The women’s bracket feels particularly wide open. With Serena Williams sidelined expecting her first child, Petra Kvitova just starting to return after injuring her left hand during a horrific home invasion and Maria Sharapova out with a thigh injury, circumstances seem ripe for an unexpected champion—someone like CoCo Vandeweghe.
With her huge serve, powerful ground strokes and improved mental and physical fitness, Vandeweghe has made great strides over the past 18 months. Yes, she still breaks the occasional racquet, but her demeanor is no longer a detriment. The swagger she displays is just her being true to herself, and it fills her with belief that she belongs at the top of the game.
There are other heavy hitters to consider, like five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams, who won’t have to face her younger sister. Also keep an eye on Victoria Azarenka, who returned to the tour earlier than expected after having a baby but has only played two matches since last year's French Open.