You may think it a little early to be discussing Wimbledon, especially as there is the small matter of the French Open before a ball has even been served at SW19.
However, as the only grand slam event played on grass and the traditions involved, Wimbledon has a special place in all of our hearts and is often the highlight in the tennis calendar.
After all, where else is there a strict code in which players must wear white, and even royal patronages must adhere to set attire rules?
Wimbledon is a tournament that forces respect, and it is because of that, that many players view the championships as the ultimate accolade in the individual game.
Much like the Masters in golf, Wimbledon is the one the pros want, and the first six months of the year are often spent ensuring they reach South West London on top form ready for an appearance in front of the Royal box.
However, as we prepare for the 133rd edition of the tournament at the beginning of July, one question is on the lips of British tennis fans, Will Andy Murray make it?
Murray the great British hope
As it stands, Scotsman Andy Murray can still be backed at 11/1 as of the 21st March with Betway to make win a third Wimbledon title.
However, there are major doubts over the 31-year-olds fitness after hip surgery earlier in the year left the 2012 US Open champion declaring he would have to retire after this years Wimbledon should he even make it.
The latest news coming out of the Murray camp is that he is pain-free and admits he now wants to keep on playing.
That will be music to the ears of many a tennis fan as the Glasgow native looks primed and ready to make SW19 even though his best tennis may be behind him.
Osaka set to continue meteoric rise?
Whereas time may be catching up with Murray, one player who has had a lightning start to her career is Japan’s Naomi Osaka.
The 21-year-old shot to recognition after defeating Serena Williams 6-2, 6-4 in the 2018 US Open despite controversial scenes from her opponents.
However, Osaka’s came has come on even stronger and victory at this year Australian Open makes her the hottest property in Women’s tennis right now.
Having previously failed to progress beyond the third round at SW19, Osaka has been instilled high in the betting to make it three grand slam titles, and there is every reason to believe she can do it.
Federer to say a fond farewell or keep going?
When Roger Federer won the 2017 Wimbledon title to make it eight SW19 championship titles, many thought that maybe it for the Swiss maestro.
Not so, as just seven months later Federer added a sixth Australian Open to his repertoire, and despite being the tender age of 37, the man with 100 career titles is showing no signs of slowing down.
It seems the thought of retirement is yet to seriously cross the mind of the man who turned professional last century (1998 to be exact) and the game of tennis is all the better for it.
Who can stop Djokovic?
Unsurprisingly, defending champion Novak Djokovic heads into this years Wimbledon Championship as the favorite in the men’s draw.
If Djokovic wins the French Open in May/June, he will hold all four grand slam titles having won the US Open late last year and the Australian Open earlier this year.
However, one man who has returned to form is Spaniard Rafael Nadal, and if there is going to be anyone to stop the Serbian, it will most likely be him.
Another Underdog Story?
Last year on the men’s draw, South African Kevin Anderson won himself an army of new fans for his persistence on his way to meet Djokovic in the final.
An epic 26 – 24 final-set victory over American John Isner in the semi-final was nothing short of a thriller, and although it looks as if it hampered his performance in the final (losing in straight sets), Anderson (who was already a great player) became a household name outside of the tennis fraternity as well as in it.
The hope for home fans is that Kyle Edmund can be that man this year and progress further than the third round from 2018.
The tournament has been moved back a couple of weeks this year due to the ATP schedule from its mid-to-end of June time slot to the first two weeks of July, but that should make no difference to the intensity, action and likely rain as arguably the greatest tennis tournament of them all serves it up at SW19.
Anyone for strawberries and cream and a glass of Pimms?
WHEN ANDY WON IN 2016
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