Thursday May 30, 2019
Last year at around this time, we were contemplating who might secure the Roland Garros singles title at the French Open Grand Slam tennis tournament. Much was made of Novak Djokovic and his loss of form, as he struggled to make an impact throughout the first half of 2018. He exited Roland Garros in the quarterfinals, leaving us pondering who might emerge as the victor at Wimbledon just a few weeks later.
Few could have predicted that Novak would make his comeback in the event. Perhaps least of all Novak himself. It had been a little over a year since he had won a title of any kind, much less a Grand Slam. And here he was – standing alone and holding the Wimbledon trophy for the fourth time.
Since then, Novak has gone on to take the US Open title and the Australian Open title, leaving him as the current holder of three successive Grand Slams. Did he win the French Open to make it four in a row again? We do not know the answer to that at the time of writing this. But regardless of that outcome, few would bet against him to retain his title at Wimbledon.
Of course, other names are there as well. Rafael Nadal is perhaps at his weakest on grass, although weak is hardly a word that fits. He should never be counted out on Centre Court. Neither should Roger Federer, who is still vying for the big titles at the age of 37 (and still making it look alarmingly easy much of the time).
Depending on seeding, you would expect those three names to make it to the quarterfinals at least, with at least two of them progressing to the semis. Perhaps two will face each other across the net in the final on Sunday 14th July. The addition of grass would give Roger Federer the edge over many, but Novak Djokovic may still emerge as the favourite for the 2019 title.
There are other names to watch too, of course – those who may cause a surprise or an upset or two. Who will the odds favour this year, we wonder, as Wimbledon 2019 approaches?