While a lot of attention is currently on the World Cup, Wimbledon is also just around the corner and starts in less than a week. Following Andy Murray’s success at SW19 last year there is naturally plenty of hope that he can repeat that feat and fly the British flag again.
However, with Murray out of form it’s certainly going to be a tough ask, as we take a look at the main competitors for the upcoming tournament.
With Rafael Nadal currently being the top ranked player in the world, it’s no surprise to see the Spaniard rated as one of the favourites. There was a huge shock last year when he was sent crashing out in the opening round, although the likelihood of history repeating itself seems to be slim.
Nadal is approaching the tournament having won the French Open for a record ninth time, whilst also accumulating the second highest number of Grand Slam titles (after Roger Federer). Even though this is a completely different surface to grass, there’s no doubt that he is approaching Wimbledon in tip-top form and will be looking to add to the two championships he already holds. Then again, after going crashing out in the second round of the Gerry Weber Open last week, which also happens to be played on grass, it remains to be seen whether he really can adapt his game sufficiently.
The world rankings also dictate that Novak Djokovic should have a fighting chance of adding to his one Wimbledon title, with the Serb currently only second behind Nadal. He was beaten by Murray in the final of last year’s event, while he also approaches this tournament following the heartbreak of losing to Nadal in the French Open final a few weeks ago.
Something else that’s working against Djokovic is his Grand Slam form and this is the longest time he has gone without winning a major tournament in years. Nevertheless, the experts still think he should be classed as one of the favourites and his all-court ability will give him an advantage over some of his rivals.
Whenever championship contenders are discussed for any tournament, Roger Federer’s name is always in the mix. Having won this tournament seven times, and having won more Grand Slams than any other player in history, it’s no surprise to see him always mentioned in this vein.
Just like Rafael Nadal, Wimbledon 2013 was a tournament to forget for Federer as well. He got knocked out in the second round, which also meant that he fell out of the top four in the world for the first time in a decade. 2014 has hardly been basked in success either and despite approaching the tournament following a victory at the Gerry Weber Open, form isn’t really on his side. Additionally, his season has been disrupted by the birth of his third and fourth child, although most pundits are suggesting that Federer has been pledging most of his attention towards this event anyway over the course of the last few months. This could explain why he fared so well in the last grass tournament at the Gerry Weber Open.
Andy Murray might be the defending champion, but he certainly has it all to do if he is to stave off the competition for another year. 2014 has so far been something of a disastrous period and the Scot has looked a shadow of the player that triumphed at SW19 twelve months ago. He’s yet to win a tournament, while his frailties were highlighted in the French Open semi-finals as he was comprehensively beaten in straight sets by Rafael Nadal.
Admittedly, Murray will be much stronger on the grass surface. There is also hope that he can once again use his “home advantage" to positive effect; although there’s no doubt he has it all to do if he is to turn around his fortunes and the lift the trophy for a second occasion.
While it was probably expected for the four players above to be named on our list, the final addition might raise a few eyebrows. Ranked at No.13 in the world, Grigor Dimitrov might go unnoticed by some quarters. However, he is tipped as the next big thing in the sport and having recently won the Queens tournament, which is also played on grass, there is great hope that he can repeat his success at Wimbledon next week.
He’s already the most successful Bulgarian player ever, while he has already tasted mild success at Wimbledon after lifting the Junior title back in 2008. With Dimitrov recently becoming engaged to tennis legend Maria Sharapova, the general consensus is that he will become the next big talking point both on and off court over the next few years.