Monday June 20th sees the start of the world’s oldest tennis tournament – the Wimbledon championships – and what a fascinating tournament we have ahead of us. Read on for the BetPal.com Wimbledon 2011 preview!

Wimbledon 2011 – Women’s Singles
(All prices correct at time of publication)

This year’s Wimbledon women’s singles looks wide open and any one of about eight players will genuinely believe that they have a chance of winning Britain’s Grand Slam tennis tournament.

Serena Williams has made a return to tennis after a turbulent year that saw her face life threatening illness and media controversy. She went out of her warm up tournament at Eastbourne in the second round, but the reigning champion has still been installed as 4.50 favourite for the Wimbledon women’s singles event with Bet365 and is no bigger than 6.00 for victory (Unibet).

This is despite the fact that Serena Williams herself is playing down her Wimbledon chances. William said: “My thought process is just to play the best I can and be positive. I’m happy to be here. Six or seven weeks of trying to get myself together isn’t a tremendous amount of time, but the fact that I can even compete … is more than enough.”

So if Serena Williams doesn’t think she’ll be winning Wimbledon, who should we be looking to back?

Maria Sharapova has been in good form recently, taking the Rome Masters and making the semi finals of the French Open, so the 2004 Wimbledon champion is understandably the general favourite for this year’s tournament, at a best price of 5.50 (Bet365, William Hill).

Sharapova has a tricky draw though, despite her ability on the grass courts, being in the same half as Serena Williams and Li Na, who knocked her out of the French Open. There must surely be better value elsewhere.

Vera Zvonareva made the Wimbledon final last year and enters this year’s tournament as the number two seed. At a best price of 21.00 (SportingBet) she could represent the value in the Wimbledon women’s singles event. She lost out in the quarter finals of her Wimbledon warm up event at Eastbourne to Samantha Stosur, but she won’t be too disappointed as she would ideally want to be fully tuned up in time for the start of Wimbledon and no sooner.

Stosur herself could be a dark horse for Wimbledon, at a best price of 34.00 with Bet365. The Australian only lost out in the semi finals at Eastbourne to the eventual winner Marion Bartoli, who would make some Wimbledon betting appeal herself at a best price of 38.00 (Betfair) were there not suspicions that she may have peaked a little early.

World number one Caroline Wozniacki has warmed up for Wimbledon with a straightforward defence of her Danish Open title, but she has never been beyond the fourth round at Wimbledon, which makes her best price of 12.50 (Betfair) look very unappealing.

For us, Li Na makes the most appeal when it comes to betting on the Wimbledon women’s singles event. She’s riding high after a cracking start to 2001, having made the final at the Australian Open before her French Open victory and although she went out early at Eastbourne, her main objective is clearly Wimbledon, so you wouldn’t her to have had too tough a contest there.

Li Na will be fresh for the event and totally focussed, as the grass represents a new challenge for her. She said recently: “I am feeling confident but this is a different surface. It’s just another tournament for me. Paris is over and now I am just focusing on Wimbledon.”

Unlike Serena Williams, who played down her chances with cries of “I’m just happy to be playing”, you get the sense that Li Na feels she genuinely can add another Grand Slam title to her steadily growing tennis CV. Her best price of 11.00 (SportingBet) could look huge by the time the second week of Wimbledon comes around.

BetPal.com verdict: Li Na to win.

 

Wimbledon 2011 – Men’s Singles
(All prices correct at time of publication)

The men’s singles betting is dominated as always by the same few players and Wimbledon legend Bjorn Borg believes that just four men are capable of winning the 2011 Wimbledon title – Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

Okay, so Borg is hardly sticking his neck out with that one. The fifth favourite with the bookmakers is Andy Roddick, who is a whopping 67.00 with SportingBet, but despite the predictability of his comments, he isn’t wrong.

Rafael Nadal is clearly the one they all have to beat in 2011, as he looks to defend his Wimbledon title. He is just about the world number one after winning at the French Open and his record at the venue is exemplary. His best price of 3.70 SportingBet doesn’t make too much appeal though, particularly given his patchy form leading into the French Open.

Novak Djokovic is an interesting case. He went on a well publicised unbeaten run throughout 2011 that lasted for several months and saw him collect the US Open title, as well as five other ATP titles, before crashing out of the French Open in the semi finals to Roger Federer.

Djokovic hasn’t played any tennis since then, preferring instead to rest, so he could well be under prepared for Wimbledon and may take some time to get going, making his best price of 5.00 (William Hill) look unappealing.

One man who will not be under prepared for Wimbledon is Andy Murray, who warmed up for the 2011 championships by winning the AEGON Championships at Queen’s Club. He seems to be over his niggling ankle injury and could have his best ever chance of Wimbledon glory, but he has a reputation for struggling to get over the line when the pressure is really on and with the weight of expectation from the British tennis fans on his shoulders, there can be no greater test of his mental strength.

Murray is available at a best price of 7.50 (bwin) but can surely be no more than an each-way consideration.

Roger Federer knows plenty about the pressure of tournament finals, with no fewer than 23 Grand Slam final appearances to his name. He has won the men’s singles at Wimbledon an incredible six times, a feat only bettered by Pete Sampras (seven Wimbledon singles titles) and he has that record in his sights.

Federer said: “Winning seven and going level with Pete would be so special. Pete was always my hero when I was growing up”. Federer is currently a best price of 3.30 (SportingBet) to match the record this year.

Plenty of sceptics have written Federer off, but we fully expect the Fed Express to steam through to the final and once he gets there, it’s unlikely that he’ll be beaten.

BetPal.com verdict: Roger Federer to win.