This year’s Wimbledon just got started. And it’s that time of the year where we tinker our own wish list and pick who’s going to march all the way to the top.
Novak Djokovic continues to hog the headlines after several years of ruling the top of the heap, as the Serbian tennis superstar is primed to claim his fourth consecutive title.
There are a couple of names that popped up in the women’s division, with world No.1 Iga Swiatek trying to follow up her French Open title quest early this year with yet another Grand Slam victory.
SLAM RECORD IN SIGHT FOR NOVAK
All eyes remain on Djokovic, who is eager to bounce back from his exit in the French Open by seeking his fourth-straight WImby title and close in on Rafael Nadal for the most Grand Slam men’s titles in history.
The 35-year-old Belgrade native, who remains unvaccinated against COVID-19, is determined to make a deep run at the All England Club, where he expects to cross paths with arch rival Nadal, who defeated him in the quarterfinals at Roland Garros a few weeks ago on his way to the title.
After winning the 2018 and 2019 Wimbledon titles, Djokovic hardly displayed any rust in his game by taking the title last year after the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the 2020 edition of the tournament.
SKY’S THE LIMIT FOR SWIATEK
Swiatek may not yet be a dominating force like Djokovic, but the 21-year-old Polish star is just getting started.
After claiming the 2020 French Open as the first player from Poland to win a Grand Slam, Swiatek also took home this year’s tropy in Roland Garros after a 6-1 6-3 victory over Coco Gauff made her one of the favorites to win Wimbledon this month.
The 5-foot-9 Warsaw native has her 35-match winning streak at stake, as she eyes back-to-back majors and a longer stronghold as world No1 following the shock retirement of Australian Ashleigh Barty in March.
IS NADAL STILL A FORCE ON GRASS?
Nobody’s going to question Nadal’s domination of clay after claiming yet another major at Roland Garros, but it remains to be seen if he can carry the same efficiency this time on grass to overwhelm Djokovic down the line.
Momentum may be on the side of Nadal after his latest French Open conquest, but breaking Djokovic’s game in his favorite grass surface this year remains a question mark.
The absence of Russian stars Daniil Madevedev and Alexander Zverev in England this year may have opened an opportunity for the likes of Matteo Berrettini, Carlos Alcaraz or Hubert Hurkacz to close in on a breakthrough major title.
But if Nadal gets past the first week at Wimbledon without much wear and tear and Djokovic rolls through as expected, we might see two familiar names yet again in the final.
HALEP, GAUFF, KVITOVA MAY STEAL THUNDER
Being the world No.1 and carrying another French Open trophy may have installed Swiatek as a no-brainer favorite to win in Wimbledon, but there’s no big gap of other names to emerge on top and stop the Polish star’s improbable run.
Former world No.1 Simona Halep remains a threat after winning the 2018 French Open and the 2019 Wimbledon Open, and the Romanian veteran still has the skills to return to the top.
Gauff can use the pain of her loss in the French Open final to Swiatek to get back at the Polish sensation and win her first major at the All England Club.
Petra Kvitova is another name popping up among the pre-tournament favorites and with good reason. The 32-year-old force from the Czech Republic is no stranger to Wimbledon glory after she won it all in 2011 and 2014, and a strong start may lead her to a return to glory in the majors.