Unlike Westeros, the realm of tennis has one undisputed King: Novak Djokovic. The world no. 1 is set to fend off all comers at the All England Lawn Tennis Club this June when the sport’s most prestigious tournament, Wimbledon, gets underway.
Can the “Djoker” capture his third straight title? Will rivals Andy Murray and Roger Federer pull the upset? Can any of the “up-and-comers” raise their game and challenge the sport’s top-tier?
Tennis is Novak’s world; everyone else is just serving in it. The Djoker is at the top of his career and looks unstoppable. In 2015, he had one of the greatest seasons in the Open era, winning three slams and reaching the finals in the fourth (Roland Garros). He hasn’t slowed down in 2016. (He already had five titles, including the Aussie Open, as of mid-May.)
Djokovic will be looking for his third Wimbledon title in a row, and fourth career. Now that he’s turned his serve into a weapon, his game is almost flawless. He can adapt to pick on any opponent’s weakness.
The predicament with Andy Murray stays the same; he has all the talent to compete with Novak, but lacks the mental fortitude to keep his game at its peak. When doubt creeps into the Scot’s mind, the match is all but over. He was able to piece everything together in 2013, capturing his first and so far only Wimbledon title. But followed that up with a quarterfinal loss the next year and a semifinal exit last year.
He doesn’t have any titles to his name yet in 2016 and has dropped to no. 3 in the world, but his previous win plus de facto home-court advantage make him as good a bet as any to knock off Novak.
The entire tennis world is rooting for Roger Federer to win one more Wimbledon title, but the reality is Federer would need two magical weeks to do it. He’s been close, getting to the final each of the last two years, but he was stymied by Djokovic both times. He was also ousted by Novak in the semis of the 2016 Aussie Open.
He’s no. 2 in the world at the moment, which would mean entering the draw on the opposite side as Djokovic. But that’s just delaying the inevitable: another loss to Novak in the finals. Bet the Swissman if you like fairytales and Disney movies.
As you can see, there is a huge gap between the top-three and the rest. Tennis has been dominated by Djokovic, and Murray and Federer are the only two real challengers he has (on hard court and grass, anyway). Wawrinka is fourth in the odds, but still a long shot. At 31 years old, he’s never been past the quarters at the All England Club. He does have two titles this season (Chennai and Dubai), but he also has a handful of early exits.
Milos Raonic: 16/1
Rafael Nadal: 20/1
Nick Kyrgios: 25/1
Kei Nishikori: 25/1
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: 40/1
Tomas Berdych: 50/1
Marin Cilic: 66/1
John Isner: 80/1
(Photo Credit: Carine06 from UK (Novak Djokovic) CC BY-SA 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)
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