The 2014 Wimbledon Championships starts Monday 23rd June and shapes up to be one of the most exciting Grand Slam tournaments in recent memory.
While the Roland Garros was ultimately a two-horse race between world number one Rafael Nadal and number two, Novak Djokovic, the same cannot be said about tennis’ only grass court Grand Slam tournament.
The reigning champion is Andy Murray, who won the tournament last year ending a 77-year long streak without a British winner. Murray may be the slight favourite if he was 100% fit, but he’s still not in perfect shape after having back surgery.
This was apparent in Paris, where although he made the semi-finals, he was often in pain and struggled with his fitness. And yet, not so surprisingly, he enters this competition as second favourite, at 4/1 (Titan Bet) to defend his title. Sounds like a tough job to me.
Rafael Nadal, the French Open champion, could be another candidate having made 5 finals, winning 2 of them however the truth is, his grass form in the last two years is nothing to write home about. The Spaniard has had issues with his knees and that makes this surface not ideal for him as it demands the full range of motion.
If that’s not enough, he also developed back problems after the Australian Open final. Those problems came back during the French Open too, and Nadal said in his press conference that if Djokovic had won the 4th set of that final he would have been in a world of trouble.
With those back problems and Nadal’s questionable grass form in the last two years I will look past Rafa this time, even after his recent 14th Grand Slam victory, which puts him up with Pete Sampras.
He also crashed out from the recent ATP Halle, a competition played on grass, in his very first match after a shock defeat to Germany’s Dustin Brown. Nadal is available at 5/1 (Sporting Bet) to capture his second successive Grand Slam title of the year.
Djokovic who was the winner of the 2011 Championships is the clear 7/4 favourite, if only for the fact that he’s the only top player fully fit at the moment.
Even though he once again failed to capture the elusive Roland Garros title (last Grand Slam tournament he needs to complete his career Grand Slam set), Djokovic’s still probably the player that makes most sense if we are searching for the winner.
Despite the surely devastating loss he suffered only a couple of weeks ago, he proved many times that he usually has the edge against Nadal on faster surfaces. The Serbian, unlike Nadal and Murray at the moment, is in his physical prime, and although his game is not perfectly suited for the surface, he already proved he can win Wimbledon.
Roger Federer, the seven-time champion is one of the dark horse challengers this time, when his game is on he can still beat anybody on the surface, but his best days are clearly behind him.
Federer started out the year in excellent form (especially compared to last year), making the semi-finals at the Australian Open and making 2 Masters finals in a row, with winning chances in both, before ultimately going down.
If he, and his coaching staff which includes former Wimbledon winner, Stefan Edberg, can find him that kind of form again, he will be tough to beat, especially if it’s rainy during the second week, which could turn Wimbledon into an indoor tournament. For now, however, he’s 6/1 (Ladbrokes, Paddy Power) to win the title.
Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka and the ATP Halle 2014 winner Grigor Dimitrov could be two of the dark horses in the competition, both are around the 25/1 mark to capture the title.