The most famous tournament in tennis has an identity beyond the all-tennis whites and the storied lawns of the All-England Club. Assuming there are no key injuries to important players, here is what is worth focusing on before the 2019 edition of The Championships, as they are called in Great Britain:
The Big Dogs Win Wimbledon
There is a very occasional example of an out-of-nowhere Wimbledon champion, but those are the exceptions which prove the rule. This applies to both the men and the women at Wimbledon.
On the men’s side, one of the Big Four – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray – has won the title each of the past 16 years. You would have to go back to 2002, when Lleyton Hewitt defeated David Nalbandian in the final, to identify a Wimbledon champion outside the Big Four. You would have to go back to Goran Ivanisevic in 2001 to find the last Wimbledon men’s champion who wasn’t a multiple major champion. Before that: Richard Krajicek in 1996. Before that: Michael Stich in 1991. Before that: Pat Cash in 1987. Before that: You can’t find a single male player in the Open Era of professional tennis (dating back to 1968) who won his only major tournament at Wimbledon. The champions from 1968 though 1986 all won more than one major championship.
For the women, it is not very different. Whether it was Margaret Court or Billie Jean King in the early 1970s, or Chris Evert, or Martina Navratilova, or Steffi Graf, or Venus and Serena Williams, or even 2018 champion Angelique Kerber, Wimbledon’s women’s champions over the past 50 years of Open Era tennis have almost all been multiple champions. You simply don’t get very many odd champions here – once in a great while, but hardly with any consistency. Champions win here. Remember that.
Djokovic Is The Man To Pick If He Doesn’t Win The French Open
The pattern of Novak Djokovic failing to win the French Open but then winning Wimbledon has happened several times this decade: 2011, 2014, 2015, and 2018. Djokovic would love to beat Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros, but in terms of betting on Wimbledon, Djokovic loves to bounce back from a disappointment in Paris by winning in suburban London. Keep an eye on that storyline this year.
Serena Is The Woman To Beat
The 2018 Wimbledon tournament did not feature Serena Williams at her absolute best. She was coming back from maternity leave and was rusty. She had to withdraw from the French Open before a fourth-round match against Maria Sharapova due to injury. She was not in peak physical condition. Yet, she still made the final and still played a high-level match in a semifinal rout of Julia Goerges. Serena is in better physical shape this year. She has made the final of the last three Wimbledons she has played in, since she missed the 2017 tournament to become a mother and tend to that part of her life. She is the clear women’s favorite.
Who Plays Whom?
The odds of Djokovic or Nadal or Roger Federer making the final will depend in part on whom they play in the quarterfinals and semifinals. Federer drew Kevin Anderson last year, which was a very tough draw. Djokovic played Kei Nishikori, a more manageable draw. Nadal played Juan Martin del Potro, a tough assignment. It matters which players meet in the rounds preceding the final. Pay attention to that detail of Wimbledon in 2019.