The most prestigious tennis tournament in the world gets underway next week with Wimbledon returning to the tennis calendar for the first time since 2019.
After the cancellation in 2020, Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep remain the defending champions, with Djokovic defeating Roger Federer to gain his fifth Wimbledon crown in a five set final day thriller. The match was the longest men's singles final in tournament history and is widely regarded as one of the best of the last decade.
The short turn around from Roland Garros, which was pushed back two weeks due to Covid-19 has seen big name withdrawals and several questions about match fitness raised. With Djokovic in seemingly unstoppable form and Serena Williams chasing history, it is shaping to be a memorable tournament. Here are our predications.
Rafael Nadal announced his withdrawal from the tournament earlier in the month, while Federer has struggled in his lead-up, leaving the door wide open for Djokovic to claim his 20th grand slam title.
Federer, who infamously withdrew from the French Open ahead of his fourth round clash with Italian Matteo Berrettini to protect his body and prepare for Wimbledon. Federer's time in Paris was his first appearance in a grand slam since the Australian Open in 2020, after which he had two knee surgeries. Federer has won Wimbledon eight times since his first appearance in 1999 and has made no secret of his love for the grass court surface. The Swiss maestro got valuable match time under his belt in Paris but faltered in Halle against young gun Felix Auger-Aliassime. With two weeks of additional practice and conditioning following his early exit in Germany, it is possible that Federer could re-find the form that made him a 20 time grand slam winner, but the 39-year-old will face fierce competition.
Djokovic, the man chasing Federer's record, has had an almost flawless season so far. The 34-year-old won the Australian Open title in straight sets against Russian Daniil Medvedev to claim his third victory in Melbourne in as many years. In Paris, Djokovic came from two sets down in both the fourth round and the final to win the clay court slam for the second time.
Djokovic looks unstoppable and is the bookmakers favourite, but as the next-gen begin to find their feet this could be their opportunity. 2016 finalist Milos Raonic and David Goffin have joined two-time Wimbledon champ Nadal as top 25 withdrawals from the slam, potentially opening the door for some younger talent to make a deeper run.
Stefanos Tsitispas, coming off his first grand slam final appearance in France, is in good form after winning his first Masters tournament in Monte Carlo. Tsitsipas made the fourth round at Wimbledon in his second appearance in 2018 and has shown that he is capable of winning big matches, defeating Medvedev and Alexander Zverev to make the French Open final.
World number 2 Medvedev has made improvements to his grass court game and looms as the biggest threat to Djokovic. The 25-year-old Russian has made it to at least the quarter final in his last three grand slam appearances.
Australian Alex De Minaur has reached a career high ranking of 18 and looms as a potential threat as he grows his game on grass. While Casper Ruud has continued his impressive 2021 form by chalking up a victory against Gilles Simon in the Mallorca lead up tournament.
While the big three have dominated grand slams for the last decade, there's always a chance for an underdog win. Argentinian Diego Shwartzman, Berrettini and Ugo Humbert have been in impressive form and are a chance to shake things up in the later rounds.
Like on the men's side of the draw, the WTA have been dealt with big name withdrawals on the eve of the tournament. World number two Naomi Osaka will not compete after her exit in Paris, while world number three and defending champion Simona Halep is under an injury cloud after a calf injury in Rome saw her miss the French Open.
World number one Ash Barty returns to her favourite surface at Wimbledon, confident she can win her first grand slam since 2019. The 25-year-old has returned to career best form, capturing three titles already in 2021, however the Australian suffered a hip injury during her second round match at the French Open and was forced to retire hurt. If fit, Barty is the one to beat for the title.
Serena Williams will be aiming to claim grand slam number 24, which will equal Margaret Court's record. While her 41-year-old sister Venus has been given a wildcard to compete in the tournament. Serena was a finalist in both 2018 and 2019 and has a strong grass court game that compliments her powerful serve. If Serena is to equal the record, it seems as if Wimbledon is the tournament where it will happen.
French Open singles and doubles champion Barbora Krejcikova is entering Wimbledon as a grand slam winner for the first time and is in impressive form. The 25-year-old entered the top 15 of the WTA rankings for the first time in June and looms as a potential threat. Krejcikova, however, has only made three singles appearances at Wimbledon since her debut there in 2015, but the young Czech did win a doubles title with Katerina Siniaková in 2018.
Iga Swiatek and Garbine Muguruza have the potential to make it far into the tournament with an impressive history on grass, while American teenager Coco Gauff is also one to watch for potential upsets.