The world is still in awe of the historic French Open witnessed just three weeks ago. However, it is now time to turn our attention to the third Grand Slam of the year, Wimbledon. The immaculate grass courts of The All England Club have long been dominated by the more established players on tour. Supremacy of the higher seeds has continued from the days of Sampras, Bjorg, Navratilova, and Graf to the current era in which Federer, Djokovic, and Serena and Venus Williams have proven their royalty atop the tennis world. However, with two new finalists in last year’s competition–Milos Raonic and Angelique Kerber–could we potentially see two new champions hoisting the winner’s trophies in 2017?
Here is a look at the dark horses in the Wimbledon draw.
Nick Kyrgios – Kyrgios has proven time and time again that he can beat the best players in the world. The Australian has reached at least the fourth round every time he has played Wimbledon, and with the explosive game he possesses, it would be hard to bet against him reaching the fourth round for a fourth consecutive time. At 22 years of age, Kyrgios has already accomplished more than a lot of players on tour, having beaten Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, while also reaching the quarter finals of two Grand Slams. The next big step for Kyrgios would be to win a maiden Grand Slam, and Wimbledon looks the most likely of places for this to happen.
Mischa Zverev – Mischa Zverev started the 2017 season in impeccable form, reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open. However, since this breakthrough performance, the German has struggled to find much form. Zverev has regained some confidence in recent weeks, making the semi-finals at Stuttgart before pushing Federer on the grass courts of Halle. The 29-year-old will be seeded 27th and face Bernard Tomic in the first round of Wimbledon. Zverev lost against Tomic only a few days ago. However, Zverev has the game and experience to go far and contend for the title if he can reverse the score against Tomic.
Ashleigh Barty – Ash Barty has not been past the third round of singles in any Grand Slam, however at only 21 years of age, the Australian has already been to four Grand Slam doubles finals. Barty has the experience required to do well in majors and is in the best form of her career, recently reaching the final of the Birmingham Classic. Barty will face another rising star, Svitolina, in the first round, a tough match to start the championships for both players. If Barty can pull through, she will take the fourth seeds spot in the tournament, meaning her draw could open considerably.
Venus Williams – Is it discourteous to call a five-time champion a dark horse? Williams has historically been one of the strongest performers at Wimbledon, however capturing her sixth title may prove to be more of a challenge. Considering the American has not won a Grand Slam since 2008 and is situated in a tough section of the draw, it is unlikely that she will be holding the Venus Rosewater Dish at the championships conclusion. However, Williams is a great of the game, with a perfect game for the fast grass courts of Wimbledon, so nothing should be put past this future Hall of Famer.