Novak Djokovic and Ashleigh Barty are entering Wimbledon as the top-ranked players in the world, the No. 1 seeds, and the favorites to win London’s grass-court Grand Slam tournament.
Djokovic started his campaign to defend the Wimbledon men’s singles championship on Monday, beating Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 to earn a straight sets victory.
Nadal Unhappy with Wimbledon Seeding
The quick win is the perfect start for Djokovic, who knows that Wimbledon is a marathon, not a sprint.
“The more efficient you can be, if I can call it that way, in the first week, the better it is,” Djokovic said before his first-round match, via the Express. “You need to kind of be in the moment, focus only on the next challenge. At the same time, yes, an ideal scenario to conserve energy is welcome, of course, for the later stages.”
Djokovic is the +125 favorite to win the men’s title this year, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. But he’ll have to get past his two biggest rivals if he wants to win Wimbledon for the fifth time: eight-time winner Roger Federer (+300) and two-time champion Rafael Nadal (+750).
There’s been some controversy over the fact that Federer was granted the No. 2 seed for the tournament, despite the fact that Nadal is still the No. 2 ranked player in the world. That’s the result of a seeding system that heavily weighs results in grass-court tournaments, something Nadal doesn’t believe is fair.
“I respect the Wimbledon rules…if I believe that is fair or not, that’s another story,” Nadal told reporters on Saturday. “But I really respect the tournament so much. I really respect the history of this event. I really understand that they see the sport from another perspective. They want to do it by their own rules.”
Barty Ready to Work to Keep No. 1 Ranking
On the women’s side of the draw, Barty is hoping to confirm her No. 1 ranking by winning her second major of the year. The Australian – who once quit tennis temporarily to attempt to become a professional cricket player – has had a meteoric rise this season, and says that she can’t slow down if she wants to stay on top of the tennis world.
“We work hand in hand to be able to achieve what we achieve, and I certainly wouldn’t be half the player I am if I didn’t have [coach Craig Tyzzer] and all the people in my team around me,” Barty told reporters on Saturday. “In this game if you sit still, you get overrun pretty quickly. We won’t stop continuing to work, continuing to look to get better, and continuing to improve.”
Barty isn’t the clear favorite that Djokovic is on the men’s side, but she’s still the co-favorite to win the Ladies’ Wimbledon title. Both Barty and Karolina Pliskova are listed at +500, ahead of other contenders like Serena Williams (+750) and Angelique Kerber (+1000).
The 2019 Wimbledon Championships conclude in two weeks, with the ladies’ final scheduled for July 13 and the gentlemen’s final following on Sunday, July 14.