3rd July 2017
Wimbledon preview: Will Federer make it eight, and can Konta fly the flag for Britain?
Famous for its strawberries and all-white dress code, Wimbledon is set to get underway next week with thousands flocking to SW19 to watch one of the world’s most prestigious sporting events.
The green grass of Centre Court will see Andy Murray looking to retain his Wimbledon title following success last year. However, the Brit will have a tough battle on his hands after being demolished by world number 90 Jordan Thompson in straight sets in the first round of Queens, the annual Wimbledon warm-up tournament.
One of the favourites for the title has to be Roger Federer, who will be chasing his eighth Wimbledon trophy. His victory last week on the grass at the Halle Open in Germany has set the Swiss up nicely for the tournament, and with the 35-year-old looking back to his best you’d be foolish to bet against him.
Federer’s long standing rival Rafael Nadal is likely to be his biggest threat this year. Nadal has really hit his heights once more this season, winning the French Open for the tenth time last month and reaching the Australian Open final back in January. The Spaniard is also the first player to have qualified for the season ending ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena and he will be full of confidence going into Wimbledon.
With last year’s champion Serena Williams not competing this year due to pregnancy, the women’s half of the event is wide open. Maria Sharapova will also be absent from the tournament despite her return to tennis earlier this year after serving an 18-month drugs ban. The Russian was due to play in the Wimbledon qualifiers but has withdrawn due to a muscle injury.
Venus Williams and Petra Kvitova will be the only two previous champions competing this year in the women’s draw. Kvitova, the 2011 and 2014 champion, has just returned from a career-threatening hand injury after she was stabbed by an intruder at her home last December, while Venus has not won the Championship since 2008.
Johanna Konta is the big British hope in south west London this year. The current world number seven is the first top-10 British woman at Wimbledon since Jo Durie in 1984. However current world number one Angelique Kerber is likely to be favourite for the tournament, despite having a catastrophic French Open which saw her knocked out in the first round.
Asked for his thoughts on this year’s tournament and who he is tipping to win, BA (Hons) Multimedia Sports Journalism student Charlie Smith said: “You can really tell that summer is starting when you see that Wimbledon is just around the corner! I think Federer will win the men’s singles based on the fact that Murray and Djokovic are both a bit out of form, plus Federer is a Wimbledon legend. The women’s singles event is much harder to call – with Serena Williams not playing it really could be anyone’s this year.”