Wimbledon 2019 Betting Preview: The Outsiders6 min read
With Wimbledon now less than a week away, Andy Schooler picks out five outsiders in the singles draws who have the potential to cause an upset.
Goran Ivanisevic is probably the most famous big-priced winner of Wimbledon, the Croat victorious as a wild card in 2001. That success came in the twilight of his career and if there’s a player with a similar profile in the men’s draw this year, it’s probably Tsonga. His serve is a potent weapon on the lawns of SW19 – Roger Federer was blown away by it in 2011. A former semi-finalist here, the 34-year-old is not the force he was but, like Ivanisevic, he may just be capable of one last hurrah. He won the title on a fast court in Montpellier earlier this year and more recently has played well on grass only to suffer a couple of narrow defeats to good players – he lost a final-set tie-break to Milos Raonic in Stuttgart and then pushed Federer to 7-5 in the third in Halle.
There’s been much talk of the so-called NextGen in men’s tennis but Wimbledon 2019 marks the 17th anniversary of the last time a player from outside its ‘Big Four’ won the title. I’d be lying if I said I fully expected that to change but for those seeking a genuine outside chance, then Medvedev has good claims. Unlike many of his young contemporaries, Medvedev can certainly play on grass. He made the semis in Eastbourne in 2017, the same year he beat Stan Wawrinka at Wimbledon, and only last week he made a run to the last four at Queen’s. An excellent return game could prove the difference in tight, serve-dominated matches in SW19 – he ranks eighth of return games won in 2019 – and if he can stay fully focused, Medvedev is capable of challenging the best, as he showed at the Australian Open where he was the only man to take a set off eventual champ Novak Djokovic.
I’m not too sure why Bertens, the world number four, is available at 28/1 as a mid-market outsider. OK, her grasscourt record isn’t brilliant, but it’s far from poor. Last season she made the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, while in the build-up to this year’s Championships she’s already reached the final in Den Bosch where she really should have claimed the trophy having held five match points. The Dutchwoman’s big serve (no-one has served more aces on the WTA circuit this year) will earn her many cheap points in SW19, while her strong doubles record will ensure she’s no mug when she does get to the net. Bertens was one of the favourites for the recent French Open before illness struck – had she gone deep there, as had been expected, it’s hard to believe she’d be this price now.
Another player with a booming serve well suited to the surface, Goerges has admittedly endured a tough time of it in 2019 – well, since starting it by winning the title in Auckland. However, a return to the grass appears to have worked wonders. Last year’s Wimbledon semi-finalist reached the final of the warm-up tournament in Birmingham where that serve looked in good working order. Losing to the Wimbledon favourite, Ashleigh Barty, in what was a tight match is hardly poor form and the German looks capable of giving her backers a good run for their money.
Completing a trio of players whose game adapts well to the grass is American Riske. She’s already won titles in Surbiton (at ITF level) and Den Bosch on the surface in the last few weeks, bringing echoes of Magdalena Rybarikova’s grasscourt form of two years ago. On that occasion, Rybarikova continued her winning streak at Wimbledon and reached the semi-finals. One concern is that Riske withdrew from Eastbourne last week citing a back injury, although maybe that can be put down to a heavy workload and enough grass matches under her belt already. If fit, Riske could make waves at 80/1.