Djokovic allowed to defend Wimbledon title this June
The third Grand Slam of the season and for many, the most prestigious, begins on Monday 27th June, at the historic All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Promising two weeks of thrilling tennis, rain, a jug of Pimms and lots of strawberries, the two-week tournament ends on Sunday 10th July with the men’s final.
The biggest talking point in the run up to the tournament is whether or not the men’s world number one, Novak Djokovic will be there to defend his title. This year’s Australian Open saw the Serbian make the headlines for all the wrong reasons when he was deported from Australia and banned from entry for three years.
The defending champion had been hoping to add to his tally of 20 Grand Slam titles and move one ahead of Federer and Nadal to lead the all-time list. But his controversial and long-held stance on Covid vaccinations, saw the unvaccinated Djokovic thrown out of the tournament and country, before a ball was hit.
After the Australian Open fiasco, Djokovic missed Indian Wells and the Miami Open amongst others, due to coronavirus rules. The World number one spot also passed to Daniil Medvedev, due to his forced absence from the game, leaving tennis fans wondering if the 34-year-old would be allowed to play any more tournaments this year.
But Djokovic did get back on court in February with a run to the quarter final in the Dubai Tennis Championships. That was followed by a shock defeat to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, in the last 32 of the Monte Carlo Masters in April.
However, on 24th April in only his third tournament back, he reached the final of the Serbian Open losing to Andrey Rublev.
The French Open
In March, French Open tournament director Amelie Mauresmo announced that Djokovic was cleared to play at Roland-Garros this year after France removed most of its COVID-19 restrictions.
This means the reigning champion will be able to defend his title which he won last year in a 5-set epic against the young Greek, Stefanos Tsitsipas. More importantly for the Serb, it allows him the chance to win another Grand Slam and catch up his great rival Rafael Nadal, who would have been the red-hot favourite for the tournament had Djokovic been banned.
After the French Open announcement all eyes turned to Wimbledon to see what it’s policy would be towards the unvaccinated Serb.
Sally Bolton OBE, the chief executive of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, recently stated at a news conference that the UK government have enforced the law that you do not need a mandatory vaccination to enter the country.
All of which means, the world number one will be able to play at this year’s Wimbledon, as he hopes to defend his title. Djokovic’s record at the All England Club is astonishing, with the Serb claiming the title in 2018, 2019 and 2021.
Covid saw the 2020 tournament cancelled, which means that Djokovic has not tasted defeat on the grass courts of Wimbledon since a 2017 quarter final defeat to Tomas Berdych – and that was a retirement due to an elbow injury.
With six Wimbledon titles to his name, he sits third in the all-time list of Men’s Champions – only Pete Sampras with seven and Roger Federer with eight, have more. His match sharpness will be tested having missed several tournaments this year, but Djokovic’s dominance on grass so profound, he is the favourite for this year’s Wimbledon.
Various bookies offer Wimbledon bets with many punters placing bets on players like Djokovic to win the tournament. And it is now easier than ever, with many bookies having a mobile compatible app so punters can place their bets on Wimbledon at anytime.
The 26-year-old Italian, ranked number six in the world, reached last year’s final, losing to Djokovic in four hard fought sets. A defeat to eventual champion Rafael Nadal in the Semi-Finals of this year’s Australian Open, proves Berrettini has the ability to go deep at slams.
With a game that suits grass courts, the Italian will be looking to go one better this year and is one of the favourites for the title.
The age defying Spaniard needs no introduction. Ranked 4 in the world and at 35 years of age, he continues to perform at the highest level.
His sensational five set victory over Daniil Medvedev at the Australian Open gave Nadal a record 21 Grand Slam Titles, one more than Djokovic and Federer. More importantly it gave him the belief he could win even more.
Grass is not his favourite surface, but Nadal is injury free and eager to add another Wimbledon title to his list. Victories in 2008 and 2010, were followed by defeat in the 2011 final, which remarkably, is the Spaniards last appearance on the second Sunday.
Since then, two semi-final appearances in 2018 and 2019 are his best return, although Covid cancellation and then injury, prevented him appearing for the last two years.
The 25-year-old German, ranked number three in the world, has not had great results at Wimbledon in the past, but it’s not for a lack of talent. Last year saw him suffer semi-final defeats at both the US and French Open, plus a quarter-final loss at Wimbledon and the Australian Open.
Older, wiser and with more experience under his belt, it is not beyond Zverev to finally put it all together in a slam and lift the title his talent deserves.
Felix Auger Aliassime
The 21 tear old Canadian, ranked number 10 in the world, has already won a title this year, with victory in Rotterdam. Blessed with athleticism and incredible talent, all that is lacking is experience, but that hasn’t stopped previous winners such as a 17-year-old Boris Becker.
Defeat to eventual finalist Berrettini at the quarter final stage last year was an impressive run, but don’t be surprised if he goes even further this year. Tall and with a serve that’s made for grass, the Canadian has an outside chance.
The man to beat and the favourite for this year’s Wimbledon title is the reigning champion Djokovic. But time will eventually catch up with the Serbian and his great rival Nadal, the only question is, will it be this year.