There is a touch of magic about the famous grass courts of SW19, where the world's best players assemble to pursue the sport's most coveted title. Great champions like Steffi Graf, Bjorn Borg and Pete Sampras achieved legendary status on Wimbledon's Centre Court, and this year's competition will be fiercely contested by players hoping to follow in their footsteps.
For tennis betting fans, the men's competition offers many tantalising prospects. An extraordinary French Open, where Stan Wawrinka overcame Novak Djokovic to claim his second career Grand Slam with a stunning performance in the final, has left many fans pondering the end of the dominant 'Big Four' in men's tennis. Nevertheless, Djokovic remains the favourite to win Wimbledon and is priced at 6/5 with William Hill Sports.
Andy Murray (3/1) and Roger Federer (6/1) are also well fancied, but Rafa Nadal – the last of the Big Four and for so long one of the most powerful forces in the men's game – appears to be losing his touch. Having crashed out of his beloved French Open with a devastating quarter-final defeat to Djokovic, the Spaniard is now as long as 16/1 with Coral Sports to triumph at Wimbledon – a tournament he hasn't won since 2010.
Wawrinka is making significant inroads into the exclusive club at the very top of the men's game. The Swiss star is available at 12/1 with Coral Sports for Wimbledon which, given his red-hot form at Roland Garros, may tempt some punters. Wawrinka has never progressed beyond the quarter-finals in London, however, and was beaten in the first round in 2012 and 2013. Whether or not the 30-year-old can maintain his Grand Slam winning streak on the grass courts of SW19 remains to be seen.
Despite Nadal's recent struggles and the fading powers of Federer, it is difficult to look beyond the Big Four plus Wawrinka for a winner in the men's draw. The best of the rest may be Grigor Dimitrov, who is a generous 33/1 with Winner Sports. The talented Bulgarian reached the semi-finals last year and possesses an all-round game that has earned him comparisons to Federer.
On the female side of the competition, five-time winner Serena Williams is the strong favourite at 2/1 with Ladbrokes Sports. Williams won the French Open to claim her 20th Grand Slam title, overcoming a bout of illness in the process. At 33, the American remains formidable on the court and always saves her best for the major tournaments, so betting fans are expected to place plenty of money on Williams to take the title once again.
Looking elsewhere, it's worth remembering that the women's draw has thrown up one or two surprises in the last few years. Marion Bartoli was a relatively unfancied champion in 2013, while lower ranked players Sabine Lisicki and Eugenie Bouchard have reached recent finals. Lucie Safarova could attract some interest this year –the Czech player was narrowly beaten by Williams in the French Open final and reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon last year, where she lost to eventual champion Petra Kvitova. Now ranked at number seven in the world, Safarova is clearly improving – she can be backed at 22/1 with Bet365 Sports.
Meanwhile, Sloane Stephens (50/1 with Winner Sports) will surely attract some support as a dangerous outsider. The inconsistent 22-year-old, often touted as 'the new Serena', has struggled to maintain momentum since her breakthrough year of 2013, when she reached the Australian Open semi-finals and the quarters at Wimbledon, but she offered a reminder of her potential when taking Williams to three sets in the fourth round of the French. If she finds her form, Stephens could be this year's surprise package.
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