The Queen’s Club Championship was intended to be a warm-up event for quite a few Wimbledon favorites. But they barely had a chance to stretch their legs. Pretty much every Wimbledon hopeful at the event — Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic, and Nick Kyrgios — suffered a huge upset defeat in the first round.
2017 has flipped the ATP rankings on its head, but once again the big four are the favorites heading into Wimbledon (July 3 – 16). Is there more chaos to come, or will the old pecking order be restored? Let’s take a look at the odds.
As a precursor to Wimbledon, Roger Federer is comfortably making his way through the Gerry Weber Open. His two strongest competitors at the event, Dominic Thiem and Kei Nishikori, bowed out early in the second round. So now it should be smooth sailing for the former number one.
The seven-time Wimbledon winner skipped the French Open this year in order to be fresh for the grass-court season. After an early exit in Stuttgart to 39-year-old Tommy Haas, the move looked questionable. But from what we’ve seen at Gerry Weber, Stuttgart was likely just a blip on the radar.
Federer hasn’t won the event since 2009, but his recent resurgence in form places him as the favorite to claim the event.
Grass isn’t Nadal’s strongest surface, and he’s been disappointing at the event in recent years. But he’s also won Wimbledon twice, and 2017 is looking like his year. He’s in extraordinary form and is expected to end the year as the world no 1. A win at Wimbledon would pretty much guarantee that.
The defending champion is among the favorites for the event, but his current form leaves a lot to be desired. He recently lost to 90th-ranked Jordan Thompson in the first round of the Queen’s Club. Before that, he had a decent showing at the French Open, reaching the semifinals before losing to Stan Wawrinka.
For now, he’s still the world no 1. But that probably won’t be the case by the end of the year. A win at Wimbledon would only move him to third in the ATP points race.
We’ll know a little more about Djokovic’s chances after the Aegon International Eastbourne, which will act as his grass-court warm-up for Wimbledon. However, even if he wins, there will be some doubt regarding his form. Djokovic has had a woeful season so far, losing repeatedly to players we would expect him to easily overwhelm. His struggles led to him firing basically his entire team back in May.
If he’s able to regain his form, the three-time Wimbledon champ will have a great chance in London. But right now it looks like he’s in some trouble.
Milos Raonic and his massive serve stand the best chance of breaking the big-four monopoly, but he’s had a pretty quiet year so far. The Canadian defeated Federer last year at Wimbledon to advance to the finals where he lost a competitive (though still three-set) match to Murray, 6-4, 7-6, 7-6. Since then, he hasn’t had many notable results.
He’s still young and he’s beaten the best before. It’s a long-shot, but maybe this will be Raonic’s moment.
With Murray and Djokovic not playing to their potential — and giving us little reason to expect an imminent change — I’m shying away from both. Nadal’s recent history at Wimbledon also makes me nervous, and I can’t back him at short odds. That leaves Federer and Raonic.
The way Roger has been playing (for most of) this year, he’s the deserving favorite. In the grand scheme, he’s absolutely owned Wimbledon. Is 11/4 too short? In order for that bet to make money in the long-run, Federer would have to win 26.7-percent of the time. Betting on Raonic at 15/1 only requires a 6.3-percent win rate.
While the bigger payout on Raonic is enticing, I actually favor Federer. Raonic is capable of pulling off big wins, but he’s never been able to string two or three together against the world’s top players, which is what you have to do to win a Grand Slam.
I’ll take the proven commodity in Roger Federer, the greatest grass-court player of all time.
Pick: Federer 11/4
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