Iga Swiatek simply gained the French Open title, however has admitted she’s so much much less comfy on grass. Can she win her first Wimbledon title? Or will Aryna Sabalenka or defending champ Elena Rybakina take the crown?
Our specialists try and reply these questions and make their predictions as Wimbledon begins on Monday.
Who do you suppose is able to beating Djokovic at Wimbledon?
James Blake: No one. If he’s wholesome, I do not see anybody stopping him.
Cliff Drysdale: Djokovic might lose by the hands of Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner or Nick Kyrgios. It is unlikely although, as a result of Wimbledon injects its a number of winners with mysterious powers which can be onerous to beat — confidence being the principle ingredient. Assume Rod Laver, Boris Becker, Pete Sampras, Bjorn Borg and Roger Federer.
Mary Joe Fernandez: I believe it can take an entire participant who strikes nicely on grass and has some weapons. Djokovic is the heavy favourite. Gamers like Alcaraz, Sinner, Frances Tiafoe and Seb Korda are the varieties of participant that may give him bother.
Pam Shriver: Djokovic may be defeated by anyone who has an infinite day along with his serve, and who’s capable of hit sufficiently big to take all of the rhythm away. Plus they want the assumption they’ll have a historic victory.
Alexandra Stevenson: The one individual able to beating Djokovic is Djokovic. If he performs his greatest tennis at Wimbledon — he’s Wimbledon champion.
Invoice Connelly: It is actually tough to search out upset candidates, is not it? Potential fourth-round opponent Hubert Hurkacz did make the semis in 2021, and Djokovic has solely performed him as soon as, so there may very well be a component of shock there. One other potential fourth-rounder, Lorenzo Musetti, beat him in Monte Carlo within the spring. If he can stand on two legs, Kyrgios might loom within the quarters. However, on this floor, in this match, it is actually tough to speak your self into anybody in addition to the more and more adaptable Alcaraz really having a shot. And Alcaraz has to get to the finals first.
Tom Hamilton: The dream: We get to see a Djokovic-Alcaraz ultimate. Watching Alcaraz at Queen’s was fascinating — you possibly can see him getting accustomed to grass the extra he performed, rising in confidence on a regular basis. He is obtained the very best shot of halting the Djokovic runaway prepare at Wimbledon, however as Alcaraz mentioned himself, on the subject of Wimbledon, Djokovic’s file is unbelievable. Djokovic has 86 wins on the championship, which is greater than the remainder of the highest 20 put collectively.
D’Arcy Maine: Nobody. Not this match, not this yr, not with a lot on the road. Djokovic is a person on a mission and the very best participant on grass in the intervening time. It appears onerous to suppose anybody would be capable to problem him in a best-of-five on this floor. There will probably be some opponents who might check him alongside the best way — together with potential showdowns with Hurkacz and Kyrgios or No. 7 seed Andrey Rublev within the quarterfinals — however in the end that is his title to win.
Alyssa Roenigk: I am with Tom. Though Alcaraz has a tricky path to the ultimate, the fan in me needs to look at 5 hours of oh-my-gosh-did-you-see-that Alcaraz-Djokovic acrobatics within the ultimate. On this dream sequence, they’re each at peak bodily situation the complete match — which, after all, goes the space. Alcaraz has confirmed his mettle in five-setters, however Djoker wins his twenty fourth main and eighth title at SW19. Alcaraz continues to be discovering his footing on grass — albeit shortly — whereas Djokovic is unmatched amongst present gamers on the floor. He is the one males’s champion since 2017.
If Djokovic wins the title, is he the very best tennis participant in historical past?
Blake: Sure. The one doable comparability at this level could be Serena Williams, and I believe Djokovic’s resume is the very best, whereas within the era with two different all-time greats.
Drysdale: By nearly any definition, Djokovic is already the GOAT. The query might have been determined between the Massive Three, however let the video games start, as a result of the subsequent Massive Three are already lurking. So “all-time” might not final previous the subsequent era, with Alcaraz, Rune and Sinner arising.
Fernandez: He would solidify his place as the very best much more. If he wins the calendar Grand Slam then he actually will set himself above his rivals and alongside Laver.
Shriver: If Djokovic wins his eighth Wimbledon, tying Federer, and going two previous Rafael Nadal‘s 22 majors … given what number of weeks he is been at No. 1, how will you not say he is the very best of all time?
Stevenson: No. Not but. Historical past has an enormous expanse of gamers — a lot of whom deserve discover for greatness.
Connelly: He already is. We will give you totally different solutions if we’re speaking about who probably the most aesthetically pleasing participant was, or probably the most influential, or probably the most beloved. But when we’re speaking about the very best, he is already gained the crown. He got here up in an period when Federer and Nadal have been of their respective primes, he missed out on a couple of early-career Slam titles due to it, and he is nonetheless going to finish up with probably the most.
Hamilton: Not often has there been a championship the place there’s such a transparent favourite for the boys’s singles title. So count on Djokovic to win this Wimbledon, securing Grand Slam quantity 24 within the course of. He is nonetheless obtained loads of Slams left in him, so on numbers alone, he’ll set up himself as the best participant in historical past. The GOAT debate is subjective — it comes right down to expertise, fandom and choice. However Djokovic’s file will stand the check of time.
Maine: Numbers do not lie, proper? Whereas I believe an argument needs to be made in assist of Serena Williams right here for the very best ever — and the being pregnant and childbirth issue should be considered — Djokovic actually needs to be thought-about the very best males’s tennis participant of all time. His general legacy is advanced, and he nonetheless does not have the identical stage of admiration and recognition as others, however solely when it comes to on-the-court success, he’s the GOAT.
Roenigk: You did not ask if he is the very best males’s participant, so I am answering the query because it was requested. By the numbers, completely. And he is nonetheless racking up wins. That mentioned, the GOAT debate is guided by emotion, intangibles and private choice. Ask me once more when he is at 29 Slams. However at No. 24, Serena nonetheless has the sting. She gained by way of a number of eras of greats, at ages 17 and 35, influenced the best way the sport is performed and gained a significant whereas 5 months pregnant. Till somebody matches these stats, she stays the GOAT in my ebook.
Which males’s participant outdoors of the highest 10 might shock?
Blake: Kyrgios can at all times shock. In good and unhealthy methods.
Drysdale: Kyrgios might make one other mark this yr. However his likelihood is as unpredictable as his sport. Which is what makes him mesmerizing.
Fernandez: Andy Murray has been enjoying nicely this season. He simply gained two challenger occasions on grass. That is what he has been working for. He has the expertise and is likely one of the greatest grass-court gamers within the draw. Alexander Zverev is one other harmful floater who’s regaining his confidence.
Shriver: Alexander Bublik may very well be the darkish horse on the boys’s aspect at Wimbledon. Bublik just isn’t in contrast to Kyrgios, as each love grass courts. He has a unusual temperament, however he has had some success this yr already on a grass courtroom. Bublik might have watched Kyrgios final yr and thought, why not me?
Stevenson: Ben Shelton. Why not? Lefty unfastened arm. If he can discover his footing, and along with his Dad Bryan on the crew, younger Ben might make a run. He at all times provides us a popcorn match with that participating smile.
Connelly: Two unseeded latest finalists (Matteo Berrettini and Kyrgios) could be attention-grabbing choices in the event that they have been anyplace near wholesome and prepared. A Murray run could be unbelievable, however it’s a must to fear about upside there. However what about Korda and Cameron Norrie? Korda has bulked up a bit and appeared implausible at Queen’s Membership (and beat Norrie) earlier than he bumped into Alcaraz, and Norrie’s actually good at simply hanging round. He is obtained a Wimbledon semifinal and Indian Wells title to his title. There’s upside there.
Hamilton: Korda is constructing properly. He reached the semifinal of Queen’s, however he is enjoying with an enormous quantity of confidence and is effervescent away. Additionally count on Hurkacz to do nicely, whereas Alex de Minaur was poised to do nicely however is in a brutal draw. Kyrgios’ likelihood is depending on his health, having solely performed as soon as since November, but when anybody can shock, it is him.
Maine: Bublik gained the most important title of his profession at Halle simply weeks in the past and enters Wimbledon because the No. 23 seed. Throughout his title run, he defeated 4 top-10 seeds, together with Andrey Rublev within the ultimate. He might probably face Felix Auger-Aliassime within the third spherical however, as Auger-Aliassime has struggled these days and has but to play on grass this yr, that feels winnable and a visit to the second week might actually be within the playing cards for Bublik.
Roenigk: The U.S. has two males seeded within the prime 10 for the primary time in additional than a decade — Taylor Fritz and Tiafoe — and each have a shot to play deep into the fortnight. Tiafoe broke into the ATP prime 10 after successful his first grass title at Stuttgart in June. Outdoors of the highest 10, Individuals Tommy Paul (No. 16) and Korda (No. 22) might outshine their compatriots. Paul reached the fourth spherical at Wimbledon final yr, and Korda made the semifinal at Queens final month, the place he misplaced to Alcaraz.
Who will win the ladies’s singles title and why?
Blake: Sabalenka. She has newfound confidence this yr, and it is her probability to get to world No. 1.
Drysdale: Swiatek to win. She has an all-time nice floor sport.
Fernandez: The ladies’s draw is extra extensive open. Swiatek is the one to beat, however has by no means been previous the fourth spherical. If she will get comfy together with her motion she turns into an enormous risk. Petra Kvitova is enjoying a few of her greatest tennis this yr. A two-time Wimbledon champion, Kvitova has the expertise and now confidence to win once more — she simply gained a warm-up occasion on grass.
Shriver: The ladies’s championship is extra up for grabs this yr than in a few years. It is a yr after Rybakina beat Jabeur in an unlikely ultimate, and now much more gamers are within the combine. The spectacular grass-court play of Swiatek this week in Germany tells us all that Swiatek is able to contend for her first Wimbledon title as nicely.
Stevenson: The ladies’s aspect is extensive open. Having mentioned that, I really feel Kvitova is an outdoor alternative — due to her left arm and first strike of ball — and she or he might be able to make a run to Wimbledon Champion once more.
Connelly: I really feel like I at all times discuss myself into Kvitova having a shot, particularly at Wimbledon, and it has been some time since she made any type of deep Slam run. But when not now, then when? She gained at Miami, and she or he swept by way of Karolina Pliskova, Caroline Garcia and Donna Vekic to win Berlin with out dropping a set per week in the past. And if she does not survive a fully brutal quarter of the draw, then it is most likely Sabalenka’s match to lose.
Hamilton: It is Sabalenka’s time. With Rybakina struggling for match motion, and Swiatek nonetheless fine-tuning her sport on grass, Sabalenka is poised to win her second Slam. She’s enjoying with an enormous quantity of confidence and did nicely to achieve the semifinals of Roland Garros, but when she manages to translate her onerous courtroom kind to the grass courts, then she’ll be favourite for the title. Ons Jabeur will push her shut although.
Maine: If Rybakina have been totally wholesome she could be my choose, however as she continues to wrestle with the lingering signs of a virus, it appears unlikely she is going to be capable to repeat. Till Friday, I used to be all in on Swiatek to win her first Wimbledon title, however then she withdrew forward of her Unhealthy Homburg semifinal match with meals poisoning. So now this feels a bit extra like a crapshoot. If Swiatek makes a full restoration forward of her first-round match on Monday, I nonetheless suppose she is perhaps the favourite, but when not, this may very well be the proper alternative for Kvitova to take dwelling her third title on the All England Membership. Having earned the trophy at Berlin in June, she has expertise and momentum on her aspect.
Roenigk: Wimbledon has produced a first-time girls’s champ yearly since Serena Williams final hoisted the Rosewater Dish in 2016. This yr’s draw seems to be poised to proceed that pattern. Grass is not Swiatek’s floor and Rybakina is not 100% wholesome, so this may very well be the yr for Sabalenka, who’s chasing Swiatek’s No. 1 rating, or sixth-seeded Jabeur. If Jabeur makes it out of her stacked quarter, that momentum might take her all the best way to a second-straight Wimbledon ultimate and her first Grand Slam win.
Which girls’s participant outdoors of the highest 10 might shock?
Blake: Jelena Ostapenko. You by no means know together with her.
Drysdale: Ostapenko seems to be to be priming on the proper time.
Fernandez: Donna Vekic has had an awesome season. She has a sneaky good serve and massive forehand, which might do injury on the grass. She simply obtained to a ultimate of a lead-up match on grass, beating Rybakina alongside the best way. Ostapenko is one other harmful participant who has performed nicely on the grass the final couple weeks, successful a match. She’s been to a semi at Wimbledon earlier than.
Shriver: Full disclosure: Since final October, I have been part of Vekic’s teaching crew. Vekic loves grasscourts. She has an enormous energy sport, due to this fact if anyone can contend to win Wimbledon from outdoors the highest 10 on the ladies’s aspect, it is No. 20 on the earth, Donna Vekic.
Stevenson: Let’s throw in a Brit. British No. 1 Katie Boulter gained Nottingham, which isn’t a straightforward grass occasion to win. She has a flat hit. She’s tall. She has a great serve. Once more, why not?
Connelly: It is Penko time! She’s at all times only a hair too inconsistent to belief, however regardless of her 2017 French Open title, Ostapenko has gained extra matches at Wimbledon than at every other Slam. Her brawling ways translate superbly on grass — she’s 23-6 on the floor since 2021 — and she or he by no means lacks confidence. She’s able to beating anybody within the discipline, even when successful seven matches in a row will at all times be a problem.
Hamilton: Ostapenko is in effective kind on grass and has an actual probability of successful the championships. She triumphed in Birmingham and is on a powerful run. Additionally regulate Vekic.
Maine: Ekaterina Alexandrova, the No. 21 seed, gained her second Libema Open title to open the grass season after which reached the semifinals in Berlin the next week. Whereas she has by no means superior previous the second spherical at Wimbledon, and was barred from enjoying final yr, she enters the match with as a lot momentum as nearly anybody on the floor. And Madison Keys, the No. 25 seed, is one other who’s greater than able to a deep run into the second week. A former quarterfinalist, she was spectacular in her Eastbourne title run final week.
Roenigk: There’s a lot potential for shock on the ladies’s aspect. Czech participant Karoline Muchova, the No. 16 seed, faces Sabalenka within the fourth spherical. This can be a matchup price watching. Muchova beat Sabalenka within the semis on the French after which took Swiatek to a few units within the ultimate. At Wimbledon, she has a 73 % win file and has twice made the quarters. Her large serve and internet play are nicely fitted to grass, however she’s a little bit of a query mark, since she hasn’t performed a match since Roland Garros.