Wimbledon 2023: Eight women who could spring a major surprise
If there is one thing that the WTA has proven in recent years, it’s that you can never rule out a surprise new major winner. Could Wimbledon 2023 be another example?
On the face of it, you’d have to say it’s unlikely. Although she is not especially comfortable on grass, Iga Swiatek reaffirmed her dominance of the WTA Tour by winning Roland Garros again this season. She will definitely be the player to beat in SW19 as well.
There is no shortage of other big contenders too, with Aryna Sabalenka, Ons Jabeur, Elena Rybakina and Coco Gauff looking especially strong heading into The Championships.
If there is to be a genuine surprise though, who could pull it off? Here are some contenders to watch.
Best Wimbledon: Quarter-final (2022)
Marie Bouzkova is an emerging talent on the WTA who made a big impression at Wimbledon last year.
She entered into it unseeded so was always going to be faced with a tough draw and that’s exactly what she got. She beat seeds Danielle Collins and Alison Riske and then downed eventual WTA Finals winner Caroline Garcia too.
Ons Jabeur was a little too strong for her in the quarter-finals, but she will be well-fancied to further build her grass court credentials in 2023.
Best Wimbledon: R4 (2021)
Like all the Russian and Belarusian players, Ludmilla Samsonova will arrive at Wimbledon this year keen to make a point following the blanket ban last season.
That added motivation may be bad news for the rest of the WTA draw, as Samsonova is a player with some impressive grass court credentials.
She reached the last 16 on her last visit to SW19 having already won Berlin. Her performance in the German capital was exceptional, as she beat Madison Keys, Victoria Azarenka and Belinda Bencic on her way to the title.
Best Wimbledon: R3 (2019, 2021)
Magda Linette is an experienced player having a quietly good year. That combination has taken many a player to a career-defining moment at Wimbledon.
That good year includes a semi-final at the Australian Open, which shows that the Pole has the durability to contest majors.
Whether she has the grass court game repeat that at Wimbledon is another matter, of course. Grass is, statistically, her Linette’s worst surface but it’s certainly no write-off.
Best Wimbledon: Quarter-final (2019, 2021)
Karolína Muchová has only played Wimbledon three times but she has reached the last eight in two of them. That translates into a 73% win record in SW19 and that is something that demands respect.
Even last year, the year she didn’t reach the last eight, she lost to Simona Halep in the first round and there is certainly no shame in that.
She is unlikely to be seeded for the tournament so she may be at risk of that kind of draw again, but history suggests that if she gets a foothold at Wimbledon she tends to go far.
Best Wimbledon: None
The elder of the hotly tipped Fruhvirtová sisters, Linda has already made a breakthrough by reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open this year.
Repeating that at Wimbledon will be a tough ask given her lack of experience on grass on the WTA Tour, but she is certainly capable of making a big impact.
It should be noted that she was a Junior Wimbledon semi-finalist in 2021, so she does have a little history and experience upon which to draw at SW19.
Best Wimbledon: Quarter-finals (2022)
Only the United States have won more women’s singles titles at Wimbledon than Germany. Admittedly, the imperiously brilliant Steffi Graf was responsible for all but one of those, but it is still a fine pedigree.
Jule Niemeier is the next big hope for German women’s tennis, which is in something of a transition following the retirements of Angelique Kerber and Julia Gorges.
She lost out to veteran compatriot Tatjana Maria in the last eight at Wimbledon last year, but she proved she has the power and poise to thrive on grass nonetheless and will be expecting to be a force again this season.
Best Wimbledon: R4 (2018)
Donna Vekic is one of those players on the WTA that you are never shocked to see in the second week of a Slam, yet you’d count it as a big surprise should she win one.
She has gone as far as the last eight in a major twice, but only in the hardcourt ones. At Wimbledon, she has only ever been beyond the second round once in eight attempts.
Nevertheless, he overall record on grass is a positive one and she is a two-time Nottingham finalist and one-time winner, so her pedigree should stand her in good stead.
Best Wimbledon: R3 (2022)
Zeng is another young player who is currently making her mark on the WTA Tour, and she will be hoping to build on an impressive Wimbledon debut last year.
She battled past former US Open winner Sloane Stephens in the opening round last year and then comfortably despatched Greet Minnen too.
She was prevented from going further by eventual winner Elena Rybakina in round three, but she gave the Kazakhstani arguably her toughest test of the whole tournament.
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