Bring out the Pimms and the Strawberries & Cream, Wimbledon is just around the corner! Yes it’s that time of year again where we momentarily forget about his Scottish heritage and Andy Murray regains his “British-ness” and we all like him for 2 weeks. Murray is one of the most consistent performers at the top level of world tennis ever to play the game, but he just can’t break the dominance of the super Serb Novak Djokovic, the ruthless Rafael Nadal and the gentleman of the game, Roger Federer. But with the latter two’s powers fading into obscurity, Murray and Djokovic are at the top of their game heading into the most prestigious Grand Slam of them all: Wimbledon.
However it’s not just the immense Djokovic and the Scotti- sorry, I mean British Andy Murray who has a chance of winning the coveted gold trophy at the All England Tennis Club in a few weeks’ time, not by a long shot. So today, I’ve decided to have a sit down and peruse the main contenders, potential outsiders who have a good chance of making it all the way, and finally a surprise package that could very well go on and claim the title a la Goran Ivanisevic. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
Novak Djokovic – World Number 1 – Best price 7/5 (Sportingbet)
Grand Slams (singles) won: 8
After finally breaking the sheer dominance of, in my opinion, the two greatest tennis players ever to have lived in Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic has been unstoppable. The reigning Wimbledon Men’s Singles champion captured the title back in a five set, four hour epic against Roger Federer and celebrated by eating the grass on Centre Court. As you do, right? The Serb looks set to do it all again this year and there’s a reason his longest odds are 7/5: he has been in scintillating form this year. Boasting a record of 40 wins and just 3 losses in 2015, Djokovic is having one of the best years of his career and already has the Australian Open title under his belt, having claimed it in a 4 set victory over Andy Murray. One thing that could hinder the Serb though is his lack of match practice on the green stuff, but last year he had no grass matches to his name going into Wimbledon and he went and won the whole thing, so I doubt this will weigh on his mind too much. Djokovic could, and let’s face it, probably should win his second Grand Slam of the year and he’ll be disappointed to not reach at least the final.
Andy Murray – World Number 3 – Best price 3/1 (Bwin)
Grand Slams (singles) won: 2
The first British man in nearly 80 years to win a Wimbledon title, it’s everyone’s favourite sporting personality Andy Murray. The 2013 Champion will be looking for retribution following a disappointing performance at last year’s championship where he was unceremoniously dumped out by the rising star from Bulgaria, Grigor Dimitrov, in straight sets. The former world number 2 and 2-time Grand Slam winner is, like Djokovic, in some of the best form of his career and has won 39 of his 45 games this year, including 15 on his worst surface, clay. Ever since he married long-time partner Kim Sears before the Madrid Masters, Murray has been near enough unstoppable. In the final of that tournament he became only the second man ever to beat Rafael Nadal on clay. To put that into context, there are currently 8 people living on Earth who have walked on the Moon. His clay form was eventually halted in the semi-finals of Rolland Garros by Novak Djokovic. Last week he won the Aegon Championship at Queen’s Club for the 4th time, where he won his semi-final and final matches on the same day. Not too shabby.
The Scot will be chomping at the bit to get that trophy back and win it in front of the home crowd once more (if anything just to confirm his inevitable knighthood) and so my tip to win Wimbledon 2015 is Britain’s Andy Murray.
Roger Federer – World Number 2 – Best price 13/2 (paddypower)
Grand Slams (singles) won – 17
The greatest of all time. The GOAT. No other words to describe the coolest man ever to grace a tennis court than those. Federer is on a completely different level to anyone I’ve ever seen pick up a racquet. In 2006 Federer had the most dominant season ever recorded by one man since the 1969 Calendar Grand Slam by Rod Laver. In 2009 Federer won the Career Grand Slam after finally triumphing at Rolland Garros over Robin Soderling (Rafael Nadal didn’t compete due to injury). Wherever the Swiss Supremo goes he is loved by the crowds however in 2012 he broke the hearts of a nation when he made poor Andy Murray cry by beating him under the roof at Wimbledon to claim his record-equalling 7th title at SW19. The man is a machine, not just on grass but on all surfaces and won the tournament at Halle on the green stuff just last week, so Federer is someone not to be overlooked.
If you’re after a decent each way shout for the title, go with Federer. You can get him for 6s or 5s at most places but 13/2 at paddypower absolutely screams value.
Now we’ve looked at the main contenders, let’s move swiftly onto a couple of players who are somewhat outsiders but still have a massive chance of causing an upset.
My first tip is the powerhouse Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Someone who I’ve always followed as I feel he brings something different to the tour, he’s a showman but can turn on the seriousness when needs be. Tsonga has had an injury-hit 2015 and the world number 12 is back at Wimbledon where he’s always been a consistent performer and you can get him best priced at 40/1 with Sky Bet. Personally I don’t see any value in that so don’t bother wasting your money, just watch out for Tsonga because if he gets a good draw we could see him get to the quarter finals, which will be a great achievement given his year.
Next up is a man we’ve already mentioned earlier on in the post, none other than Grigor Dimitrov. Last year was the breakout year for the Bulgarian and with a win at Queen’s under his belt, Dimitrov went onto the semi-final at Wimbledon, beating Andy Murray along the way, before losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic. This season Dimitrov hasn’t managed to build on his successes of 2014 and was dumped out of Rolland Garros in the first round by Jack Sock. He took Andy Murray to 4 sets in the Australian Open earlier this year but other than that it’s been a disappointing one for Grigor. However the Bulgarian likes playing on grass and with such a range of odds being offered by the bookies, 22/1 with Sky Bet, 40/1 with Coral, it might be worth 50p each way of your hard earned cash on Dimitrov bettering last year’s performance.
Now that’s my rundown of the main contenders and the outsiders, “but who will be the surprise package of Wimbledon 2015” I hear you ask. Well, I’ve studied long and hard all the participants in this year’s tournament and I’ve decided to plump for Milos Raonic as my surprise package. You can get Raonic as low as 25/1 with Bet365 and Betfred or best priced at 40/1 with Sky Bet and to me that screams value. Raonic has had a fairly decent year but hasn’t played as many matches as he would have liked, but he’s won 22 of the 31 he has played, that’s a pretty decent return. He lost in the quarter-finals of Queen’s to Gilles Simon, an opponent he should’ve beaten but Raonic has the mental strength and natural ability to bounce back from this. Should he get a good draw I could definitely see Raonic finally breaking through, something he has threatened for a long time now.
I’m coming to the end of my jug of Pimms and the Strawberries and Cream could do with replenishing so I’m off to the shop to stock up ready for the big event to kick off next Monday 29th June ahead of 2 weeks of world class tennis action. Until next time….
Kelsey De Maria
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