The 133rd edition of the prestigious major began on July 1st at the picturesque natural-grass setting of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London. By tradition, the Gentlemen’s and the Ladies competitions at the world’s most premier tennis tournament has been introduced with a number of changes and some wise decisions to help the spectators and also the players this year. Increase in the prize money, tie breaks in the final set to avoid marathon matches, spectator friendly initiatives and most importantly early qualifying rounds that will see the young guns representing their career best tennis in particular white and affluent type of Britishness at the centre court- all in, just sit back with those strawberries and cream.
While the tournament already nicked off with big upsets as the 15-year-old American prodigy Cori Gauff downed the 5 times Wimbledon champ Venus Willams on her debut to advance through the main draw, the gentlemen’s category witnessed the departure of two big dark horses of the open era- sixth seed Alexander Zverev and seventh seed Stefanos Tsitsipas were surprise casualties. French open runner-up Dominic Thiem and three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka were also knocked out early from the competition. So, you never know what these young millennial stars have got! With some exciting draws in the coming days make sure you get glued to your TV screens till the 14th of July.
However, the Big 3 who have dominated the competition for a decade now have won 14 Wimbledon titles altogether and will further look to cement their legacy forward. But it isn’t to conclude that the gentlemen’s tennis is lacking enough talent or other strong contenders. There is a strong core of the ‘Generation Y’ who can de-throne the so-called BIG 3.
The South African has fond memories of his run at Wimbledon last year when he reached the final. He will have desires to lift the trophy and complete the mission by creating an upset this year. World number 8 and seeded 4th in this tournament, last year’s Wimbledon runner-up who faced Novak Djokovic in the finals will be a top contender to knock out the big 3. Although he has struggled with an elbow injury this year and played only 4 tournaments, his comeback at the Queen’s Club Championship (an annual tournament for male tennis players also held on grass courts) this year showed why his big frame and hefty service game is a big advantage on the grass courts. Beating Roger Federer from two sets down in the quarterfinals and then indulging to overcome John Isner in the second-longest match in grand slam history last year (six hours and 36 minutes) he showed he has good stamina for the long run games. He is dominant on the court, punishing with good first serve and Wimbledon 2019 is his best shot of winning a Grand Slam title, especially as the big three, none of whom rely on serve as their top quality.
Raonic has 6,275 aces for the season. The Canadian has served as high as 155 mph and taken full advantage of his 6’5″ height. He’s ranked world no 17 and is seeded 15th in the tournament. He was also the runner up in 2016 when he fell short against Andy Murry. But he has been consistent and has advanced to at least the quarter-finals in four of the past five years. Against the big 3, he holds the record of 0–8 against Djokovic, 2–7 against Nadal and 3–11 against Federer. Additionally, the 28-year-old Raonic has 69.7 winning percentage on the grass and lost in the quarterfinals at the Queen’s club. He has been a threat at the major ATP tournaments this year and this would also be his best chance to win a major title and upset the best in the business.
The Heavy Weights: Djokovic, Federer & Nadal:
The most regal competitors of this open era who have diversified the sport by being dominant in all major slams have won a combined 53 Grand Slams together, claiming the last 10 titles and without a certain doubt three of the four semi-finals spot. The utter domination and incredible face off against each other have always left the spectators anticipating and this year’s title will just not be another prestigious title, but a large slice of history. The illustrious trio will not spend much of their energy dispersing the young guns and will look to finish the match in straight sets but eventually, as the ties progress and the way they have been seeded they will face each other at the centre court and only the best will prevail on the British grass. Federer remains in the lead for most career men’s majors with 20 titles, Nadal is only two behind the Swiss at 18, and Djokovic trails the Spaniard by three with his 15 crowns.
Djokovic’s 26 match streak at majors came to an end at Paris but being the top seed and defending champion, Novak Djokovic will look to revamp it in style and lift his fifth Wimbledon title and his second major title this year. Nadal will look to continue his substantial form after his French Open win and lift the prestigious trophy after 9 years. Notably, the fact remains that Nadal has not won Wimbledon since 2010 and with his dominant form this year he will look to complete a channel slam (French and Wimbledon) and lift his third at the All England Croquet Club to match the legends. Federer being a quintessential grass-court player has won nineteen of his 102 career ATP World Tour titles on the grass. So the record and the stats evidently say, “What clay is to Rafa, Grass is to Fed“. Defying all norms he won the Wimbledon in 2017 and has 8 already in his kitty. Federer comes to Wimbledon in tournament-winning form. His last four non-clay events have fetched three titles (Dubai, Miami, Halle) and one runner-up trophy (Indian Wells). Win in the Wimbledon 2019 will make him the oldest slam winner in history.