It seems as though the British weather is going to play ball, at least for the early part of Wimbledon 2019. After several weeks of rather dismal weather across the country, warm weather has moved in just in time for the start of the qualifiers for the tournament this week, and the start of the Championship itself, which gets underway on Monday July 1st.

This massive, and very British, Grand Slam tournament is the third tennis major of the year following on from the Australian and French Opens, with the US Open taking place later in the year. 128 players will compete in each singles tournament across seven rounds of matches in the hope of succeeding either Novak Djokovic in the men’s, or Angelique Kerber in the women’s tournament, as champion.

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Although there are many different tournaments taking place at Wimbledon, including three doubles tournaments, plus a range of singles and doubles tournament in different age ranges, as well as tournaments for those with physical impairments, it is the two big singles tournaments for men and women that draw the most attention.

In this article, we are going to give you a quick preview for both, but before that we’ll learn a little more about Wimbledon’s long and unusual heritage.

A History of Wimbledon

This year’s tournament will be the 133rd time the tournament has been held. The first came way back in 1877 and in those early years, home-based players dominated the event. Around 200 spectators paid a shilling each to watch the final, which was won by Spencer Gore, who triumphed from a field of 22 players.

Seven years later, in 1884, the first Ladies (and men’s doubles) tournament was held with Maud Watson winning the inaugural title.

In 1922, the club moved from its old base on Nursery Road, to its present site on Church Road. This was also the year when the rules changed for the Champion, who had previously only had to contest the final against an opponent who had qualified to play them. From then on, Wimbledon Champions would have to earn their place in the final to defend their title.

Over the years there have been many famous winners of the Wimbledon title in both the men’s and women’s game. Roger Federer has won the most male Championships with eight, while Martina Navratilova has the record in the women’s game with nine titles to her name.

The prize money for the tournament has not yet been officially confirmed but it is thought that it will at least match, if not exceed the £34 million in prize money that was available for players in 2018.

The spectators at the All England Club won’t go hungry either with around 34,000 kilograms of strawberries expected to be bought over the Wimbledon fortnight, washed down by 10,000 litres of cream! Which is one of the tastier ways to watch live sport if you are able to enjoy it.

Women’s Singles Contenders

Women’s Seeds

  1. Ashleigh Barty (Aus)
  2. Naomi Osaka (Jap)
  3. Karolina Pliskova (Cze)
  4. Kiki Bertens (Hol)
  5. Angelique Kerber (Ger)
  6. Petra Kvitova (Cze)
  7. Simona Halep (Rom)
  8. Elina Svitolina (Ukr)
  9. Sloane Stephens (USA)
  10. Aryna Sabalenka (Blr)
  11. Serena Williams (USA)
  12. Anastasija Sevastova (Lat)
  13. Belinda Bencic (Swi)
  14. Caroline Wozniacki (Den)
  15. Wang Qiang (Chi)
  16. Marketa Vondousova (Cze)

We have reached a point in the women’s game now where no one player is dominating the game and in truth, the difference in skill and quality between any of the 16 players listed above and anyone inside at least the top 40, if not 50, is so small that any of the top players will feel that they have a chance of holding the famous trophy aloft on Finals Saturday.

Angelique Kerber would love to hold on to her trophy but her 2019 season hasn’t been the greatest and it would be an incredible effort for her to win back-to-back. Serena Williams is 11th seed and she’ll fancy her chances on this surface, as will former Champion Garbine Muguruza, who is not even ranked inside the top 16 for this year’s tournament.

One to watch could be Petra Kvitova, another former winner here, who has the game to do well on grass, if she is fully fit and can find her best form. Britains Johanna Konta will have huge support and after a fine run to the French Open semifinal, she is in good form too.

Our Top Tip – This is one of the most difficult Wimbledon Champions to predict given how open the women’s draw is, but I am going to back American Sloane Stephens to claim her second Grand Slam title with a win here.

Men’s Singles Contenders

Men’s Seeds

  1. Novak Djokovic (Ser)
  2. Roger Federer (Swi)
  3. Rafael Nadal (Esp)
  4. Kevin Anderson (S.Af)
  5. Dominic Thiem (Aut)
  6. Alexander Zverev (Ger)
  7. Stefanos Tsitsipas (Gre)
  8. Kei Nishikori (Jap)
  9. John Isner (USA)
  10. Karen Khachanov (Rus)
  11. Daniil Medvedev (Rus)
  12. Fabio Fognini (Ita)
  13. Marin Cilic (Cro)
  14. Borna Coric (Cro)
  15. Milos Raonic (Can)
  16. Gael Monfils (Fra)

In truth, I can only see one of two players winning this year’s Wimbledon title in the men’s event and it is no surprise when I say those players are likely to be the top two seeds, Novak Djokovic, a four time winner of Wimbledon and Roger Federer, the eight-time Wimbledon Champion.

Both these players are going to go down as two of the greatest players of all time, Federer as perhaps the best of all-time and even though they have much younger players behind them in the draw, none are as talented or experienced on grass and none have matched the incredible level of performance these players have reached on this surface over the years.

Raphael Nadal is their closest challenger but the Spaniard does tend to struggle more on grass compared to hard courts or his beloved clay, where he is the undisputed king and while Nadal reached the semifinals last year, I think he’ll struggle to match that this time around.

There are some talented young players coming through in Zverev, Tsitsipas, Khachanov, Medvedev and Coric in particular, but I can’t see any of them being enough to beat either of the top two if they can find anywhere near their best form.

Our Top Tip – We’d be surprised if it isn’t a Federer v Djokovic final at Centre Court on Finals Weekend and although it will be mighty close, we’d back Federer to just pip the Serbian to land his ninth title.