When it comes to choosing a women’s champ, it seems there’s one clear favourite. But these four ladies will give Ms Williams stiff competition, says Virginia Wade…
Best Wimbledon: Second round 2013
If I had to bet on anyone to beat Serena Williams it would be Muguruza. We saw her do it at Roland Garros and she has such a big serve that I don’t see why she couldn’t do it again on grass. She was knocked out in the second round of last year’s Wimbledon, but she played well and her big shots have progressed since then. Having made the fourth round of the Australian Open, she seems to be on a bit of a roll. It’s exciting to see a new player like her breaking through.
Best Wimbledon: Quarter-finalist 2006, 2010, 2013
Li Na had an awful French Open. Some of that may be down to her having won the Australian Open in January. A big victory like that puts on a lot of extra pressure going into the next Grand Slam and I’m not sure she adjusted as well as she might have done. On the plus side, losing early in the French Open can be a good thing in terms of Wimbledon as it gives you more time to redress where you went wrong. I’m sure she’ll get her act together.
Best Wimbledon: Champion 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012
Nobody can beat Williams if she’s playing her best tennis. She’s been on excellent form this year, winning in Rome last month and Miami before that. The French Open did not go to plan. She played a terrible match in the second round, crashing out in straight sets to 35th seed Garbiñe Muguruza. However, that’s no reason to doubt her for the rest of the season — she’s still the favourite.
Best Wimbledon: Third round 2013
The striking thing about the French Open this year was the emergence of some excellent young players Bouchard is probably the best of the lot, displaying great matchplay before losing to Sharapova in the semis. Bouchard’s concentration is fantastic and I’ve never seen her fall apart under pressure. She’s probably not ready to win Wimbledon, but definitely one to watch.
Best Wimbledon: Champion 2004
It’s hard to win the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year, but Sharapova is in a strong position. She got to the third round of the Italian Open and the fourth round in Melbourne. Her biggest obstacle is Serena. She hasn’t beaten the world number one since the 2004 Wimbledon final, even though they’ve met 15 times since. But the thing to remember is that Sharapova is tough.
Best of the rest
The Croatian got to the third round of the French Open without losing a set. She’ll be good on grass.
The left-handed Czech is playing better than she has in a while.
Taylor Townsend and Anna Schmiedlova
Townsend is American and just 18; Schmiedlova 19 and Slovak. They don’t have the experience to win but both will only improve.
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