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Expert picks: Who will be the Wimbledon champions in 2023?


In Novak Djokovic, rarely has there been such a prohibitive favourite at Wimbledon. Who has the best shot at stopping him winning a fifth straight title at the All England Club? On the women's side, who is the most likely to thrive in a field full of grass-court threats?

And who will win the men's and women's titles?

LISTEN: The AO Show's Wimbledon preview

We discussed all this with our panel of experts ahead of Wimbledon, which begins on Monday.

Our panel

Todd Woodbridge: A nine-time men's doubles champion at Wimbledon (the tournament record)
Alicia Molik: former world No.8 and now Australian Billie Jean King Cup captain
Wally Masur: former world No.15 and previous Australian Davis Cup captain
Casey Dellacqua: former top-30 singles player and top-five doubles player
Nicole Pratt: former world No.35 and now Australia's Billie Jean King Cup coach 
Simon Rea: former coach of Nick Kyrgios and Sam Stosur

Who is the player who might pose the biggest threat to Novak Djokovic’s dominance at Wimbledon?

WOODBRIDGE: "Djokovic is probably the heaviest favourite coming into Wimbledon that I've seen for a very long time. I didn't see the contender (to challenge him) this year until Queen's Club. I still don't think Alcaraz, over five sets, has the consistency of concentration on grass to get Novak. We know he has the game to beat him. The result at Queen's, though; I didn't expect Alcaraz would win that tournament. Winning Queen's had been a big precursor to going on and doing well at Wimbledon, if not winning it, for 40 to 50 years. Automatically, those extra matches Alcaraz got throughout that week, and that confidence, are really the thing that make him that one contender who can really worry Novak."

MOLIK: "I think Alex (de Minaur) is a player who could trouble Novak, 100 per cent. I think the reason why he's different to a lot of players on grass is because he doesn't just engage in rallies by using heavy topspin. He finds a way to flatten out the ball on his forehand, his backhand. He can hit an inside-out forehand where he fades the ball, He can fade the ball off his backhand (too). He's constantly skidding and shifting the ball of the court; not a lot of guys probably use those shots as much. He can sneak in; he's gotten so capable and confident, just watching him at Queen's. He can also take time away and rush the ball; he can stand up on the baseline and constantly take it on the rise, which not everyone has the skills and confidence to do that either. He's very capable."

MASUR: "I've got Alcaraz behind (Djokovic). Alcaraz is class, and he's getting better all the time. Grass is obviously not his preferred surface, but he is willing to embrace it. I think that was pretty evident in winning Queen's; that was pretty impressive. I wouldn't discount Alcaraz, because he's improving all the time. I said a few weeks ago that if Kyrgios could get a few matches under his belt that I truly believe he's the one player on grass who could get inside Novak's head a little bit; Nick's got that personality, and the game to back it up, particularly the serve. But I'm just so concerned with where he's at. One match in 2023; that'd be a miracle if Nick could pull off a big result in Wimbledon. I do like Tiafoe. He won Stuttgart just recently, so there's some matches under his belt. But he holds the baseline so well ... he doesn't retreat. On grass, that can count. He's one of the more dangerous players for me."

DELLACQUA: "Obviously we saw some good tennis from Carlos Alcaraz last week. There are obviously, definitely, players who can hold their own against Novak, but in terms of being able to break down Novak's game, over the length of a five-set match, I'm just not sure that even an Alcaraz, as physically adept as he is on a grass court, is going to be able to stop him. I think (Alcaraz's) confidence on grass is still going to be quite high; that would be a pretty epic final if we were able to see Alcaraz and Djokovic there (at Wimbledon)."

PRATT: "I think it was really positive for Alcaraz to win Queen's. I found it interesting that he was playing it down the whole time, like, 'oh I haven't got much experience on grass'. But clearly what it shows is his ability to play on all surfaces. I think he's an all-court player. There are some things you learn over the years from playing on grass, but one of the keys is movement. And you saw that with Alcaraz; his movement is extraordinary. And we also saw that with De Minaur. So I like Alcaraz as someone who would be a legitimate challenger. You can't discount Taylor Fritz, knowing that he's got a big serve and forehand. That works really well on the grass courts."

REA: "The name Nicolas Jarry might not mean too much to too many. But he started the year at No.150, he's now No.28. He's won two tour titles, he's beaten five top-20 players. And I think he's got the type of weapons where, if he gets on a run, he could potentially do some damage. Andy Murray struggled through the clay-court swing, but to go and play at Surbiton and Nottingham, and to be relatively dominant those two weeks, he can now tailor his preparation coming in almost to perfection. If he is to make a run deep in an event, this is the one. And I think Cameron Norrie is likely to be relatively unaffected by defending the pressure of making a semifinal in 2022. I think the grass is an ideal surface for him. Probably the next best contender behind Djokovic is the champion at Queen's. Alcaraz does possess the weapons and belief.”

She’s had a fantastic season, but a less-than-idea lead up to Wimbledon. How might Elena Rybakina perform as defending champion?

WOODBRIDGE: "If Rybakina starts the tournament fit and healthy, then I think she remains the favourite. I think on the grass, her stroke production is smooth... she has this ability in the first few rounds now to be able to get through the matches pretty swiftly and out-hit players. She's just a bit too tall, too strong, and she moves pretty well for her size as well; she covers the court with good anticipation. I foresee her winning three Wimbledons, in her career. I think she's that type of player."

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MOLIK: "In reality, she still has sort of two weeks' preparation for the 'pointy end'. If you consider the week of qualifying (which she's not playing), the first week she has to play well but she doesn't have to hit top gear, given her seeding and she won't be playing anyone ranked higher than, say, 32 in the world. Mind you, I'm not sure where she sits at the moment with her health... What she does have to her advantage, is because she hits so big on the grass, that if she is still feeling the side-effects or a bit of fatigue, the points do not lot last long ... it's not going to be too taxing physically for her. So it's probably the perfect surface and Slam for her to make a comeback on."

MASUR: "She would have been pretty much my favourite going in, but I do count matches on grass... if you've had a few matches under your belt and you're winning, you don't think about it (in tight moments), you just do. That's what worries me a bit about Rybakina; if you haven't played (much), you sort of play a little bit consciously, not sub-consciously. I think no matter how good you are, that matters."

DELLACQUA: "Sometimes you just need a couple of good matches on the grass, and I think for Rybakina, she's just going to have to get some really good tennis in the early rounds of Wimbledon, and then I still feel like she's going to be confident. Because when you win a Grand Slam title, and you go back to that place that you've had such good results and energy and feeling, there's no doubt that's going to help her. Obviously if she's in good health, maybe there might be a little more expectation there, (after) what she achieved last year. But in the same breath, we've seen her persona, how she carries herself on the court. She's very astute in regards to keeping control of her emotions... very calm and collected."

PRATT: "I think we've seen her back it up after Wimbledon. She's a legitimate top four player in the world with an expectation that she's gonna get through to at least the semifinals. Being the defending champion is a little bit different, however I don't think that's gonna bother her. She just seems to have this really even-keel personality, takes it in her stride That cliché of playing one point at a time? I really get that sense from her. She's got one of the best serves in the world, and that's why we saw her win Wimbledon last year, is the ability to win two free points every service game, then pressuring opponents with return – and she returns incredibly well also."

REA: "I think she'll perform really, really well. I'd expect her to be there at the pointy end. And health permitting, I think she'll handle it. I think she's so well suited to the grass; I think it compliments her assets almost ideally. I think she's an incredibly tough out."

There seem to be so many more women’s contenders here than in Paris. Who do you like?

WOODBRIDGE: “Ons Jabeur can definitely go deep. Her consistency has definitely improved, but under the pump, she gets tight and finds it hard to win points with power. She gets out-powered, and then gets frustrated, and then can really lose momentum within a match. Can Swiatek win Wimbledon? I think it's a little unlikely, but I think she's starting to believe she can go deeper. I watched some highlights from Bad Homburg where you can see very much she's trying to implement other shots. It's really Sabalenka who can win it, because she can power her way through on grass. It's pretty obvious that she now expects to be in those latter rounds. Then I go to two players, who, if it all fell well, I think they could win. One is Kvitova, and the other is Muchova."

MOLIK: "You've got people coming in with great form who haven't necessarily haven't perked up in the other parts of the year. Look at the recent winners. Like Kvitova, being one; she knows how to win on grass. I think given the opportunity, and given the fact she didn't grab hold of it last year, I think this could be a better year for Jabeur – I just feel like she'll be a little bit calmer this year. She can really pose a big threat and she'll be really difficult to play on tis surface. Sabalenka is there or thereabouts any day of the week; her serve will be great on this surface. She takes pretty big cuts with her forehand swing... for other surfaces it suits, but just a point to be mindful of on grass. Gauff knows how to play, knows how to finish, and because of all her doubles too is really capable on this surface. I always look for the great returners to make the second week too... Pegula returns well, pretty savvy, again another player who knows her way around the net, knows how to finish. Krejcikova is another."

MASUR: "The big question is Muchova; how does she back up? I think one of the reasons she was keen to do well at the French was to be seeded at Wimbledon. She's achieved that. Maybe she plays with a bit more expectation there? That mightn't do her a great service. But she's certainly got an interesting game for grass. Look at Haddad Maia, played awfully well of late. Lefty. Big, tall, strong girl. Not without a chance. Jabeur, with all of that skill and finesse and the ability to play the slice, and everything that she's achieved on grass, certainly she's gotta be up there."

Ons Jabeur celebrates reaching the Wimbledon 2022 semifinals
Ons Jabeur reached her first career Grand Slam final at Wimbledon in 2022. [Getty Images]

DELLACQUA: "Someone that won a title and who's won Wimbledon before is Petra Kvitova. It's really hard, because I always feel with Petra that a match or two throughout a Grand Slam, maybe she doesn't put in her best performance. but when she can pull i together, lefty on grass... I think she can get on a good run. Keep an eye on her. I think Coco Gauff; we know she's got some technical difficulties, I think if you can get that ball hard and fast into her forehand, but there's no doubt I think Coco (could do well). And let's not forget Ons Jabeur. Wimbledon for her last year was an epic run... it's definitely a title that she is after. I think the other one is Muchova, who made the Roland Garros final. I feel like her game transitioning onto a grass-court is really good."

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PRATT: "I like Kvitova. She's a former champion, she gets on the grass and she's very comfortable. Kvitova's one to watch; lefty, swinging serve out wide, opens up the court. She can open up the court off her forehand or her backhand. Sabalenka of course, she's always in the conversation. For me, if Iga was to win Wimbledon, beating some of those players that I just spoke about, would be an incredible effort. And a bit like Alcaraz, don't estimate the importance of movement on grass. It's a different type of surface. Iga naturally stays really low, in her legs, on the ball. I just think she's gotta find a way maybe to flatten out a few more shots. And will she get as many serve-plus-forehand opportunities as she did at the French? She was something like serve-and-75 per cent forehands, and that's an incredible stat. Will she still be able to find those forehands?"

REA: "I think it is more open on the women's side. Particularly given Iga, I think it's her least-preferred surface; it kind of blunts her competitive advantage over the field. The year that Petra Kvitova is having, as per usual there's an up-and-down nature of what she can produce. But I think the title in Miami, and then building nicely with title in Berlin, and again can now tailor the preparation accordingly, to hit the start line full of momentum. I think she can be right there at the pointy end. Another one is Alexandrova. The campaign that she's putting together (is great)... I've got a little circle around her name to keep an eye on into the second week."

This is typically a great time of year for the Aussies, and this grass season is no different. Which of them could fare best at Wimbledon?

WOODBRIDGE: "Well I think Alex (de Minaur), without a doubt. The way that he played at Queen's was awesome. I think he's such a great competitor, and his game best suits grass, the way he hits flat, can come forward, is really sound on the volley. He was a point away last year from the quarters... the right seeds in his section, and he can get through to a semi." 

MOLIK: "I think Demon. I don't think you can look past (Jason) Kubler, a number of matches, winning Ilkley. Players who just know how to play on grass. Max Purcell could be a surprise with a few wins. Jordan (Thompson) plays well on grass too. They're all dangerous on their day, those guys. They've done it before, they're smart on this surface, they can all adapt."

MASUR: "Well, I do like the Demon. He's a classy player, a great competitor. He was one point away from the quarterfinals last year... The draw is all important. Obviously with the injury cloud of Nick, with the knee, Demon is I think our best chance to go deep. Chris O'Connell has had a good result on the grass. Jordan Thompson got to the final in Rosmalen and lost a pretty tight match there. Jason Kubler also knows how to play on grass. But obviously Demon is the seed, so he gets that protection. (The others) will be unseeded, and you can run into a whole host of top names in the first or second round."

DELLACQUA: "Grass is one of those things for the Australians that it just feels like home, feels like our backyard. We grow up being exposed to a grass court whereas a lot of players don't necessary have the same situation. Really great to see Storm Hunter and Olivia Gadecki into the last round of qualifying. Obviously on the men's side, Alex de Minaur, he's definitely shown himself on the grass courts before, making another tour-level final (at Queen's) is awesome. I think we've definitely got to keep an eye out for him."

PRATT: "De Minaur. No question for me. He's well-suited to the grass... he's got a really positive record and it's something he feels comfortable on. He will be the 16th seed, so he's gonna have some protection in the draw, not meeting a player ranked higher than him until the fourth round. You can never count out Nick (Kyrgios); his ability to not have many matches, but can go out and beat anyone. I think it will be a stretch for him to go deep, just the fact he's had the injury he's had and played no matches. (With Kyrgios the No.31 seed) I think some of the seeded players who could potentially play him in the third round would certainly not want that match. But if Kyrgios wants that third-round match-up, he's going to have to take care of business (quickly) in the early rounds, so he does have the legs to challenge those higher-ranked players."

Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios
Nick Kyrgios (L) was runner-up to Novak Djokovic in last year's Wimbledon final. [Getty Images]

REA: "Thommo (Jordan Thompson) has had a fantastic campaign, making the final in 's-Hertogenbosch a couple of weeks back, backed it up with another win over Gasquet in Mallorca. He's a great athlete and he's got variety in his game, and the grass provides him an opportunity to use that to the fullest extent. Jason Kubler was so impressive in Ilkley, claiming that Challenger title... if he could go back and replicate that fourth-round run at Wimbledon last year, how beneficial would that be for his ranking? And we've seen the campaign Demon has put together at Queen's. So it's an exciting time for Aussie tennis supporters."

Who will win the men’s and women’s singles titles?

WOODBRIDGE: "I can't go past Novak. After the Aussie Open, I wasn't being flippant; I said I could see him winning the Grand Slam this year. And I think it's a real chance. And Alcaraz is knocking on the door (at Wimbledon), as a sub-plot. On the women's side, although she's under-prepared, I'm going for back-to-back championships for Rybakina."

MOLIK: "Novak, and Sabalenka."

MASUR: “Novak for the men. I would have loved to see Rybakina and Muchova play some tennis, because they’d be my two favourites. I’ll say Sabalenka, in the absence of having seen Rybakina and Muchova in action on the grass."

DELLACQUA: "Well I picked one of the winners at Roland Garros, which was Novak Djokovic, so I'm gonna stick pretty hard with Novak on the men's side. On the women's side, I'm gonna stick with my pick for Roland Garros, which was Aryna Sabalenka. I'm not sure why; I just feel like she's got the AO under her belt, she's still shown consistency in regard to her mental aptitude. I feel like if she can pull it together and serve well… I think she can do it."

PRATT: "I'm gonna go, like everyone, with Djokovic to win. I'm gonna go with De Minaur for a semifinal, I would love to see that. So that's my added pick there. In the women's, I'm going to go with a dark horse, and that's Kvitova."

REA: "I think Novak has to be my favourite. And if it's not him... I think it's so wide open. It's anyone if it's not Novak. On the women's side, there are some question marks over Rybakina coming in... to claim these Slams, we've learned over time that so much has gotta go right, and there is an element of luck in a two-week Slam campaign. I think Kvitova can be right there. I'm gonna pick Kvitova."