By Mark Rawlinson
It’s that time of year when the whole nation sits up and takes note of the tennis circuit for a fortnight with the commencement of the biggest tournament on the list, Wimbledon.
Even those who wouldn’t dream of watching any of the other events on the tour will stick on the telly to watch the prestigious event.
Chances are, the Brits will be behind Andy Murray during the event and willing him onto secure his first Wimbledon title, but what chance does he have of doing that?
Murray’s Wimbledon Chances
Murray went the furthest he had ever gone in the competition last year when he reached the final before being defeated by Roger Federer in an exciting final.
He was the first Brit to reach the men’s final at Wimbledon since Bunny Austin in 1938 and was right in the match as he levelled the set scores by taking the second 7-5. But Federer began to seize control and secured a record breaking seventh title, winning the next two 6-3, 6-4.
It was clear how much it meant to him as he broke down in tears in his post match interview but better was to come later that summer as he won gold in the Olympics final and sweeter still, it was against Federer.
He comes into this year’s tournamnet after winning the title at Queen’s last weekend after beating Croatian Marian Cilic in the final. He’s also lifted the Brisbane International and Miami Masters and reached the final of the first Grand Slam of the season in January, the Australian Open, losing to Novak Djokovic in the final.
This year’s campaign begins on Monday with Murray’s oponent being world number 95 Benjamin Becker and incase you were wondering, he’s no relation to that Boris guy!
The two met less than a fortnight ago at Queens and Murray won the match in straight sets, 6-4, 7-6. Murray is a big favourite to do the same on Centre Court at approximately 4:30pm tomorrow.
In terms of outright winner, world number two Murray is second favourite to one better this year, and William Hill offer the best odds of 4/1.
Djokovic, Nadal, Federer
These three are currently being tipped as the biggest challengers to Murray’s Wimbledon assault. Number one seed Djokovic is 6/5 favourite with Coral to take his second Wimbledon title and begins his pursuit against Florian Mayer on Tuesday morning.
Rafael Nadal has had an excellent start to the season and has already taken seven titles so far, including his most recent victory at the French Open. Admittedly, the clay season has played into his hands but he’ll fancy his chances in the tournament and Boylesports provide the best price of 9/2.
Defending champion Roger Federer faces Romanian Victor Hanescu and until last week’s Gerry Weber Open, had had a fruitless season. Ladbrokes provide the best odds of 9/1 for the Swiss to win again this year.
Serena Williams is understandably the big favourite to win her sixth Wimbledon title after winning all 31 of her previous matches. That run has seen her win the last five events including the Miami Masters and French Open and Paddy Power offer the best odds of 4/9.
A woman she has beaten in three of those five finals is Maria Sharapova who is second favourite to take the title at 13/2 with Stan James. She opens her tournament on Monday afternoon against France’s Kristina Mladenovic.
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