Aside from Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, no other men’s player has won Wimbledon since 2002, when a 21-year-old Lleyton Hewitt lifted the famous golden trophy on centre court.
However, all four players – who have between them dominated men’s tennis for the past 15 years – are now over 30 years of age. So are we ready for a new tennis superstar? We’re certainly due one.
Murmurings about the potential retirement are growing in frequency for the 36-year-old Swiss superstar – the greatest male tennis player of all-time with 19 majors to his name heading into 2018.
Despite a knee injury ruling him out for much of 2016, Federer returned to form in style last year, winning both the Australian Open (the fifth of his career) and a record eighth Wimbledon title. Indeed, it was the first time Federer had won two majors in a year since 2009 – so much for being on his way out.
But if Roger Federer is set to call time on his tennis career, he will surely want to bow out in style at Wimbledon – the place where he has enjoyed his greatest success.
Federer is the 11/4 favourite to win the Wimbledon title for an astonishing ninth time.
If the time really has come for ‘out with the old and in with the new’, people should pay close attention to 20-year-old German player Alexander Zverev.
Many are tipping the right-handed youngster for a breakthrough year in 2018, after reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon last year.
The Hamburg-born player – who measures in at a colossal 6’6 – peaked at number three in the world rankings in November after landing multiple ATP titles in 2017, including the Italian Open (beating Djokovic in the final in straight sets), the Canadian Open (beating Federer in the final in straight sets), the Washington Open, the Bavarian Championships and the Open Sud de France.
It seems to be a case of when – not if – Zverev will land a major title. He is a 12/1 shot to win the 2018 Wimbledon Gentleman’s Singles title, and should he do so, he will be the youngest Wimbledon champion since compatriot Boris Becker lifted the title.
Of course, for British tennis fans, all eyes are on Andy Murray, to see whether he can win Wimbledon for a third time on home soil, after lifting the trophy in 2013 and 2016.
Murray had a hugely disappointing 2016, failing to reach the final of any major, and crashing out of Wimbledon in the quarter-finals (his worst performance since 2008) and the Australian Open in the fourth round, while being forced to sit out the US Open entirely because of a hip injury. The injury in question has plagued him for over six months, and after deciding against surgery after Wimbledon 2017, some people think we may have already seen the best of Andy Murray.
Nevertheless, Murray became the first men’s British Wimbledon champion since Fred Perry in 1936 when he lifted the trophy in 2013. So, in some ways, the pressure is off him – unlike throughout Tim Henman’s career in the nineties and noughties, crashing out no less than four times in the semi-finals.
After Federer, 30-year-old Murray is the second favourite at Wimbledon 2018, with odds of 4/1 available when online at sportsbet.io.
If you fancy a new name in British tennis, then perhaps 2018 could be Kyle Edmund’s year.
The youngster from Yorkshire progressed nicely in the majors last year, beating fellow Brit Alex Ward to progress to the second round of Wimbledon for the first time, while also reaching the third round at both the French Open and Australian Open.
Edmund was also part of the Great Britain team that won the Davis Cup in 2015 and is ranked as the British number two behind Andy Murray. At the close of 2017, Edmund was also ranked No. 50 in the world.
Unsurprisingly, the British novice is a massive 250/1 shot win Wimbledon 2018 and while the chances of him lifting the trophy are remote, Edmund has a huge chance of causing a couple of upsets.
Another youngster that could ruffle some feathers in 2018 is 22-year-old Australian, Nick Kyrgios.
At the age of just 19, Kyrgios reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon in 2014, with the wildcard knocking out 13th seed Richard Gasquet in the second round, before beating Rafael Nadal in round four. In doing so, Kyrgios became the lowest-ranked player since 1992 to defeat a World Number One at a grand slam event.
Having also reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open in 2015, the young Australian has yet to kick-on as many expected, failing to pass the second round in any of the majors in 2017. Kyrgios is a 20/1 outsider to cause a substantial shock at Wimbledon 2018 and lift the title.
Of course, it’s not just young guns and all-timers battling it out at SW1. 2016 Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic will be 27 come the Championships – typically the peak age for a professional tennis player.
The 2016 final defeat to Andy Murray remains the Canadian’s only major final appearance, having crashed out in the quarter-final to Roger Federer is straight sets last year.
Raonic certainly shouldn’t be dismissed in 2018, but he does need to improve his record against the “Big Four” (Federer, Djokovic, Murray and Nadal) if he has his sites set on a major title. Indeed, he has won just nine matches from a possible 45 against them – and has yet to beat any of them at a major tournament.
The Canadian is a 14/1 shot land win the men’s singles title at Wimbledon this year.
As was with Andy Murray, 2017 was a year to forget for Novak Djokovic. The pair held the top two spots in the world rankings coming into the year, but both ended it outside the top 10 after poor performances and injury problems.
It’s been an almighty fall from grace for the 30-year-old Serbian, who has experienced much-publicised personal problems over the past year. The Serb looked unbeatable in 2015 and the start of 2016, but 2017 wielded just two quarter-final appearances (at Wimbledon where he retired to Tomas Berdych, and the French Open, losing to Dominic Thiem), while also crashing out of the Australian Open in the second round to 30-year-old world No. 117 Denis Istomin from Uzbekistan.
While Andy Murray’s troubles are widely-regarded to be physical, many see Novak Djokovic battling a mental block. If he can overcome it, he could well find his way back to the top of the sport very quickly.
Djokovic says his troublesome elbow injury is now completely healed, so we’ll soon see how the mental side of his game really is affecting him. The Serbian is a 5/1 shot to win the Wimbledon title for a fourth time.
Despite being a formidable player, 29-year-old Marin Čilić had to wait until 2017 to reach his first Wimbledon final – eventually going down in straight sets to Federer (3-6, 1-6, 4-6).
Čilić’s finest moment came when he broke the four-way monopoly to claim the 2014 US Open title, beating Japan’s Kei Nischikori in the final.
The Croatian ended 2017 ranked number six in the world, following a career-high ranking of fourth in October 2017. But it has been consistency that has held Marin Čilić back throughout his career. Often he is knocked out of majors by the fourth round. Indeed, the 29-year-old has reached just four major semi-finals, and 10 quarter-finals in his career.
Similarly to Milos Raonic, Čilić has a very, very poor record against the “Big Four”, winning just six of 39 contests. Čilić has also never beaten Murray, Djokovic, Federer or Nadal at Wimbledon.
Last but not least of the main contenders is 31-year-old Spaniard, Rafael Nadal.
Like Murray, Nadal has continuedly had to battle against injuries throughout his career – but he has always managed to fight his way back to the top.
Nadal is sometimes lost in Federer’s limelight, but it certainly shouldn’t be forgotten that the left-handed player from Manacor has 16 grand slam titles to his name – which puts him behind only Federer in the all-time list, with the Spaniard followed by Pete Sampras in third.
Wimbledon hasn’t been a particularly successful stomping ground for Nadal though, with his two titles at SW1 coming way back in 2008 and 2010. Remarkably, he hasn’t even progressed beyond the fourth round of the tournament since reaching the final in 2011. Of course, though, it is on clay that Nadal has enjoyed his greatest success, with the astonishing record of winning 10 of the last 13 French Open titles.
34-year-old Luxembourg player, Gilles Müller, was the surprise victor against Nadal at Wimbledon 2017, but surely the 31-year-old can reach at least the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in 2018? Despite his poor recent record at Wimbledon, Nadal is still a very short contender for the title, coming in at 6/1.
Wimbledon 2018 Details
The 2018 Wimbledon Championships are set to commence at midday on Monday 2nd July 2018, with the final two weeks later on Sunday 15th July. British television coverage will continue on BBC One and Two and radio coverage will be supplied by BBC Radio 5Live and 5Live Extra.