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Wildcards & Wagers – Wimbledon’s Centenary

With just days until this year's Wimbledon Championship, we look at some of our women's favourites, from the rising superstars eager for their first Wimbledon title to the established winners now granted ‘wildcard’ status…

After a long period of inactivity to recover from an ankle injury, sustained during a first-round match at Wimbledon 2021, moving her to world rank 1,208, Serena Williams is set to return to Wimbledon as one of this year's wildcards. With 7 Wimbledon titles already to her name and a total of 23 Grand Slams, Serena is just one short of Margaret Court’s record of 24. The pursuit of the coveted 24th title has been long endured… Despite reaching the final of four Grand Slams since returning from maternity leave in 2018, her last title was at the Australia Open in 2017. Indeed, fans will be wondering if this could finally be Serena’s year. Hopefully, Wimbledon’s recent decision to allow players to practice on Centre Court and Court 1, in a bid to help break in the surface, will avoid a repeat of the accidents seen at last year's Grand Slam. With the odds of Serena winning stacked at 16/1, she joins Radacanu as an outsider to win the British tournament.

Just twenty-one years of age, Iga Swiatek is ranked world number one and currently dominating the tennis scene, having won her last 35 matches and winning her second Grand Slam at the French Open in June. With no losses since early February, Swiatek seems to be on an unstoppable streak and will be fighting to win a title at Wimbledon this year, which could see her number of consecutive wins, rise to a remarkable 42. Likewise, the title would mean winning the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year, which has not been achieved since Serena back in 2015! The biggest challenge for Swiatek will be transitioning from clay to grass in just a matter of weeks and navigating the lower bounce and faster ball caused by the grass court. The undeniable favourite… with odds stacked at 6/4 – the pressure is on for Swiatek! Though having only played eight competitive matches on grass, she was able to reach the fourth round at last year's Wimbledon, giving us confidence that we will continue to see the strength of Swiatek’s game advance throughout the Championship.

Having burst onto the scene at Wimbledon 2021, as a wild card entry, Emma Raducanu is this year ranked at 10th seed, moving up one place since Aryna Sabalenka’s absence. After a spectacular performance at the US Open against Leylah Fernandez, with a final that lasted nearly two hours, Raducanu secured her 1st Grand Slam title. However, since then we have seen the star battle numerous injuries, from blistering at the Australian open, back pain at the Italian Open, and further injuries sustained during her match against Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic at the Nottingham Open. Thankfully the results of recent scans indicate that she will be fit and healthy in time for Wimbledon, where she will compete in just a few days’ time.

Though no ranking points will be afforded at this year's Wimbledon, the excitement and build-up for the tournament by both spectators and players alike is as great as ever, particularly with centenary celebrations in mind. We can’t wait to see what players have in store for us this year!


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