It is that time of year for tennis fans as Wimbledon, the sports’ biggest and most prestigious tournament commences next Monday. The 2018 edition of the tournament is shaping up to be an interesting one, with several players among the favourites to lift the coveted Wimbledon trophy.
At the age of 36, 20-time grand slam champion Roger Federer is the clear favourite to hoist an astonishing ninth title on centre court. He has played in two warmup events prior to Wimbledon, winning in Stuggart but was unable to win in Halle for the tenth time, losing to the 21-year-old Borna Coric in the final. He was in better form heading into SW19 last year, not losing a single match on grass en route to the title. However, as Roger has proved many times before, he plays his best tennis at the All England Club.
It will not be easy for Federer, as one of his greatest rivals Novak Djokovic had an impressive showing at the recently concluded Fever Tree Championships at Queens, where he reached the final. The Serb appears to be slowly recapturing his best form after a torrid 2017, plagued by his loss of form and multiple injuries. The Australian maverick Nick Kyrgios is one to watch at Wimbledon. Kyrgios recently returned from injury and had impressive showings at Stuggart and Queens, reaching the semi-finals in both events. Grass is ideal for Kyrgios with his booming serve and ability to rally consistently from the baseline and attack the net. However, the question remains, does he have the mental fortitude to win a grand slam?
Most tournaments on the women’s circuit can be very open, this year’s Wimbledon looks no different. Despite being the world number one and current French Open champion, Simona Halep has not played her best tennis on grass, only progressing to the last four on one occasion. The quicker grass courts do not suit her style of play and it is difficult to see her beating Petra Kvitova, who saves her best tennis for this surface. She won the WTA Birmingham classic last week and her big serve and lefty forehand suit the grass, allowing her to create superb angles which drag her opponents out of position. However, she withdrew from Eastbourne this week due to injury, meaning her participation at Wimbledon may be in doubt. The great Serena Williams has hardly played since winning the Australian Open in 2017 and her sister Venus hasn’t recaptured her form from last year. Both are built for the bigger tournaments, which doesn’t get any bigger than Wimbledon.
Remarkably Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have split the last six grand slams between them. I believe that trend is set to continue, with Federer winning his ninth Wimbledon trophy. With the out of form Williams sisters lacking match practice, defending champion Garbine Muguruza’s inconsistent play and Halep not performing her best on grass, fitness permitting my prediction is Petra Kvitova winning the championship again.