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.