World-class tennis topped off with strawberries and cream – yes, Wimbledon is almost here. There have been some surprise results in recent tournaments, however, so could we see some unexpected winners in the singles events?
Wimbledon 2017 – Who Will Lift the Gentlemen’s Singles Trophy?
In 2016, Andy Murray won the famous tennis trophy for the second time. However, the Scottish player’s recent performances have been disappointing. He only reached the fourth round of the 2017 Australian Open and exited a host of other tournaments early. He made it into the semi-finals of the French Open in June, but was defeated by Stan Wawrinka.
Murray had high hopes of getting a good result at the Aegon Championship earlier this month. Unfortunately, a shock first round defeat by Australia’s Jordan Thompson put pay to his title-winning plans. The world number one wasn’t the only big name to leave the event early, however. Wawrinka and Raonic suffered opening round defeats, while Tsonga was knocked out in round two.
Worryingly, Murray, who is the top seed at the forthcoming Grand Slam event, also withdrew from a warm-up match this week citing a painful hip.
Like Murray, Novak Djokovic, has been having a difficult year. He was knocked out of the Australian Open in the second round and left the French Open in the quarter-finals. As a result, he took the unusual step (for him) of heading to the Eastbourne International to get some extra pre-Wimbledon grass court tournament time in.
Two players who are in superb form, however, are Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Nadal withdrew from the Aegon Championship in order to get some rest after his historic French Open victory, but he’s one of the favourites to win Wimbledon this year. Federer was absent from the Aegon Championship too, due to his lifetime appearance contract with the Gerry Weber Open in Halle. He won that title in style this year, defeating Alexander Zverev in the final.
Zverev will also be a player to watch, as will Feliciano López, who won the Aegon Championship, and Marin Čilić, López’s opponent in the final.
The Ladies’ Singles – Can Konta Claim the Venus Rosewater Dish?
The current ladies’ singles title-holder, Serena Williams, won’t be at London’s All England Club to defend her title this year, as she’s due to give birth in August. That’s good news for Johanna Konta, who Williams knocked out in the quarter-finals of the 2017 Australian Open.
Konta, who recently celebrated her 300th match win, is amongst the bookies’ favourites to claim the ladies’ singles title. However, she has suffered some unexpected defeats this year. The British number one was beaten by Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan in the first round of the French Open. She was also knocked out of the Aegon Classic in the second round by Coco Vandeweghe and beaten by Donna Vekić in the Nottingham Open final this month.
One person who could spoil Konta’s Grand Slam campaign is Petra Kvitová, who won the Aegon Classic last weekend. The former world number two has only recently returned to competitive tennis after being stabbed during a break-in at her home in December 2016. The Czech player withdrew from the Eastbourne International this week, however, with an injured abdominal muscle.
Other players who could be in with a chance of seizing the title include Angelique Kerber, Karolina Pliskova, Garbine Muguruza, Victoria Azarenka and Simona Halep.
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