Britain’s grass-court season is in full swing, and we’re counting down the days until Wimbledon commences.
Novak Djokovic will be looking to defend his men’s title, while we’re guaranteed a new champion in the women’s draw, with last year’s winner Ashleigh Barty retiring earlier this year.
Losing to rival Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals of this year’s French Open will have been a tough result for Djokovic to take, especially with the Spaniard not at 100 percent owing to a chronic foot injury.
Therefore, the Serbian will be eager to show a response here, and will be aiming for his seventh title at SW19.
This is the first time since 2018, that Djokovic has entered Wimbledon without winning either the Australian Open or French Open title. That year didn’t end too badly for him though, as he went on to win Wimbledon and the US Open.
The Italian has recently retained his Queen’s Club title to signal his intent at Wimbledon.
He reached the final last year, losing in four sets to Djokovic. He’ll be eager to go one better this year, and titles in Stuttgart and Queen’s will boost his confidence arriving at SW19.
With his victory at Queen’s, the 26-year-old is now 20-1 on grass since the start of last season and he is 32-3 (91%) on grass since 2019, making him a real threat at this year’s championships.
There are still question marks surrounding Nadal’s fitness as the Spaniard admitted he was battling a foot problem amidst his French Open triumph earlier this month.
“I don’t know what will happen in the future, but I’ll keep fighting to keep on going,” was what he said after his victory over Casper Ruud in Paris, and with Nadal missing Wimbledon last year, he’ll be desperate to be at SW19 next week.
He’s a two-time Wimbledon champion, and it’s well-known that grass isn’t his best surface, but he’s certainly capable of going deep into this tournament. How far just depends on the problems his injuries cause him.
The 19-year-old has enjoyed a breakout season, winning four ATP titles, two Masters 1000s titles and reaching the last eight of the French Open.
He lost in the second round of Wimbledon last year to Daniil Medvedev, and although his experience on grass is limited, he’s certainly one to watch here.
Tsitsipas’ game is certainly more suited to clay, and his Wimbledon record doesn’t make for great reading – he’s lost in the first round three times, and made the fourth round once.
Nevertheless, the world number 6 has reached five major semi-finals and one final, beating the best players on the biggest stage. Therefore, it would be foolish to overlook him.
The unpredictable Australian has enjoyed a respectable grass season in the run-up to Wimbledon, reaching back-to-back semi-finals in Stuttgart and Halle.
He hasn’t progressed further than the quarter-finals in a major, and his last Wimbledon quarter-final was eight years ago, but he possess the weapons to cause an upset. It seems like he won’t be seeded, so it’ll be interesting to see where he falls in the draw.
Some British interest for you.
For old times’ sake – you never know, eh?
In all seriousness, it’s well documented that Murray isn’t the player he once was, but he recently reached the final in Stuttgart where he lost to Matteo Berrettini. However, on his way to the final, he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas and Nick Kyrigios, perhaps showing there’s some fight in the old dog yet.
Will he reach the final? Unlikely, but let’s hope he enjoys some big moments on Centre Court.
Iga Swiatek is quite rightly the favourite to be Women’s champion. She has won six titles this year, including four Masters 1000 titles and Roland Garros. Unbeaten in 35 matches across both the hard and clay surfaces, her last loss stretches back to February 2022.
However, she’s only ever made it to the fourth round at SW19. Surely, that should change this year…
Jabeur suffered a disappointing first round exit at Roland Garros, so she’ll be determined to put that right here.
She made the quarter-finals at Wimbledon last year, beating Swiatek in the fourth round. Consistency seems to be her biggest hinderance, but that looks to have improved this year, after rising to no.3 in the world as well as winning two titles. She’s certainly a threat to go deep into the tournament.
It was three years ago at Wimbledon where Gauff made her breakthrough as a 15-year-old beating Venus Williams in the first round. It has taken a few years for the American to find her feet, but she recently reached the Roland Garros final, losing to the aforementioned Swiatek.
The grass seems to suit her game, and if she can bring the tennis she was playing in Paris, then I think she has a great chance of reaching back-to-back major finals.
Two-time major winner, and 2019 Wimbledon champion, Simona Halep will be eager to win back the title here, after being able to defend her crown last year due to injury.
Not the greatest year so far in terms of results for Halep, but she’s been here and done it before, and knows what it takes to win on the biggest stage.
One last hurrah?
The 40-year-old, 23-time Grand Slam winner will be returning to the court for the first time since injuring herself at Wimbledon last year, after being granted a wild card entry to the tournament.
She still chases that elusive 24th Slam to equal Margaret Court’s record, and she made the final in 2018 and 2019.
At this point, I don’t think anyone knows what to expect from Serena, but she’ll be hoping to pull off a real Cinderella story and take the title again.
Raducanu wowed the SW19 crowds last year by reaching the fourth round.
The 19-year-old, who shot to superstardom after winning the US Open in 2021 as a qualifier, is battling to be fit for Wimbledon after retiring from the Nottingham Open with a side injury.
But if she plays to her capabilities, she’s certainly a threat on grass. Once again, it just depends how big a part injuries play.