The 2017 instalment of Wimbledon looks set to be the most open SW19 tournament in both the men’s and women’s singles for years.
The big four of Roger Federer, seven wins, Novak Djokovic (three), Andy Murray (two) and Rafael Nadal (two) have dominated the men’s event for the last 14 years.
Indeed world number one Lleyton Hewitt won the title in 2002 so the last time a true outsider triumphed at Wimbledon came 16 years ago when the unseeded Goran Ivanisevic was the surprise champion.
But this year there is a case for someone outside the top four to triumph. Federer (9/4), despite winning at Halle, is almost 36, defending champion Murray (4/1) is having a disappointing year and suffered an early exit at Queen’s, while Djokovic (11/2) appears to be on the wane.
Nadal (9/2) is having a brilliant year after a long spell struggling with injuries but grass has never been his favourite surface and age is also catching up with him.
Of the likely challengers, last year’s beaten finalist Milos Raonic (14/1) and Stan Wawrinka (22/1) also disappointed at Queen’s so it may be worth backing Grigor Dimitrov at 22/1 as the Bulgarian is a match for anyone on his day.
He has form at SW19 having reached the semi-finals three years ago and, if he can replicate his early-season displays when he reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open, he could be a good outside bet to win his first Grand Slam.
The women’s title is also up for grabs mainly because of the absence of Serena Williams who will not be present to defend her title due to her pregnancy.
Last year’s runner-up Angelique Kerber has been in terrible form of late and should be avoided even at odds of 12/1.
Surely it would be asking too much of Petra Kvitova (5/1) to win her third Wimbledon title so soon after returning to action after being attacked in her home and suffering a hand injury.
Simona Halep, 18/1, may not have the composure to win a big tournament following her shock defeat to Jelena Ostapenko (16/1) in the French Open final, so it may be worth looking at the 20-year-old Latvian, who can follow up her triumph in Paris by adding the Wimbledon title to her portfolio.
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