Author: Jonathan Turner
The current focus of the tennis world is transfixed on Paris for the French Open, but we are going to look ahead to the season’s third grand slam at Wimbledon. Here is a look at the leading contenders for the title.
Novak Djokovic – 13/8
Heading into the 2018 Wimbledon Championships, Novak Djokovic was starting to rediscover his form after an underwhelming first half of the season that saw the Serb struggle after elbow surgery. However, even after reaching the Queen’s final, few expected Djokovic to go on and win his 13th major.
However, the All England Club proved to be the venue of Djokovic’s remarkable revival and he has since returned to world No 1 and clinched the next two grand slam titles at the US Open and Australian Open.
Another curious dip followed his success in Melbourne, but the 32-year-old is back close to his best at the back end of the clay court swing, having won the Madrid Open.
Expect Djokovic to again peak at Wimbledon where he is the defending champion and four-time winner. The Serbian’s unrivalled return game means he can nullify the biggest servers on the fastest surfaces, while his impeccable defense and ground stoke variation make him arguably the toughest player to beat when on form.
His odds could shorten further should he win the French Open, so an early wager on Djokovic to win Wimbledon would be advised if you feel he is destined for the title.
Roger Federer – 10/3
Roger Federer may be at an advanced stage in his career, but the 37-year-old Swiss has still been installed as the second favorite to win Wimbledon this year.
The current odds are undoubtedly partially based on Federer’s record haul of eight Wimbledon titles and no player is better suited to success on grass. He has the strongest serve of the leading contenders and the best net game – vital tools to succeed at the All England Club.
While Federer stumbled at the quarter-final stage last year, he reached two finals and a semi-final in the three previous years. Whether his return to clay court tennis this year proves a hindrance – Federer opted to skip that section of the season the past two years to prepare for Wimbledon – will only be determined in the coming weeks.
But with 1/2 each way odds – ie to reach the final – Federer remains an attractive option to appear in the title match, even if he does not clinch title No 9.
Rafael Nadal – 11/2
The greatest clay court player in history is no slouch at Wimbledon, either. As always, Rafael Nadal has been installed as the clear favorite for the French Open, but he is also a two-time champion at Wimbledon.
The Spaniard reached last year’s semi-final – losing an epic battle to Djokovic – but his record since making the 2011 final was rather ordinary, going only as far as the fourth round.
Should, as expected, Nadal win, or at least reach the latter stages, of the French Open, his chances of winning Wimbledon are sure to decrease given the quick turnaround.
The world No 2’s perpetual injury issues and creaking body could also catch up with him by the time Wimbledon comes around. Remember, before the clay court swing Nadal missed weeks of the season with a knee injury.
While a player of Nadal’s class and experience can never be totally discounted, his chances of winning his third Wimbledon title appear remote.
After the leading three, there is a bit of a drop off in terms of the next players in line who could win Wimbledon this year, but here is a selection who might be worth considering each-way to reach the final, if you fancy betting tennis.
Marin Cilic – 11/1
The 2017 finalist, Marin Cilic has a game ready-made for the grass: a big serve, booming groundstrokes and great movement for a taller player. Talent and ability is never the problem for the Croatian, but dips in concentration and intensity have proved costly.
Juan Martin del Potro – 16/1
What could have been if debilitating wrist injuries hadn’t threatened to end his career. Juan Martin del Potro has had to remodel his game, but he remains a serious threat on any surface. His powerful serve and booming forehand can take him far at Wimbledon, but it will all depend on his fitness.
Milos Raonic – 16/1
Another former finalist, Milos Raonic owns arguably the best serve in tennis. He has worked tirelessly on improving the other parts of his game, including his net play, but injuries are becoming worryingly common. The Canadian has missed the French Open, so his hopes of contending at Wimbledon this year will hinge on his recovery.
Stefanos Tsitsipas – 20/1
Stefano Tsitsipas has emerged as the leading light of the next generation and his best effort at a grand slam was a fourth round at Wimbledon last year before he reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January. Possesses bags of talent and the weapons to excel on grass, but a title tilt might be a few years too early.
Nick Kyrgios – 25/1
Granted, backing Nick Kyrgios could well be regarded as a waste of time, but there is always the sense that if the controversial Australian applies himself, he could be a real threat at Wimbledon. He owns a 2-0 record against Djokovic and 3-3 with Nadal, so he knows how to topple the big guns when focused and firing. He will also be rested after skipping the French Open with illness. It is all down to Kyrgios to show up.