OUR tennis expert Mark Stinchcombe (@markstinchcombe) gives us his thoughts and best bets on the Men's draw at Wimbledon.
Wimbledon | Men's Singles | 27th June – 10th July 2016
The third slam of 2016 begins basically with the same familiar question – will Novak Djokovic win? If we look at the slam winners and runners-up since 2011 it reads:
Year Australian Open French Open Wimbledon US Open
2011 Djokovic v (Murray) Nadal (Federer) Djokovic (Nadal) Djokovic (Nadal)
2012 Djokovic (Nadal) Nadal (Djokovic) Federer (Murray) Murray (Djokovic)
2013 Djokovic (Murray) Nadal (Ferrer) Murray (Djokovic) Nadal (Djokovic)
2014 Wawrinka (Nadal) Nadal (Djokovic) Djokovic (Federer) Cilic (Nishikori)
2015 Djokovic (Murray) Wawrinka (Djokovic) Djokovic (Federer) Djokovic (Federer)
2016 Djokovic (Murray) Djokovic (Murray)
As you can see, Djokovic has won six of the last eight, including three of the last five Wimbledons and overall contested 17 of the 22 finals (77%) – hugely impressive.
The only players to prevent him from making a final are Roger Federer (quarter two – been injured for most of this year), Stanislas Wawrinka (quarter three), Rafael Nadal (injured and not playing) and Kei Nishikori (quarter two -lost the last eight v Novak).
The Serb was cumulatively 11/8 to win last year (10/11 in the final) and 13/8 cumulatively in 2014 (8/13 in the final). He's best price 5/6 to win this year and with Milos Raonic in his quarter, Federer and Marin Cilic possible semi-finalists then Andy Murray a likely finalist, 5/6 is too short.
French Open runner-up Andy Murray began his second era with Ivan Lendl – the partnership that brought about Murray's two slams and Olympic Gold – by winning Queens club last week.
Things seemed to be going awry when a set and a break down in the final to Raonic, but the Scot fought back to comfortably win. He's 7/2 but I feel as though his 1st serve just hasn't been consistent enough this year, something which is a huge weapon on grass.
Roger Federer is third in the betting but he's had multiple niggling injuries this year and since the Australian Open he's lost at odds of 2/9, 3/10, 1/2 and 4/11 which includes twice on grass. It's difficult to see how he can be fit enough to win a slam.
After his run to the final of Queens and recent link-up with John McEnroe, Milos Raonic has been chalked up as 20/1 fourth favourite. He may well be more attacking under the former American champion, but it's a lot to ask in a week to vastly improve his cumbersome movement and tennis brain, particularly when he's only made it past the 3rd round once.
I could write a plethora on words on the likes of Tomas Berdych, Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori, Marin Cilic, Richard Gasquet, JW Tsonga, Feliciano Lopez, Philip Kohlschreiber and David Goffin etc. grass-court ability and record here but not too much has changed in the last 12 months.
The petulant Nick Kyrgios is 33/1 which seems very short to me, especially considering some of his previous antics here. Dominic Thiem continued his great year by winning in Stuttgart but it seems his hectic schedule has finally caught up with him in Halle and it's difficult tosee how he could have enough left in the tank for a slam.
2013 semi-finalist, who pushed Djokovic to five sets, Juan Martin Del Potro, made a welcome return to the tour and it's great to see him back in action albeit I don't see him being able to match his run here three years given how long he's been out.
Wonderkid Alexander Zverev made the final in Halle, which included beating Roger Federer, but ultimately lost out in the final despite being 4/9 against a more experienced opponent in Florian Mayer.
As a betting heat, the men's tournament isn't too exciting and ultimately comes down to a Djokovic v Murray shoot-out which is why I'll be backing the two to contest the final at 15/8.
Wimbledon Men's Draw 2016 – Novak Djokovic/Andy Murray Final (15/8 Betway)