2014 Wimbledon: Our Picks
Richard Pagliaro, Senior Editor
Men’s Champion: Roger Federer It is not a nostalgia-driven pick: Federer has moved fluidly in reaching five finals this year, he's healthy, and should be confident coming off his 14th career grass-court title in Halle. Rafa may be an insurmountable obstacle, but the seven-time champion matches up with anyone else on grass.
Women’s Champion: Serena Williams The last time Serena suffered an early exit in Paris, she blasted back to win Wimbledon. Though she hasn't been as imposing this season, Williams has raised the Rosewater Dish three of the last five years, knows how to close, and remains the class of the field.
Men’s Dark Horse: Grigor Dimitrov He's been a chronic underachiever at SW19, but in winning his third title of the year at Queen's Club, Dimitrov showed the serve, athleticism, and all-court skills that can carry him deep at Wimbledon if he holds his nerve.
Women’s Dark Horse: Madison Keys Fresh off her first career title at Eastbourne, the 19-year-old's explosiveness plays well on grass. Keys is still refining the rough edges, but her serve and forehand are two of the biggest weapons in the game. If she serves with authority, she is a threat.
Ed McGrogan, Online Editor
Men's Champion: Novak Djokovic He’s hard to beat on hard courts and is second-in-command on clay. But Djokovic is great on grass, too, having reached at least the semifinals of Wimbledon in each of the last four years. He’s more than due to lift his seventh Grand Slam title.
Women's Champion: Serena Williams There might be more pressure on Serena to perform at a Slam than ever, considering her early exits in Melbourne and Paris. But maybe that’s just the tonic she needs. Though a loss wouldn’t shock—it happened in the fourth round last year—it’s hard to imagine Williams not winning a major through Wimbledon this year.
Men's Dark Horse: Fernando Verdasco After drifting outside the Top 50 in 2013, Verdasco has moved back into the Top 25, and thanks to his grass-court credentials is seeded No. 18. His lefty serve is an asset on grass, and if he didn’t lose a certain two-set lead last year, Fred Perry might still be a talking point at this year’s Championships.
Women's Dark Horse: Sabine Lisicki We saw what pressure did to Lisicki in last year’s final, so even her first match—on Centre Court, due to Marion Bartoli’s retirement—will be a test. But if she can get past that, no one in her quarter, including Simona Halep, looks capable of toppling her on turf. She’s significantly under seeded at No. 19.
Peter Bodo, Senior Writer
Men’s Champion: Rafael Nadal If we know one thing about Nadal, it's that he's often at his best when he's trying to recapture or prove something. He’s had hard luck at Wimbledon for a number of years, but he’s much too good a grass-court player not to win there again.
Women’s Champion: Maria Sharapova In this wide-open year, it feels like the French Open champion has karma working for her. In addition, Serena, who holds a remarkable 16-2 head-to-head advantage over Sharapova, has been struggling. Can you say, “face saver?”
Men’s Dark Horse: Grigor Dimitrov The Bulgarian has climbed all the way to No. 13 in the rankings, and he’s got all the requisite tools for success in today’s physical, hit-the-crap-out-of-the-ball environment. His long awaited breakthrough is upon us—or, it better be, given the hype that has surrounded Dimitrov.
Women’s Dark Horse: Eugenie Bouchard Did anyone else notice that, just like flavor-of-the-month Dimitrov, Bouchard is ranked no. 13? A semifinalist at the French Open, Bouchard is just 20—three years younger than Dimitrov. But she seems a decade more mature as a competitor, which will help her punch through as the next big WTA star.
Steve Tignor, Senior Writer
Men's Champion: Rafael Nadal It would be easy to write off Rafa after his early losses here the last two years, and his fairly tough draw. But he says he's determined to right the grass ship this time, and that his knees feel much better. If he gets on a roll, who is going to stop him?
Women's Champion: Serena Williams After going out before the quarters in three of the last four majors, she can't be called the overwhelming favorite this time. But Serena, an early loser in Paris, is at her best when she has something to prove.
Men's Dark Horse: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga He's had a bad year, and his ranking is down from No. 5 to No. 17, but Jo is one of the few who owns wins over each of the Big 4, and he tends to get his big game into gear at Wimbledon.
Women's Dark Horse: Venus Williams Can a five-time champion be a dark horse? She can when she's 33 years old and ranked No. 30. But Venus, like Tsonga, draws life from a surface that's alive, and she's very nearly beaten the top seed near her in the draw, Petra Kvitova, the last two times they've played.
NOTE: All dark-horse picks must be seeded outside the Top 10.
More Wimbledon Previews:
- Rafael Nadal, the Prince of Grass
- Is Grigor Dimitrov ready to make the leap?
- The Conflicting Career of Marcos Baghdatis
- The Wimbledon Preview Podcast
- Wider Than Wide Open: Women's Thoughts
- No Pressure: Murray's Toughest Task
- Women's Preview: Grand Dreams
- Men's Preview: Wimble-Void?