While we are still waiting for a fresh face to break through on the men’s side, there has been a changing of the guard at women’s grand slams. The last three majors have been won by Naomi Osaka and Ash Barty, two players who were born in the late 90s.
I hope that makes you feel as old as myself.
Despite the wave of new players, there are still plenty of former champions around who have the hunger like Angie Kerber, Petra Kvitova and of course, Serena Williams.
It will be fascinating to see if Wimbledon 2019 also falls to a 90s kid. Or will a wily veteran take the spoils on Centre Court for this year at least?
Even before her maiden major triumph in Paris, the Australian was going to be a factor at SW19. The new world no.1 is a former junior champion at Wimbledon and her face lights up whenever she steps on to the grass.
The 23-year-old’s game is perfectly suited to the surface and she comes to London brimming in confidence with three titles in 2019 and an impressive match record of 36-5. That said, her draw could be a lot kinder.
Barty will start against world no.43 Saisai Zheng. From there, she may have to get through two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova (2nd round), 2017 Wimbledon champ Garbine Muguruza (3rd round), Belinda Bencic (4th round) and then Angie Kerber or Serena Williams in the last eight.
The defending champion has come into form at just the right moment as she chases a fourth career major. Kerber made the last four in Mallorca and had another excellent week on grass at Eastbourne.
The 31-year-old has a pretty good draw here with world no.65 Tatjana Maria up first. She may look forward to a potential third round clash with Maria Sharapova after having demolished the Russian last week. From there, Kerber will need all of those down-the-line forehands to dispatch either Serena Williams or Julia Goerges (4th round).
When Pliskova’s game is firing, it’s very hard to contend with. Her big serve, accompanied by booming ground strokes and some subtle netplay, can be lethal on grass. Despite that, the Czech has surprisingly never been past the fourth round at Wimbledon.
That will probably change this year as the 27-year-old arrives to the All England club with bags of confidence and a good draw to look forward to. Pliskova will play world no.103 Lin Zhu first and should be good enough to get through to the second week bar a possible stormer from Jelena Ostapenko in the third round.
The 20-year-old Floridian has been one of the form players of 2019 with a couple of titles earned at Hobart and on the grass of Mallorca. Kenin made a big statement at Roland Garros when she cooly sent Serena Williams packing and just had a fine week in Spain. She is in the bottom quarter with Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep and has the game and confidence to do real damage.
While it would be premature to get excited about the first British woman to win Wimbledon since 1977, Konta has a reasonable shout. A semi-finalist here in 2017, the 28-year-old has been in good form though I’m sure she would have liked more grass court wins coming in. Konta find herself in a promising quarter with Petra Kvitova (who’s carrying an arm injury), Sloane Stephens and Kiki Bertens. With some loud crowd support and her customary accurate hitting, Konta can navigate a route to the second week.
At just 17, Anisimova is comfortably one of the most exciting talents on the WTA Tour in recent years. The American has already won a title this year (Bogota) and was spectacular during her semi-final run at Roland Garros. Like Konta, Anisimova can take advantage of that open section with Kvitova, Bertens and Stephens.
The 28-year-old has been one of the strongest performers this season and her big game works very nicely on grass. The Croatian made the fourth round of Wimbledon two years ago and will be encouraged by a recent semi-final run at Birmingham. Martic is in the third quarter alongside Pliskova and Elina Svitolina. She definitely has the game to disrupt that section.