Wimbledon 2014 Betting Preview
It has been twelve years since anyone other than the 'Big 4' of Federer, Nadal, Murray and Djokovic has won the Wimbledon men's singles title.
Realistically their reign looks set to continue ̶ the closest competitor in the betting is last week’s Queens Club champion Grigor Dimitrov (20/[email protected]).
Putting the long-shots aside for a minute, let's examine which of the four titans has the best chance to be named "All England Lawn Tennis Club Single Handed Champion of the World".
Novak Djokovic (7/4 @Bet365)
The Serb appointed Boris Becker as his coach at the start of 2014, and the German seems to be earning his money, guiding Djokovic to a year record of 30-4.
The Djoker has won three tour events, including victories on clay and hard courts, and reached the French Open final.
Grass is possibly his least favourite surface as he struggles with his footwork, and has suffered several lower body injuries in the past at the All England Club.
As a counterpuncher he also lacks the instinctive aggressiveness of great grass champions like his coach Becker.
Despite those issues, Djokovic has one Wimbledon win, one runner-up finish and three semi-finals.
His record shows he is one of the best at simply beating the player put in front of him, and Becker's grass court confidence and expertise can only help.
If form holds, a massive semi-final against Andy Murray looms.
If that's the case, Djokovic leads the all-time head-to-head 12-8, although Murray has won both matchups on grass, including last year's final.
Roger Federer (11/2 @Bet365)
Has the sun finally set on the 32-year-old's Wimbledon ride, or does he have two weeks' worth of magic left in his slender frame?
"I feel like if things click here I should be able to win the tournament," said Federer.
The Swiss maestro is trying to become the oldest man since Andres Gimeno in 1972 to win a Grand Slam.
Many feel this is Federer's last chance to win his 18th major; indeed his Wimbledon title in 2012 was his only major in his last 17 attempts.
This is the type of tournament that Federer still plays for; he's not grinding in training and travelling the world away from his children to win tune-up events in Halle.
The seven-time champion doesn't have the booming forehand and serve of old, but he has added more variety to his game.
Expect to see him serve-and-volley and vary his shot-making, using slices and dropshots to counter the power and energy of younger opponents.
If Nadal falters the Fed-Express could cruise into the final without a major test (15/8 @Bet365).
Rafael Nadal (11/2 @Bwin)
Fresh off another French Open title on his beloved clay, Nadal could be forgiven for wanting to stay away from the green pastures of Wimbledon, where he won just one match in 2012 and 2013 combined.
The unfamiliar surface and Nadal's notoriously shaky knees may be a treacherous combination.
“I've said before this is really the most dangerous tournament of the year," Nadal said.
"Here the courts are a little bit faster. The feeling on court is a little bit strange for everybody. Especially the top players who have more pressure."
The two-time champion does get stronger into the second week of the tournament, as he adjusts his game, and the grass gets more hard-packed, but even so, nothing in his recent past suggests he'll reach a prospective semi-final against his long-time nemesis Federer.
In fact tennis insiders suggest that Philip Kohlschrieber could be the favourite if these two collide in the quarter finals.
Andy Murray (4/1 @Winner)
Murray faces a tall task to retain his title: of the 20 first-time winners of the Wimbledon men's singles title in the Open era, only four have gone on to retain their crown the following year.
In 2014 Murray has struggled to 28-1, a record that betrays some poor form and injuries for the season.
Last week the Scotsman suffered a third round knockout at the Queens Club in his first tournament under the tutelage of Amelie Mauresmo.
This year he has beaten no player ranked in the top ten and only one in the top twenty.
However his status as defending champion and crowd hero means Murray is still the second favourite for the tournament.
Britons will take some hope from an impressive run to the semi-finals at the French Open, and Murray is certainly capable of going on a magical charge, but his form from the rest of 2014 suggests he is overpriced.
The first real danger could come in a tricky quarter-final against wily veteran David Ferrer or Queens Club champion Grigor Dimitrov.
If he survives that, a vengeful Novak Djokovic awaits.
Pick- Djokovic to win @7/4
Federer to reach final @ 15/8