With Wimbledon just around the corner, starting in just a few days time – I have taken it upon myself to look beyond the top 15-20 players in the World, to some of the younger, less well known talent that many will not know too much about. As a huge tennis fan, I watch a fair amount throughout the year, and have the odd flutter.
Recently, I have been able to start picking out some good markets to bet on, so will be offering a few tips each day during the tournament. Having watched Queens last week, and the Aegon tournament this week – I am feeling very confident about the upcoming championship. Anyway – here are my top 5 players to look out for:
1. Alexandr Dolgopolov (World 75 Ranking, Aged 26)
Ranked at around 75 in the World, you would think he would be making an early exit. Well, I watched this guy dispatch of Rafa Nadal in the first round at Queens, with some incredible shots that even the great Rafa looked stunned by. He has a brilliant, smooth serve with no break in motion which gives him a first serve to die for. He hits a lot of aces, but also players are known to hate his slice and drop-shots, known by many as one of the best on the professional circuit. He has also beaten Pablo Andujar, Donald Young and Dominic Thiem in the last week or so, so is in great form. He faced Britain’s Kyle Edmund in the first round, who he should dispatch of easily.
2. Dominic Thiem (World 30 Ranking, Aged 21)
This young man is one to watch for sure – in the last year or so he has beaten Gilles Simon twice (which is some feat), Stan Wawrinka, John Isner, Ernst Gulbis (twice) as well as the likes of Lukas Rosol, Radek Stepanek, Feliciano Lopez and Leonardo Mayer. At 6ft 1, he is not a big server, but an offensive ground stroke player who is very powerful. He has been compared to Fernando Gonzalez, which is quite the compliment. He faces little a known Israeli, Sela in the first round, and should get past him. If you have the TV on, give him a watch, as he is an exciting prospect and one I expect to become a top 5 player!
3. Borna Coric (World 39 Ranking, Aged 18)
This young Croatian won the Star of Tomorrow award last year – and has some talent to back that! He beat Andy Murray in straight sets this year, and also beat Rafa Nadal last year. His ability is unreal – he won the US Grand Slam at junior level in 2013, and has been on the up ever since. He faces a tough task in Sergey Stakhovsky in the first round, but I’d fancy him to win it! He could go a couple of rounds at least, but his time at the top is coming, no doubting that!
4. Thanasi Kokkinakis (World 69 Ranking, Aged 19)
I first saw Kokkinakis at Queens playing Gilles Simon. He raced into a 2-0 lead, breaking serve against one of the most difficult opponents in Tennis. He went on to lose, but his ability was there to see. Huge serve, amazing ground-strokes. Typical Aussie confidence, and has beaeten Rosol, Gulbis and Aussie compatriot Bernard Tomic in recent months – and lost to Novak Djokovic, dropping only 3 service games in a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 loss to the world number 1 – something he can take great pride in!
5. Nick Kyrgios (World 29, Aged 20)
This guy, yet another Aussie – burst onto the scene at Wimbledon last year, beating Richard Gasquet and Rafa Nadal – where he became famous for his amazing shots, big serve and the ‘between the legs’ shot he played in the same game – which was probably the moment of the 2014 SW19 competition. He is playing an unknown, unseeded Argentina called Diego Schwartzman, whom he should see off fairly quickly. He has made the quarter finals of Wimbledon 2014 and the Australian Open in 2015 – so is high on confidence and should be fully expecting to get as far as last year!
There were a few others worthy of a mention – Bernard Tomic is a good player but since he has suffered a few hip injuries/surgeries he has not quite been the same. Jiri Vesely is another who won the Star of Tomorrow award in 2013, and should be a good one to watch. Benoit Paire was expected to become a superstar a few years ago, but at 26 it is looking unlikely now, but still a very good player.
I hope this has given you a few ideas on who might be worth watching and even betting on. There are some top kids here that should give fantastic performances at Wimbledon this year, and you never know we could see another Boris Becker’ type occurrance – could a teenager win the whole competition? Coric has beaten Murray and Nadal, Kyrgios has beanten Nadal. Thiem has beaten a whole host of players in the top 20 – it’s unlikely but you never know, stranger things have happened!