Why Wimbledon is shaping up to be fierce this year
The Wimbledon Championships is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the tennis calendar, one of the four Grand Slams and a key event in the British summer. Hundreds of the world’s top players descend on London to compete in a variety of different categories.
There are, of course, the men’s and women’s singles tournaments, as well as their respective doubles competitions. There is also a mixed doubles competition. There are wheelchair equivalents for all four of these tournaments, as well as boys’ and girls’ competitions in both singles and doubles.
The DraftKings sportsbook suggests there are two clear favourites in the men’s singles tournament this year – Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, though the Serbian is the clear frontrunner to lift the Wimbledon trophy.
The 33-year-old was ranked World No. 1 by the end of the ATP Tour last year, making it a record-equalling six times the Serbian has proven himself the best in the world. In 2020, he won four titles including a record eighth Australian Open crown.
Djokovic, along with Nadal and Roger Federer, is one of tennis’ “big three” and has dominated the men’s side of the sport with those two over the past 15 years.
He has been the World No. 1 for a record 318 weeks, picking up a staggering 18 Grand Slam titles in that time. In total, he has 82 ATP singles titles. He has separated himself from his peers in several ways; he is the only player to win all of the “Big Titles” on the ATP Tour (all four Grand Slam tournaments, all nine ATP Masters events, and the ATP Finals) and remains the only player to complete the career Golden Masters – which he has done twice.
In his current form, it’s no surprise he’s the favourite to win Wimbledon, but Nadal is expected to give him a run for his money.
The Spaniard has been named best in the world at the end of a year five times in total and holds 20 Grand Slam singles titles to his name – an all-time record he shares with Federer.
Widely considered the greatest player ever on clay, Nadal has 13 French Open titles; a record at any tournament. His latest title at Roland Garros came last year. Along with Andre Agassi, he is one of only two male players to complete the Career Golden Slam – winning all four Grand Slam tournaments and an Olympic gold medal.
His professional rivalry with Djokovic is unprecedented, with the pair having faced each other 56 times – the most in men’s history. Nine of those times were in major finals.
However, Wimbledon is set to be fiercely competitive this year, with numerous up-and-comers producing the kind of form to have Djokovic and Nadal looking over their shoulders. Federer, of course, is still very much in the mix but Russia’s Daniil Medvedev is given more of a chance at the title.
Ranked third in the world, Medvedev had an excellent 2020, notching wins over both Djokovic and Nadal in major competitions. Alongside him is Stefanos Tsitsipas, an exciting talent who is fast improving and has already proven himself on the biggest stage, reaching the semi-final of a grand slam three times already in his fledgling career.
However, it’s the women’s singles tournament that is proving very difficult to call. World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty is, understandably, favorite to win however her odds are largely the same as Naomi Osaka.
Australia’s Barty hasn’t made it past the fourth round at Wimbledon, but does hold a French Open title to her name, which she picked up in 2019. That being said, she did win the girls’ singles title at Wimbledon in 2011. She was not as active last year as she would have liked to have been due to travel restrictions, though still managed to be named the best in the world for a second year in a row.
Japan’s Osaka is hot on her heels though. A four-time singles Grand Slam champion, the 23-year-old is the reigning champion at the US Open and Australian Open, though she has never won Wimbledon.
Osaka burst onto the scene in 2018 when she defeated Serena Williams in the final of the US Open, becoming Japan’s first ever Grand Slam singles champion. Since then, she has won a Grand Slam title every year, including her Australian Open triumph earlier in 2021.
Simona Halep is the reigning Wimbledon champion, having prevailed in 2019 (the competition was cancelled last year), though she finds herself as one of the outsiders in the betting odds.
At 39, Williams is still a legitimate contender for this year’s Wimbledon title. Widely regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time, the American has a staggering 23 Grand Slam titles to her name, seven of which came at Wimbledon.
This year’s competition looks set to be a fascinating one, with established all-time greats battling with younger stars looking to make their mark on the sport. In the men’s singles tournament, Djokovic and Nadal will be hard to topple but the talent elsewhere in the field will put them to the test. The women’s competition is wide open and will surely make for an exciting watch.
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