The Grass Court Season is about to end as quickly as it started. Five weeks of the season is all it takes, and we are about to see the pinnacle, of not just this grass court season, but of the entire season. Welcome to SW19, to the All England Lawn Tennis Club, to Wimbledon.
Novak Djokovic is the current champion, and favourite to retain the title, currently priced at 2.46 on the Betfair Exchange. Djokovic has not played on grass this season, taking a 3 week break alongside Nadal and Thiem. Djokovic is looking for his 5th title here and the draw has been somewhat kind to him. Both Nadal and Federer are in the opposite half so it’s impossible to meet them before the final. His first round opponent, Philipp Kohlschreiber beat him earlier this year but don’t expect the same result on a 5-set grass-court setting. A potential QF against Tsitsipas awaits Djoko if both players get there. This quarter looks tricky for Tsitsipas who could stumble along the way against potential opponents Goffin, Medvedev or Edmund.
The second quarter of the draw is pretty open. None of the top 3 here, so players like Wawrinka and Raonic could have a good run. Wawrinka has been in the quarters previously while Raonic has been in the final. These players are likely to meet in the last 32. Khachanov and Agut will believe they have an opportunity, and never forget the big servers on grass courts; Reilly Opelka could cause an upset or two if he can hit the corners.
Rafael Nadal has had plenty to say about the seedings this week and the draw has not been overly kind to him either. Grass has always been unpredictable for Nadal, and this year could be a forgettable one. Nadal is looking at a potential second round clash with Nick Kyrgios who has upset and beaten him already this year. Kyrgios will need to beat Thompson in the first round but I must believe that a potential match against Nadal will get him motivated enough to make it happen. Thiem v Querrey, Cilic v Mannarino, Tsonga v Tomic are some good first round matches to keep an eye on. This quarter is very open if Nadal succumbs, so players like Thiem or Cilic could make the semis.
Roger Federer just won his 10th title in Halle and is the only one of the big 3 to have played a competitive match on grass in 2019. Federer is an 8 time winner at Wimbledon and he will begin his quest for a 9th against the unfancied Lloyd Harris. It’s hard to see who will pose a threat to Federer in the early rounds. Potential banana skins are Kei Nishikori, who has never got past the quarter finals, and John Isner, who hasn’t played since April. For me, Federer should have no problems and a semi final against Djokovic awaits, where I fear he will lose to the eventual Champion of 2019. Federer will get the cheers, Djokovic will take home the astounding figure of £2.35 million. Good work if you can get it. Enjoy folks.