Andy Murray is playing doubles at Wimbledon this year, while Ashleigh Barty is looking for back-to-back grand-slam titles.
Here are five talking points ahead of the tournament at SW19.
Changing of the guard overdue
Since Lleyton Hewitt’s win in 2002, the subsequent 16 men’s singles titles have been won by either Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal or Andy Murray, and it is not a stranglehold which looks likely to end this year. Murray may be missing but the ‘big three’ remain the ones to beat. The younger generation of Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Denis Shapovalov, Karen Khachanov, and Daniil Medvedev need to raise their game or watch another familiar face lift the trophy on July 14.
Murray’s back, but not as we know him
When Murray broke down in tears at the Australian Open, fearing his career was close to being ended through injury, the chances of seeing the two-time Wimbledon champion back at the All England Club looked remote to say the least. But five months and one hip operation later, Murray will be competing in the doubles alongside Pierre-Hugues Herbert as he continues his tentative return to action. The spotlight will be on the men’s doubles like never before, especially if he meets brother Jamie along the way. The Scot is also looking for a female partner to play mixed doubles with, but has so far struggled to find one. World number one Barty turned him down, although he has since been inundated with offers and Serena Williams has hinted she would be keen.
Raising the bar
Since the turn of the century only Williams (twice) has doubled up by winning the French Open women’s singles title and then triumphing at Wimbledon. Barty was something of a surprise winner at Roland Garros, claiming her first grand-slam crown, yet the Australian is widely considered to have a game more suited to grass than the clay of Paris. The 23-year-old actually quit tennis to play cricket in 2014 but has rediscovered her love for the sport and will be a major threat.
Home hopes for Konta
With Kyle Edmund struggling for form, Britain’s best hopes of singles success probably lie with Johanna Konta, whose sparkling clay-court season culminated in her run to the semi-finals in Paris. The former world number four has rediscovered her chief weapons, an aggressive service game and devastating hard hitting, which went awry following her run to the last four at Wimbledon in 2017.
Marathon man Is-no more
After South African Kevin Anderson won the second-longest match in Wimbledon history, a six-and-a-half hour semi-final marathon against American John Isner with a final set which lasted almost three hours, it prompted the All England Club to change the rules. From this year, a fifth-set tie-break will be played should the score reach 12-12. It may come as a relief to Isner, who was also involved in the longest match when he beat France’s Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the fifth set of their first-round contest in 2010.
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