Wimbledon 2012 will start on Monday 25 June, and so now is a good time to consider having a little flutter on the winners. Although the titans of men’s tennis – Federer, Nadal, Djokovica and Murray - traditionally garner most of the headlines, this summer the battle for the Ladies’ Singles title promises to be intriguing as the old guard of the Williams sisters and Kim Clijsters struggle to keep up with the youngsters who themselves sometimes lack consistency and aggression.
Last year, the Women’s title was won by Czech Petra Kvitova who beat Maria Sharapova of Russia 6-3, 6-4. Kvitova was the first left-hander to win at Wimbledon since Maria Navratolova in 1990. Leading tennis commentator, and former Wimbledon semi-finalist, Pam Shriver has recently been positive about Kvitova’s chances, saying “She’s got the game for grass, with that lefty serve and the big shots. She loves that one-two punch on grass, a serve out wide and then a big groundstroke into the open court. If it wasn’t an accident, if she really is as comfortable on grass as she appeared to be last summer, she could win several Wimbledon titles. She could be the leading grass-court player of her generation, just as Venus Williams was for the era that has just been.” However, the bookmakers are more cautious, placing her at third favourite to win, at odds of 4/1 from bookmaker BetVictor.
The new world rankings were recently released and World Number 1 is Maria Sharapova, the 2011 runner-up at Wimbledon. This noisy 25-year old has achieved the career Grand Slam this year when she won the 2012 French Open, but she has not won at Wimbledon since 2004. The bookmakers think that this will be her year, and she is the favourite to lift the Wimbledon trophy at betting odds of 3/1 from bookmaker, Ladbrokes. However, Pam Shriver is not so sure, cannily commenting “I think she’s going to have to raise her level to win Wimbledon. Unless you’re a dominant player, it’s exhausting winning grand slams. Winning two slams in a row is always difficult, but it’s never harder when those two are the French Open and Wimbledon”. But Sharapova is not short of drive and determination and knows how to win, so she will pose a major threat to her opponents.
World Number 2, Victoria Azarenka, will have much to prove at Wimbledon after her poor performances at the French Open led to her early departure in the 4th round. Azarenka won the 2012 US Open and bookmaker Boyle Sports offer odds of 8/1 that she will win, placing her as second favourite to win the revered Rosewater Dish trophy.
It is difficult to assess the outcome of the tournament for American legend, Serena Williams. She has won the Ladies Title four times, most recently in 2010, but lacks consistency in her performances and has not won a major title since the 2008 Australian Open. Her performance at the recent French Open was poor. However, the bookmakers are positive about her prospects placing the World Number 6 as second favourite, with odds of 10/3 from bookmaker Bet Victor. There is no doubt that she remains one of the best grass court players in the world and she will relish her return to Wimbledon.
Her sister, Venus Williams, disclosed in public last year that she now suffers from an incurable auto-immune disease. After her stellar early career with a magnificent tally of 5 Ladies’ Singles titles at Wimbledon, she has plummeted to a world ranking of 47 and the odds of her winning Wimbledon are a realistic 28/1 from bookmaker Stan James. It is considered likely that Williams will retire soon, in light of her age and health issues. Her record at Wimbledon is fantastic but she is in the twilight of her career now and may not be able to remain at peak fitness over the course of the tournament.
The career of Caroline Wozniacki, formerly World Number 1, is in turmoil, as she still seeks her breakthough at the Majors. Her romance with golfer Rory McIlroy has garnered extensive global coverage, but her tennis performances have slumped as she lacks aggression and has no major weapon in her tennis armoury. Betting odds of 50/1 are offered by bookmaker Boylesports, reflecting her lack of form.
All bets in China will be on a win by 20 year-old Li Na, who is currently ranked World Number 11 and is the top Chinese player. She has tasted success at the highest level, winning the 2011 French Open singles title and reaching the final of the Australian Open in the same year. She is placed at odds of 25/1 by bookmaker BetVictor.
Seedings for the tournament will be announced on 20 June, with the draw on Friday 22 June, and the Ladies’ Singles Final on 7 July. The competition for the ultimate prize in women’s tennis will be fierce and the players discussed above will battle for supremacy in the genteel environment of the All England Club. Time to get yourself down to Wimbledon for strawberries and cream, or sort out your viewing schedule and switch on your telly!