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Page last updated at 12:26 GMT, Wednesday, 18 June 2008 13:26 UK

Pundits' predictions for Wimbledon

Federer is aiming to win his sixth successive Wimbledon title
Federer is aiming to win his sixth successive Wimbledon title

BBC Sport caught up with a host of tennis experts to get their take on who is going to win the Wimbledon singles titles.

In the men's event many pundits are tipping Spaniard Rafael Nadal to end Roger Federer's dominance.

But in the women's draw the picture is less clear, with Venus and Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and newly crowned French Open winner Ana Ivanovic all in the frame.

A selection of commentators, writers and former players have given us their views on who they think will be victorious in SW19.

Sue Barker, BBC TV presenter

I think it's 50/50 between Federer and Nadal, but if I had to pick one I think I would go with Nadal. The illness Federer had earlier in year really hurt him and the fact that he's had a few losses has suddenly made people think he's beatable. Also Nadal has added to his game. Last year he proved a lot to himself by going so close in the final and he believes he can do it.

I might as well just throw all the names up in the air and see where they fall. Sharapova had the best start to the year and is proven on grass so I'm going with her, but it really is wide open. I don't think we will have an idea until the start of the second week. And... never write off the Williams sisters.

Tim Henman, BBC TV commentator

I'm really going to go out on a limb here - Federer or Nadal. Roger's a good friend so I hope and I want Roger to win, but it's amazing how much Nadal has improved.

I'd like to think there aren't any scars for Roger from Roland Garros but it's so tight. It's brilliant, that's why it's so exciting this year, and Djokovic is damn good as well. And there's a whole host of others behind those three.

I will go for Sharapova and...... Williams. [Any more specific?] Er....... Serena. With the winner being...... Serena.

Andrew Castle, BBC TV commentator

Federer is still the man to beat because he has won 59 consecutive matches on grass and when you have that sort of record I think you can get over the annihilation that he suffered to Nadal in the French Open final. Whether the mental balance of power has changed remains to be seen. Federer is the best player I've ever seen play and I expect him to defend his title.

Venus Williams is the woman to beat again because of her athleticism around the court. Ivanovic is going to be interesting to watch this year, she plays a little bit like Steffi Graff. I don't see Sharapova as one of the top two or three threats at the moment and I consider Venus to be the queen of Wimbledon.

John Lloyd, GB Davis Cup captain and BBC TV commentator


Venus Williams
Venus Williams was a surprise winner of her fourth Wimbledon title last year
Rafa Nadal is going to win it and beat Federer in the final. He's improved his serve, his movement is better and he's become more aggressive on grass.

And I think the psychological aspect plays a part after the way he beat Federer in the French Open final. I think it's finally his time.

I think the two Williams sisters and Sharapova are my three favourites. Ivanovic has a shot but she is definitely behind those three.

Mark Petchey, BBC TV commentator

I personally still think Roger goes into Wimbledon as favourite, but I know there's a ground swell of opinion for Nadal. Djokovic also knows what it takes after winning the Australian Open. I think you have got three stand out players, but then there's the second tier players like Andy Roddick and Andy Murray who could push them all the way.

On the women's side there are a lot of possibilities. The Williams sisters have a great chance to get through. Given what happened at the French Open I think they are going to be coming into Wimbledon and redoubling their efforts. Jelena Jankovic, Ivanovic and Sharapova have also got realistic shots.

Greg Rusedski, former world number four and BBC TV analyst

I think Nadal is seriously ready to win the men's singles title at the Wimbledon Championships and has to be the slight favourite going into the tournament. I would like to see Federer face Djokovic in his semi so if Nadal's fresh, without the tough schedule he had last year, he can go all the way as he really is the real deal.

Barry Flatman, Sunday Times tennis correspondent

I do think that it will be another Federer v Nadal final. Nadal is getting better and better and more and more confident on grass. He has added to his game and more importantly he has burrowed into Federer's mind and I think that's what is going to win it for him.

I like the chances of Sharapova and Serena Williams. They are proven Wimbledon players and I think they will come in more determined than they've ever been after failing at the French Open. I can't really see Ivanovic doing it as I don't think she's got the game or the movement for grass.

Neil Harman, The Times tennis correspondent

I'd be surprised if it wasn't a repeat of last year's final between Federer and Nadal. Nadal's performance on clay was absolutely incredible and I think he is going to win Wimbledon this time.

On the women's side, Ivanovic is on a roll obviously although we don't know a great deal about her on grass. I'd be very surprised if Sharapova wasn't in the mix at the end of proceedings and I wouldn't count out Venus Williams.

Richard Evans, Guardian tennis writer

Nadal's got a huge chance now. He's looking more and more confident on grass and is getting better and better. Winning at Queen's was a huge boost and Federer will be getting more and more anxious. Federer's big chance is if somebody gets Nadal early and then he will win, but he's going to be worried.

Take your pick. You can never rule out the Williams sisters. They can be rubbish for most of the year then one of them will show up at Wimbledon and do something spectacular so they've got to be in the mix. Ivanovic has got a lot of confidence and Sharapova could win it, but it's wide open.

Mike Dickson, Daily Mail tennis correspondent

I actually think Nadal will win. It will definitely be closer this year. I think Federer will reach the final, but I have a feeling that he won't win it as he is unquestionably more vulnerable this year. Nadal has definitely improved, he is hitting the ball a bit flatter, his serve is better and he is a brilliant athlete.

The women's is quite open. I've a feeling Ivanovic won't win as she is not quite ready. Sharapova will get to the final and it will be between her and one of the Williams sisters.

Interviews by Paul Birch

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