Iga Swiatek just won the French Open title, but has admitted she’s a lot less comfortable on grass. Can she win her first Wimbledon title? Or will Aryna Sabalenka or defending champ Elena Rybakina take the crown?
Our experts attempt to answer these questions and make their predictions as Wimbledon starts on Monday.
Who do you think is capable of beating Djokovic at Wimbledon?
James Blake: Nobody. If he is healthy, I don’t see anyone stopping him.
Cliff Drysdale: Djokovic could lose at the hands of Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner or Nick Kyrgios. It’s unlikely though, because Wimbledon injects its multiple winners with mysterious powers that are hard to overcome — confidence being the main ingredient. Think Rod Laver, Boris Becker, Pete Sampras, Bjorn Borg and Roger Federer.
Mary Joe Fernandez: I think it will take a complete player who moves well on grass and has some weapons. Djokovic is the heavy favorite. Players like Alcaraz, Sinner, Frances Tiafoe and Seb Korda are the types of player that can give him trouble.
Pam Shriver: Djokovic can be defeated by somebody who has an enormous day with his serve, and who’s able to hit big enough to take all the rhythm away. Plus they need the belief they can have a historic victory.
Alexandra Stevenson: The only person capable of beating Djokovic is Djokovic. If he plays his best tennis at Wimbledon — he is Wimbledon champion.
Bill Connelly: It’s really difficult to find upset candidates, isn’t it? Potential fourth-round opponent Hubert Hurkacz did make the semis in 2021, and Djokovic has only played him once, so there could be an element of surprise there. Another potential fourth-rounder, Lorenzo Musetti, beat him in Monte Carlo in the spring. If he can stand on two legs, Kyrgios could loom in the quarters. But, on this surface, in this tournament, it’s really difficult to talk yourself into anyone besides the increasingly adaptable Alcaraz actually having a shot. And Alcaraz has to get to the finals first.
Tom Hamilton: The dream: We get to see a Djokovic-Alcaraz final. Watching Alcaraz at Queen’s was fascinating — you could see him getting accustomed to grass the more he played, growing in confidence all the time. He’s got the best shot of halting the Djokovic runaway train at Wimbledon, but as Alcaraz said himself, when it comes to Wimbledon, Djokovic’s record is unbelievable. Djokovic has 86 wins at the championship, which is more than the rest of the top 20 put together.
D’Arcy Maine: No one. Not this tournament, not this year, not with so much on the line. Djokovic is a man on a mission and the best player on grass at the moment. It seems hard to think anyone would be able to challenge him in a best-of-five on this surface. There will be some opponents who could test him along the way — including potential showdowns with Hurkacz and Kyrgios or No. 7 seed Andrey Rublev in the quarterfinals — but ultimately this is his title to win.
Alyssa Roenigk: I’m with Tom. Although Alcaraz has a tough route to the final, the fan in me wants to watch five hours of oh-my-gosh-did-you-see-that Alcaraz-Djokovic acrobatics in the final. In this dream sequence, they’re both at peak physical condition the entire match — which, of course, goes the distance. Alcaraz has proven his mettle in five-setters, but Djoker wins his 24th major and eighth title at SW19. Alcaraz is still finding his footing on grass — albeit quickly — while Djokovic is unmatched among current players on the surface. He’s the only men’s champion since 2017.
If Djokovic wins the title, is he the best tennis player in history?
Blake: Yes. The only possible comparison at this point would be Serena Williams, and I think Djokovic’s resume is the best, while in the generation with two other all-time greats.
Drysdale: By almost any definition, Djokovic is already the GOAT. The question may have been decided between the Big Three, but let the games begin, because the next Big Three are already lurking. So “all-time” may not last past the next generation, with Alcaraz, Rune and Sinner coming up.
Fernandez: He would solidify his position as the best even more. If he wins the calendar Grand Slam then he really will set himself above his rivals and alongside Laver.
Shriver: If Djokovic wins his eighth Wimbledon, tying Federer, and going two past Rafael Nadal‘s 22 majors … given how many weeks he’s been at No. 1, how can you not say he’s the best of all time?
Stevenson: No. Not yet. History has a big expanse of players — many of whom deserve notice for greatness.
Connelly: He already is. We can come up with different answers if we’re talking about who the most aesthetically pleasing player was, or the most influential, or the most beloved. But if we’re talking about the best, he’s already won the crown. He came up in an era when Federer and Nadal were in their respective primes, he missed out on a few early-career Slam titles because of it, and he’s still going to end up with the most.
Hamilton: Rarely has there been a championship where there’s such a clear favorite for the men’s singles title. So expect Djokovic to win this Wimbledon, securing Grand Slam number 24 in the process. He’s still got plenty of Slams left in him, so on numbers alone, he will establish himself as the greatest player in history. The GOAT debate is subjective — it comes down to experience, fandom and preference. But Djokovic’s record will stand the test of time.
Maine: Numbers don’t lie, right? While I think an argument should be made in support of Serena Williams here for the best ever — and the pregnancy and childbirth factor need to be taken into consideration — Djokovic certainly should be considered the best men’s tennis player of all time. His overall legacy is complex, and he still doesn’t have the same level of admiration and popularity as others, but solely in terms of on-the-court success, he is the GOAT.
Roenigk: You didn’t ask if he’s the best men’s player, so I’m answering the question as it was asked. By the numbers, absolutely. And he’s still racking up wins. That said, the GOAT debate is guided by emotion, intangibles and personal preference. Ask me again when he’s at 29 Slams. But at No. 24, Serena still has the edge. She won through multiple eras of greats, at ages 17 and 35, influenced the way the game is played and won a major while five months pregnant. Until someone matches those stats, she remains the GOAT in my book.
Which men’s player outside of the top 10 could surprise?
Blake: Kyrgios can always surprise. In good and bad ways.
Drysdale: Kyrgios could make another mark this year. But his chances are as unpredictable as his game. Which is what makes him mesmerizing.
Fernandez: Andy Murray has been playing well this season. He just won two challenger events on grass. This is what he has been working for. He has the experience and is one of the best grass-court players in the draw. Alexander Zverev is another dangerous floater who is regaining his confidence.
Shriver: Alexander Bublik could be the dark horse on the men’s side at Wimbledon. Bublik is not unlike Kyrgios, as both love grass courts. He has a quirky temperament, but he has had some success this year already on a grass court. Bublik may have watched Kyrgios last year and thought, why not me?
Stevenson: Ben Shelton. Why not? Lefty loose arm. If he can find his footing, and with his Dad Bryan on the team, young Ben could make a run. He always gives us a popcorn match with that engaging smile.
Connelly: Two unseeded recent finalists (Matteo Berrettini and Kyrgios) would be interesting options if they were anywhere close to healthy and ready. A Murray run would be unbelievable, but you have to worry about upside there. But what about Korda and Cameron Norrie? Korda has bulked up a bit and looked fantastic at Queen’s Club (and beat Norrie) before he ran into Alcaraz, and Norrie’s really good at just hanging around. He’s got a Wimbledon semifinal and Indian Wells title to his name. There’s upside there.
Hamilton: Korda is building nicely. He reached the semifinal of Queen’s, but he’s playing with a huge amount of confidence and is bubbling away. Also expect Hurkacz to do well, while Alex de Minaur was poised to do well but is in a brutal draw. Kyrgios’ chances are dependent on his fitness, having only played once since November, but if anyone can surprise, it’s him.
Maine: Bublik won the biggest title of his career at Halle just weeks ago and enters Wimbledon as the No. 23 seed. During his title run, he defeated four top-10 seeds, including Andrey Rublev in the final. He could potentially face Felix Auger-Aliassime in the third round but, as Auger-Aliassime has struggled lately and has yet to play on grass this year, that feels winnable and a trip to the second week could certainly be in the cards for Bublik.
Roenigk: The U.S. has two men seeded in the top 10 for the first time in more than a decade — Taylor Fritz and Tiafoe — and both have a shot to play deep into the fortnight. Tiafoe broke into the ATP top 10 after winning his first grass title at Stuttgart in June. Outside of the top 10, Americans Tommy Paul (No. 16) and Korda (No. 22) could outshine their compatriots. Paul reached the fourth round at Wimbledon last year, and Korda made the semifinal at Queens last month, where he lost to Alcaraz.
Who will win the women’s singles title and why?
Blake: Sabalenka. She has newfound confidence this year, and it’s her chance to get to world No. 1.
Drysdale: Swiatek to win. She has an all-time great ground game.
Fernandez: The women’s draw is more wide open. Swiatek is the one to beat, but has never been past the fourth round. If she gets comfortable with her movement she becomes a big threat. Petra Kvitova is playing some of her best tennis this year. A two-time Wimbledon champion, Kvitova has the experience and now confidence to win again — she just won a warm-up event on grass.
Shriver: The women’s championship is more up for grabs this year than in many years. It’s a year after Rybakina beat Jabeur in an unlikely final, and now even more players are in the mix. The impressive grass-court play of Swiatek this week in Germany tells us all that Swiatek is ready to contend for her first Wimbledon title as well.
Stevenson: The women’s side is wide open. Having said that, I feel Kvitova is an outside choice — because of her left arm and first strike of ball — and she may be able to make a run to Wimbledon Champion again.
Connelly: I feel like I always talk myself into Kvitova having a shot, especially at Wimbledon, and it’s been a while since she made any sort of deep Slam run. But if not now, then when? She won at Miami, and she swept through Karolina Pliskova, Caroline Garcia and Donna Vekic to win Berlin without dropping a set a week ago. And if she doesn’t survive an absolutely brutal quarter of the draw, then it’s probably Sabalenka’s tournament to lose.
Hamilton: It’s Sabalenka’s time. With Rybakina struggling for match action, and Swiatek still fine-tuning her game on grass, Sabalenka is poised to win her second Slam. She’s playing with a huge amount of confidence and did well to reach the semifinals of Roland Garros, but if she manages to translate her hard court form to the grass courts, then she’ll be favorite for the title. Ons Jabeur will push her close though.
Maine: If Rybakina were fully healthy she would be my pick, but as she continues to struggle with the lingering symptoms of a virus, it seems unlikely she will be able to repeat. Until Friday, I was all in on Swiatek to win her first Wimbledon title, but then she withdrew ahead of her Bad Homburg semifinal match with food poisoning. So now this feels a bit more like a crapshoot. If Swiatek makes a full recovery ahead of her first-round match on Monday, I still think she might be the favorite, but if not, this could be the perfect opportunity for Kvitova to take home her third title at the All England Club. Having earned the trophy at Berlin in June, she has experience and momentum on her side.
Roenigk: Wimbledon has produced a first-time women’s champ every year since Serena Williams last hoisted the Rosewater Dish in 2016. This year’s draw looks poised to continue that trend. Grass isn’t Swiatek’s surface and Rybakina isn’t 100 percent healthy, so this could be the year for Sabalenka, who’s chasing Swiatek’s No. 1 ranking, or sixth-seeded Jabeur. If Jabeur makes it out of her stacked quarter, that momentum could take her all the way to a second-straight Wimbledon final and her first Grand Slam win.
Which women’s player outside of the top 10 could surprise?
Blake: Jelena Ostapenko. You never know with her.
Drysdale: Ostapenko looks to be priming at the right time.
Fernandez: Donna Vekic has had a great season. She has a sneaky good serve and big forehand, which can do damage on the grass. She just got to a final of a lead-up tournament on grass, beating Rybakina along the way. Ostapenko is another dangerous player who has played well on the grass the last couple weeks, winning a tournament. She’s been to a semi at Wimbledon before.
Shriver: Full disclosure: Since last October, I’ve been a part of Vekic’s coaching team. Vekic loves grasscourts. She has a big power game, therefore if anybody can contend to win Wimbledon from outside the top 10 on the women’s side, it’s No. 20 in the world, Donna Vekic.
Stevenson: Let’s throw in a Brit. British No. 1 Katie Boulter won Nottingham, which is not an easy grass event to win. She has a flat hit. She’s tall. She has a good serve. Again, why not?
Connelly: It’s Penko time! She’s always just a hair too inconsistent to trust, but despite her 2017 French Open title, Ostapenko has won more matches at Wimbledon than at any other Slam. Her brawling tactics translate beautifully on grass — she’s 23-6 on the surface since 2021 — and she never lacks confidence. She’s capable of beating anyone in the field, even if winning seven matches in a row will always be a challenge.
Hamilton: Ostapenko is in fine form on grass and has a real chance of winning the championships. She triumphed in Birmingham and is on an impressive run. Also keep an eye on Vekic.
Maine: Ekaterina Alexandrova, the No. 21 seed, won her second Libema Open title to open the grass season and then reached the semifinals in Berlin the following week. While she has never advanced past the second round at Wimbledon, and was barred from playing last year, she enters the tournament with as much momentum as almost anyone on the surface. And Madison Keys, the No. 25 seed, is another who is more than capable of a deep run into the second week. A former quarterfinalist, she was impressive in her Eastbourne title run last week.
Roenigk: There’s so much potential for surprise on the women’s side. Czech player Karoline Muchova, the No. 16 seed, faces Sabalenka in the fourth round. This is a matchup worth watching. Muchova beat Sabalenka in the semis at the French and then took Swiatek to three sets in the final. At Wimbledon, she has a 73 percent win record and has twice made the quarters. Her big serve and net play are well suited for grass, but she’s a bit of a question mark, since she hasn’t played a tournament since Roland Garros.
Expert picks – Who will win the 2023 Wimbledon titles?