The five top contenders for the women’s title at Wimbledon, which starts on Monday.
IGA SWIATEK (POLAND)
World ranking: 1
There will be a sense of deja vu for Swiatek who arrives at the All England Club as world number one and fresh from her French Open triumph for the second year running, but she will hope to master Wimbledon’s slick lawns this time around.
Swiatek, who won the Wimbledon junior title in 2018, has dominated the tour since replacing the retired Ash Barty as world number one in April but the majority of her success has come on hardcourts and clay.
The 22-year-old exited last year’s Championships in the third round and is yet to demonstrate her strengths consistently on grass. Swiatek has said she expects to be “uncomfortable” on the surface.
Swiatek began her preparations for Wimbledon, where her best result is a fourth-round appearance in 2021, with a comeback win at her Bad Homburg opener this week as she aims to solve the grasscourt puzzle.
ARYNA SABALENKA (BELARUS)
World ranking: 2
The big-hitting Belarusian has polished her game this year and become less erratic with her shot-making, which helped her win the Australian Open in January.
The 25-year-old has also reduced what seemed to be an insurmountable gap to top-ranked Iga Swiatek during the claycourt swing, beating her in the Madrid final, but was stunned in the French Open semi-finals by Karolina Muchova.
A Wimbledon semi-finalist in 2021, Sabalenka could not compete at last year’s Championships due to the ban on Russian and Belarusian players and will need to block out the noise to win a second major this year.
Sabalenka, who will compete under a neutral flag, was in the spotlight at Roland Garros when her stance on the war was questioned and has since distanced herself from Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko.
ELENA RYBAKINA (KAZAKHSTAN)
World ranking: 3
Rybakina is facing a race to be fit for her Wimbledon title defence and the odds of her success will depend on her recovery from a viral illness that forced her withdrawal from the French Open and this week’s tune-up Eastbourne tournament.
The 24-year-old has attempted to return to court since pulling out of Roland Garros but struggled with the lingering effects of the virus, losing in the second round in Berlin last week.
Moscow-born Rybakina missed out on ranking points at the 2022 Championships after its organisers were penalised for a ban on Russian and Belarusian players but has risen to a career-high world number three since winning her first Grand Slam.
Having won at Indian Wells and reached the Australian Open and Miami finals, Rybakina is most at home on hardcourts but has shown she can compete on all surfaces and could be poised to bag another major if she recovers in time.
PETRA KVITOVA (CZECH REPUBLIC)
World ranking: 9
Kvitova won the second of her two Wimbledon crowns nine years ago but showed rivals she is ready to bid for a third after winning the German Open without dropping a set to claim her sixth grasscourt title and 31st overall.
The 33-year-old, who stunned Elena Rybakina to win the Miami Open, has not reached a Wimbledon quarter-final since her title run in 2014. She won her first Grand Slam at the 2011 Championships.
Kvitova remains one of the biggest threats on grass, however, and has now won 12 of her last 13 matches on the surface. She withdrew from her Eastbourne title defence this week, citing fatigue.
With two titles this year and a return to the top 10, Kvitova has the momentum for another memorable performance at the All England Club.
KAROLINA MUCHOVA (CZECH REPUBLIC)
World ranking: 16
Muchova has only made three main draw appearances at Wimbledon but reached the quarter-finals twice and was raring to go on grass after losing to Iga Swiatek in the French Open final.
Plagued by injuries throughout her career, Muchova was unseeded at Roland Garros and earned plenty of praise for her performances as she knocked out Aryna Sabalenka in the semi-finals and took a set off Swiatek in the title clash.
Muchova, who reached the last eight in 2019 and 2021, is now ranked at a career-high world number 16 and more than capable of a deep run at Wimbledon. She was unseeded during her first-round exit last year but will be looking for redemption this time.
“I look forward to playing on the grass, on the fast surfaces,” she said. “That’s for sure the surfaces I prefer and like more.”
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