For some people, Wimbledon is about snoozing through the 5am alarm and arriving later-than-necessary for the tribulation that is the ground pass queue, only to shuffle along for the next six hours in damp, overcast conditions while taking it in turns to nip out to the local newsies to top up refreshments, partaking in inebriated games of round-the-world soft tennis with fellow queue dwellers and eventually deciding it’s better to watch the last few hours play from the picturesque surroundings of a local village boozer than to actually go in.
For others with little tennis inclination, Wimbledon might instead conjure up scenes of million-pound two bed flats. Or fictional pointy-nosed, furry creatures. Or “crazy gangs”, perhaps.
With us, it’s a bit of the former and a bit about the opportunity to partake in some good old-fashioned punting on by far the second most important thing going on in the world over the next few weeks. Bearing this in mind, here’s our guide to the contenders.
On the women’s side, the two favourites are the queen of grass, Petra Kvitova, along with the other queen of grass, Serena Williams. You could throw Muguruza into this mix, but for us you can’t go wrong with taking the 5/1 and 6/1 respectively on offer for the prior pair. Kvitova was in sensational form last week in Birmingham, while Serena could turn up to Wimbledon straight out of a cab from the maternity ward and we’d back her at sixes.
For some mid-to-long-range value, Ashleigh Barty has a lot about her on grass and still looks good at an already-backed-in price of 33s. Conversely, a player on the drift who has struggled for consistency recently is Caroline Garcia – in this case the form book may well not lie, but even so the 66/1 on offer for the accomplished grass-courter with a world ranking of 6 looks a justifiable, if friendly, proposition.
The men’s side looks about as up for grabs as it’s been in recent times. With some albeit mild doubts surrounding Federer and Djokovic, we’re looking to the rest of the pack for alternatives.
Even before his dominating displays en route to the Queen’s title, the market knew that Cilic was (is) going to be a major threat for the SW19 trophy. It would take a brave person to back him at his current, further-reduced price (currently floating around the 8/1 mark), but for someone who often saves his best form for Slams, it certainly feels like he’s a massive shout this time out. And since we’re in a bullish mood, a well-behaved Kyrgios at Queen’s – discounting a couple of colourful hand gestures – has got us in the mood for the 20/1 back.
Further down the trail, an each way on the forever-steady Kevin Anderson at 50s can’t be considered anything other than sensible behaviour. An outright on the exchanges should provide an even longer price, but any value here might be found in the e/w.
Whatever happens in the next few weeks, a gentle reminder to not be doing anything other than dwelling around a big screen on Sunday 15th July; the sunny Sunday afternoon that tennis and football comes home.