Novak Djokovic is the reigning Wimbledon 2019 champion and he is the 2.31 (+130) favourite to go out and rule Centre Court at SW19 once more. The next edition of the grass-court Grand Slam starts on July 1st and runs through to July 14th. Even though the field is huge, with 128 players lining up in the first round, once again there seems to be a narrow band to pick from in trying to select a winner.
The Big Three lead the way
With Britain’s Andy Murray still working his way back into the game following his hip surgery, the race at the head of the betting market for Wimbledon 2019 success is really down to three. That’s between the aforementioned Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and record title winner Roger Federer.
There’s little surprise in that really, given that they have split each of the last ten Grand Slam titles between them. Since the start of the 2010 season, only three others players (Andy Murray, Marin Cilic and Stan Wawrinka) have earned Grand Slam titles other than Federer, Nadal and Djokovic.
Djokovic set for number five?
So it is Djokovic who is the 2019 favourite and if ever anyone needed proof of the depth of his reserve, grit and talent they just need to look back at the 2018 edition. Djokovic had back to back five-set affairs in the quarterfinals and semifinals against Juan Martin del Potro and Rafael Nadal respectively.
Djokovic had to fight back from 2-1 down against Delpo to reach the final four. There he was pushed so hard again in an epic battle against Nadal, arguably the match of last season’s tournament. Djokovic was the one to hold his nerve in the end, winning the deciding set 10-8.
Did those extra efforts take anything away from his fitness or sharpness levels in the final? No, none whatsoever. He powered to a straight-sets win over Kevin Anderson to lift the Wimbledon title for the fourth time. The Serbian is the top seed for the 2019 edition and is going to be the one to beat.
Can Nadal take things a step further?
Rafael Nadal hit the semi-finals last year and that was the deepest that he has been at the tournament since the 2011 edition when he lost the final to Djokovic. Nadal will be taking some current form back in to Grand Slam action with him, having picked up yet another French Open title at Roland Garros. He beat Djokovic in the semifinals there, before taking out Dominic Thiem in the showcase match.
Nadal has won Wimbledon twice before, in 2008 and 2011. So it has been a long barren spell for him at SW19. The tricky thing for Nadal is that he is only seeded third for Wimbledon 2019. That means that he could be at a disadvantage in the draw because whichever way it turns out, he could potentially have to take out both Federer and Djokovic to win his third title in London. Still, he is one of the leaders in the game and is at +407 to win outright.
Federer feeling nine?
Roger Federer is at 2.99 (+185) to win Wimbledon 2019, making him the closest challenger to Djokovic. He recently just won the Halle title on grass for a remarkable tenth time. Federer is an exceptional grass court player. He has proven that time and time again, in having won Wimbledon eight times before, the most recent of which was just in 2017. He lost in the quarterfinals of his title defence last year to Kevin Anderson, despite being two sets up in the match. That was just the second time in his Wimbledon history that he had lost at the tournament after having been 2-0 up. He just keeps going and he never can be written off.
Basically the presence of the big three means that everyone else in the field is an outsider pretty much. It is just remarkable how they continue to bring such a phenomenally high standards between them at the biggest tournaments. So if the spell of the top players is going to be broken at Wimbledon this year, who are the most likely candidates to do so?
Stefanos Tsispitas at 13.16 (+1156) has had a tremendous season and being among the top eight seeds, could well further his adventures at Wimbledon this season. It is the Greek youngster who really looks like the biggest threat to the big guns in the field. The 20-year-old has two titles to his name in 2019.
Alexander Zverez, who has really not quite delivered on the big stage in his career so far could be one to fly under the radar. Although if a Grand Slam titles does come his way, it looks as if it will more likely be on hard court or clay.
Marin Cilic, last year’s losing finalist Kevin Anderson and the big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic are the sort of players that you would expect to see competing in the second week of action. But will any of them have enough of that x-factor to go all the way? Cilic is the only one of them to have tasted Grand Slam success before with his 2014 US Open win.
Along with Tsitispas, one of the other big younger stars who could make a splash is Felix Auger-Aliassime. The young Canadian is making huge strides this season and is in form heading to SW19. Auger-Aliassime is at 12.58 (+1101) and he recently tore his way past Grigor Dimitrov, Nick Kyrgios and Stefanos Tsitpsias at Queen’s before losing to eventual winner Feliciano Lopez in the semifinals. Bigger things look sure to be heading his way.