British Players To Watch At Wimbledon 2019
Wimbledon fortnight isn't a bad time to be a British tennis player. That's because there are plenty of benefits which come with hosting a Grand Slam tournament. Even if homegrown players are not ranked highly enough to qualify for the main draws of 128 players automatically, they still stand a chance of entering by way of a wildcard, or through the qualifying tournament itself.
With Andy Murray looking very unlikely to enter the Men's Singles draw at the tournament - to be held from 1 until 14 July at London's All England Club - the opportunity is there for lesser-known British talents to step out of the three-time Grand Slam winner's shadow. Let’s take a closer look at the British contingent set to play at Wimbledon 2019.
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With Andy Murray seemingly nearing the end of a glittering career, there appears to be one man who could feasibly step into his shoes. Kyle Edmund is the current British number one, and ranked 31st in the world rankings at the time of writing. At six foot two inches tall, Edmund is well built to slam down some powerful serves and possesses a forehand which is recognised as one of the very best on the circuit. But more than just having potential, Edmund has shown he has what it takes to succeed at the highest level. He won an ATP Tour title at the European Open in October 2018, capping off a year which saw him reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open, disposing of players such as Kevin Anderson and Grigor Dimitrov along the way. Last year the 24-year-old recorded a career-best third-round finish, but this time expectations will go through the Centre Court roof if, as expected, Edmund leads the British charge.
Another Brit looking to progress further than the third round for the first time is Dan Evans, a mercurial talent who possesses some outrageous skills on his day. Evans wowed the world with the 'shot of the year' at this year's Australian Open, but all too often the likeable rogue - who served a year-long ban for recreational drug use - has fallen short at the highest level. At 28 years old, the platform is there for Evans to make an impact at SW19 while at the peak of his powers. Can the Birmingham-born British number three make it to the last 16 of a Grand Slam for the first time?
We shouldn't neglect to discuss the chances of the British number two, Cameron Norrie, despite the fact that he hasn't made it past the first round to date. At 23 years of age, Norrie has a whole career in front of him, and the three Challenger event titles which he has notched so far reflect his potential. Could Wimbledon 2019 be Norrie's time to shine?
Is British ladies number one Johanna Konta destined to win a Grand Slam? Some would say that the world number 31 has all the makings of a future champion. Konta - who is known to attack from the baseline - has already reached the semi-finals at two Grand Slams, including Wimbledon 2017. If she could go one better and make it to the final, the home crowd might provide the push which takes her to the Venus Rosewater dish. Konta changed her coach late last year, hiring Dimitri Zavialoff, who used to work with Stanislas Wawrinka. If her showing at the recent Italian Open is anything to go by, the switch has worked well. Konta made it all the way to the final of the event, dumping out the likes of Sloane Stephens, Venus Williams and Kiki Bertens in the process. Has Konta hit form at the right time?
Other Female Hopes For Wimbledon
Katie Boulter is the British number two and is currently ranked 83rd in the world. The 22-year-old lacks experience, but has shown signs of promise in the Slams, reaching the second round of Wimbledon last year, as well as the US Open. Can one of Britain's bright young talents make a name for herself?
And we mustn't overlook Heather Watson, whose world ranking of 110 belies her past exploits at Wimbledon. Guernsey-born Watson has reached the third round on three occasions, making it her favourite major by far. Could she repeat her giant-killing exploits of 2015, when she eliminated former world number five Daniela Hantuchová?
Without Murray, Can A British Player Win Wimbledon 2019?
Assuming Murray does not make a miraculous return for the Wimbledon singles (he himself has all but ruled out such a scenario), it will be fascinating to see which British representative can make it the furthest. The SW19 support could provide the lift needed for these home favourites to raise their game.
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