TennisSection previews the 2021 Wimbledon Championships which begins on Monday June 28th, 2021.
The most anticipated Grand Slam event of the year is almost upon us, as the 2021 Wimbledon Championships kicks off next week. The only major grass court event is something that all players dream of winning and we are in for some exciting competition in just a few days’ time. After being forced to cancel the 2020 edition due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the organizers, players and fans are ready and rearing to go, and we at TennisSection will preview the Men’s Singles draw below.
Novak Djokovic – The world number one is always high on the list when it comes to title candidates at any event, and here at Wimbledon his position got even stronger with the withdrawal of former champion Rafael Nadal. The Serbian star is on a high after claiming the Australian Open and French Open titles and will have his eyes firmly set on claiming the “Golden Slam”, which is winning all four Grand Slam titles as well as the Olympics. Djokovic is the two-time defending champion here at the All-England Club and has won five titles here in his career, and with his intense brand of tennis it is really hard to look past him here. He always saves his best tennis for the major events and he will enter the 2021 Wimbledon Championships as the heavy favorite. Djokovic will be heavily motivated here to win his 20th Grand Slam title to draw level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, and it will seemingly take a miracle to stop him with a draw which only has threats from Andrey Rublev and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Stefanos Tsitsipas – The Greek has really matured as a player over the past year or so and has announced himself as a true contender for the big events in a major way. After winning his first Masters-1000 title in Monte-Carlo earlier in the year, he backed that up with a run to the French Open Final, where he led Novak Djokovic by two sets to love before eventually losing in five. Tsitsipas has a huge game that is seemingly built for grass, and the more experience that he gets on the surface he will become even more dangerous. One thing that may count against him is the fact that he didn’t participate in any of the warm up events, but I expect him to be still in contention deep into the final week here at the 2021 Wimbledon Championships.
Roger Federer – If Rafael Nadal is the “King of Clay”, then the Swiss superstar certainly has claim to the title of “King of Grass”. Roger Federer is like poetry in motion on the Wimbledon courts, and is arguably the best grass court player of the modern era. With a whopping eight titles to his name, he certainly feels at home here at the All England club and despite his advancing age he will be a major threat for the title here at the 2021 Wimbledon Championships. While he is still able to play at an elite level when fully fit, the years and injuries have taken their toll and doubts remain about his body’s ability to last these two weeks. He is not on the same side of the draw as Novak Djokovic, meaning he will not have as tough a road to the Final. I am backing him to go deep into the draw, but while it would be amazing to see the Fed-Express claim one more Grand Slam title I have serious doubts about his ability to compete with Djokovic and the other big guns after a draining two weeks.
Daniil Medvedev – The world number two doesn’t have much experience nor success on grass, but he has evolved into one of the best players in the world and shouldn’t be discounted here. Other than a Semi-Final run at Eastbourne in 2017 he has largely been disappointing on this surface, but he is seemingly finding form at the right moment, rebounding from a First Round loss in Halle to reach the Semi-Finals in Mallorca (at the time of writing). He has a dominant serve and big flat groundstrokes which are ideal for this surface. The only issue is his movement, but as he gets more comfortable his performances should dramatically improve. While he may not be one of the very top contenders for the title I don’t recommend sleeping on the big Russian here at the 2021 Wimbledon Championships.
Alexander Zverev – The world number 6 has enjoyed a successful 2021 season thus far, winning titles in Acapulco and the Madrid Masters. He has rebounded well from his disappointing loss at the 2020 US Open Final and is a much more mature and consistent player than he once was. The tall German considers grass his least favorite surface, but has still had some success on it, reaching two Finals in Halle. He is yet to translate that success to Wimbledon, and will be hoping to surpass his career best 4th Round showing here at the All-England Club. Like his counterpart Daniil Medvedev, he has a game that suits the surface but struggles with movement. As long as he is serving well he shouldn’t be counted out but it is unlikely that he will be able to challenge for the title here at the 2021 Wimbledon Championships.
Dark Horses (Players likely to go further than may be expected)
Matteo Berrettini – The world number nine is having an outstanding year in 2021, winning titles in Serbia and Queen’s, and reaching the Madrid Masters Final. He is finally starting to show the maturity and consistency that has been lacking in years gone by, and is in some red-hot form after claiming the Queen’s title last week. He has a huge one-two punch in his big serve and forehand, and when those are clicking he will be tough to beat on any surface. The Italian reached the Fourth Round in 2019 and should surpass that this year at the 2021 Wimbledon Championships. He may not be a major contender for the title but I believe he has what it takes to reach the Quarter-Finals or perhaps even Semis if the if he can cause an upset in the Quarters.
Marin Cilic – At 32 years old Marin Cilic has been on the decline in recent years, and the former top 5 player was seemingly edging towards retirement. However, he has turned back the clock recently, and surprisingly claimed the Stuttgart title two weeks ago, displaying his trademark power tennis. He proved that it was no fluke by reaching the Quarter-Finals in Queens. The 2017 Wimbledon Finalist is hugely experienced and his game is tailor made for this quicker surface. At this stage in his career he won’t contend for the title, but he has a solid shout at reaching the second week here at the 2021 Wimbledon Championships and is certainly someone that the top players will want to avoid early on.
Felix Auger-Aliassime – The talented Canadian has long been considered one of the brightest young talents in the men’s game, and he is finally beginning to step up and make his presence felt in the bigger events. Shockingly still only 20 years of age, he has already reached 8 ATP Finals, although he is yet to win his maiden title. His elite movement and powerful game are very effective on this surface, and he has been in great form recently, reaching the Final in Stuttgart and the Semis in Halle, to have a very well rounded Wimbledon preparation. He is expected to outperform his seeding here at the 2021 Wimbledon Championships and in this type of form may have an upset or two up his sleeve.
Ugo Humbert – The Frenchman stunned the tennis world by claiming the title in Halle, and his fantastic play cannot go unnoticed. Now ranked a career high #25 on the ATP Tour, the lefty has a very unique game that is well suited to this surface, and is clearly very comfortable on the grass. He will be seeded at a Grand Slam for the first time, and in this type of form will be another player that the top seeds will want to avoid in week one. Boasting a win-loss record of 8-1 on this surface this season, he will have his eyes on surpassing his Fourth Round performance in the 2019 edition of Wimbledon.
Sam Querrey – This is a name that we haven’t heard much over the past few years, and the former world #11 has seen his ranking drastically slide out of the top 50. After a rough few seasons, the American is seemingly getting back to his best on a familiar surface, and has been impressive to start the grass court season in 2021. After reaching the Semis in Stuttgart, he has repeated the feat by reaching the Semis in Mallorca (at the time of writing). The 2017 Wimbledon Semi-Finalist and former Queen’s Open Champion is at home on the grass, and his massive serve is a major weapon on these faster courts. While there is no chance of him repeating his Semi-Final run, he is certainly capable of winning a few rounds here at the 2021 Wimbledon Open and if the draw is favorable he could cause some problems.
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