With this year marking the 125th anniversary of the Wimbledon Grand Slam, tennis is as competitive as ever and for the first time in many years there are multiple players who could win both the men’s and the women’s crown. With this in mind, it is time to have a look at this years contenders and who has the greatest chance of winning the coveted Wimbledon title to add to their résumés.
The Men’s Singles
The Favourite: Rafael Nadal 2/1
With Rafael Nadal sealing the French Open last month, the Spaniard is in the best shape he has been in all year. Many were saying that Nadal’s number one ranking was there to take for Djokovic, but Nadal answered his critics emphatically in Roland Garros. He didn’t have a great tournament at Queens but reaching the quarter finals did give him some much needed matchplay on grass close to the start of the championships. As defending champion, Nadal will have a lot of expectation on his shoulders and it remains to be seen if he can withstand the onslaught of some quality players over the two weeks.
Best of the Rest: Roger Federer 5/2, Novak Djokovic 11/4, Andy Murray 6/1
As the world number two, three and four, Djokovic, Federer and Murray will be the closest to challenging for the Wimbledon title and I believe experience will prove the key. Djokovic has had a remarkable year, winning the Australian Open and closing in on the number one world ranking he craves. Federer looked back to his sublime best in making the French Open final, and Murray has reached the Australian Open final and won Queens on grass. In my opinion, Federer has the confidence to go on and win his seventh Wimbledon title and Murray will be the other contender with the British crowd solidly behind the Scotsman. Djokovic has yet to play a match on grass and I feel if the draw is unkind the Serb could find himself on the receiving end of a shock defeat.
The Outsiders: Andy Roddick 33/1, Richard Gasquet 66/1
Andy Roddick is always a handful on grass, and despite being heavily beaten by Murray on the surface recently on his day he can beat any player on the tour if his serve is reliable. As for Gasquet, the Frenchman always seems to slip beneath the radar at Wimbledon where his results have been good, reaching the semi-finals in 2007. He has had a good year so far and is rising up the rankings.
My Tip: Roger Federer
The Ladies’ Singles
The Favourite: Maria Sharapova 7/2
The 2004 Wimbledon champion comes into the championships in the best form she has been in for some time. Sharapova had the most successful clay court season of her career losing just twice and reaching a French Open semi-final, losing to champion Na Li. Sharapova has raised her ranking to number six in the world which could mean she receives a favourable draw. 2011 could be the year we see Maria Sharapova back to her very best on the luscious lawns of Wimbledon.
Best of the Rest: Serena Williams 4/1, Venus Williams 8/1
The Williams sisters are always major contenders for the Wimbledon crown winning the title in nine of the previous eleven years. However, they have never gone into the grass court season with so little tennis behind them. Serena’s problems have been well documented, while Venus has had a troublesome year because of a hip injury. Both of their rankings have dropped to 255 and 29 respectively, which could be the biggest hurdle in their quest for glory as they will receive tougher draws than in previous years.
The Outsiders: Jelena Jankovic 40/1, Ana Ivanovic 50/1
Jelena Jankovic has tasted grand slam success at Wimbledon before, albeit in the mixed doubles and has a very good game for the grass surface. Jankovic finds herself outside of the top ten for the first time since early 2007 and has plenty of motivation to succeed at the championships. Fellow Serb, Ana Ivanovic also stands a good chance on the grass if she can turn her fortunes around following a lacklustre 2011 campaign thus far.
My Tip: Maria Sharapova
Wimbledon takes place between Monday 20th June and Sunday 3rd July 2011. With the hopes of Britain resting on Andy Murray once again, and the tournament as competitive as ever it promises to be an excitement filled two weeks as Britain is temporarily overcome by a fortnight of tennis. With so many subplots to this year’s tournament it is going to be fascinating to see who comes out victorious.