4 min read
Players are settling into SW19 for what will hopefully be a long fortnight in London. Wimbledon will get underway on Monday, and Universal Tennis INSIGHTS is helping break down the favorites and dark horses.
2023 Wimbledon Women's Favorites, according to Universal Tennis INSIGHTS
(1) Iga Swiatek - 25%
(2) Aryna Sabalenka - 15%
(3) Elena Rybakina - 11%
(4) Jessica Pegula - 6%
Karolina Muchova - 5%
(14) Belinda Bencic - 4%
(17) Jelena Ostapenko - 4%
Karolina Pliskova - 3%
(10) Barbora Krejcikova - 3%
(19) Victoria Azarenka - 2%
Women's Draw: Most Likely to Win
Iga Swiatek (UTR Rating 13.24) is the one to beat as the WTA world No. 1 is fresh from her fourth Grand Slam title, in Paris. The 22-year-old is famously not her best on grass, but low expectations could help her swing more freely. She has only played at the All England Club three times, and reached the fourth round in 2021 — so it’s only been a rough time on grass for her lofty standards.
In Bad Homburg this week, the Pole reached her first-ever semifinal on grass, which would have been all positive except for illness forcing her to withdraw. Still Swiatek is favored by INSIGHTS with the highest UTR Rating out of anyone in the women’s field. She’ll start against Zhu Lin and the first seed she could face is Anhelina Kalinina.
Women's Draw: Most Likely to Go Deep
Defending champion Elena Rybakina (13.10) could repeat in London even though it’s her first time ever trying to defend a Grand Slam title. The 24-year-old has a notable 3-1 career win-loss record against Swiatek, who would be her biggest threat along with 2023 Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka (13.14). Rybakina has got a challenging opener in Shelby Rogers.
Women's Draw: Dark Horses
With Sabalenka rounding out the Top 3 highest-rated female players, dark horses need to work hard to shake things up. One potential draw shaker is Karolina Muchova (12.90), who broke through in Paris by reaching her first major final, complete with an upset of Sabalenka. Muchova hasn’t played any grass warm-up events but is a two-time Wimbledon quarterfinalist (in 2021 and 2019).
Jelena Ostapenko (12.88) just missed out on a Top 16 seeding, but she’s landed in a section of the draw favorable for a deep run. The 2017 Roland Garros champion has regained her groove in 2023 on every surface, reaching the quarters at the Australian Open, the semifinals in Rome, and winning Birmingham last week for her sixth title. She opens against qualifier Grace Minnen.
2023 Wimbledon Men's Favorites, according to Universal Tennis INSIGHTS
(2) Novak Djokovic - 18%
(1) Carlos Alcaraz - 15%
(3) Daniil Medvedev - 15%
(8) Jannik Sinner - 8%
(4) Casper Ruud - 8%
(5) Stefanos Tsitsipas - 5%
(19) Alexander Zverev - 4%
(7) Andrey Rublev - 3%
(30) Nick Kyrgios - 3%
(9) Taylor Fritz - 3%
Men's Draw: Most Likely to Win
While Swiatek has limited experience winning on grass, the exact opposite can be said of her counterpart in men’s favorite Novak Djokovic (16.40). The 36-year-old is seeking his eighth Wimbledon crown and 24th overall as he looks to tie Serena Williams’ record and inch farther ahead of Rafael Nadal. Though ranked No. 2 in the ATP rankings behind Carlos Alcaraz (16.39), Djokovic is the INSIGHTS favorite with a recent win over the Spaniard in Paris. He’s got an interesting first opponent in Pedro Cachin, a 28-year-old Spaniard who has benefitted from competing on the UTR Pro Tennis Tour. Djokovic’s first seeded opponent could be recent first-time Roland Garros quarterfinalist Tomas Martin Etcheverry.
Men's Draw: Most Likely to Go Deep
Djokovic's greatest rival this fortnight is most likely to be Alcaraz as their tussle for the top spot is sure to continue in London. Alcaraz bounced back from his cramp-filled loss to Djokovic in Paris by winning the ATP 500 in Queen’s Club for his 11th title and first on grass. Like Swiatek, the 20-year-old is new to the hallowed crowns of SW19, having only played the event twice. Alcaraz opens against another UTR Pro Tennis tour alum, Jeremy Chardy.
Men's Draw: Dark Horses
The darkest of dark horses is last year’s finalist Nick Kyrgios (16.10). The Australian has proven he’s got the goods on any surface and was one win away from his first Grand Slam title. He’s been hindered by a knee injury that required surgery. In just his first match of 2023, he struggled in a first-round loss in Stuttgart. Still, if he can stay healthy, Kyrgios will be a challenging opponent, physically and mentally, for anyone, including his first challenge, wild card David Goffin, a former ATP world No. 7.
Ben Shelton (15.62), another UTR Pro Tennis Tour player, is very new to grass — so new that he just played his first match a few weeks ago at Queen’s Club. His aggressive game could be lethal on the quick surface, and with a few more matches under his belt, Wimbledon could be the perfect stage for a breakthrough. He opens against Taro Daniel and is in the same section as Andy Murray and Stefanos Tsitsipas (who has to take on Dominic Thiem right away).
Speaking of the UTR Pro Tennis Tour, a number of players reached the final round of the qualifying rounds, including Taylor Townsend, Billy Harris, and Darja Semenistaja. A big group of 20 PTT stars will be in the junior Grand Slam as they look to carve out their place on the biggest stage in tennis.