Wimbledon build-up: Are Djokovic & Serena Williams worthy favourites?
In some quarters, there is an air of inevitability that respective ATP and WTA world number ones Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams will win the singles titles at Wimbledon this year.
Coral make both the Serbia star and all-time American great strong favourites for Grand Slam glory in SW19, so the question is are they worthy of such billing? Based solely on rankings, the answer is a resounding yes.
Dealing with Djokovic first, he has only failed to get past a Grand Slam quarter-final once since the 2010 French Open. Over the last four-and-a-half seasons, his trophy cabinet has filled up with major honours at a phenomenal rate.
Seven of Djokovic’s eight Grand Slam titles have come from 2011 onwards, but he has also lost in six finals during that time too. This tennis era was originally about a duopoly of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, but the Serb was not content with being second best behind these all-time greats of the men’s game.
There’s no doubt Djokovic belongs in that elevated company, but he has already failed to achieve what should have been his key goal for this season. With ‘king of clay’ Nadal seeing his Roland Garros reign come to an end in straight sets to this foe, Djokovic was poised to finally complete a career Grand Slam.
What he didn’t count on was late-blooming Swiss number two Stan Wawrinka, who stepped out of compatriot Federer’s shadow and came from behind to scoop the French Open. That defeat will have damaged Djokovic on an occasion that was a golden opportunity to complete the set of a career Grand Slam.
All he can is respond and defend Wimbledon, which Djokovic is 5/4 to do.
Powerful Williams, meanwhile, has 20 singles Grand Slams in the bag, but turns 34 before this season is done. This looks to be her last chance to win all four majors in a single campaign, and Coral offer special odds of 11/4 for Serena to scoop this superhuman feat.
Sister Venus and her have revolutionised the women’s game, placing an emphasis on strong service games and smashing returns when receiving. For all her accolades, Serena hasn’t taken the Wimbledon title since 2012.
Form is temporary, class is permanent they say, and Williams has showed that by following up the Australian Open triumph this term with victory at Roland Garros. To take a sixth Wimbledon win, and become the holder of four Grand Slams ahead of her defence of the US Open, Serena holds a 13/8 price.
There will be usual suspects like last year’s SW 19 champ Petra Kvitova and Maria Sharapova plotting to stop Serena, but these elite European contenders lack the consistency when it matters most that Williams had always produced.