The British women of Wimbledon
With Wimbledon just around the corner, people in the United Kingdom will be getting in the mood for tennis with some strawberries and cream. Virginia Wade was the last British woman to win a Wimbledon singles championship, but with the women’s game proving to be so open, the Brits might just fancy their chances this time around.
Several British ladies have begun to build momentum ahead of Wimbledon and we could potentially see the 42-year streak end this summer. At odds of 11/1, Johanna Konta is the fifth favourite to win the tournament this year according to Wimbledon 2019 odds. Let’s take a look at some of the contenders that Britain might have for the championship.
Although she might not have been a prominent feature in the women’s game for a while, Laura Robson is a player who, when at her best, can defeat anyone. She was seen as a future star in her early career, but a string of injuries have hampered her progress.
Her most recent injury forced her to undergo hip surgery last June and she returned to action in February at the ITF W60 in Shrewsbury. If Robson can get enough game time before now and Wimbledon, she could earn a spot in the tournament and potentially make her mark.
Her best result at Wimbledon was a semi-final appearance in 2017, and that was off the back of a disappointing run in the French Open, where she was knocked out in the first round by Taiwanese player Hsieh Su-wei. Going into Wimbledon full of confidence can only help her in trying to win such a prestigious tournament.
Heather Watson is currently the British no. 3, but has previously been the British no. 1 in the women’s game. Despite being the British no. 1, she failed to impose herself in the Grand Slams, with the third round being her best progress.
She’s someone the British crowd always backs, but looking at things realistically, she’s unlikely to pull off a shock and win Wimbledon. She reached two Wimbledon mixed doubles finals, winning in 2016 and finishing as runner-up in 2017, but she always struggles in the singles competition.
At just 22 years old, Katie Boulter still has the potential to make an impact on the women’s game and her position as Britain’s no. 2 in the singles rankings suggests that it could be sooner rather than later.
Her best result to date has been reaching the second round in both the 2018 Wimbledon tournament and 2019 Australian Open. With an improved performance in this year’s Australian Open, it might build up her confidence for when she plays with the home crowd backing her. She should at least make it to the qualifying rounds, whether she progresses from there remains to be seen. Even if she doesn’t make an impact this year, keep an eye out for the next few years, as she has all the tools to make it in the game.
Currently ranked as Britain’s no. 4, Harriet Dart is another 22-year-old who has a bright future. She reached the first round in both last year’s Wimbledon and this year’s Australian Open as she looks to improve her game.
With British tennis lacking a real winner, if Dart can pick up some big match experience, even if it is only in the early rounds, then it’ll put her in a good position to progress. Much like Boulter, she is one to watch for the future. Very unlikely to win Wimbledon this year, but with more experience and a supportive home crowd, a future title might not be too shocking.
She’s become Britain’s most likely chance for success since her semi-final appearance in the 2016 Australian Open. Although her least favourite court surface is clay, that hasn’t stopped her from producing strong performances in the French Open this year as she reached the semi-final.
Her strong showing at Roland Garros should be the perfect preparation for the grass court season, with confidence likely to be a huge factor in determining whether or not Konta goes on to win Wimbledon. It’s a big ask regardless of her form, but as Konta recently said that everyone is beatable in the women’s game.
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