Virginia Wade’s 5 women to watch at Wimbledon 2015

The former champion at SW19 chooses Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams among her contenders for this year's title

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Serena Williams 

Nationality: American

Age: 33

WTA ranking: 1

Best Wimbledon: Champion 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012

She might not have won since 2012, but Serena Williams is still the clear favourite. It’s Serena’s to win or lose,
and frankly it’s time for the younger players who match her stroke for stroke to step up. 

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The trouble is, though they might have the game to match her, Serena is such a presence as a competitor that they can’t beat her. She’s already won the Australian and French Open titles this year, but to win all four grand slams in one year is incredibly difficult. If she were to do it, it would elevate her in the all-time list. 


Petra Kvitova 

Nationality: Czech

Age: 25

WTA ranking: 2

Best Wimbledon: Champion 2011, 2014

Serena’s greatest threat. Being left-handed gives Petra Kvitova a small advantage. She has a beautiful serve and, when she’s hitting her forehand well, she takes the racket out of a player’s hand. But if she’s a little tight, that forehand can start to spray around.

She prefers a ball that doesn’t stand up so much; grass is well-suited to her, and she can pick up points at the net as well. She has fabulous power and shot-making ability – it’s just whether she can string it all together. 


Lucie Safarova 

Nationality: Czech

Age: 28

WTA ranking: 6

Best Wimbledon: semi-finalist, 2014

I’ve seen Lucie Safarova absolutely kill her opponent in one set and then totally go off in another. It’s not as if her performance changes much – it’s just that, when she’s good, she’ll strike winning shots, and when she’s going through bad patches they don’t come off.

The confidence she has gained this year should be at least enough to push her into the later rounds, given a decent draw. 


Madison Keys 

Nationality: American

Age: 20

WTA ranking: 18

Best Wimbledon: Third round, 2013, 2014

Madison Keys should be the next big star, but she has work to do on keeping calm – she gets a little wound up, but working with Lindsay Davenport should help. Both she and her US rival Sloane Stephens are beginning to gel again.

I still see immaturity in the way they play, but they both have fabulous, athletic games. Either could beat a top player. 


Maria Sharapova 

Nationality: Russian

Age: 28

WTA ranking: 4

Best Wimbledon: Champion 2004, runner-up 2011, semi-finalist 2005, 2006

I don’t think Maria Sharapova has been quite as good this year. She had an injury and then in Paris had a desperate cold. It has a cumulative effect. Lose a couple of matches due to fitness and you lose your confidence. 


And the Brits…

It would be fantastic if either Laura Robson, if her wrist holds up, or Heather Watson could make it to the last 16. 

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