end. This pushes the 32-year-old Spaniard’s Grand Slam titles to 17, just three behind his rival, Roger Federer, someone he will have to contend with on the grass courts. However, he still has to confirm whether he will, in fact, play or whether he’ll follow Federer’s suit and let his body rest.
2. Roger Federer
After missing the French Open for a second consecutive year in order to be at his best for Wimbledon, Federer will be bringing his undeniable talent to this year’s event, looking to take his ninth Wimbledon title. Nadal is, no doubt, the one to beat but he’s coming off a grueling tournament in Paris and will be taking on a fresh Federer on the Swiss dynamo’s turf. Despite turning 37 this year, Federer is still the favourite to win at SW19.
3. Andy Murray
Having taken the Wimbledon title in 2013 and 2016, the 31-year-old Scotsman is always a contender. However, he is returning to the circuit following a shoulder surgery earlier this year so whether he makes the cut is still to be determined. His last competitive match was his quarter-final loss to Sam Querry at last year’s Wimbledon but he will be announcing soon whether he’s fit enough to play the grass courts this year.
4. Novak Djokovic
Frustrated mutterings after this year’s disappointing Roland-Garros performance indicate that the Serbian might be giving this year’s Wimbledon a miss, but this has yet to be confirmed. The former World No.1 has suffered some injury-related setbacks but still comes with an impressive record of 12 Grand Slam titles – three of them at Wimbledon – with the last only two years previously at the French Open. There’s been sufficient time to bounce back from this lacklustre performance and grab the 13th Grand Slam title.
5. Alexander Zverev
The World No. 3 is currently the youngest player in the ATP top 20 and has shown his form, beating Novak Djokovic to take the 2017 Italian Open, thereby winning his first Masters 1000 title. He took his second Masters 1000 title after defeating Roger Federer at the Canada Masters the same year. He was recently outplayed in the quarterfinals of the French Open but beating two of tennis’ best players to take a big title shows this 21-year-old German star is an up-and-comer to watch.
Women’s Wimbledon Betting
1. Serena Williams
Nothing seems to stop the indomitable force that is American tennis star, Serena Williams. The birth of her first child saw the 36-year-old drop to 449th in the world rankings, although she is still being seeded for the Championships regardless of ranking. The seven-time Wimbledon champion has been working her way back to the top since giving birth in September 2017. She sadly pulled out of Roland Garros – due to injury – in the last 16, just hours before meeting Maria Sharapova.
2. Garbine Muguruza
The World No. 3 played valiantly in the recent Roland Garros, taking on the eventual finals’ winner, Simona Halep, in the semis. But it wasn’t to be for the Spaniard. She does boast an impressive career of six singles’ titles, including two majors, and she is Wimbledon’s current reigning champion. She lost out on her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon 2015 to Serena Williams, so whether she has what it takes to beat Williams again will be seen. Her powerful groundstrokes and aggressive game style do make her a tough competitor.
3. Karolina Pliskova
The World No. 6 player put on a regrettable performance in Paris, losing out to Maria Sharapova in the third round. A former World No. 1, the Czech has won 10 singles and five doubles titles on the WTA tour, with her first Grand Slam final at the 2016 US Open where she lost out to Angelique Kerber. She has a big serve, brutal groundstrokes and a fierce passion that can see her take the title – she just needs to get her head around taking on big names in high-profile tournaments.
4. Maria Sharapova
To consider there to be any real contest between Sharapova and Serena Williams is somewhat deluded. The much-discussed rivalry is based on a history of 21 matches, 19 of which Williams has won. The last time Sharapova beat Williams was back in 2004 at Wimbledon, but this doesn’t mean Sharapova should be written off. The 31-year-old Russian has a career Grand Slam and is unyielding on the court. The reason there is such a rivalry is the fact that she considers herself on the same level as Williams, and that sort of psychological strength deserves recognition.
5. Simona Halep
It’s an exciting time for the 26-year-old Romanian who finally has a Grand Slam title to call her own. Beating Muguruza in straight sets, Halep was ecstatic to take home the French Open title, particularly as two of her last three Grand Slam final losses were at Roland Garros. She has definitely matured as a player and broken through the brick wall that could well see her grasping her next Grand Slam title in July.
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