The weather is hotting up and so is the 2017 tennis season.
There’s already been plenty for tennis fans to talk about this year. But the buzz surrounding Wimbledon is something entirely different.
Last year’s final saw 13.3 million television viewers in the UK alone — just 300,000 shy of the audience that saw Portugal edge out France in the Euro 2016 final on the same channel.
Every year the Wimbledon sees some of the best action tennis has to offer. The tournament is big news across the globe and it’s one every professional dreams of winning.
But what can we expect this year and will 2017 be the best yet?
Thrills and spills
When Wimbledon featured in our six tournaments to get excited about in 2017, the focus was on its roots. The event (established in 1877) certainly has history, and stories to tell.
But now with Wimbledon’s annual prelude, the Aegon Championship at Queen’s Club, done and dusted we’re just days away from the biggest tournament in the calendar.
The stage is set — and the inch perfect lawns at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club have never been more ready. So let’s look ahead to what is sure to be a fortnight of highs, lows, thrills, spills, and unbelievable tennis all wrapped up into one.
What’s the score?
The tournament kicks off on the outside courts at 11:30 BST on Monday 3rd July and ends with the Men’s Singles Final at 14:00 BST on Sunday 16th July.
Defending two-time champion Andy Murray will return to Wimbledon off the back of a frustrating first-half to 2017 and a disappointing turn-out at Queen’s.
However Murray’s female counterpart Serena Williams, who won her seventh SW19 championship last year, will be a notable absence this time round.
Alongside the highly-anticipated singles competitions we’ll see bags more action across the two weeks. Other arrangements of play include:
- Men’s Doubles
- Women’s Doubles
- Mixed Doubles
- Boys’ Singles
- Girls’ Singles
- Boys’ Doubles
- Girls’ Doubles
- Wheelchair Men’s Singles
- Wheelchair Women’s Singles
- Wheelchair Men’s Doubles
- Wheelchair Women’s Doubles
Wimbledon singles: Favourites and upsets
Besides the 250 ball boys and girls, 54,250 tennis balls, 140,000 servings of strawberries and 320,000 glasses of Pimm’s, what else should you be looking out for this year?
The usual culprits will be atop the list of favourites to clinch the singles titles.
Andy Murray will be hoping to turn his year around.
35-year old Roger Federer will be on the hunt for his eighth Wimbledon win.
Novak Djokovic is after his third win in four years.
While Spaniard Rafa Nadal, who has failed to get past the 4th Round since 2011, is keen to put past performances behind him and capitalise on the rich vein of form that saw him grab his tenth Roland Garros title earlier this month.
Last year’s runner up Milos Raonic is back looking to go one better.
And you can expect the experience of Marin Cilic and Stan Wawrinka to see them through to the latter stages of the tournament.
And yet there have been some incredible upsets down the years at Wimbledon.
From former champion Goran Ivanišević’s shock defeat at the hands of Briton Nick Brown in 1991, to Pete Sampras’ loss against world number 145 George Bastl — we’ve seen it all.
So be sure to keep your eye out for a few surprises this year.
With Serena taking a break from tennis, the door is wide open in this year’s ladies’ tournament.
The 23-time Grand Slam winner, who has held the number 1 spot in the WTA rankings for a total of 319 weeks over her illustrious 22 years in professional tennis, has (along with her older sister Venus) dominated proceedings at Wimbledon since the early 2000s.
Between them the two have won 12 of the last 17 tournaments!
For the likes of Petra Kvitova, Karolina Pliskova and current world number 1 (and last year’s runner-up) Angelique Kerber, 2017 presents an opportunity to big to miss.
What helps to define women’s tennis is the diverse mixture of youth and experience. In what has for a long time been a difficult place to come, there’s now a whole cohort of female players out there ready to take home the Venus Rosewater Dish.
Lawn tennis can create some trying contests and hard slogs that are not only a test of talent, but sheer will to win. So get ready for some fierce matches out on court, as the biggest names and underdogs in women’s tennis battle it out and vye for victory.
Oh and don’t write off Venus. Never write off Venus.
The home of unbelievable tennis
Wimbledon really is a global sporting spectacle.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve got tickets, you’re taking a seat on Murray Mound, or simply watching with gritted teeth at home — there’s no doubt we’re in for a fortnight of unbelievable tennis.
The second of two European Grand Slams in a matter of weeks, the tournament gives players the opportunity to stamp their mark on the tennis season in spectacular style.
And with 39,000 spectators in the grounds at any one time, and a centre court capacity of 15,000, the atmosphere gets bigger and better with every year.
Let’s hope it doesn’t rain too much!
You can keep up-to-date with everything Wimbledon here.