As Wimbledon 2023 returns to the courts, we unpack the sports players who are hotly tipped to win at the tennis Championships
With Wimbledon fortnight beginning on July 3, the world’s greatest tennis players are about to descend once more on the All England Club in South West London.
Wimbledon may be the only one of the sport’s four Grand Slam tournaments to still be played on grass, but it remains as popular as ever.
This year’s Championships look set to provide the usual mix of breathtaking shots and high-octane rallies, together with a few surprises along the way.
The main contenders
Credit: Charles Ng, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons. Novak Djokovic is the favourite for the men's singles title
Last year’s Champion, Novak Djokovic, is the odds-on favourite to win his eighth Wimbledon men’s singles title and, once again, looks the player to beat. The 36-year-old Serbian has already won this year’s first two Grand Slams and hasn’t lost a match at Wimbledon since 2017.
Rafael Nadal has pulled out through injury, so the biggest challenge to Djokovic’s supremacy may well come from the new Spanish superstar, Carlos Alcaraz. The 20-year-old has just risen to the top of the world rankings after winning his first grass court title at the Queen’s Club.
As the top two seeds at Wimbledon, Djokovic and Alcaraz will be in different halves of the draw, setting up the enticing prospect of a dramatic showdown in the final between the champion and the young pretender.
The contest for the women’s singles title looks much more open, with question marks concerning two of the leading contenders. Defending champion, Elena Rybakina, has been struggling with illness recently and may not have the stamina to go the whole distance this time.
"Should she come out on top, Jabeur would become the first African woman to win a Grand Slam singles title"
World number one, Iga Swiatek, just won the French Open, but has never been past the fourth round at Wimbledon.
Big-hitting Aryna Sabalenka was compelled to miss Wimbledon in 2022 because of the ban on Russian and Belarusian players, but bounced back to win the Australian Open in January and looks a strong contender for this year’s title.
Her biggest challenge may come from last year’s runner-up, Ons Jabeur. The Moroccan has had her own injury problems this year, but always seems to play her best tennis on Wimbledon’s grass courts.
Should she come out on top, Jabeur would become the first African woman to win a Grand Slam singles title.
Best of the rest
It’s hard to see past Djokovic and Alcaraz in the men’s singles, but there are several players who could spring an upset along the way.
The 21-year-old Italian, Jannik Sinner, looks like one to watch. He pulled off a surprise victory against Alcaraz at last year’s Wimbledon, before narrowly losing to Djokovic in five sets.
Nobody will relish the prospect of facing the big-hitting Americans, Taylor Fritz and Sebastian Korda.
Last year’s finalist, Nick Kyrgios, is facing a battle to be fit for Wimbledon, but fellow Aussie, Alex de Minaur has shown that he has the game to compete with the world’s best on grass after beating Andy Murray on his way to this year’s Queen’s final.
On the women’s side, veteran two-time Wimbledon winner, Petra Kvitova, comes into this year’s Championships on the back of winning her 31st career title in Berlin and remains one of the biggest threats on grass.
Former Junior Wimbledon Champion, Jelena Ostapenko, is also tipped to do well and the American challenge could come from teen sensation, Coco Gauff.
Credit: Brian Minkoff-London Pixels, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons. Venus Williams and Andy Murray both return to the grass
The legendary Serena Williams has retired, but big sister, Venus, will make an incredible 24th appearance at the Championships after being handed a wildcard entry.
"Andy Murray appears to be injury-free and playing his best tennis for several years"
All eyes will also be on two-time champion, Andy Murray. The Scot appears to be injury-free and playing his best tennis for several years, but the 36-year-old is unseeded and runs the risk of being drawn to play one of the big guns early on in the tournament.
His many fans will be hoping that he can turn back the clock at this year’s Championships.
British No.1, Cameron Norrie, showed that he can handle the pressure of home crowd expectation in reaching last year’s semi-finals.
Along with Norrie and Murray, Dan Evans has also made it direct into the main draw, while there are wildcards for Liam Broady, Ryan Peniston, Jan Choinski, George Loffhagen and Arthur Fery.
2021 US Open winner, Emma Raducanu, will sadly be absent, as she continues to recover from surgery on her hands and ankle.
British hopes in the women’s singles lie with Katie Boulter, Jodie Burrage, Harriet Dart, Katie Swan and Heather Watson. All five players are currently ranked inside the world’s top 150.
It's not all about the singles
Credit: Carine06 from UK, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons, Alfie Hewitt could win his first Wimbledon singles title in wheelchair tennis
The men’s, women’s and mixed doubles events always provide plenty of entertaining matches and there have been some memorable British successes over the years.
Wheelchair tennis has proved an exciting recent addition to the Championships and continues to grow in popularity.
"Wheelchair tennis has proved an exciting recent addition to the Championships"
Britain’s Alfie Hewitt is looking to win his first Wimbledon singles title, after narrowly losing out in last year’s final. He is also favourite to lift the doubles’ trophy alongside fellow Brit, Gordon Reid.
The rapidly improving Lucy Shuker will also be looking to make her mark at this year’s Wimbledon.
Banner: Carine06 (no real name given), CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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