Hard court done. Clay court done. Now, it is time for big time tennis on grass. Wimbledon or The Championships, begin on July 3 at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.
The third Major of the season does not not have a particularly long build-up as it takes place just three weeks after Roland Garros.
Here are some of the major storylines to follow at what will be the 136th edition of the tournament
Djokovic and the number 24
Djokovic won the first two Slams of the year which took him past Rafael Nadal’s all-time men’s record of 22 Slams. The Serbian’s next target is Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Majors, which he can equal by winning his fifth straight Wimbledon title this year. The triumph this year would also mean Djokovic matching Roger Federer’s tally of eight titles at Wimbledon, the most by a man in the Open era. Like the last three editions, he will play without featuring in a single tune-up event on the surface. Nevertheless, Djokovic is a cut above the rest of the field this year as he alone has 86 wins at the grass Major, one more than the other 19 players combined in the ATP Top 20.
Alcaraz, the challenger
Carlos Alcaraz seems to be the only player in the men’s draw who has an outside chance of upsetting Djokovic. The Spaniard enters the tournament as the top seed after winning his maiden title on grass at Queen’s. He showed significant improvement in figuring out the on-court movement in the space of five matches and his service is looking slightly more lethal along with a booming forehand.
In the women’s event, a tough battle is expected for the title between top seed Iga Swiatek, defending champion Elena Rybakina, world number two Aryna Sabalenka and last year’s runner-up Ons Jabeur. Swiatek reached her maiden grass court semifinal at Bad Homburg before pulling out due to illness. Jelena Ostapenko and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova are also in contention after their recent success on the surface in the tune-up events. Also, watch out for a certain five-time champion. I’m talking about the 43-year-old Venus Williams who has received a main draw wildcard and faces another wildcard in Elina Svitolina in the opening round.
Russians, Belarusians and ranking points are back
All Russian and Belarusian players will be back at The Championships after missing the previous edition as the organisers had banned them from participating following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. The ban resulted in ATP and WTA Tour stripping the event of ranking points and hence, everyone will play the upcoming edition with a clean slate.
As far the Indian interest is concerned, there is not much to look forward to at this year’s edition except Rohan Bopanna, who is the sixth seed in men’s doubles, partnering Australia’s Matthew Ebden. Ankita Raina bowed out in the opening round of singles qualifying. In Junior category, Yuvan Nandal’s name features in the main draw entry list while Aryan Shah and Manas Dhamne will play qualifying.
Change in doubles format
Do you remember the 2022 men’s doubles final at Wimbledon? In a four-hour-long marathon summit clash, Max Purcell and Matthew Ebden had edged Mate Pavic and Nikola Mektic in five sets. Well, from this year, there will be no more best of five men’s doubles matches at The Championships as the event has decided to join the tradition best-of-three sets format which the other three Slams already follow.
The total prize money at this year’s Wimbledon will be 44.7 million pounds (56.52 million USD), an 11.2 percent increase on 2022 and a 17.1 percent hike on the pre-pandemic Championships in 2019.
After delaying for many years, Wimbledon finally joined the other three Majors in providing equal prize money for both men and women in 2007. This year’s singles winners will receive 2.35 million pounds each while the runners-up will get 1.175 million pounds each.
Do follow Sportstar’s coverage of this year’s Wimbledon because we have a lot of exciting stuff in store for you.
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