After two years we are finally back in the All England Club.
Wimbledon 2021 starts on Monday, and even if serious thugs like Naomi Osaka and Rafael Nadal don’t compete, it is sure to be an entertaining slam. Serena Williams chases her 24th slam title to tie Margaret Court for most of all time. And Novak Djokovic tries to win his 20th title to get him into a three-way battle with Nadal and Roger Federer.
With many records at stake, who do our experts say will be at the top? And who else do they have their eyes on?
Who will win the men’s singles title?
Jerry Bembry: Djokovic. With wins in the first two majors, Djokovic is in a league of its own in men’s tennis. Without Rafael Nadal as a possible spoiler, Djokovic is able to win Wimbledon for the sixth time.
Simon Cambers: It is very difficult to stop by Novak. Five times the champion, after winning the first two slams of the season back on the road and hunting with a huge carrot, the grand slam of the calendar year. Feels like it’s going to be a major fuss, injury, or one Roger Federer Wonder to stop him. None of them are likely.
Bill Connelly: Nothing would be nicer than doing another run for Federer, but he hasn’t gotten past third gear on his 2021 comeback, so it’s hard to believe that could happen. So it’s Djokovic against the field, and Djokovic could have an advantage. He won the last two Wimbledons when Federer was at full strength and none of the young savages has really shone on grass so far. The threats are minimal.
Drysdale cliff: Novak Djokovic. After a narrow escape in Paris, he must have the feeling that he is playing with the house money. He’s in a class of his own and still holds off the next generation of agitators.
Brad Gilbert: Djoker’s move just isn’t on the charts on weed and his return to serve is strong. With Aussie Open and French Open victories, he is already halfway through the slam calendar. Stefanos Tsitsipas should do a deep run as well as like Matteo Berrettini.
Sam Gore: Federer. Sure, a sentimental choice, but in this current era of unpredictability, it is certainly possible! To be honest, I no longer have the opportunity to choose Federer as he is about to turn 40.
However, he seems to have focused his entire season on winning this major for the ninth time and he has the added motivation to erase the terrible memory of his 2019 final defeat to Djokovic and Djokovic does not allow his entire Grand Slam brand to be tied.
Federer is a champion, and champions do things that make us shake our heads at their size … he has one final chapter to write
Tom Hamilton: It’s Djokovic’s championship to lose as he pursues his third slam on the go after winning the Australian Open and Roland Garros. He knows every blade on the Center Court (he won there in 2011, 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019) and with Rafael Nadal absent and Roger Federer now three years without a major, Djokovic will assess his chances of holding back Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Lukas Jensen: Easy! Djokovic
Djokovic should settle the debate about the best player of his generation. The GOAT is the Aussie Rod Laver with two career calendar grand slams in 1962 and 1969, but Djokovic could own the greatest generation ever with a “golden slam” that would include the Tokyo Games gold medal. Conclusion: There is no player who currently combines the mental, tactical and physical components to challenge these three aspects with which Djokovic goes into the arena. The impressive thing about Djokovic is that Novak digs deeper physically if someone beats him tactically. Djokovic always has a weapon ready for all situations.
D’Arcy Maine: Right now it’s hard to see someone beat Djokovic. As a two-time defending champion, he would already be the favorite, but when you combine that with what he achieved in Paris, Djokovic, who joins the 20-strong club by the end of the fortnight, seems almost inevitable.
Patrick McEnroe: My vision is 20/20/20. Djokovic again.
Chris McKendry: Djokovic. As the French Open proved, beating Djokovic in a best-of-5 set match is one of the toughest tasks in all sports. He will win Wimbledon and be the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold the first three major titles in a calendar year.
Kathleen McNamee: It’s hard to look past Djokovic as he tries to join Nadal and Roger Federer in 20 Grand Slams. The spirit of 2016 won’t be far off, but a favorable draw should help calm those early nerves. The way he fought back from two sets against Stefanos Tsitsipas at the French Open shows that he’s mentally in a healthy space. With all that lies ahead, consider his already formidable five Wimbledon titles.
Alexandra Stevenson: Federer.
Regardless of his 39 young years, Roger Federer is the man to watch out for at Wimbledon. I choose him for his record ninth win on the turf.
Playing on grass is something that Federer has perfected. Getting out early in Halle gave him more time on Wimbledon grass – and Wimbledon grass plays differently than any other grass in the world. His one-handed backhand plays wonderfully on the ball’s low bounce on grass.
Today the groundskeepers grow 100% ryegrass. It used to be mixed with red fescue – and the courts played faster – but the surface didn’t last from the first week of tough play on the 18 match courts.
Federer knows all of this – and he plays on Center Court, a court that plays differently from everyone else. I played Center Court in 1999 – everything felt better. Your feet on the grass. The ball hit. There is a faint hum in the air – and not from the crowd. Maybe the ghost’s past. Federer understands this atmosphere. His technique and mental strength will bring him the championship.
Renae Stubbs: Djokovic will win the men. He’s the best player in the world and I think he’ll win the calendar slam this year.
Pam Shriver: Djokovic will give men’s tennis a historic and unthinkable 20/20/20 (together with Federer and Nadal in 20 individual majors) and three stages of the men’s calendar year Grand Slam for the first time since Laver in 1969 or let Djokovic down physically not 100% opening the door to excitement on grass, how not to choose Djokovic?
Who will win the women’s singles title?
Bembry: Ashleigh Barty. No Osaka. No Simona Halep. If Barty fully recovers from the injury that forced her out of the French, she could prevail. But given recent history in women’s tennis, I wouldn’t bet my house or your house on Barty winning everything. That’s how unpredictable the game is today.
Fall: The big problem is knowing who is 100% fit. This is Serena’s big chance, but it still feels like too many people will be able to defeat her in the end. When fit, Barty has the all-round weed and mind game to make it through. But there could be another surprise finalist.
Connelly: You have to empathize with Halep, who sustained the worst possible injury. She would have been a favorite at the French Open, and she could have been the Favorite at Wimbledon. Without her … I don’t know. I leaned Petra Kvitovabut I hate their draws. Serenas too. And Barty is still working after her hip injury. So let’s spin the wheel and go … back to Kvitova! When she comes around Sloane Stephens She could get rolling on the first lap and it feels like she’s on a run.
Drysdale: Serena Williams. Especially when you least expect it. She doesn’t feel the weight of expectations and she enjoys it more. She’s still the GOAT.
Gilbert: Can you say quite openly I say 25-35 women can win it. I think something like Paris will happen after that Serena Williamsbut honestly have no idea who will win it. Everyone should feel like, “Why not me?”
blood: Serena: I’m writing a fairytale ending to this pandemic-hit time! Serena joins her colleague No. 7 Seed, Federer, and they share the final dance as Masters of 2021. Serena will finally get her 24th singles major while Federer gets his 21st and record-breaking ninth Wimbledon crown. Although the early odds makers favor Serena, she hasn’t won a major since 2017; This is an excellent opportunity on a ground where their game is so good. Just when some start to doubt her, she will stand up and win the Wimbledon title for eternity
Hamilton: I wanted to tip Simona Halep until she retired early Friday so Ashleigh Barty is now my favorite to win Wimbledon. She goes to the slam as number 1 in the world, and although her form was mixed at Wimbledon – her best result being an exit from the fourth round in 2019 – but with a field that is already without Naomi Osaka and Halep, Barty will appreciate her chances of winning the first Wimbledon title.
Jensen: Serena: In a tournament with so many strangers, I go with the player with the largest trophy case, who has no more space for more hardware. Serena still has the best first and especially second serve in the game. The second serve is mission critical in the WTA game which is dominated by instantly taking control of the points by aggressively returning the opponent’s second serve. Serena’s secret on grass is when she effectively hits her groundies in the line of Wimbledon grass. With its fast, lower bounce compared to other rubbers, it rewards these big hits and gives you immediate control over the course position.
Maine: Serena Williams. Yes i name it. The 23-time major champion didn’t look at her best at the French Open and didn’t play in a single lead-in event on turf, but given her cheap draw and surface career success, this could be the opportunity to deny it Margaret Court Record. The unpredictability of women’s tennis combined with the unfamiliarity of so many younger players on turf will be Serena’s win.
McEnroe: Will Wimbledon be as unpredictable as Roland Garros? I say no. The all-court game and the athleticism of the top seeded Barty predominate
McKendry: Kvitova, the two-time Wimbledon champion. She will benefit from the surprising defeat against Angelique Kerber in Germany in the tuning-up. A first-round match against Sloane Stephens will focus them early on at Wimbledon. Apart from that, 20 more women could also win. The last 17 majors were won by 13 different women.
McNamee: There are many options in the women’s individual tournament. The fate of the favorites Serena and Barty could boil down to a semi-finals. It’s a fascinating setup because No. 1 Barty played little in the last year. If she gets through the opening week, she’ll be in good shape for her first Wimbledon title.
Stevenson: Serena Williams will always be my choice for the Wimbledon champion. Even so, Serena has to perfect her grass clippings. She’s a natural baseline, but she’s learned to use her volleys wisely – even if not always as they should be. Serena watches the ball better than anyone on tour. Her forehand volley and backhand volley can be her weapons at this year’s championship.
Serena’s backhand is the best of all women. It is known for its serve – but it is not always accurate. She worked to vary it and ultimately be able to rely on her muscle strength when she needed it. The forehand is a weapon – but it’s noticeably lost in her career. The grass allows Serena to use her athleticism and get her forehand. If forehand and serve work, Serena will be the 2021 Wimbledon champion.
As an added note, toughness is the key to tennis. You need to understand your opponent’s thinking. Every opponent Serena faces has a target on Serena’s back. Watch the opponents she faces. How is the mood in court? How does Serena react to her shots? It’s a fun way to reach the end of the game.
Stumps: I think Ash Barty is the favorite. Their draw is quite cheap and the injury-related elimination for the French will motivate them. Her game is perfect on grass, and when her serve fires she will be hard to beat.
Shriver: As Roland Garros has shown time and again, women’s play is unpredictable. There are too many injury questions for top players and too few younger players who have a good track record on grass, so I don’t feel particularly confident about any of my selections.
Provided her hips are healthy, Ash Barty has a great chance of advancing her junior title at Wimbledon and winning her second major.
Which men’s player who is currently outside the top 10 could do a surprise run to win?
Bembry: Denis Shapovalov. Having made the quarter at the US Open last year, one would have expected this to be the year Shapovalov would make an impact. He won three games on grass in the most recent Queen’s Club tournament and reached his first semi-final on what he considers to be his favorite surface. Perhaps Wimbledon will serve as a launch pad for the 22-year-old to become a bigger threat.
Fall: Whoever wins the title who is not called Djokovic or Federer would be a big surprise. But from outside the top 10 it’s going to need something special. Nick Kyrgios could do well despite missing games but I will help Shapovalov break through. He can play with anything and when it all comes together he can beat anyone.
Connelly: If Federer isn’t going to find fifth gear, the bottom half of the draw is absolute crap. So let’s get started with seed 21 Ugo Humbert. He won Halle two weeks ago, and if he survived the Perma wildcard Nick Kyrgios in the first round the draw opens nicely – he could play Felix Auger-Aliassime (which he beat in Halle) in the third round and Alexander Zverev (ditto) in the fourth. He’s built trust on grass and could get rolling if he solves the Kyrgios puzzle.
Drysdale: John Isner. He played really well on his worst surface in Paris. He uses his serve better than anyone else. He is the last player anyone would want to deal with in the draw.
blood: Cilic: He finished second here in 2017, US Open Champion 2014, second at the Australian Open 2018 and was classified up to 3rd place in the world rankings. He knows what it takes to win big games here and although injuries have held him back lately, he’s been getting better and better lately, having won the Stuttgart title on grass and then moved straight to the Queens QF . He has sneaked into the seeds and is in Medvedev’s advantageous district of the draw.
Gilbert: Hopefully an American will make it to the quarter-finals. Could take a shot at Shapovalov.
Hamilton: Marin Cilic and Ugo Humbert are both far-fetched by the bookmakers, but will draw courage from their recent triumphs in Stuttgart and Halle. However, we hope for great things from the young Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime. The 20-year-old works with Toni Nadal and builds form. He pushed Cilic in Stuttgart and has a win against Federer on his behalf this year. He’s just outside the top 10 and could surprise some at Wimbledon.
Jensen: I go with Jannik Sinner. Not only is the young Italian a rising star with his physical firepower, but he’s also under extraordinary emotional pressure. Keep an eye on how he is getting on with his balance and movement on the always slippery grass pitches, especially in the first week when the grass is very green. The stand is much easier as the major moves into week two with most of the grass around the baseline worn out.
Maine: If Humbert can escape Nick Kyrgios in the first round, he could well cause damage in this tournament. The two had a memorable five-set bout at the Australian Open that Kyrgios won, but has not played in any tournament since then. Humbert put together and defeated one of the best weeks of his career in Halle at the beginning of the month Sam Querrey, Zverev, Sebastian Korda, Felix Auger Aliassime and Andrey Rublev on the way to his first ATP 500 title. The 22-year-old made the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2019 and could now go even further with confidence and drive on his side. Not to mention, it doesn’t hurt that he’s not in the same half of the draw as Djokovic.
McEnroe: Hubert Hurkacz’s game is well suited for the lawn. See him in week 2.
McKendry: That is hard. Let’s go with Korda and make a splash on his debut! If he can upset 15th-placed DeMinaur on lap one, his light strength could help him settle in and take a few more wins.
Mcnamee: Jannik Sinner has a mixed 2021. On the winners side, he won his second career title – the first came in 2020, making him the youngest to win a title since then Kei Nishikori 2008 – and reached his first ATP Masters 1000 final. The 19-year-old was defeated by Nadal in the fourth round of the French Open (which, let’s face it, isn’t a shame), but the real kicker was a first-round loss to the British Jack Draper. That will have hurt and the Italian will be looking for a major tournament at Wimbledon to further build his reputation.
Stevenson: I go to tennis with all young men. I like No. 21 Auger Aliassime. But I also like Sebastián Korda, Petr Korda’s son. He is 1.80 m tall, is in the top 50 and is well looked after by his father. What about the other young Canadian, Shapavolv? He is a left-handed man with a one-handed backhand. And a John McEnroe favorite to win a Grand Slam.
Stumps: Seb Korda, if he wins his first round against Alex DiMinaur I think he can go far. But something tells me whoever wins this match is going to go far.
Shriver: I choose the winner of Ugo Humbert or Nick Kyrgios to start the second week of Wimbledon. Kyrgios is the darkest of all wild cards as we don’t have a clear idea of its shape. Hubert won a grass court preliminary event and has a solid left-handed game that has been causing trouble on grass pitches in the past.
Which players who are currently placed outside the top 10 could do a surprise run to win?
Bembry: Coco Gauff. My choice for a surprise run with the French and my choice for Wimbledon. You have the feeling that Gauff’s big moment is coming. Why not at Wimbledon, where she shocked the tennis world in 2019 with a victory over Venus Williams.
Fall: Two-time champion Petra Kvitova got the class to get back to the finals but it all depends on how her ankle recovered from that crazy slip during an interview in Paris. When she is fit, she is extremely dangerous. But Karolina Muchova, another Czech who reached the round of 16 in 2019, was inspired Barbora KrejcikovaRoland Garros’ victory.
Connelly: Let’s go with the hot hand that has many Wimbledon achievements on her resume. Angelique Kerber, who was seeded at No. 25, defeated Kvitova to reach the final in Bad Homburg, and Wimbledon is her best slam. She could face her old friend Serena (and Bencic in the fourth round) in the third round, but she’s landed her fair share of shots against Serena over the years. That sounds like a pretty solid placeholder to me.
Drysdale: Gauff. All round great ball striker. Moves wonderfully and she is now showing maturity after honing her skills for a couple of years.
Gilbert: Almost a guarantee that there will be one unset player in the semifinals, and probably two, which has happened in every slam over the past few years. With so many Americans in the draw, you’re definitely going to make a deep run, maybe someone like Madison key.
blood: Gauff: Even though she’s in Serena’s quarter of the draw, they wouldn’t face each other until the fourth round.
Hamilton: Belinda Bencic could surprise some and move into the final stages of Wimbledon, as does Karoline Muchova. One day Gauff will win a Grand Slam – it’s all about “when” and not “when”. But I hope Petra Kvitova has a great run at Wimbledon. She is in 12th place just outside the top 10, played well at the Hamburg Open and knows Wimbledon inside and out, having won there in 2011 and 2014.
After her wonderful debut in 2019, she is loved by British viewers. She’s coming into this Wimbledon with solid momentum, having just made her first big quarter-finals at Roland Garros (which she lost to the eventual champion) and is playing the top 25 with a career high inside, although she lost early at Eastbourne, it seems it’s almost as if she was so excited to play at Wimbledon again. The world is ready for Coco to win a major and I think this could be a realistic place to do it
Jensen: Jessie Pegula
Firepower everywhere from American. She is capable of hitting winners from all areas of the court, and her natural ground hits have tremendous depth – a nightmare for any opponent. The spirit of Pegula is a mountain of toughness. She is also a student of the game. Her eagerness to learn and her use of various tactics under pressure ensure that she is constantly improving. In David Witt, one of the brightest minds in tennis, she has such a great corner man who constantly shows her what is possible with her unlimited potential. Don’t be surprised if she holds the gold at the end of this amazing tournament.
Maine: As everyone knows by now, or at least after seeing Krejcikova’s incredible run at Roland Garros, there are dozens of women who can win a big title, and the Wimbledon champion could very well be someone who is not seeded and by none of them is mentioned to us. That said, I’ll go here with someone who is more experienced: Victoria Azarenka.
While she hasn’t reached the quarter-finals at the All England Club since 2015, she has been playing impressive grass tennis for the past few weeks. She reached the semifinals in Berlin and won the doubles title there, and she saved four match points in an incredible win over Alize cornet in Bad Homburg to win the second round. She retired before her next game, but that would likely ensure that she could play at the same level during the main event at Wimbledon.
McEnroe: Coco defeats Serena on the way to her first major semi-final.
McKendry: Naughty answer is 11th and former champion, Garbine Muguruza. But in line with the question, Gauff. The 20th seed has a wonderful European spring. I can see her advance into the fourth round where she may face Williams. Please, tennis gods.
McNamee: Krejcikova is in remarkable shape. After winning six double titles – both women and mixed – between 2018 and 2021, she finally won a single title at the 2021 French Open. While she’s on the same page as Barty, her form will be a boost in the tournament. She meets exciting youngsters Clara Tauson and Marta Kostyuk early, but Wimbledon could be the continuation of a great year for them.
Stevenson: Venus Williams. She comes as a joker. The grass goes well with everything about Venus’ game. Sure, the quota makers aren’t expected to do much, but the serve is there. The volleys can be pulled out. And their basic strokes are technically spectacular to look at. Could she be a Goran Ivanisevic?
Stumps: Jess Pegula, she plays so well and these courts will suit your style of play.
Shriver: My outsider is Maria Sakkari, who proves that she has an athletic game that carries over to all surfaces. She works hard and wins more matches in majors every year.
The sentimental choice is Serena for her 24th singles major, but after watching her practice on Friday I just don’t see her winning seven games in two weeks. If she manages to get through week two and play herself in better, more confident form, even more history may be made.