As players are putting the finishing touches to their game before Wimbledon kick-off on Monday, four men are not only competing for a Grand Slam title but also the world No1 ranking.
Andy Murray, the current resident of that highly sought-after top spot, has three players chasing him, with Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka and Novak Djokovic all mathematically in a position to overtake the Scot.
Murray’s reign at the summit, which started last November, has not gone as smoothly as he would have hoped. He is 21-9 win-loss this season, compared to 33-6 heading into Wimbledon last year, and has picked up just one title in 2017 (in Dubai).
The 30-year-old arrived at Wimbledon suffering from a sore hip and coming off an opening round defeat to world No90 Jordan Thompson in Queens.
Murray is aware it might be hard for him to keep his No1 ranking this year.
“It’s most likely that I’ll lose the No1 spot at some point this year. If you want to stay at No1 you can’t have periods of three months of the year where you’re not winning matches, not performing well in the big events, which was the case for me until the French Open,” he was quoted as saying by the Guardian.
“So more than likely that will happen and that’s fine. I’m not trying to win Wimbledon for the ranking points. I just want to win Wimbledon. That’s my goal.”
If Murray reaches the Wimbledon final, he will keep his No1 ranking. If he doesn’t, any of Nadal, Wawrinka and Djokovic has the opportunity to overtake him. Here are the possible scenarios:
Murray has been world No1 for 34 weeks, while Nadal has spent 141 weeks in that position, and Djokovic 223 weeks.
For Wawrinka, if he does pull it off – he would have to win the title with both Murray and Nadal losing before the final – it would be the first time he’s occupied that spot and it probably would come as a surprise for the Swiss, who had told Sky Sports at the ATP Finals last November that he doesn’t have a realistic chance of becoming world No1.
“I don’t think so. Right now I’m 31,” Wawrinka said when asked if he could challenge Murray and Djokovic at the top, at the time. “I know I can beat every player, I need to do it more often in the year if I want to think about that, but so far I’m way off that.”
Nadal must at least reach the fourth round at Wimbledon in order to have any chance of leapfrogging Murray. After he captured a record 10th Roland Garros title last month, the Spaniard was asked if the No1 ranking is on his mind.
“I am playing well and I am in a good position… If I am able to keep playing well, [then] why not?” said the Spanish 15-time Grand Slam champion.
Djokovic is currently ranked No4 in the world, having dropped out of the top-three for the first time since 2009 following his Roland Garros quarter-final exit to Dominic Thiem. He said after that loss that he is up for the challenge of trying to fight back for the top spot.
“[Being No1] is one of the highest points that you can reach as a tennis player… one of the highest goals of any player. I know how it feels to get to that spot, to be there, and to also lose that spot. I hope that the experience that I have and also the time ahead of me will serve me well and, hopefully, I’ll be able to get back,” said Djokovic.
The Serb would have to win the title, with Murray and Nadal both losing before the semi-finals, in order to regain the No1 ranking.
The women’s draw revealed on Friday morning at Wimbledon has made way for some juicy match-ups right from the very first round.
Whether it’s veterans facing off, youngsters on the rise or two strugglers searching for form… there is something for everyone in this fascinating women’s draw.
Here are just a few of an endless list of blockbuster showdowns set to take place in the Wimbledon opening round…
Agnieszka Radwanska v Jelena Jankovic
A former Wimbledon runner-up against an ex-world No1 in the first round of a Slam? Both Radwanska and Jankovic will not be pleased with this draw.
Ashleigh Barty v Elina Svitolina
Barty loves playing on grass, won Wimbledon as a junior, and recently made the Birmingham final. Svitolina made the Wimbledon junior final but has never really wowed on the surface as a pro. Svitolina is seeded No4 though and is having an incredible 2017, while Barty is also putting together a strong season after quitting the sport and trying out cricket for a while.
Victoria Azarenka v Catherine ‘Cici’ Bellis
A real tricky one for the former world No1 with Bellis showing unbelievable poise this season despite being just 18 years old. Azarenka is still short on match play – she’s played just two matches in 11 months – and could find it tough to keep up with the ever-so-solid Bellis.
Dominika Cibulkova v Andrea Petkovic
Neither have been doing well recently but it’s still a tough opener for both that has lots of entertainment potential.
Monica Puig v Timea Bacsinszky
A contest between the reigning Olympic champion and the recent French Open semi-finalist. Tough one to call.
Carla Suarez Navarro v Eugenie Bouchard
Grass is not Suarez Navarro’s best surface at all wile Bouchard, despite her struggles, can decide to find her best form any day by flipping a switch.
Ana Konjuh v Sabine Lisicki
Konjuh recently destroyed Azarenka in Mallorca while 2013 runner-up Lisicki is back on tour after a lengthy absence. Could be a power-hitting contest.
Svetlana Kuznetsova v Ons Jabeur
Expect lots of variety, as both players attempt to outwit each other. Especially on grass, this could be really fun. Find out what Kuznetsova has said about Jabeur.
It’s impossible not to get excited about the women’s draw this Wimbledon.
Once again it’s an open field and once again a lot is on the line. The world No1 ranking is up for grabs, and many players have the chance to become first-time Grand Slam champions.
The return of Victoria Azarenka and Petra Kvitova has spiced things up considerably, while people like Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova have legitimate chances of dethroning Angelique Kerber at the top.
A new champion was crowned in Jelena Ostapenko in Paris a few weeks and many will be waiting to see how the 20-year-old does at the All England Club.
Here are a few things we learned from the Wimbledon women’s draw that was revealed Friday morning…
As of right now (before Saturday’s Eastbourne final), there are five players who can mathematically end Wimbledon as the world No1: Angelique Kerber, Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova, Elina Svitolina and Caroline Wozniacki. A lot will depend on who will win the Eastbourne final between Pliskova on Wozniacki but even before then, it’s fairly obvious that the former is in a solid position to dethrone Kerber.
The tall Czech is defending just 70 points from last year’s Wimbledon, where she lost in the second round, and is thus in pole position for the top spot. She also has a favorable draw which could see her comfortably reaching at least the quarter-finals.
Halep will need to at least reach the quarter-finals to have a chance of unseating Kerber while the German must match her final run from last year to have a chance of keeping her top ranking.
Petra Kvitova, who will be playing just her third tournament back from being stabbed, and Victoria Azarenka, who will be playing just her second tournament since giving birth to a baby boy, have both landed in the same bottom quarter of the draw alongside second-seeded Simona Halep and sixth-seeded Johanna Konta.
Azarenka has played just two matches in 11 months, while Kvitova stunningly captured the Birmingham title in her second tournament back. Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion, can prove a serious threat for Halep in the third round, while Azarenka will have her hands full with Catherine ‘Cici’ Bellis in the first round.
It’s fair to say all eyes will be on that loaded quarter.
Reigning French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko has been handed a draw that is quite manageable and many will be following her closely to see whether she can back up her stunning Roland Garros success.
Ostapenko is a former Wimbledon junior champion and her game is perfectly-suited for grass. She has Madison Keys in her section but the American had been dealing with a wrist problem and is short on match play.
With her style of play, it’s hard to see Ostapenko performing on a consistent basis but she certainly has an opening to do well here this fortnight. She is seeded at a Slam for the first time and is looking to become just the eighth player in the Open Era to win Roland Garros and Wimbledon back-to-back.
Ons Jabeur backed up her historic Roland Garros third round appearance by qualifying for a first Wimbledon main draw. The young Tunisian is the first Arab woman since her compatriot Selima Sfar to feature in the Wimbledon main draw and faces a daunting opener against No7 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Agnieszka Radwanska v Jelena Jankovic, Ashleigh Barty v Elina Svitolina, Dominika Cibulkova v Andrea Petkovic, Monica Puig v Timea Bacsinszky, Svetlana Kuznetsova v Ons Jabeur… the list goes on and on.
To those people who prefer to only tune into the Slams from the second week, we urge you to reconsider.