Wimbledon Preview 2024

The short grass court season finishes up with Wimbledon, which starts tomorrow. Two big questions will be answered in two weeks’ time. Can Iga Swiatek win her first Wimbledon? Can Sinner and Alcaraz continue to dominate this years’ Slams?

Let’s start with the Ladies, which is a case of the walking wounded. Sabalenka, Rybakina and last years’ champion Vondrousova all pulled out of matches during recent grass tournaments but are expected to play at Wimbledon.

World number two, Coco Gauff has never made it beyond the 4th round and recent French Open Champion, Swiatek, who hasn’t played since winning in Paris has also never made it beyond the 4th round at Wimbledon.

All this makes the Ladies draw fascinating and somewhat up in the air. Swiatek could have an uncomfortable 1st round against the hot/cold Sofia Kenin, who is a former Australian Open champion. Beyond that, a potential 4th round looms against the erratic Jelena Ostapenko (13) which would be interesting, considering Swiatek is 0-4 against the Latvian but first, the Latvian has to navigate Aussie Ajla Tomljanovic in a blockbuster first round.

Elena Rybakina (4) is also in the top half and I’d say she is definitely on upset alert. The 25-year-old was error-ridden in her French Open loss to Jasmine Paolini and her lack of match play due to illness could also be a factor.

Down in the bottom half is Sabalenka (3), Gauff (2), the big serving Madison Keys (12), Azarenka (16) and Emma Raducanu, the former US Open Champion. The British player is on the comeback trail after injury and has been given a wildcard.

Emma Radacanu

She showed good form in Nottingham last week and has a first-round match against Ekaterina Alexandrova (22). If she wins that, the draw will open up and I see a path for a deep run into the second week. If that happens, the British tabloids will go berserk.

So, who wins it all? Well, with two semi final appearances already at Wimbledon, I think Sabalenka can take the next step. Providing, her shoulder injury is workable over two weeks of Grand Slam tennis. The Russian is in a soft part of the draw and if she makes the final weekend her opponents likely will be Gauff/Swiatek. That’s two winnable matches on the slick quick grass. I’m picking Sabalenka.

Now, to the men. Unbelievably, Novak is playing just weeks after having knee surgery. The Serbian has looked good in practice this week but whether that can translate to seven best of five set matches is in doubt. Coming in as the second seed his draw looks manageable until a 3rd rounder against the flat hitting Etcheverry (30). Beyond that, Holger Rune (15) could await in the 4th round and the big serving Hubie Hurkacz (7) in the Quarters.

My guess is Novak will power up the forehand and second serve, looking to end points quickly, thus protecting the knee.

The top half could see a barnburner of a semi with new world number one Jannik Sinner (1) against new French Open champion Carlos Alcaraz (2). Anything other than this would quite frankly be a disappointment. The five setter they played in Paris was a mini classic.

Matteo Berrenttini

There’s also a host of Aussies in the draw: Walton, O’Connell, Hijikata, Kokkinakis, Duckworth, De Minaur, Popyrin, Vukic, Thompson, Purcell and Bolt.

De Minaur (9) and Duckworth actually play each other first round and Max Purcell has shown good form coming in, making the final yesterday in Eastbourne.

Also, look for Andy Murray who is undoubtably playing his last Wimbledon. As of writing this he is still in the draw, despite having back surgery a week ago to remove a cyst near his spinal cord. The Scot practiced yesterday and I’d say if he pulls up ok, he will at least try to play his first round against the big hitting Czech Tomas Machac.

Ok, who wins the Gentlemen’s singles? The doubt surrounding Novak’s knee has to be a factor. If he was fully fit, I’d be tempted to pick him. Other than Sinner or Alcaraz, the only players I see even with a remote chance of getting to the final are Hurkacz (7), Zverev (4) or former finalist Matteo Berrettini, who actually could play Sinner in the 2nd round.

I’m leaning Sinner. The Italian showed good grass form in winning Halle last week and I think he’ll get revenge on Alcaraz from Paris. He wins that semi and he’ll beat whoever he plays in the final.

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