Roger Federer has won eight titles at Wimbledon during his long and storied career, and comes into this year’s tournament as a favorite to take home his record-extending 21st Grand Slam championship.
Federer, who is the No. 1 seed in the Wimbledon men’s tournament despite being ranked No. 2 in the world behind Rafael Nadal, breezed through his first round match in Monday to open his run.
Favored Federer Starts Strong
Federer faced Dusan Lajovic of Serbia and finished off his opponent in just 79 minutes, winning 6-1, 6-3, 6-4. The 36-year-old defending Wimbledon champion will face Lukas Lacko of Slovakia in his second round match on Wednesday.
Federer looked strong in his first appearance, though he never had to work particularly hard to earn the victory.
“There are matches where you know you have to bring your A game,” three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker told BBC Sport. “And there are matches where you practice and bring your C game, maybe even D game. That is what this looked like.”
Federer entered Wimbledon as the man to beat, as he has done pretty much every season since winning his first Grand Slam title there in 2003. William Hill has made him a 6/4 favorite to win the tournament again this year.
There are a handful of rivals who could challenge Federer’s dominance, however. Novak Djokovic (5/1) has had a disappointing season so far, slipping to No. 21 in the world rankings, but has looked better in his last three tournaments. Marin Cilic (6/1) reached the final of the Australian Open earlier this season, and is coming off a win in the grass-court Fever-Tree Championships in London. And world No. 1 Rafael Nadal (6/1) can never be discounted, even if grass isn’t his preferred surface.
Kvitova Has Best Odds, But All Eyes Are on Serena
The women’s draw is wide open without a clear favorite, though two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova (9/2) has been made the top choice by most bookmakers. But most of the attention is being paid to the No. 25 seed: Serena Williams.
While Williams (11/2) saw her ranking fall to 183rd in the world after having a baby last year, the All England Club determined that her prior results had earned her a seed in their tournament, if for no other reason than to ensure a balanced draw for all competitors. And while Serena has yet to recapture the form that made her the best player in the world for much of the last 20 years, there’s no doubt that the seven-time Wimbledon champion is an opponent that nobody is confident facing.
Williams shook off the rust in her first round match, though the 7-5, 6-3 victory over Arantxa Rus may not have been as easy as she would have liked.
“I don’t think I was at my best today, but I’m practicing much better,” Williams told reporters after the match. “My arm is doing much better. My serve is a little playing catch-up, but it’s doing better than I could have hoped, to be honest. It’s all on the right track.”
One of the top contenders in the women’s tournament has already been eliminated. American Sloane Stephens, who is coming off a win at last year’s US Open and a finals appearance at the French Open this year, fell 6-1, 6-3 to unseeded Donna Vekic in just 71 minutes on Monday.
Others who are expected to contend include defending Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza (8/1), Germany’s Angelique Kerber (11/1), and French Open champion Simona Halep (12/1).