The strawberries and cream have been prepared, the grass courts of the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club are freshly groomed and cut, the whites have been pressed, and the world’s best tennis players are at the ready for the final slam before the Olympics.
Not even the Brexit decision can affect the mood at this, the 139th edition of the Wimbledon Championships (Monday, June 27- July 10).
Novak Djokovic vs the Field
Starting on the men’s side, this year’s grand slam tennis season has gone basically to form and by to form, that of course means two majors down, two wins for Novak Djokovic, the guy who is just short of two years running as the world No.1.
In Melbourne, Djokovic brought home his record breaking sixth Australian Open crown, his fifth in the last six years. A few months later, at Roland Garros, he finally bested the clay beast to win his first French Open and with it, his career grand slam.
Now, with those two majors in the rearview and Wimbledon 2016 upcoming, of which he is the two-time defending champion, Djokovic is very much keeping the dream alive to win the calendar grand slam. That is something he has come just one major shy of in both 2011 and 2015. In 2016, not only could Djokovic join an exclusive club of players to win all four majors in the same year, but he could etch his name as the only men’s player to complete the calendar golden slam, meaning winning all four majors plus the Olympic gold in the same year.
There’s no reason to believe he can’t and won’t do it, because right now Djokovic is the unquestioned best player in the world and it’s clear that no one is quite on his level. He is both the unstoppable force and the immovable object and up and down the draw, only on their best day is there one, maybe two people who can slay the giant that is Djokovic.
One of these men is of course Roger Federer, who very well could be winding down the amount of Wimbledon tournaments he has left in his career. The 35-year-old is Djokovic’s biggest rival in the field and is the only man to have anything that even closely resembles a winning record (Djokovic owns the head to head 23-22) against the now 12-time major winner. However, the last time these two met, in the semifinals of the Australian Open, Djokovic , then 28 years old, certainly showed Federer’s own age as he defeated his rival in a pretty easy four-setter. If the two do meet again at Wimbledon, it once again is set as a semifinal match-up.
In what could be his swan song, does England’s favorite adopted son, winner of more Wimbledon titles than anyone in history, perhaps have what it takes for one last go at the gold? Or is Djokovic’s path into the history books just too incredible to stop?
The sportsbooks continue to put their money behind Djokovic’s play as he is as short as -150 favorite with Bovada Sportsbook. Following most closely behind is England’s native son (sort of, he’s Scottish), Andy Murray, at +350 an then Federer (+1200) and Milos Raonic (pictured, +1400), who has been getting a lot of traction lately as the first from the so-called Gen Next to break through into a grand slam final.
Raonic as the world’s seventh best player is a unique dark horse to win his first major. He’s the beneficiary of one of the easier draws and his serve and power ground game is just about as good as anybody in the world. Not to mention, he’s recently added the legendary John McEnroe to his coaching staff, something that is sure to show immediate results.
The thing is, whether it is Murray, who has beaten Djokovic just 10 times in their 34 meetings, or whether it’s Federer, or whether it’s the up-and-coming Raonic, those players have to all play their absolute best tennis just to have a shot to take down Djokovic. Not to mention, they need a little help from the Serbian as well as their best bet is for him to have an off day.
Our Wimbledon Preview’s Betting Picks
All of that said, it’s obvious how this one goes. I’ve written a preview here at USAbetting.com for most of the majors over the past two years and the betting pick is the same now as it was then and as it probably will be for the Olympics, the US Open, the 2017 Australian, etc, etc.
I’m going with the favorite. There’s not much money to be made there at just -150 but the guy has won the last four majors, he’s five of his last six, and as crazy as it may seem, is playing his best tennis right now. That would be enough to scare anyone but for the guys in the field, it just takes an already uphill task and makes it a near impossibility. So like the US-friendly sportsbooks, put your money behind tennis’ new golden boy, behind the guy who has definitely turned the tennis world from an era of the Big Three to an age of only one.
The present and the future belongs to Djokovic and while there is a surge of young up-and-comers like Raonic, Nick Krygios and Dominic Thiem, who seems to have Federer’s number, all of those guys are living in an era where the top performer is still south of 30. Like the recently turned 29-year-old Lionel Messi in the international soccer scene, it means that he’s going to be around for at least a few more years, time enough to break Federer’s record 18 grand slams.
- As I said at the beginning of this preview, it really is Novak Djokovic against the field and right now, the field just isn’t good enough to really challenge the two-time defending Wimbledon champion. So, without much of a surprise, the betting pick is to take Djokovic to easily cruise his way to another title @ best betting odds of -125 with 5Dimes Sportsbook. It is -130 with BetOnline and -150 with Bovada.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.