Men’s Wimbledon – Novak The One To Back
Andy Murray? Rafa Nadal? Novak Djokovic? As the golden era of tennis continues, who will take the Wimbledon title in 2014?
The world’s oldest Grand Slam event is the centrepiece of the short grass court season, and comes just a fortnight after the French Open, giving little time for players who reached the latter stages at Roland Garos to recover from their exertions.
Roger Federer and Pete Sampras hold the record of seven men’s singles titles.
The Green, Green, Grass of SW19
At the start of the Open era, three of the four Grand Slams were played on grass, but the popularity of the surface has been in steady decline, and we are now reduced to one Major and a handful of ATP tour events, which means few top players can afford to specialise.
It is the fastest surface used in tennis, with the lowest bounce, so suits big servers, and those who can get to the net quickly can still prosper.
Who To Avoid
Andy Murray performed with credit at the French Open, in his first serious test since returning from back surgery, but the short recovery period between Roland Garros and Wimbledon is not in his favour.
Last year he skipped the Paris tournament and had plenty of time to prepare on grass, but this time round he looked weary when crashing out of his warm-up event at Queen’s. At 3/1 he’s too short.
I’ve also got my doubts about third favourite Rafael Nadal. His Paris heroics reaffirmed his legendary status, but his lingering back problems meant he was hampered in his serving throughout the tournament, and if that weapon is not performing effectively on the fast courts of Wimbledon, he will be at a serious disadvantage. An early exit may beckon and I can’t back him at 4/1.
If you want a good run for your money in a major tournament look no further than Novak Djokovic.
He has reached the last four in fifteen of his last sixteen Grand Slam events, including eleven finals.
With Nadal hampered by his back injury, Roger Federer in decline and Murray yet to return to his best, Djokovic is rightly a strong favourite to regain the title he won in 2011. Back him with confidence at 7/4.
The biggest challenge to Djokovic could come from rising star Grigor Dimitrov. After ending last year as the youngest player inside the top 50, he has continued his rise in 2014, reaching the quarter-finals at the Australian Open and picking up three titles on three different surfaces, including on grass at Queen’s last week. He’s a Grand Slam winner in the making and at 22/1 offers excellent antepost value.
The final name to add to your shortlist is Tomas Berdych. He reached the Wimbledon final in 2010, beating Federer and Djokovic along the way and he has been in solid form this season. His big serve and flat, powerful forehand are potent weapons on grass and he’s worth backing each way at 40/1.