Roger Federer is the red-hot favourite to land the title after skipping the clay-court campaign to prepare for his favourite season. He barely seemed to break a sweat in winning last year’s tournament, and his superiority in the final even reduced opponent Marin Cilic to tears. There is nobody in the game as comfortable on grass as the Swiss maestro and odds of around 15/8 seem to represent decent value, although he did suffer a surprise loss to Borna Coric in the warm-up event at Halle and punters may wish to explore different options.
Cilic is a contender yet again after an extremely consistent season which has seen him make the final of the Australian Open and the last eight at Roland Garros, while he underlined his credentials by coming through a high-class field to win at Queen’s Club. Novak Djokovic just lost out to Cilic at Queen’s in a marathon final and has slipped to 17th in the world rankings, but is definitely showing signs of a return to his best form and is one of the few men capable of defeating Federer on Centre Court.
Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray are two other players who fit into that category, but Nadal’s Wimbledon record over the past few years has been extremely disappointing. He does not move as well on the grass and has again decided not to play a tune-up tournament following his exertions on clay. Murray is looking surprisingly good on his return from a year-long injury layoff, but only the most optimistic of fans would back him to come through seven five-set matches so early in his comeback.
Casting the eye further afield, Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem are more suited to clay than grass, Milos Raonic and Nick Kyrgios have struggled with injuries this season, and Grigor Dimitrov has shown few glimpses this year of the form that won him the 2017 ATP Tour Finals. Odds of 50/1 or longer on South African giant Kevin Anderson and America’s John Isner look much more appealing and nobody will relish seeing such big servers in their section of the draw. Juan Martin del Potro is also a very tempting 22/1. He has done well at Wimbledon in the past, has been exceptional during 2018 and possesses a formidable combination of groundstrokes with the power of his sledgehammer forehand and the consistency of his sliced backhand.
Sports.net’s Top Tip:
There is no overwhelming favourite in the women’s tournament, presenting the opportunity to snap up a sizeable return if you can pick the winner. The main focus of attention is sure to be Serena Williams, who is back after having a baby and has been seeded 25th despite her lowly world ranking of 183. She has won seven Wimbledon titles and played well at the French Open before having to withdraw from her eagerly-awaited fourth-round encounter against Maria Sharapova. However, even for Serena, it will be incredibly tough this year and a price of around 6/1 does not look too appealing.
Petra Kvitova is just about the frontrunner with the bookies and it is easy to understand why. The Czech powerhouse may have bowed out early at the French Open but she has had a superb season and is a two-time Wimbledon winner. She has a ferocious serve, big groundstrokes and the talent to overpower just about anyone in the draw.
There are a plethora of other contenders, but niggling doubts persist over all of them. Reigning champion Garbine Muguruza will fancy her chances of defending her title but is very inconsistent, Karolina Pliskova has the perfect game for grass but is not in the best of form, while world No.1 Simona Halep will be full of confidence after winning her maiden Grand Slam in Paris but is not quite so fond of the grass. Is Angelique Kerber’s serve strong enough for her to mount a challenge? Is Venus Williams too old? Does Caroline Wozniacki have enough power? Can Maria Sharapova still compete with the very best? Is Naomi Osaka ready to win a Grand Slam?
Britain’s Johanna Konta is another player who could feature in the latter stages and she will have the support of a partisan crowd. She has had a poor time of it since her run to the semi-finals last year and will only be seeded 22nd, but a couple of early wins would lift her confidence and she can be backed for an Each Way punt at odds of 28/1.
Sports.net’s Top Tip:
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.