The Championships at Wimbledon begin today and I couldn’t resist putting down an overview and some of my own predictions. The tournament will last from July 2 to July 15, 2018, bringing the tennis elite together once more. Even if you’re not a tennis enthusiast, chances are you have followed the particular event at some point. So, is this the best Grand Slam of the year? Many argue that it is, thanks to the awe surrounding it and cult characteristics.
It’s not just that it’s the oldest international tennis tournament still going after 138 years. Nor that it is probably the most prestigious tennis event due to the athletes, prize money and coverage it attracts. Grass definitely has something to do with it, as most of the big events today are being played on different court surfaces. But there is something more about Wimbledon that makes it the crowning jewel of the sport. Much of it has to be attributed to the unchanged traditions that are followed religiously for over a century. From insisting that all players wear whites to referring to them as “ladies” and “gentlemen”, Wimbledon strives to keep its traditions alive. Let’s see some of those traditions that are unique to The Championships.
There are many things particular to the tournament that make it stand out against all others. Apart from the “all whites” dress code, there are few other things you need to know about the Wimbledon traditions:
Strawberries and Cream
The food stands outside any sport venue is definitely one of the attractions for fans and spectators of an event. At Wimbledon, those stands have been serving strawberries and cream since the 1950’s. Some say the tradition goes back even further, to the very first Championships. Regardless, the strawberries and cream is a Wimbledon trademark for players and fans alike.
The Grass Courts
While all Grand Slam tournaments started off being played on grass, Wimbledon is the only one that still sticks to it. As a tennis court surface, grass is the fastest but also the most expensive to maintain. Hence, it only adds to the prestige of the event further. Plus the retro feeling of seeing that green court, which is now part of any sports fan’s tennis memories, the world over.
The All England Lawn Club, where the tournament takes place, is sponsored by the Queen herself. The Duke of Kent is the President of the All England Club. The Royal family sits at a specific area of the court, the Royal Box.
No Sponsorship Ads on the Courts
In a highly commercialized sport, such as tennis, the Wimbledon organizers continue to not allow sponsored ads and banners on the courts. This certainly adds to the image and prestige the officials strive to retain (pun intended).
Middle Sunday and Manic Monday
During the 2 weeks of tennis at Wimbledon (or what the British call the “fortnight”), the middle Sunday is a rest day. There are no matches scheduled on that day and players are allowed to get a day off before the round of 16. Right next, comes Manic Moday, supposedly the best day for tennis fans in the entire year. 32 of the best tennis players in the world show up at the All England Club courts and fight for a spot at the QFs. All n the same day – Manic Monday.
Follow the action at Wimbledon real time with the live tennis scores
Who will win Wimbledon 2018?
Tennis is not a sport that favors predictions, let alone a Grand Slam such as this one. In recent years, Nadal and Federer have turned the tables on anyone who thought they’re past their prime. The two have won all of the last 6 Grand Slams, leaving little to the imagination. As major opponents like Djokovic, Wawrinka and Murray still struggle to come back, Fedal just keep growing their legendary list of achievements.
On the other hand, the women’s field is as unpredictable as ever. Particularly with the comeback issues Serena, Sharapova and Azarenka have been facing. This has given the space to players like Halep, Muguruza and Wozniacki to claim big titles. But it has also inspired courage and determination for the new blood of women’s tennis, to go out there and believe in big upsets.
That being said, let’s take a stab at predicting the potential Wimbledon winners for 2018, while we’re at it.
Wimbledon 2018 Gentlemen’s predictions
I’ll just go ahead and say it. Roger Federer will win his 9th Wimbledon title this year. There’s really not much standing between him and the trophy. The men’s field continues to struggle with injuries and postponed comebacks in 2018. Regardless, when Federer is healthy and motivated enough, he is the favorite on any surface, perhaps with the exception of clay. Even the Wimbledon astrology seems to support it.
Andy Murray has announced he will not be participating this year. Novak Djokovic seems to be on a good track, but having just lost the final at Queen’s Club, his morale is to be seen. Rafael Nadal comes fresh from his triumph at the Roland Garros and much of the expectations for this year have been fulfilled already. This could be either good or bad news for his performances, depending on how motivated he really is to run around the fast grass courts, against big servers and surface specialists. Dimitrov and -last year’s finalist- Marin Cilic don’t really seem ready to question Federer’s dominance.
From the younger generation, Alexander Zverev hasn’t played on grass at all this year, due to a recent injury. He’s definitely made progress on the mental part, but is this really enough for a Grand Slam trophy? Not sure. Nick Kyrgios has proven he can beat anyone on any given day, but he just doesn’t seem able to enjoy many such days in a row. He could potentially take Federer out, but given the draw, he would have to get to the final to be able to do that.
Wimbledon 2018 Ladies’ predictions
Things get more complicated when it comes to predicting the Women’s Wimbledon winner, as usual. Serena Williams is back, but not really back yet. The same goes for Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka. Last year’s winner, Garbine Muguruza, has had kind of a mediocre season so far. She is always very dangerous on grass courts though. Simona Halep has enjoyed a great season so far, peaking in Paris for her first Grand Slam title. That kind of success usually causes focus and motivation levels to drop for while and I think this will be the case for Simona. Caroline Wozniacki seemed to go through the same phase after her Australian Open win. The Woz is slowly coming back though, claiming the last title before Wimbledon in Eastbourne.
When looking at the women’s draw, 2 names stand out for me as potential winners, for different reasons. One is Petra Kvitova, due to her current form and previous experience in Wimbledon. Let’s not forget she’s won the trophy twice there. Kvitova has steadily improved her tennis past that gruesome attack at her home in late 2016. That alone is enough to give her the best odds her against anyone, given what she’s had to get through. Or as this source puts it, she is the contender that has already won. Petra has finally reached a point not far from her peak form, having already claimed 5 WTA titles in 2018. This kind of consistency is key for a Grand Slam tournament. Hence, it’s no surprise that betting odds cite her as the favorite this year.
The second name that stands out is that of Angelique Kerber. She has been consistently good on all surfaces this year, but is yet to make headlines for something remarkable in 2018. There are few people more persistent and determined to prove things than Kerber. If we’re to see a surprise this year, I’m picking her to be the culprit.
Finally, let’s remember a few of the best shots of last year’s Wimbledon, while we eagerly wait to make some new memories: