2018 Wimbledon Preview

It’s that time of year again. The time for a tournament so famous, it’s simply called “The Championships.” With deep traditions and beautiful grass courts, this tournament is truly the most prestigious in tennis. With Wimbledon starting today, everyone is fighting for the same goal: to hoist that championship cup (or dish for the women) and to have his or her name etched in tennis history. As both of last year’s champions return to London, we will see if they have what it takes to repeat, or if a newcomer will take the title.



            Last year’s champion was Roger Federer, arguably Wimbledon’s greatest champion and the greatest tennis player to ever live. Following a knee injury that took him out of competition for the second half of 2016, Federer returned to peak form to greet the 2017 season, winning the Australian Open in January, followed by the tournament synonymous with his name, Wimbledon, in July. In 2018, Federer successfully defended his Australian Open title; the question becomes, can he successfully defend his Wimbledon title, as well? Absolutely. Although currently ranked number 2 in the world, Federer recently became the oldest number 1 player in history and retains a number 1 seed in the tournament. He’s the odds-on favorite to win it, but there’s plenty of talent threatening to dethrone him.

Given his persistent rivalry with Federer at the top of the rankings and in tennis history books, Rafael Nadal is an easy pick for the title. What Federer is to Wimbledon, Nadal is to the clay tournaments. His gritty style is more conducive to the clay than the fast-paced grass courts of Wimbledon. However, part of what makes him a great champion is his ability to overcome these odds. He has nonetheless won Wimbledon on two occasions, including his famous dethroning of five-time defending champion (at that time), Federer, in a five-set thriller in 2008. But with a draw loaded with heavy-hitters, it may be tough for Nadal to claim his first Wimbledon since 2010. If he can overcome these heavy hitters, his number 2 seeding sets us up for another historic Federer-Nadal final.

As mentioned above, grass promotes a fast style of play, which is conducive to heavy hitters and big servers. Four players come to mind that fit the bill: Alexander Zverev, Nick Kyrgios, and John Isner. Zverev and Kyrgios are both young, budding stars with high ceiling for success and Wimbledon is the perfect tournament to showcase their immense talent. Every year, Zverev seems like the dark horse picked to win a major tournament, but never comes through. Could this tournament that he breaks through? Kyrgios used to be the in vouge pick, prior to weak mental game and constant temper tantrums started to look like more than just a lack maturity. However, with his talent, if he gets on a roll, he could be unbeatable. By comparison, Isner is a veteran in the sport. At the tender age of 33, Isner is finally becoming a more multidimensional player than just the big server of old. His serve has helped him to hold records for the most tiebreakers in matches and was a major reason for his record-setting 70-68 fifth set win versus Nicolas Mahut in Wimbledon 2010 — a match the is the longest in professional tennis history at 8 hours and 11 minutes, over the course of three days. With his serve to back up his emerging net game and forehand, Isner could be a force in this tournament and capture his first major title. Some other names to watch are Milos Raonic, Juan Martin del Potro, Novak Djokovic, and Marin Cilic. Raonic and del Potro are heavy hitters with some major successes in their careers; Djokovic is a famous champion in the sport, unable to maintain a high level of play recently; and Cilic made it to last year’s Wimbledon final, losing to Federer.

My pick: Roger Federer — the classy fan-favorite, the only people who would pick against this guy are the family members of his opponents (even then, they might not).

My dark horse pick: John Isner — if he doesn’t get plagued by long matches, he could make a deep run.




As opposed to the gentlemen’s side, whose top players have held relatively steady for over a decade, the women’s side is much more dynamic and inconsistent. It is not uncommon for top players, having won recent majors, go out in early rounds at subsequent tournaments. For example, at the time of writing this article, Sloane Stephens, the reigning US Open Champion and Roland Garros runner up just got knocked out in the first round of Wimbledon for the second consecutive year. Due to the variability in women’s tennis, it’s hard to talk about everyone who will do well. However, there are a few relevant people to mention.

Simona Halep, one of the most consistent women players right now. She’s been ranked number 1 all year and has really stepped up as a constant threat since Serena’s maternity leave. She also just won her first major at the French Open, showing incredible physical stamina and more importantly, incredible mental stamina throughout her match with Stephens. Simona is known for her ability to essentially be a human backboard, while also covering huge amounts of the court. What that means is that the heavy hitters that normally thrive at Wimbledon will have a hard time beating Halep by just smacking the ball hard at her.

Garbine Muguruza, the former world #1 and defending Wimbledon champion. Since her title victory a year ago, things have been rocky for Gabine. She has a couple tournament wins and a semifinal appearance at this year’s French Open. However, she’s also had multiple tournaments cut short by injury. But don’t count Muguruza out just yet. She’s still ranked 3rd in the world and could be ready to strike in London.

Some other players worth mentioning are again, some heavy hitters. Unfortunately, Sloane Stephens and Magdalena Rybarikova were already knocked out in straight sets round 1. However, some other players to watch out for are two very popular ones: Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams. Both players were the game’s best but have fallen off for two very different reasons. Sharapova was banned for illegal substances while Serena was on maternity leave. Sharapova has been playing better while Serena is still looking to hit her stride. Sharapova and Serena are ranked 24 and 25 respectively for this tournament, but they are both capable of playing like a number 1. Serena won this tournament last time she played it in 2017 and is a 7 time champion. Sharapova has won this event just once but is looking to get back into the limelight for all the right reasons

My pick: Simona Halep – Not only is she a personal favorite, she finally looks like she has her head on straight. We could be in for a decade of excellence from her.

My dark horse pick: Serena Williams – I know, I know. How can the greatest women’s player of all time be a dark horse pick? Well she hasn’t been good since coming back from maternity leave. She’s ranked 181 in the world and it made headlines that she got seeded at all for this tournament. I’m sure she’ll be back eventually. And it may just be at this tournament.


Wimbledon is more than just a tennis tournament. It’s grass courts, ivy covered walls, strawberries and cream, and all white attire. It’s a world class event, draped in tradition. Traditions as well known as the champions. The men’s side is a clearer picture. Only a handful are expected to win. The women’s side is a coin flip. It’s anyone’s guess (As evidenced by the top players being knocked out in round 1). But regardless of who wins, it’s sure to be another great chapter in the book of Wimbledon.

-Stephen Brown III (@sbtrey23)

What Do You Think? Leave a Comment!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: