The announcement that a new member will be joining the Williams family (expected later this year) may have been welcome news for other players in the locker room. As universally loved and respected as Serena is, her absence from this year’s Championships offers hope to many others in this year’s Ladies Singles Draw.
Her dominance has covered all surfaces but nowhere has it been felt more than on the grass at SW19, where she has won five of the last eight Championships at Wimbledon, and seven in total. Whilst we will all miss her, we must embrace the opportunity for other players to shine, especially our own British hopes.
What can we expect from our girls this year?
It will be the usual suspects representing British hopes at this year’s Championships, led by the now top-10 ranked Joanna Konta. Jo has gone from strength to strength in the last two years, recording her 300th career win last week, but she has not yet proven herself as a serious contender on grass; she has only ever won one match at Wimbledon, but will be hoping to get a favourable draw courtesy of now being ranked no. 7 in the world (in Serena’s absence, she could be seeded as high as 5 or 6). Her new position amongst the game’s elite will no doubt ensure that she has the opportunity play in front of a passionate and no doubt packed Centre Court crowd this year.
Now the British No.2, Naomi Broady recorded an impressive victory over former world number 11 Alize Cornet at the Aegon Birmingham Classic this week, showing that she has improved in recent years and is well placed to go beyond her previous best result at Wimbledon (Second Round, 2014).
It has been a difficult few years for both Heather Watson and Laura Robson, with a loss of form and a wrist injury limiting both players respectively. However, both are capable of playing their best tennis on grass and will be hoping for a change of fortunes at this year’s Championships.
The likes of Tara Moore (world ranking 214) and Katie Swan (world ranking 359) will also be desperate to impress an ever-enthusiastic home crowd. We have seen so many incredible stories emerge from Wimbledon over the years with the crowd often driving players to play outside of themselves in the prospect of causing an upset. This is what makes Wimbledon so unique, especially for our home-grown players who seldom experience the adrenaline of playing in front of such a large audience.
Whatever happens, this year’s Wimbledon promises to be full of emotion, excitement and memories. Don’t miss out on the chance to witness history in SW19. Keith Prowse is one of the only two official tour operators that provide official tennis hospitality packages at Wimbledon.