Tennis has four majors, but Wimbledon always stands alone as it has since 1877. There are traditions here that make it unlike anywhere else, from the strawberries and cream to the Royals to the “Ladies” and “Gentlemen’s” divisions to the dress code. Most unique of all is the playing surface. Wimbledon remains the only major and one of the few tournaments overall to use grass courts. It plays differently from other surfaces as the bounces are lower, and the points are shorter and thus frequently different types of players can excel here.
Though Wimbledon does not start until June, sportsbooks have already posted odds. Here are the favorites over at BetMGM.
● Djokovic +100
● Berrettini +700
● Nadal +800
● Medvedev +800
● Alcaraz +800
● Kyrgios +1000
● Zverev +1200
● Sinner +1400
● Auger-Aliassime +1600
● Rune +1600
● Tsitsipas +2200
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Novak Djokovic opens up as a heavy favorite, an even money bet vs the rest of the field. It makes sense as he has veritably owned Center Court. Djokovic counts seven Wimbledon titles among his 21 overall Grand Slams, including the last four. Wimbledon did not take place in 2020, thus Novak amazingly has not lost here since 2017. He may have won in 2017 as well were it not for an elbow injury that forced him to retire in the quarterfinals.
Djokovic has a career mark of 89-10 at Wimbledon and 109-18 overall on grass. He has won 70.2% of his career service points on grass and 39.8% of his return points, giving him a Dominance Ratio (% of service points won divided by % of return points lost) of 1.33. In 2022 he has a Dominance Ratio (DR) of 1.53 on grass and 1.39 overall. To put that in perspective, he was the only player on tour last year to have a DR over 1.23 overall. He completely ruled on grass and was the best player overall. He closed the year ranked fifth however due only to not playing the full schedule.
Matteo Berrettini lost to Djokovic in the 2021 Wimbledon finals, then tested Covid positive ahead of last year’s tournament and had to withdraw. He is an excellent player on grass, having won the Queen's Club Championships the last two seasons as well as the Stuttgart Open. All told the 25 years old is 33-6 overall on grass and 9-0 in the past year. He had a DR of 1.29 in 2022 which ranked fourth on the tour, and a 1.25 grass DR for his career. The 6’5” Berrettini had a 20.1% ace percentage on grass ranked third in 2022.
Rafa Nada of course needs no introduction. The King of Clay is also the master of the return game, which does not play quite as well on grass. Still Rafa is no slouch at the All England club as he won titles here in 2008 and 2010. Nada has gone 58-13 in his career at Wimbledon and 76-21 overall on grass. Despite a middling 6.7% ace ratio, Nadal’s return game is so good he still matches Berrettini’s grass court 1.25 DR. The all-time Grand Slam leader made it to the Wimbledon semis in 2022 but had to withdraw with an abdominal injury.
Right here right now 19 year old Carlos Alcaraz looks like the future King of Clay. Like his countryman Nadal, his game does not translate quite as well on grass, albeit in a very small sample. It is of course way early. Rafa has 22 Grand Slam titles and 14 French Opens, Alcaraz has the current number one overall ranking and one US Open. Again, he is just 19.
Alcaraz has only played in two Wimbledons and no other grass court tournaments. Alcaraz made it to the 4th round in 2022 and presumably will play in the 2023 Wimbledon. He is currently sidelined with a hamstring injury but tweeted that he will return to the tour for next month’s Argentine Open. For what it's worth, Alcarez is 4-2 in his career on grass, 13-10 in sets, with a 1.07 DR. Taking him at +800 really is just a wager on his overall skill translating well enough on a very unfamiliar surface.
Daniil Medvedev is another top ranked player with a Grand Slam title to his name, in his case the 2021 US Open. He also has not mastered the grass, peaking in the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2021 and then not being allowed to play in 2022 thanks to the All England Club banning Russian and Belorussian players. He did show well on the three grass tournaments he entered in 2022, reaching the finals in two of them. In his career, Medvedev is 10-5 at Wimbledon and 33-17 overall on grass with a 1.11 DR. He does have a 11.1% Ace percentage which beats the clay court guys but is likely not dominant enough to carry his game on grass.
Then there is the enigmatic Nick Kyrgios. He stormed literally and figuratively to the Wimbledon finals in 2022. His overall ranking peaked back in 2016 at 13, but he has often played very well on grass in an overall inconsistent career. He is 21-8 at Wimbledon in his career and 37-19 overall on grass. He can dominate with his big serve on grass as he has a 19.5% Ace percentage and wins 70.1% of his service points overall. He was even better in 2022 on grass, winning 72.7% of his service points and second only to Djokovic, with 20.6% Aces. He is not as good an overall player as other top challengers but after Berrittini he may pose the biggest threat to Djokovic at Wimbledon.
While Nadal has a serious threat in Alcaraz on clay, Njokovic does not quite have that just yet on grass. Novak is even money, so perhaps literally a “field” bet makes some sense. Injuries and disqualifications happen, as does facing a hot player somewhere along the way. Berrettini does look both like the biggest threat on grass but not necessarily the overall player to win it here.