Image by Nick Webb
In men’s tennis, there are usually 3-4 contenders that battle for the Grand Slam trophies, and at first glance, I think the same is true about this year’s Wimbledon.
The ‘Big 4’ of Djokovic, Nadal, Murray and Federer have managed to win 32 out of the last 34 Grand Slam tournaments and although it wouldn’t shock us if one of them would once again emerge victorious, this time we might have a little bigger chance of witnessing an unusual outcome.
Murray has been battling with his fitness all year long, while Djokovic had to pull out of his usual exhibition tournament because his wrist problems have returned.
Nadal had back problems during the Australian Open and the Roland Garros finals, so ironically, it looks like that the only fully healthy player from the these is the soon-to-be 33-year-old Federer!
Still, it would be a mistake to write off Nadal, Djokovic and Murray, and there are other players who also feel they have a chance to make some noise on Wimbledon’s famous grass courts. Let’s take a more detailed look at the contenders and some dark horse players who plan to re-write the usual, often predictable script.
Novak Djokovic (21/10 at Sportingbet)
Djokovic could not only have completed his career Grand Slam after going down to Nadal in the final at Roland Garros, but he would have become the new ranking leader as well had he won that match.
Even though he lost that final, he has showed consistent form in the last couple years on the faster surfaces and even though his game is not necessarily tailor made for the grass courts, he already proved he can win the title.
Of course, that wrist injury will be of particular concern since it is a returning one and at 21/10 (Sportingbet), there’s not great odds on offer for him.
Rafael Nadal (11/2 at Bwin)
Nadal is a natural born winner, even when he’s not playing at his best, he’s extremely tough to beat and in the earlier stages of his career, he was a consistent contender at Wimbledon. That somewhat changed in the last couple of years, but if he can survive the first week when the grass is still in relatively good shape, he can beat anybody during the second week.
However, I do think he may not go the distance this time, and I think it’s between quarter-final (7/1) or semi-final (5/1) that Nadal will crash out.
Andy Murray (4/1 at Betfair)
Murray is the reigning champion but his form this season is somewhat questionable. Despite making the semi finals in Paris, he’s yet to play his best tennis. If he can manage to peak during Wimbledon, he’ll probably have the best chance of lifting the trophy once again.
Having recently split with his old coach Ivan Lendl and appointed Amelie Mauresmo as his new one, it will be interesting to see if he can go all the way. A second successive semi-final (7/4) beckons but there’s a Grigor Dimitrov in his way…can he overcome the Bulgarian?
Roger Federer (6/1 at Totesport)
The seven-time winner is definitely past his prime, but he’s still a dangerous contender and on this surface has an at least equal chance of winning against anybody who is not Rafa Nadal.
If Federer makes the semi finals and he has to face Nadal, the Spaniard will probably prevail once again. Roger can’t overcome the matchup problem at this point in his career. A potential quarter-final match against Stanislas Wawrinka will be a tough one to win but he should make the semi-finals in my opinion.
Stanislas Wawrinka (30/1 at Paddy Power)
Wawrinka is one of the dark horse contenders for the tournament, despite having a below 50% career record on grass, which is surprising because his game is actually perfect for the surface.
The Australian Open winner is battling with flu-like symptoms at the moment, but the latest news suggests that he can recover by Tuesday when he has to play his first match. If Stan reaches the second week, he can do some major damage to the big contenders.
Thomas Berdych (50/1 at Sky Bet)
The 2010 finalist said that Wawrinka’s victory over Nadal gave him a new belief, a belief that the usual suspects (Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, Federer) can be beaten.
Berdych has some major grass court experience and if his serve holds up, he can beat anybody on that surface.
Wait till the start of the tournament and check out Djokovic’s wrist problems. If he looks and sounds okay, I will be going for Djokovic to win the title (21/10 at Sportingbet)
Dimitrov to win second quarter of the men’s draw: 6/1 (Coral)