Novak Djokovic was upset by the late blooming Stan Wawrinka in the French Open final and denied a career Grand Slam. But Nole remains the heavy favorite for Wimbledon 2015, which gets underway June 29.
On the women’s side, Serena Williams, a winner of 20 career slams and three in a row, is chalk to earn a sixth Wimbledon title. She’ll be hoping her immune system doesn’t have other plans.
Let’s take a closer look at the odds for this year’s tourney at the All England Club.
A new era has begun in men’s tennis. Over the last six Grand Slams, Rafael Nadal has one win while Roger Federer has been shutout. Djokovic has two titles to his name, as does Wawrinka. Serbian Marin Cilic won the other (last year’s U.S. Open). The dominant reign of two of the greatest players of all time is over. Federer is no longer competitive at the highest level, having last won a major in 2012, and Nadal, while still brilliant when at his best, can’t stay healthy.
Novak Djokovic (1/1): Heading into the French Open final, Djokovic looked ready to don the “unbeatable” crown once donned by Fed, but the loss to Wawrinka – who thoroughly outplayed the “Joker” in Paris – postponed his coronation. If Djokovic (winner of eight slams) wants to ascend to the heights of Federer (17) and Nadal (14), he has to seize control of the sport now and win a couple per year over the next few seasons. The defending champ is currently even money to move his total to nine in London.
Andy Murray (4/1): Murray took the title in 2013 and will have the crowd urging him on fervently once again. The Scotsman is playing very solid tennis this year, reaching the finals at the Aussie Open and pushing Djokovic to five sets in the semis at the French. He doesn’t have a major to his name since Wimbledon in 2013, but he’s arguably playing the second-best tennis on tour and takes his rightful place in the odds at 4/1.
Roger Federer (6/1): Federer, who is tied with Pete Sampras with a record seven Wimbledon titles, reached the final last year, but fell short in five sets against Djokovic. If he is to ever win another major title, this is the one; but he won’t be a strong investment at 6/1.
Rafael Nadal (10/1): Nadal is having one of the worst years of his career and hasn’t reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon since winning his lone title in 2011. At 10/1, the oft-injured Spaniard isn’t a good wager either.
Stan Wawrinka (15/1): From 2004-2009, Wawrinka was an afterthought at majors. However, he ended 2010 with a quarterfinal berth at the U.S. Open and then did the same at the 2011 Australian Open. Since 2013, Stan has consistently been among the top-ten in the world and he finally broke through for his first major in Melbourne last year (at the ripe old tennis age of 29). With a French Open title newly tucking under his belt, Wawrinka will head to Wimbledon with confidence and will be decent value at 15/1. That said, he has never gone beyond the quarters in London.
The Others: Tomas Berdych (30-1) and Kei Nishikori (30-1) also are worthy of consideration. Berdych, a perennial top-ten player, has made just one major final, but it came at Wimbledon in 2010. At 25 years old, Nishikori will have his day, and is consistently improving. He made the U.S. Open final last year and has reached the quarters in the first two majors this season.
Serena Williams (2/1): Williams overcame illness and frequent one-set deficits to gut out a third French Open title. She has not won Wimbledon since 2012 and hasn’t even been to the quarterfinals the last two years, though. If she does manage to triumph at the All England Club, she will hold all four grand slam titles simultaneously for the second time in her career. She’ll also move within one major championship of Steffi Graf (21) for second-most all time.
Petra Kvitova (7/2): Kvitova, the two-time and reigning champ, is the second choice in the women’s bracket. She is playing well right now and has reached the tournament’s quarterfinals in five straight years.
Maria Sharapova (7/1): Sharapova (7/1) has not won at Wimbledon since 2004 and last made the finals in 2011. She remains one of the more dangerous and consistent players on the women’s tour – but that’s like saying, “she remains one of the more reliable Fiats.”
The Others: Victoria Azarenka (10/1), the bellowing Belorussian, has looked good since returning from an injury, but has lost in the second round at Wimbledon the last two years. Simona Halep (12/1) and Eugenie Bouchard (35/1) are talented young players, but neither has proven capable of winning a major title. Bouchard, in particular, is trending down.
It’s not sexy to bet favorites, but Djokovic is the best value on the men’s side. Taking a shot with Kvitova or the best fighter on the women’s side, Sharapova, are worthwhile gambles.
(Photo credit: Carine06 from UK (Djokovic overhead) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)