Wimbledon 2018: the ones to watch

  The past week has seen the British public laze around in a blazing hot summer sun, with temperatures of over 30 degrees across the U.K. Most will have spent their weekends outside and far from the television, but the coming few weeks are sure to glue us all, once again, to our screens. The summer Grand Slam tennis tournament, Wimbledon, is back, and could 2018 be the return of the favourites? Andy Murray, the Scottish 31 year old, pulled out of the tournament on Sunday afternoon, saying that it was “too soon” to be competing in five set matches since his hip surgery in January. Thus it might not be the come-back Britain wanted for their favourite player, but could this year’s Wimbledon see the success of some familiar faces?

Serena Williams, for example, will be competing after giving birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr in September last year. The 23 time grand slam singles champion began training just nine months after her daughter was born, but it is likely that she continued training right up until the third trimester of her pregnancy. She competed last month in the French Open, but withdrew due to a minor injury. Despite the criticisms that she is bouncing back too soon from pregnancy, Serena Williams is an incredibly strong player, and there is no doubt that her legs and her core shake the nerves of many other women in the tournament. Serena told Vogue that her and her daughter will not spend “a day apart until she’s eighteen”. But she insists that she is not done competing in yet.

The Queen’s Club Championships ran in the second last week of June, where Andy Murray was quick to anger with the crowd, unleashing bouts of shouting, demanding that they be quiet as they offered him rallied cheers of support. He described his loss at Queen’s against Australian Nick Kyrgios as “emotional” because so many people said it was great to see him back on court. He told BBC Sport that “I learned a lot about where I am physically and about my game that maybe I wouldn’t have learnt against other players. So it was good in some respects”. The winner of this tournament was no other than Marin Cilic, the 6ft5 powerhouse from Croatia. As a usual troublemaker in the Grand slams, Cilic is showing some very good form this year. Having beat Novak Djokovic in the Queen’s final, Cilic is a force to be reckoned with on grass and his chances at Wimbledon are looking good.

Another player hungry for the title this year will be Roger Federer, the eight time champion from Switzerland. Wimbledon 2018 would be his nineth triumph in the grass slam. The world number two is the current reigning Wimbledon champion and due to his high world ranking is the favourite to win. Rafael Nadal, the world number one is infamously better on clay, having won the French Open 11 times. It has been a decade since their 2008 final that Bjorn Borg described as the “best tennis match I have ever seen in my life”. Nadal triumphed in the historic match, winning 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7. However, perhaps this tournament will blow away the cobwebs of the past few years, where winners have been painfully predictable. In an interview with metro, Andy Murray said about his Queen’s rival Nick Kyrgios, that “there’s absolutely no reason why, with his game, and the way that he can serve [he couldn’t win Wimbledon]” Kyrgios is ranked 18th in the world but has only lost to last year’s Wimbledon finalists, Cilic and Federer, and is looking exceptionally good on grass.

2018 might not be Murray’s year, but this year’s tournament is set to be a dramatic one. Wimbledon 2018 runs from July 2 to 15 at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London.