Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have already won Grand Slams in 2019, and now the big question is whether or not Roger Federer will make it 3-for-3 for the men’s big three going into Wimbledon, which gets underway on Monday morning from the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London.
On the women’s side, Angelique Kerber is the defending champion after downing Serena Williams, who is still searching for her 24th Grand Slam win to tie Margaret Court for the most all-time. The surging Australian, Ashleigh Barty, is the top seed, after winning the French Open title earlier this year, her first Grand Slam championship.
Djokovic is the defending champion for the men and the top seed. He beat Nadal in the final of the Australian Open this year, and also bested Kevin Anderson in the Wimbledon final a year ago. Anderson, a big server who benefits from the high ball speed on grass courts, is the fourth seed and is hoping to do some damage again.
On both sides, the field is pretty open, though it’s easy to suspect Djokovic will come away with another win, and Barty followed up her French Open dominance with a win on grass at the Birmingham Classic. Federer is more up-and-down these days, but grass remains his best service and if he’s going to grab another Grand Slam or two before he calls it a career, it will probably be at Wimbledon.
What to expect from the women’s singles
As usual, the women’s singles field has the typical top players in action, but the favorite to win is a moving target. Since Serena Williams’ extended absence due to pregnancy after winning the 2017 Australian Open, there have been six different first-time Grand Slam winners in women’s singles: Barty, Simona Halep, Caroline Wozniacki, Naomi Osaka, Sloane Stephens and Jeļena Ostapenko.
Since returning, Williams hasn’t won a major, and comes into the tournament ranked 11th in the world, below all of the women in the list above, save for Ostapenko. Williams has dealt with multiple illnesses and injuries thus far this season, and the furthest she’s made it is the quarterfinals at the Australian Open. Interestingly, when she is playing, she’s generally playing well and winning her matches, but she can’t stay on the court.
Barty is a popular pick, but after her win in Birmingham, she skipped the tournament in Eastbourne with an arm injury, so that’s something to monitor. She has also struggled at Wimbledon in the past, never making it past the third round. Making the jump to winning the tournament would be a large jump, especially as she is on the same half of the bracket as some of the better grass players, like Williams, Kerber, Petra Kvitová, and Garbine Muguruza.
Kerber is the defending champion, but her 2019 hasn’t been as impressive as others. It would probably be most accurate to call Osaka the consensus favorite on the women’s side. She’s the only women’s player to earn two Grand Slam titles since 2017. That said, Osaka is coming off a pretty poor performance at the French Open, where she claimed the stress of being the favorite caused her headaches.
Karolína Plíšková, the third seed, is coming off winning the title in Eastbourne, and many are picking her to grab the title and win her first Grand Slam. Like Barty, Plíšková has three titles this year. She defeated Kerber in the semifinals at Eastbourne.
Serena could have a tough third-round matchup against Julia Goerges and then a potential fourth-round match against Kerber, which is a very tough draw for her. The potential women’s quarterfinals, based on seeding, include Barty vs. Kerber, Kiki Bertens vs. Kvitová, Elina Svitolina vs. Plíšková, and Halep vs. Osaka.
My pick to win the women’s singles bracket: Naomi Osaka
What to expect from the men’s singles
Fifty-three of the last 64 men’s Grand Slam titles have gone to the big three — Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. Six of the remaining 11 went to Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka. The big three have split the last 10 Grand Slam titles.
The top players occasionally show signs of slowing down, especially when they run up against each other and are pushed to their limits, but it’s still very much a safe bet to predict one of the three will win at Wimbledon.
The only thing that gives me pause personally is their ability to continue to handle powerful serves on grass courts. Anderson making the final a year ago was not a fluke, nor was John Isner making it deep into the tournament. Federer’s movement and poise on grass is unmatched, but among the first things to go as he ages will be his ability to handle the hardest serves in the game.
But I don’t think Federer is there, yet. I expect he’ll get another title, and soon, though Djokovic will be hard to beat at the moment. His two titles this year were in Melbourne and at the Madrid Open. Federer is 37 years old, and every tournament that passes, his chances of winning another have to be going down. Then you factor in the fact that Nadal has only ever won twice at Wimbledon, and didn’t take part in any grass court tournaments leading up to Wimbledon.
There’s always the talk about the young, up-and-coming core that the men’s game has, but that core has yet to break through and really dethrone the big three.
That core consists of guys like Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Felix Auger-Aliassime, and Denis Shapovalov. Of those, Thiem, Zverev and Tsitsipas have won two tournaments apiece in 2019. None of them won any of the titles on grass leading up to Wimbledon, however.
But whether or not this will be the tournament one of the younger guys breaks through and unseats the big three will continue to be the question until one of them actually does it.
Federer and Nadal are in the same half of the draw and could meet in the semifinals. In the quarterfinals, based on seeding, we could see Djokovic vs. Tsitsipas, Anderson vs. Zverev, Thiem vs. Nadal and Federer vs. Kei Nishikori. Of those, Thiem has perhaps the hardest opener against Sam Querrey, who isn’t a threat to win but can be a handful for anybody, especially in the first round.
My pick to win the men’s singles bracket: Novak Djokovic
Watching Wimbledon in the US
Watching Wimbledon in the United States can be difficult given the time difference, but the television coverage is pretty straightforward, as is the live streaming coverage. As usual, the ESPN family of networks will carry coverage, typically beginning at 6 a.m. ET throughout the tournament.
Coverage will be on both ESPN and ESPN2, though live streaming of all courts is locked behind ESPN+, which requires a subscription. This has been the case since ESPN+ launched, which can be a bit of a bummer for tennis fans who were previously spoiled by being able to watch all courts for free during Grand Slams. Their television coverage can be streamed with a cable or satellite subscription at ESPN’s website.
Both singles finals will be on ESPN, with a replay on ABC later in the day.
How to watch Wimbledon 2019
|Mon, July 1||First round||6 a.m.||4:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Tue, July 2||First round||6 a.m.||4:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Wed, July 3||Second round||6 a.m.||4:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Thu, July 4||Second round||6 a.m.||4 p.m.||ESPN|
|Fri, July 5||Third round||6 a.m.||4:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Sat, July 6||Third round||8 a.m.||5 p.m.||ESPN|
|Mon, July 8||Round of 16||6 a.m.||4 p.m.||ESPN, ESPN2|
|Tue, July 9||Quarterfinals||8 a.m.||4 p.m.||ESPN, ESPN2|
|Wed, July 10||Quarterfinals||8 a.m.||4 p.m.||ESPN, ESPN2|
|Thu, July 11||Semifinals||6 a.m.||1 p.m.||ESPN|
|Fri, July 12||Semifinals||8 a.m.||2 p.m.||ESPN|
|Sat, July 13||Women's final||8 a.m.||3 p.m.||ESPN|
|Sun, July 14||Men's final||9 a.m.||3 p.m.||ESPN|