Wimbledon 2021 Preview- Can Dzokovic and Halep defend their titles?

After a gap of over a year, on Monday the 134th Wimbledon Championships will start in SW19. The event was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, with Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep back this year to defend their 2019 titles.

No Nadal this year

In the Men’s event, with Rafael Nadal absent this year and Roger Federer looking below his best, Djokovic will be a hot favourite. A number of top players are also lacking experience on grass which leaves the Djok the one to beat.

Fans of tennis will remember the 2019 final after Djokovic beat Federer in one of the finest finals ever seen. It was also the longest final in the tournament history.

Djokovic comes into the tournament on the back of a recent major win the French Open- his 19th major. The Serb needs one more major win to tie him with Federer and Nadal for the most men’s majors of all time.

Improving Thiem, Zverev and Tsitsipas a trio to watch

Back in 2019 Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas seeded five to seven respectively all exited in Round one. Move forward two years and the trio have moved up in the rankings from four to six. Tsitsipas has excelled on grass recently and is certainly one to watch. Zverev and Thiem should enjoy playing on grass and on their day are capable of beating anybody.

Federer withdrew from the French Open following a third round win but didn’t look happy. He decided he needed more time to prepare for his favourite surface-grass. However, at the age of 39, can he really last the distance of a gruelling two-week tournament.

Ranked Number two in the world Daniil Medvedev is a player to watch but has struggled in SW19. Never making it past the third round doesn’t bode well for him.

Canadian Aliassime has imense talent

Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime is a young player with immense talent. He has a very impressive 14-5 career record on grass and reached round three in 2019- his only previous appearance. Aliassime has twice been runner up in Stuttgart, has reached the semis at Queens and Halle- beating Federer last week.

In terms of the British challenge, Cameron Norrie is currently in superb form coming into Wimbledon. He is experiencing enjoying a breakthrough year on the ATP tour, having already won 28 matches this year. Although has never gone past the second round, Norrie has the game to possibly get into the second week of the event.

Dan Evans enjoyed a good run at Queens in the lead up to Wimbledon. Evans has a variety of different shots that will suit the surface of grass. The 31-year-old will be looking for a good run in the event and to hold on to his Number One British men’s player title.

Womens event looks as open as always

Unlike the men’s outfit the women’s line up will include a host of previously successful grass players.

Of the 32 ladies seeded at the event, no less than 12 have made it to the quarter finals or beyond at Wimbledon. One of those is Halep-the current defending Champion. The Rumanian decided not to play at the French Open due to a muscle injury but is back to full fitness now.

Serena Williams- who lost to Halep in straight sets in the final of 2019- will be gunning for her sixth Wimbledon crown. Approaching 40, time is not on her side as she tries to equal that elusive slam number 24 to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record.

French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova has a game that could pay dividends on grass. American Coco Gauff is in fine form this season having won 27 of 37 matches.

Bianca Andreescu the 2019 Open Champion missed all of 2020 due to injury and has had a stop start comeback this year. Will be playing Wimbledon for the first-time next week. If the World number seven can stay fit, she could go well.

Swiatek continuing to make big strides

The 2020 French Open champion Iga Swiatek has continued to make strides this season. The Pole has won WTA titles in Adelaide and Rome and is no stranger to Wimbledon having won the Junior title in 2018.

Having won the 2020 Australian Open ,Sofia Kenin plays better on fast surfaces like grass. Elena Rybakina has a powerful serve and is an improving player who has previously beaten Halep, Kenin and Williams in tournaments.

British hopes will once again rest on the shoulders of Johanna Konta who recently withdrew from her favourite event at Eastbourne. Konta, who is still suffering with a troublesome knee has been successful in recent weeks by winning the Nottingham Open. If she can overcome her knee problem she appears to be getting back to her best and will be looking to repeat her feat of 2017 where she lost in the semi-finals.

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