The biggest and most prestigious tournament on the tennis calendar gets underway on 27 June. In the UK, nothing says summer like Wimbledon, and tennis will be dominating the TV schedules as well as conversations across the land, for the first two weeks of July.
This year’s tournament has been dogged by controversy, and for the first time, there will be no ranking points available, a factor that could have serious repercussions for the sport’s biggest names.
Djokovic favourite for a successful defence
As far as the men’s tournament is concerned, the bookmakers can’t see past last year’s champion Novak Djokovic, and he is odds on to successfully defend his title and win Wimbledon for the seventh time. Yet if he does so, he will be harder hit than most by the lack of ranking points. Ordinarily, a successful defence would mean defending 2,000 points. As things stand, Djokovic seems destined to lose his number one world ranking, even if he wins a second successive Wimbledon title.
Ranking points aside, who can spoil the party for Djokovic? The likes of Carlos Alcarez and Matteo Berrettini will likely be around at the sharp end of the tournament and could spring a surprise, but all eyes will be on a potentially resurgent Rafael Nadal. The last of his five final appearances was in 2011, and the 36-year-old missed last year through injury. However, he is determined to play this year and for him, it’s all about the prestige of Wimbledon and adding another grand slam to his tally. Rule him out at your peril!
Big chance for Swiatek
This year’s ladies’ tournament is a tough one to call and this is where the online betting interest is expected to be focused. Current champion Ash Barty retired at the age of 25 after securing the trophy last year. Iga Swiatek is the top-ranked player in the ladies’ game right now and is a favourite with the bookmakers. However, she herself is the first to admit that she is not at her most comfortable on grass. She told ESPN her coach is confident she can win on grass but added “I don’t know about it yet.”
Swiatek is due a good Wimbledon, having yet to proceed beyond the fourth round, and there’s a general feeling that this could be her year. With six of the top 30 women’s seeds coming from Russia or Belarus, some of her most notable rivals are absent. However, others will see it as an opportunity that’s unlikely to come up again. For example, Coco Gauff will want to prove that her performance at Roland Garros was not a one-off.
Meanwhile, the always partisan Wimbledon crowds will have plenty of support for local teenagers and British Number One Emma Raducanu. Following her win at last year’s US Open, plenty will be eager to wager a pound or two on her, so grab the 16-1 odds while you still can!
Day One will see all the big names in action in their first-round games, one of the highlights being Djokovic’s opening encounter against young British pro-Jack Draper.