Wimbledon predictions and betting tips

andrew hendrie:

After its unprecedented cancellation in 2020, Wimbledon returns in 2021 as the most iconic tournament in tennis hosts the world's best players once more.

Wimbledon 2021 predictions


The oldest tennis event in the world, Wimbledon – also known as The Championships – has been held at the All England Club in south-west London since 1877 and is arguably the most prestigious and most coveted prize in all of tennis.

Having evolved with the times while still keeping hold of their traditional past – including no play on Middle Sunday and the mandatory attire of all-white – Wimbledon continues to grow with every year and is recognised as one of the most popular sporting events across the globe.

The tournament was cancelled in 2020 due to the global health crisis, the first time since the Second World War that it has not been held, but will return in 2021 from 28 June-11 July. Wimbledon may be played behind closed doors in 2021, however.

Roger Federer holds the record for most men’s titles with eight, one ahead of Pete Sampras, while defending champion Novak Djokovic has three after conquering the Swiss in a thrilling fifth-set tiebreak in the 2019 final.

Lleyton Hewitt is the last man outside of the ‘Big Four’ to have won the men’s title, triumphing way back in 2002.

On the women’s side, Simona Halep is the defending champion after producing a blistering performance to take out Serena Williams in the 2019 showpiece. Serena holds the record amongst active players for most Wimbledon titles with six – just edging out her sister Venus who has five – while Martina Navratilova has the Open Era record with a staggering nine trophies.

Wimbledon will be even more keenly anticipated in 2021 after its cancellation in 2020, and another thrilling fortnight on the pristine lawns beckons, live from the All England Club from Monday 28 June-Sunday 11 July.

Wimbledon predictions: Who will win the men’s title?


Only four men have reigned supreme at Wimbledon since Lleyton Hewitt defeated David Nalbandian for the 2002 title. Those players have long since retired (well, at least Nalbandian has!), with the ‘Big Four’ of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray combining to win the Wimbledon singles silverware for the last 17 years.

Federer started the dominance, securing the title in five straight years from 2003-07, but his streak was broken in extraordinary circumstances by Nadal in 2008 as the Spaniard prevailed 9-7 in the fifth in what many consider to be the greatest tennis match of all time.

Federer would regain the Wimbledon title the following year in another pulsating final, this time overcoming big-serving Andy Roddick 16-14 in the fifth, but Nadal would go on to win the last of his two Wimbledon trophies in 2020 with a straight sets dispatch of Tomas Berdych.

Djokovic and Murray would enter the fray this past decade, with the Serbian going on to capture five titles in total, including in 2019, while Murray snapped Great Britain’s Wimbledon drought in 2013 and emerged triumphant again in 2016. All four players will return in 2021.

Djokovic’s Wimbledon dominance to continue in 2021?

Wimbledon is Djokovic’s second most successful major after the Australian Open, and he has won four of the last six editions of The Championships, claiming back-to-back titles in 2014-15 and 2018-19.

The Serbian experienced one of the most memorable moments of his career at Wimbledon in 2019, saving two championship points to take out Federer in the first ever 12-12 tiebreak to be played in the final at the All-England Club. Denied the opportunity to defend his title in 2020 due to the global health crisis, Djokovic’s dominance at Wimbledon hasn’t been commented upon enough – the only player to beat him in a completed match since Andy Murray in the 2013 final was big-serving Sam Querrey in 2016, unsurprising in retrospect after Djokovic had just completed the career Grand Slam.

Djokovic has held off tremendous performances by Federer and Nadal on Wimbledon grass over the past five years, and with no member of the younger generation really shining on grass as yet, it makes perfect sense that he should be the favourite once again in 2021.

Two-time champion Rafael Nadal made back-to-back Wimbledon semifinals in 2018-19 (Photo by Corinne Dubreuil/ABACAPRESS.COM)

Never forget Nadal – even on grass

Nadal has ‘only’ won Wimbledon twice, and hasn’t been in the final since 2011. Over the past decade, the Spaniard has more often struggled here than at any other Grand Slam. More than any other factor, this can be attributed to the quick turnaround between the French Open, where Nadal reigns supreme, and Wimbledon; it’s too big a physical challenge even for Rafa.

Still, the changes Nadal has made to his game in recent years – getting ever better at flattening out the forehand, and his much-improved serve – have paid off in better results at Wimbledon: He was a semifinalist in 2018-19, losing once to Federer, once to Djokovic. Realistically, he will be seeded second for Wimbledon in 2021 and thus won’t have to face Djokovic in the semifinals, and it’s a total unknown whether Federer would be up to the task of beating him. It could very well be Nadal in the Wimbledon final in 2021 – and in the final, anything can happen.

More Wimbledon glory for Federer?

Federer will be 39 years old when he plays Wimbledon in 2021, but that doesn’t mean the eight-time champion should be ruled out of contention.

The Swiss has been in the Wimbledon final in four of the past six years, and had championship points against Djokovic in 2019. With grass tending to produce more upset results than any other surface, thanks to the compressed transition from clay and players’ lack of experience on it, Federer probably needs less help from the draw now than he might at a hard-court major, too.

Federer barely played in 2020, undergoing multiple knee surgeries, but the last time he took an extended break from competition he returned to win Wimbledon the following year. Could history repeat itself?

Beware the big servers

At Wimbledon, more than at any other tournament, you need to watch out for where the big servers land in the draw.

Kevin Anderson (finalist in 2018), Sam Querrey (three-time quarterfinalist), Milos Raonic (finalist in 2016), John Isner (semifinalist in 2018), even the likes of Nick Kyrgios and Reilly Opelka: These are the players who are unlikely to win the title, but are certainly capable of causing real havoc in the draw and knocking out top seeds.

Younger generation yet to make an impact on grass

Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev have all established themselves in the top 10, with Medvedev and Zverev both making Grand Slam finals and Thiem breaking through to win the US Open in 2020; Tsitsipas has been in multiple major semifinals.

Yet none of them have really made an impact at Wimbledon as yet. Thiem has failed to win a match at Wimbledon in 2018-19, and with the amount of matches he plays (and wins) in the clay season and at Roland Garros, I think the Austrian will continue to struggle with the quick turnaround between majors although his improved serve and more aggressive court-positioning should see some improvement in his results.

Zverev has made two Halle finals, but never won a title on grass, and like Thiem his best result at Wimbledon is a solitary run to the round of 16. Unless the German manages to really change his approach to winning matches, and overcomes his tendency to rally passively behind the baseline – as well as, crucially, his tendency to double fault – he will always struggle at Wimbledon.

Tsitsipas and Medvedev could be a different story. Tsitsipas’s audacious, risky, net-rushing game could be effective on grass (but can also go badly wrong, as 2019’s first-round defeat to unsung Italian Thomas Fabbiano showed). Medvedev’s junk-balling can also work very well on this surface, especially coupled with his big serve. But it’s all pure conjecture until one of them shows what they can really do on grass.

Wimbledon Men’s Tips

Grass is the surface most top players are least familiar with and experienced on, and the tight turnaround between the French Open and Wimbledon always takes a toll, so in many ways Wimbledon is the major to expect the most upsets, especially in early rounds before players find their feet.

That said, five-time champion Djokovic is the favourite at 6/4 @ bet365, and it’s very hard to argue that he shouldn’t be. The Serb hasn’t yet won three Wimbledon titles in a row, but he’s held off the best that Federer and Nadal could throw at him on grass in the past few years, and if he’s fit, he should collect his sixth Wimbledon crown in 2021.

Nadal’s more aggressive game has paid real dividends with back-to-back Wimbledon semifinals in 2018-19 and he’s second favourite at 7/1 @ bet365 and certainly worth an each-way bet – sure to be seeded second, he won’t face Djokovic until the final and the Serb is probably the only player in the field you can rely on to stop the Spaniard.

Federer (9/1 @ bet365) is less of a sure thing as advancing age and multiple knee surgeries raise question marks over the 39-year-old’s chances. But we’re talking about the man who has won more Wimbledon titles than anybody else, and had championship points against Djokovic in the 2019 final. Savviness and serve should get Federer deep in the draw, and if Djokovic for whatever reason is not there to stop him, it’s not at all impossible that he could grab that 21st major title at the All-England Club.

After the Big Three, it’s tough to find the favourites. Dominic Thiem (20/1 @ BetVictor) is a Grand Slam champion now but he’s never shone at Wimbledon and the tight turnaround from the French Open – where he should always be expected to go deep – is a big factor. Alexander Zverev (16/1 @ SkyBet) has real issues in his game which are going to stop him from doing too well on grass until he sorts them out. Stefanos Tsitsipas (11/1 @ SkyBet) and Daniil Medvedev (12/1 @ SkyBet) could be better bets, but could also fall early and nobody would be really surprised.

As for the outsiders: Andy Murray (28/1 @ BetVictor) has yet to show he can be a contender again after his hip resurfacing, especially in best-of-five. Nick Kyrgios (35/1 @ BetVictor) lacks physical and mental fitness despite his undeniable talent. Milos Raonic (35/1 @ BetVictor) has too many chronic injury issues.

Wimbledon women’s predictions


Simona Halep celebrates winning Wimbledon in 2019 (PA Images)

 

The last woman to defend the Wimbledon title that didn’t have the surname ‘Williams’ was Steffi Graf in 1996 – that’s the challenge awaiting Simona Halep in 2021.

It was the ‘perfect match’ from the Romanian, the finest performance of her career as she suffocated Serena Williams with her consistent baseline game, prevailing 6-2 6-2 to land a second Grand Slam title – and condemning Serena to her second straight Wimbledon final defeat after she lost to Angelique Kerber in the 2018 decider.

Halep didn’t have the opportunity to defend her Wimbledon title in 2020 but will return at the head of the field when Wimbledon 2021 takes place from 28 June-11 July, alongside world no. 1 Ashleigh Barty, seven-time champion Serena Williams, former champions Garbine Muguruza, Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber and major winners Naomi Osaka, Bianca Andreescu, Sofia Kenin and Iga Swiatek.

Once again, it’s looming as another wide open and unpredictable major tournament on the women’s side, with any number of 20+ players having genuine credentials for the title.

Can Halep defend her Wimbledon title?

Despite her superlative performance at Wimbledon in 2019, and her record of frequently being in the mix at the business end of major tournaments, Halep is not the top favourite for Wimbledon 2021 at the time of writing.

And it’s quite easy to understand why. A tenacious competitor with an ever-improving game, Halep remains fundamentally a counterpuncher who will always be vulnerable to an attacking player having a great day – as we saw when she had no answer to Iga Swiatek at the French Open in 2020, a tournament which Halep was the overwhelming favourite to win. Unless Halep plays the perfect match, as she did against Serena Williams in the 2019 final, there are too many players in the draw who can beat her. But we should certainly expect the Romanian to be a factor heading into the second week.

Eight for Serena in 2021?

We keep saying it – that 24th major title, which Serena Williams wants above anything else, remains elusive as it has done since the legendary American returned from maternity leave. And with each season that goes by, the task becomes tougher, because Williams is struggling so much to stay fit – not just from tournament to tournament, but from match to match.

The 2020 season marked the first time since, incredibly, 2006 that Williams hasn’t made a major final over the course of the year – and it’s not a coincidence that there was no Wimbledon. Williams will always have two things in her favour at Wimbledon: Conditions which make her big power game sing, and the schedule, which syncs up both sides of the draw on Monday of the second week and means she shouldn’t ever have to play on successive days. With these factors, Williams is likelier to win at Wimbledon than anywhere else – but she’s vulnerable to both opponents and her own body, and that’s not a winning combination.

Former champions to recapture the trophy?

Of the other women in the field who have won Wimbledon, Venus Williams can be discounted, but Petra Kvitova looks to have an excellent chance. The Czech, champion in 2011 and 2014, made her first Grand Slam final since her career-threatening hand injury in 2018, and played well at the Australian and French Opens in 2020. If Kvitova can get past the first couple of rounds at Wimbledon 2021, she could be a genuine threat to win the title.

Garbine Muguruza, Wimbledon champion in 2017, looked set for a resurgent 2020 after making the Australian Open final but was derailed by the sport’s shutdown – still, she could be phenomenally tough to beat at Wimbledon. Angelique Kerber, 2018 winner, always plays well on grass which suits her compact left-handed game perfectly and should not be disregarded even if she’s not posted any particularly good results since her Wimbledon triumph.

Barty to party on grass?

World no. 1 Ashleigh Barty has yet to make it past the round of 16 at Wimbledon, beaten at that stage by Alison Riske in 2019, but the Australian has a perfect game for grass with her fantastic slice and ability to play in the forecourt.

With titles in Nottingham and Birmingham, Barty could certainly be a player to watch at Wimbledon in 2021 after sitting out most of the 2020 season.

Other contenders

The youth movement in women’s tennis has yet to hit Wimbledon – will one of the younger players who have broken into the ranks of major champions over the past few years be able to add to their haul of Grand Slam titles on the hallowed ground of Centre Court?

Naomi Osaka dazzled in 2020 when she won her third major title at the US Open, but the Japanese-Haitian player really struggles on grass; it’s her least favourite surface and I don’t think we should expect to see her in the closing stages of Wimbledon for some time.

Bianca Andreescu is an unknown quantity on grass, having only played one main-draw match at Wimbledon in her career, and also didn’t play throughout 2020. Sofia Kenin lacks Andreescu’s power, but she’s a much more consistent competitor, backing up her maiden major title at the 2020 Australian Open by making the French Open final that October; her game isn’t a natural fit for grass, but she’s a born fighter and if Halep can win Wimbledon, so can Kenin.

Iga Swiatek, who didn’t drop a set in her dazzling run to the French Open title in 2020, was a Wimbledon junior champion and her skilful game could be a great fit for grass. But 2021 might be a bit early to expect the Pole to shine at the All-England Club.

Wimbledon Women’s Tips


Former champions Serena Williams (8/1 @ bet365) and Petra Kvitova (10/1 @ BetVictor) are among the top favourites to win Wimbledon in 2021 – and with good reason. Both women’s big power games are ideally suited to grass.

In Williams’s case, there’s another reason why she’s likelier to win her elusive 24th major at Wimbledon than anywhere else – she doesn’t have to play back-to-back days unless the schedule becomes significantly disrupted (which should be unlikely with Wimbledon’s bad-weather preparations). Now 39, Williams’s series of chronic injuries are always going to be a problem, but she’s been in the final for the past two editions of The Championships, and was only denied the title by a perfect performance from Halep in 2019.

Kvitova is a chancier bet, liable to be disrupted by a player with an awkward game in the early rounds, but if she gets a couple of wins under her belt, watch out.

Ashleigh Barty is currently joint favourite with Williams at 8/1 @ bet365, but I would be wary. It’s all well and good having a game that seems perfect for grass, but as Karolina Pliskova’s experiences have taught us, that doesn’t necessarily add up to Wimbledon success. In Barty’s case, the big question mark is how the Australian will cope with having barely competed in 2020 and returning to the WTA Tour with a vast amount of points to defend (and a huge weight of expectation on her).

Defending champion Simona Halep (10/1 @ bet365) is a relatively consistent performer, but she’s vulnerable to big hitters and attacking players having a good day; the same can be said of Sofia Kenin (14/1 @ SkyBet), and while the American is a great competitor, she’s an unproven quantity on grass. The surface is also a bad one for Naomi Osaka (12/1 @ SkyBet) and we don’t know how Bianca Andreescu (10/1 @ SkyBet) will perform on it – or bounce back from having missed the entire 2020 season.

If there is to be a new champion at Wimbledon, Barty, Iga Swiatek (14/1 @ Paddy Power) or perhaps the ferociously powerful Aryna Sabalenka (16/1 @ SkyBet) might be the likeliest contenders – Coco Gauff (28/1 @ BetVictor), impressive as she is, has a double-faulting problem that needs to be fixed before she wins a major – but I think proven quality is the way to go on such an idiosyncratic surface. Garbine Muguruza (16/1 @ BetVictor) can be so formidable, as can Kvitova, but my money is on Williams. If she’s going to win anywhere, it’s going to be Wimbledon.

Wimbledon 2021 tournament information


Name: Wimbledon (otherwise known as The Championships)
Location: London, England
Venue: All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC)
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Grass
Draw size: 128 singles
Most titles:
Men – Roger Federer (8)
Women – Martina Navratilova (9)
Reigning champions:
Men’s singles – Novak Djokovic
Women’s singles – Simona Halep

Wimbledon player performance


Who are the best-performing male players at The Championships?

PlayerTitlesFinals2019 resultWin-loss
Roger Federer8 (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2017)4 (2008, 2014, 2015, 2019)Runner-Up101-13
Novak Djokovic5 (2011, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019)1 (2013)Champion72-10
Rafael Nadal2 (2008, 2010)3 (2006, 2007, 2011)SF53-12
Andy Murray2 (2013, 2016)1 (2012)Didn’t play57-10
Marin Cilic01 (2017)R229-12
Milos Raonic01 (2016)R1627-9
Kevin Anderson01 (2018)R320-11

Who are the best-performing female players at The Championships?

PlayerTitlesFinals2019 resultWin-loss
Serena Williams7 (2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015, 20164 (2004, 2008, 2018, 2019)Runner-Up98-12
Venus Williams5 (2000, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2008)4 (2002, 2003, 2009, 2017)R189-17
Petra Kvitova2 (2011, 2014)0R1633-10
Angelique Kerber1 (2018)1 (2016)R231-11
Garbine Muguruza1 (2017)1 (2015)R116-6
Simona Halep1 (2019)0Champion24-8