Wimbledon is the world’s oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament. Played on the hallowed turf of the All England Club in London, it seems the whole world tunes in each year.
This year sees the 131st edition of the tournament, with local favourite Andy Murray looking to defend his title. With the tournament in full swing, let’s take a look at some of the other favourites, underdogs, and dark horses in both the men’s and women’s categories.
Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Spain’s Rafael Nadal go into the tournaments as favourites, with both dominating the season so far.
Seven-time Wimbledon champion Federer is desperate to add an eighth title to his trophy cabinet, which has already seen an Australian Open title and two Masters 1000 titles this year.
Nadal is also expected to have a good run after taking over clay and winning a historic tenth French Open title.
The other big guns, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic and Britain’s Andy Murray, have had – by their standards – lacklustre seasons, with both winning only one title apiece this season.
The 30-year-olds will want to turn it up in order to qualify for the ATP World Tour finals later this year.
We may see a potential upset on the cards, with young stars Dominic Thiem, 23, and Kei Nishikori, 27, currently in good form.
Thiem has impressed this season and reached his first grand slam semi-final at Roland Garros, while Nishikori has been consistent throughout the year, reaching the quarter-finals of the Madrid and French Open.
Czech Republic’s Tomas Berdych and France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are the dark horses.
Berdych dropped out of the world top 10 for the first time in six years, so this is an opportunity for him to gain back some ground.
Tsonga is also out of the top ten, but had solid performances in Lyon and is currently tearing through the early stages of Wimbledon.
A major disappointment in the women’s tennis as Russia’s former world number 1, Maria Sharapova, is out injured.
With US ace Serena Williams pregnant and unable to defend her Wimbledon title this time around, the prize door is wide open.
Some label current world number 1, Germany’s Angelique Kerber, as the favourite. However, after struggling a win over qualifier and 247th ranked Irina Falconi of the US, it appears she is having trouble coping with the pressure that comes with being the top seed.
China’s Peng Shuai, a former doubles world number 1 and singles number 14, has slipped considerably in the rankings, but looks to leapfrog her way back into contention. Peng (unseeded) lost out to Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro (25th seed) in the Madrid Open earlier this year, but got her revenge after defeating her Spanish opponent on Thursday.
US’s Coco Vandeweghe is a real dark horse to keep your eye on. After the addition of coach Pat Cash, a former Wimbledon champion, she is hungry for silverware. The 25-year-old aims to pull off some shock results.
Keep your eyes peeled for the above names as they try to rise above each other. The women’s final will be played on July 15, with the men’s final on July 16.