Can Iga Swiatek break through? Who else has a chance at Wimbledon


At the peak of his early prime, Tiger Woods won nine of the 20 tournaments he entered in 2000. He won three majors and finished second in four other tournaments. It was conceivably the best year of golf we’ve ever seen. Entering the Open Championship at St. Andrews, he was a +150 betting favorite. That’s equivalent to saying he had a 40% chance and the other 157 golfers in the field had a combined 60% chance. The following spring at the Masters, against a much smaller field (93 other golfers), he was again at +150. (Again, he won, completing his “Tiger Slam.”)

Even at his peak, the betting odds implied that in the ultimate battle of Tiger versus the field, the field still had a better shot.

Novak Djokovic, at age 36, having battled injury and iffy form for a solid chunk of 2023, enters Wimbledon at -175. Implied odds: a 64% title chance for him and, therefore, a combined 36% chance for the other 127 players in the field. Djokovic has won both of 2023’s Slams and the past three (and six of the past eight) he has entered. He’s got 23 Slam titles in all, and he would have been favored in both of the Slams he missed for refusing COVID vaccination.

The men’s tour is in a pretty fun place right now, with a trio of thriving 21-and-under stars — Carlos Alcaraz (20), Jannik Sinner (21) and Holger Rune (20) — adding skills by the day, plus plenty of 25-and-under players developing as well. Two 25-year-old Americans are currently in the top 10 (Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe), and even without Roger Federer (retired) and Rafael Nadal (injured and almost retired), there’s enough depth to create loads of fun mid- and late-round matchups. But when it comes to figuring out who’s going to actually lift the trophy at the end of this fortnight, it feels the answer is as preordained as it’s ever been.

The men’s tour might lack title drama at the moment, but the women’s tour has established almost perfect balance — it boasts both three clear stars (who have combined to win the past five Slams) and a large batch of players good enough to take down any of the heavies on the right day.

The title itself, however, is only part of a Slam journey. Here are 50 men and women capable of standing out during Wimbledon. We’ll separate them into tiers, from the top-level contenders through the intriguing long shots.

Tier 1: Novak and the favorites

Novak Djokovic. It didn’t feel quite right listing Djokovic alongside other favorites. He has won the past four Wimbledons that were held. He’s 40-2 on grass since the start of 2017, and neither of the two players to beat him — Tomas Berdych (retired) and Marin Cilic (injured) — is in the Wimbledon field. Even if he’s not at the absolute top of his game, it would be a legitimate surprise if he didn’t win seven matches in London over the next two weeks.

Iga Swiatek. She very much seized the “best in the world” mantle following Ashleigh Barty‘s sudden retirement in early 2022. She has won three of the past five Slams and is 55-8 since the start of last year’s US Open. She’s still extremely green on grass, however.

Not only is she just 12-6 all-time on grass, she’s also never beaten an opponent ranked higher than 39th on the surface. (Her first-round opponent, Lin Zhu, ranks 33rd, by the way.) Five wins over her last two trips to Wimbledon came against opponents with an average ranking of 126.8. She’s the tournament’s betting favorite because she’s an unbelievable player, but she’s still extremely vulnerable at the All England Club.

Carlos Alcaraz. Alcaraz is clearing levels on the Becoming An All-Time Great Tennis Player video game in record time. He has mastered hard courts, he’s excellent on clay, he beat Djokovic on the first try, and he reached No. 1 in the ATP rankings as a teenager. He’s otherworldly. Really, the only two levels left to master are “understanding grass” and “beating Djokovic in best-of-five.” He’s getting somewhere with the former.

Alcaraz was just 4-2 all-time on grass heading into this year’s grass run, and in his two losses (both at Wimbledon), he lost six of seven sets against Daniil Medvedev and Jannik Sinner. Alcaraz has plenty to prove, but after dropping his first set of the tournament, he won 10 straight sets and swept four top-40 opponents, including Alex De Minaur in the Queen’s Club final. He still has played just 11 total matches on the surface, and it would be a surprise if he was ready for Djokovic, but he’s obviously capable of beating anyone else in the field.

Elena Rybakina. When Rybakina arrived in London last summer, she was a decent 15-7 all-time on grass, and she had played at a steady top-25 or so level for a couple of years. But then she swept a pair of former Slam champs (Bianca Andreescu and Simona Halep) to reach the final, where she pulled what seemed like an upset of Ons Jabeur, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.

She has maintained that level for much of the past year. Rybakina got no ratings points for the Wimbledon win and therefore remained ranked in the 20s, but she reached the finals of four huge tournaments in 2023 — winning at Indian Wells and Rome and finishing as runner-up in the Australian Open and Miami. Now she’s back where she discovered her top-five form.

Aryna Sabalenka. The last time Sabalenka was at Wimbledon, in 2021, she beat both of 2022’s finalists, Rybakina and Jabeur, before falling to Karolina Pliskova in the semis. She’s just 5-3 on grass since then, and lost to Veronika Kudermetova in the second round in Berlin in her lone grass tournament this year, so we can’t say she’s gotten a ton of useful and relevant practice. But if she is able to avoid an early-round upset and play her way into grass-court form, she’s a clear and obvious contender.

When she’s landing it, she’s got just about the biggest serve in the game, and Wimbledon is a pretty good place to have a huge serve.

Tier 2: Primary hopefuls

Daniil Medvedev. His long, loping groundstrokes — and his lack of enthusiasm about coming to the net — will never make Medvedev a natural on grass, and he’s just 6-5 all-time against top-20 opponents on the surface (and lost his past two). But he’s one of the three or four best players in the world and could still find a rhythm.

Petra Kvitova. Every time we approach a new Slam, I talk myself into the 33-year-old having a shot at a big run even though she hasn’t made it past the fourth round in 11 straight. Even at Wimbledon, where she won both of her Slam titles, she’s just 9-7 since her 2014 win. But her upside remains immense, and she’s given us a number of reminders of that lately.

Kvitova beat three top-20 opponents (including Rybakina and an in-form Donna Vekic) on her way to the Miami title in March, and she beat four more, including Caroline Garcia and Vekic again, to win at Berlin last week. She’s sixth in this year’s points race, and … I’m talking myself into Kvitova all over again.

Ons Jabeur. Over the past year, Jabeur is 17-4 in Slams and just 16-13 in all other tournaments. It’s hard to trust big-game players to always show up properly in big games, but Jabeur’s incredible hands and adaptability certainly translate sensibly to grass, and she’s 22-5 on the surface since 2021. Let’s not pretend she can’t make a big run.

Holger Rune. Clay season was kind to the 20-year-old Rune, who won 16 of 20 matches on the surface, including four of six against the top 10. His grass-court experience is minimal (3-4 all-time), but he’s an adaptable brawler, and he looked good at Queen’s Club last week, beating both serve-and-volleyer Maxime Cressy and shot-maker Lorenzo Musetti on his way to the semis.

Jelena Ostapenko. Her biggest breakthrough came in winning the French Open in 2017, but the 26-year-old has enjoyed her most consistent Slam success in London, where she reached the 2018 semis and has made it to the fourth round three times. She’s 23-6 on grass since 2021, too. She mauls tennis balls and loves short points and should have another Wimbledon run coming at some point.

Tier 3: Good in 2023

Jannik Sinner. The 13 players in this range (a) are all in the top 50, and (b) have won at least 70% of their matches in 2023. Sinner can struggle to remain in top physical form, but his game appears adaptable, and after a dreadful 2-6 start to his career on grass, he has won seven of his past nine, not including an injury retirement in Halle.

Karolina Muchova. Muchova has also battled injury through the years, but she showed off her full and delightful attacking game in reaching the French Open final. She also has a pair of Wimbledon quarterfinal runs on her résumé. She went 0-2 on the surface last year and didn’t enter a grass tournament this summer, but if she can kick off enough rust, she’s got a shot.

Coco Gauff. Gauff remains one of the steadiest players on tour, which is just a remarkable thing to say about a 19-year-old. She has reached at least the third round of 10 of her 15 career Slams, and she’s 19-5 in her past five. She is almost upset-proof, but she’s also just 4-12 against top-20 opponents (1-8 against the top 10) over the past year.

Stefanos Tsitsipas. Tsitsipas’ serve alone would seem to make him a massive threat on grass. But he’s just 21-16 all-time, with one tournament semifinal appearance, on the surface. He entered this week’s Mallorca tuneup to build a rhythm after losing three of his last four matches, but instead he fell to Yannick Hanfmann in his first match. He’s got tools, but his form is severely lacking at the moment.

Jessica Pegula. The 29-year-old has reached five Slam quarterfinals since the start of 2021, and her doubles prowess suggests she has the hands and general craftiness required on grass. But she’s just 18-16 all-time on the surface and 3-3 at Wimbledon. She still has plenty to prove here.

Taylor Fritz. He’s 9-9 against the top 10 since the start of 2022. He beat Nadal twice on hard courts last year, and he beat Tsitsipas on clay this spring. Fritz’s game continues to evolve and grow, but the next time he does something noteworthy on grass will be the first time. He’s 0-8 all-time against the top 20 on the lawns.

Donna Vekic. She’s still only 26, but Vekic has had a couple of different careers already. She reached her first WTA final nearly 11 years ago and peaked in the top 20 in 2019 before losing loads of time to injury. But her form has been consistently awesome in 2023. She has reached four quarterfinals and two finals, and she beat Rybakina in Berlin last week before falling to Kvitova in the final.

Belinda Bencic. The 26-year-old has won Olympic gold and a pair of WTA 1000 events, and she has made three US Open quarterfinals and one semi. But she has yet to do much of anything at other Slams. She did reach a pair of Wimbledon fourth rounds, but she’s 0-2 there since 2019. The tools are there, but inconsistency has long been an issue.

Andrey Rublev. Another great ball striker who has yet to do much on grass. He’s trending in the right direction, though. The seven-time Slam quarterfinalist has reached the finals twice, and he’s 11-4 on grass since 2021. Wimbledon success has eluded him, but he’s certainly got the skills to change that.

Cameron Norrie. A consistent top-15 presence for two years now, Norrie enjoyed a Slam breakthrough with last summer’s Wimbledon semifinal appearance. He has taken sets from both Djokovic and Federer there, too, and he’s won six of his past nine against top-10 opponents. His grass-court résumé is unimpressive outside of last year’s run, but that did give him proof of concept.

Frances Tiafoe. Big Foe made a statement with a straight-sets win over Tsitsipas at Wimbledon two years ago, and he made the round of 16 last year. He won his first grass title in Stuttgart a couple of weeks ago and, including challengers, he’s 17-7 on the surface since 2021. Trends are positive.

Nicolas Jarry. Another late bloomer, the 27-year-old reached his first Slam quarterfinal at the French Open and has surged into the top 30 for the first time. He’s got a big serve, and he beat Tsitsipas and played well against Alexander Zverev at Halle last week.

Tier 4: Legends

Andy Murray. It’s impossible not to be seduced by the thought of the 36-year-old, two-time Wimbledon champion and seven-time semifinalist, who missed the better part of four years to hip problems, making one last grand charge at the All England Club. He skipped clay-court season to prepare and swept through a pair of challenger events, building buzz along the way. But in his first match as a top-40 player since 2017, he lost in straight sets to Alex De Minaur at Queen’s Club.

Hey, he lost early at Queen’s Club in 2012 and still made the Wimbledon final. It can happen again, right?

Venus Williams. Technically, the five-time Wimbledon champion has already made her stirring, late-career Wimbledon run, charging to the final at age 37 in 2017. Six years later, here she is again. She has played in only one of the past seven Slams, and she’s won only two tour matches in the past year. But at Birmingham last week, she took down a top-50 player in Camila Giorgi (who just beat Jabeur), then gave Ostapenko a full, three-set challenge before falling. Grass has forever been her best surface, and if you can hang with Ostapenko, you can beat a lot of the players in this field.

Tier 5: Need only a break or two

Alexander Zverev. His gruesome ankle injury at the 2022 French Open gets further and further in the rearview mirror. He has won eight of his past 10 matches, and he’s got a pair of fourth-round Wimbledon appearances to lean on.

Daria Kasatkina. Kasatkina has been quietly delivering steady results in 2023. She’s 10-4 over her past five tournaments, and she has reached a hard-court final (Adelaide), a clay semifinal (Charleston) and a grass semifinal (Eastbourne) this year. She’s also 14-6 on grass over the past three years. She’s just 1-2 at Wimbledon since reaching the quarters in 2018, but maybe she’s due a run?

Barbora Krejcikova. An ultra-clean ball striker, the 27-year-old former Slam champion just reached her first grass-court final in Birmingham. Her next grass win over a top-30 opponent, however, will be her first.

Beatriz Haddad Maia. A pair of grass titles last summer kicked off the best year of Haddad Maia’s career. She’s 21-6 on grass since 2019, and confidence has to be high after her French Open semifinal run.

Caroline Garcia. She has a big serve, she’s won three grass-court titles, she’s made the Wimbledon fourth round a couple of times, and she’s spent all of 2023 ranked in the top five after last year’s US Open semifinal run. There’s a lot to like here.

Felix Auger-Aliassime. Yes, he might need more than a couple of breaks. A combination of injuries and simply dreadful form have beset the 22-year-old of late. He’s 4-4 in his past four Slam matches, and he has lost five of the past six official matches he’s played dating back to March. It’s been only two years since he was in the Wimbledon quarters, but it feels like much longer.

Veronika Kudermetova. She’s a doubles star, she’s 11-3 on grass over the past two years, and she reached the final in ‘s-Hertogenbosch a couple of weeks ago. It’s frankly odd that, even including qualifiers, she’s just 2-4 all-time at Wimbledon.

Alex De Minaur. The 24-year-old Aussie has long been comfortable on grass, going 43-21 all-time. He has won 11 of his last 15, too, and he beat Rune on his way to a competitive Queen’s Club final defeat to Alcaraz last week. He’s definitely one to watch.

Madison Keys. Wimbledon is the only Slam in which Keys hasn’t reached a semifinal, and her lone quarterfinal appearance was eight years ago. But the 28-year-old beat Gauff on the way to the Eastbourne final this week, and she’s won 71% of her career matches on grass.

Maria Sakkari. After reaching two Slam semis in 2021, Sakkari struggled, going just 6-5 in her past five Slams. She also has never made it past the third round at Wimbledon. Still, she’s athletic and 11-6 on grass over the past two years.

Seb Korda. Overly excited after his win over Tiafoe at Queen’s Club, Korda declared himself “one of the favorites at Wimbledon.” That’s probably a bit much (he later backtracked), but last year’s fourth-round showing, a 2-2 record against top-10 opponents in 2023, and a new layer of muscle certainly make him a candidate for a run. When he looks good, he looks great.

Ekaterina Alexandrova. The good news: She’s 30-15 all-time on grass and a torrid 7-1 in 2023. She won ‘s-Hertogenbosch and lost only to Kvitova in the Berlin semis. The bad news: She’s 2-5 all-time in the Wimbledon main draw.

Casper Ruud. It feels odd to have mentioned well over 30 players before talking about the No. 4 player in the world and last month’s French Open finalist. But while Ruud has won 58% of his career matches on hard courts and 68% on clay, he’s a mere 3-6 all-time on grass. He might be better at golf than lawn tennis. He has played eight sets against top-40 opponents on the surface, and he’s lost them all.

Grigor Dimitrov. It’s been a good couple of months for the 32-year-old and 2014 Wimbledon semifinalist. He made his first tour final in five years in May (Geneva), and, including a nice run at Queen’s Club, has won 10 of his past 13 matches.

Tier 6: Wimbledon has been kind to them

Matteo Berrettini. Two years ago, Berrettini looked like Djokovic’s biggest grass-court challenger, taking him to four sets in the Wimbledon final. But he missed the tournament last year due to a positive COVID test, and due to both an abdominal injury and zapped confidence, he has played in just five tournaments and won just four matches since March.

Nick Kyrgios. Berrettini has played more than Kyrgios, at least. The fiery 28-year-old enjoyed his strongest run of form ever in 2022, reaching the Wimbledon final and winning 22 of 26 matches at one point. But thanks to a torn meniscus, he has played one match (and not a very good one) since last October.

Karolina Pliskova. The 31-year-old (and 2021 Wimbledon finalist) is still looking for consistency after an early-2022 hand injury, but quarterfinal runs at both the US Open and Australian Open are keeping her in the WTA top 20 despite a terrible clay-court run. Tough draws have not helped her get matches of late — seven of her past eight matches have come against top-30 opponents. (She’s 3-4 in those matches.)

Hubert Hurkacz. He has a big serve and serve-and-volley capabilities, and he reached the Wimbledon semis in 2021 and won at Halle last year. But he has lost to all three top-40 opponents he’s faced on grass since then. (He’s also just 2-8 on any surface against the top-20 foes he has played in that span.)

Denis Shapovalov. After finishing four straight years in the top 20, the 24-year-old has lost his way a bit. The 2021 semifinalist has gone just 28-24 over the past year and has lost seven of his past nine matches on grass. Yikes.

Elina Svitolina. A semifinalist back in 2019, Svitolina missed a year due to pregnancy but made a stirring run to the French Open quarterfinals. She played more aggressive, offense-friendly tennis in Paris, which would theoretically translate well to grass, but she was blown out by Linda Fruhvirtova in her only grass-court tuneup match.

Tatjana Maria. She beat Sakkari and Ostapenko during a stunning Wimbledon semifinal run last year, and took a set from Swiatek this week. In between? She didn’t do much of note. But grass courts seem to bring out the best in her.

Milos Raonic. Thigh … Achilles … toe … a ludicrous number of injuries have prevented the 32-year-old (and 2016 Wimbledon finalist) from playing in the past nine Slams. But after nearly two years away, he returned to beat Miomir Kecmanovic in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. His serve remains huge, and Wimbledon is as good a place as any to start a late-career run of form.

Roberto Bautista Agut. The 35-year-old is known primarily for his three wins over Djokovic, and they all came on hard courts (as did seven of his 11 career titles). But his only Slam semifinal run came at Wimbledon in 2019, and he beat Medvedev in straight sets in Halle last week.

Tier 7: Inconsistent, but good on grass

Alexander Bublik. The 26-year-old from Kazakhstan reached a career-high ranking of 26th after winning the Halle title last week, and in his ATP career, three of his eight finals appearances (and two of his three Slam third-round appearances) have come on grass.

Tallon Griekspoor. Griekspoor, also 26, beat De Minaur on his way to the ‘s-Hertogenbosch title, and beat Hurkacz in Halle before losing in three sets to Rublev. He’s 17-6 on grass since 2021, and his reward is the No. 28 seed at Wimbledon.

Katie Boulter. The Leicester native made her first Slam third-round appearance last year at Wimbledon, and she just won her first career WTA title, defeating fellow Brit Jodie Burrage to win in Nottingham. That briefly bumped her into the top 80 for the first time, and while she isn’t likely to make a title run, she could be a solid bracket buster.



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