While the football World Cup rumbles on in Russia, one of sports other great tournaments is preparing to get underway in southwest London. The 2018 Wimbledon Championships promises to be one of the most open in years with a host of potential contenders in both the men’s and women’s events.
Last year’s Ladies’ champions Garbine Muguruza will bebackk to defend her title but who else has a shot at the title. We look at the top contenders.
The world number one arrives here on the back of a debut Grand Slam victory in the French Open. The Romanian had been knocking on the door of a major title but finally got over the line beating Sloane Stephens in three sets.
Halep prefers the clay but has reached a semi-final and two quarter-finals at Wimbledon in the last four years. Can she go all the way this time?
Garbine Muguruza dominated the event last year dropping just one set on her way to the title. When she gets into big-game mode, there is no stopping her but if her game is slightly off she can crumble fast, as seen in here French Open defeat to Halep.
However, she’s loves Wimbledon and her game is well-suited to grass. Bookmaker williamhill.com are offering 7/1 on her retaining her title.
Sloane Stephens has featured in two of the last three Grand Slam finals but she has yet to shine in southwest London. Since returning from injury a year ago, she has claimed a US Open title and made it to the French Open final. Can the world number four bring her best game to the grass courts this summer? The bookies have her down as a 12/1 shot.
The 2011 and 2014 winner has enjoyed a return to form in 2018 and will start as favourite. She has four tour wins to her name this year but her best Grand Slam showing was trip to the third round at Roland Garros. After battling back from a knife attack at her home in 2016, there would be few more popular winners.
Hard-hitting Keys has yet to get to grips with Wimbledon, a quarter-final being her best result to date. But she has played in a US Open final and a French Open final in the last 12 months and should not be ruled out.
Angelique Kerber reached the final in 2016 and picked up two Grand Slam titles in the same year. After a 2017 to forget, she has reached at least the quarter-finals of every event she has entered this year, the highlight being a semi-final appearance at the Australian Open.
Maria Sharapova is back on the Wimbledon grass for the first time since her semi-final defeat to Serena Williams in 2015. Working her way back to fitness after a doping ban and injury, she is in with an outside chance.
Seven-time former champions Serena Williams will hope to make her return after becoming a mother but faces a race against time to recover from a pectoral injury sustained at the French Open. She was due to face Sharapova in that event when she was forced to pull out and fans will be hoping to see that showdown here instead.