Wimbledon 2016 Dark Horses and Ones to Watch

Updated Thursday 21st February 2019, 01:12 PM

The tell-tale signs that Wimbledon is around the corner are everywhere, as the demand for strawberries and cream increases and the tennis courts of Britain are suddenly fully booked, and just as predictably the bookmakers have decided that the likes of Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer might just perform well this year, while Serena Williams is again the strong favourite to win the women’s singles. But who are the outsiders who could just take the event by storm and make shrewd punters very happy?

Men’s Draw

Nick Kyrgios divides opinion like few other tennis players, but whether you think he is the sort of entertaining character which the game needs or a petulant prima donna, there is no doubting his talent. He has enjoyed his best year so far, breaking into the top 20 for the first time and winning his maiden ATP title, and is ideally suited to grass.

Juan Martin del Potro and Dominic Thiem are hardly unknowns, as a former Grand Slam champion and the newest member of the top ten respectively, but both are worth watching at Wimbledon. Del Potro must feel like he has spent most of the last two years on the treatment table after further wrist surgery, and was so tentative on his backhand side when he first returned to the courts that he resembled a slow-motion replay of someone playing with a wooden racket from the 1970s, but he has slowly got better. He may not quite look like the player who won the bronze medal at the London Olympics and took Djokovic to five sets in the 2013 semi-finals, but he is a very dangerous floater this year. Although he won’t be seeded, if he can get a win or two under his belt and work his way into the tournament he could take some stopping.

Thiem, 22, is leading the charge of the next generation and showed that he could perform on grass when he beat Federer on his way to winning the recent Mercedes Cup. Alexander Zverev, a 19-year-old German rated in some quarters as an even better prospect than Thiem, also beat Federer at Halle a week later and has the power to go a long way at Wimbledon. Croatia’s Borna Coric not only has the same sort of bewildering buzz-cut as Djokovic but also some of his athleticism, defensive skills and work ethic. Fellow teenager Taylor Fritz could be the most exciting youngster to come out of the USA in years and has the weapons, most notably a huge serve, to test anyone at Wimbledon.

Selected Odds

  • To win Wimbledon: Nick Kyrgios 25/1, Dominic Thiem 25/1, Juan Martin del Potro 50/1, Alexander Zverev 50/1, Borna Coric 200/1, Taylor Fritz 500/1

Women’s Draw

Madison Keys may have been on the circuit for some time but she is still only 21 and has really broken through into the upper echelons of the rankings in 2016. She beat Petra Kvitova and Garbine Muguriza on the way to the final in Rome, before reaching the fourth round at the French Open. She has as big a game as almost anyone and, now she has added more consistency, could be ready to challenge for a major title.

Karolina Pliskova will be hoping to carry on a fine Czech tradition at Wimbledon and is a fan of grass, having called on her ferocious first serve to good effect to win the recent Aegon Open in Nottingham. American Coco Vandeweghe is another big server who could cause an upset or two, while none of the top seeds will want to be in the same section of the draw as former finalist Sabine Lisicki.

Among the teenage brigade, Belinda Bencic has had the most success and has a more rounded playing style than many of the one-dimensional power hitters which should stand her in good stead. Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko is another former Wimbledon junior champion who has climbed the senior rankings quickly, while Russia’s Daria Kasatkina and the flamboyant Naomi Osaka from Japan have also shown over the past few months that they could well be superstars in the making.

Selected Odds

  • To win Wimbledon: Madison Keys 18/1, Belinda Bencic 33/1, Karolina Pliskova 40/1, Coco Vandeweghe 40/1, Jelena Ostapenko 100/1, Daria Kasatkina 200/1 

*Please note, odds may change in the run up to the event.

Last Updated: Thursday, 21 February 2019 01:12:28+00:00
Published By Sports.net

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