Wimbledon expert picks — Predicting men’s and women’s winners

With Wimbledon 2019 beginning on Monday in London, we gathered our ESPN tennis experts to glean their knowledge and get their picks for this year’s tournament.

Is defending champ Novak Djokovic the men’s favorite or can Roger Federer win Grand Slam title No. 21? Can new women’s world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty follow her French Open win with a Wimbledon title? Is this the time for young stars Stefanos Tsitsipas or Felix Auger-Aliassime to break through? And is Serena Williams a favorite, a dark horse contender or neither?

Here’s what our experts have to say:

Is defending champ Novak Djokovic the man to beat at Wimbledon again this year? AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

Who will win the Wimbledon men’s title?

Patrick McEnroe: Djokovic. Too solid in every area on the grass.

Chris Evert: Djokovic is due for a big-tourney win.

Brad Gilbert: One of the Big Three; they’ve won 10 straight Slams, and I would be shocked if it’s not 11 after Wimbledon. I’m leaning Djoker, but Fed has to like his draw a lot, especially getting bumped to the No. 2 seed. Federer is my second favorite.

Cliff Drysdale: This golden era of men’s tennis really only features three players for a generation? Really? And it continues. I’m picking Djokovic to repeat, with Federer and Rafael Nadal in the other side of the draw.

Pam Shriver: Nadal. His chance of passing Federer for GOAT consideration is at its peak, and he can only win non-hardcourt majors now given his continued issues with knee injuries.

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Darren Cahill: Federer. He is primed and ready after a deep run in Paris and another grass-court title in Halle. His elevation to the No. 2 seed has left him in a better section of the draw. Federer has played a lot more tennis this year than the past three years leading into Wimbledon, so he is match fit and confident. His best chance to move to 21 Grand Slam titles lies here.

Rennae Stubbs: Federer. I think after the French he has to feel really good about how he played on clay. And now after winning Halle, he is very confident and healthy going into Wimbledon.

Peter Bodo: Djokovic has proved he is the player to beat in this current era at Wimbledon. He recovered from a mediocre North American swing earlier this spring to log an excellent season on clay, which is now just his third-best surface. He is simply a beast on grass or hard court.

Alyssa Roenigk: Djokovic. With eight-time Wimbledon champ Federer, and not Nadal, the No. 2 seed at All England, Federer won’t meet defending champ Djokovic until the final. That’s also good for the Djoker, who wins in a memorable final, taking his second Slam of the calendar year.

D’Arcy Maine: Federer. Sure, Djokovic is the reigning Wimbledon champion, has won three of the past four Grand Slams and is the top-ranked player in the world, but Federer has momentum on his side. The ageless wonder (and eight-time Wimbledon champ) just won at the Halle Open, proving he still very much has it on grass, and he seems healthy and ready to avenge his disappointing quarterfinal exit from last year’s tournament.

Tom Hamilton: The men’s championship is Djokovic’s to lose. He flew under the radar to take the title last year, but he will be the man to beat in SW19 in 2019. He will be in the mix among the usual suspects and the new batch coming through, but Djokovic should reign supreme again.

Jerry Bembry: Djokovic. With three wins in his past four majors, he appears to be in peak form. And Djokovic is in the side of the bracket opposite Federer and Nadal, meaning a seemingly easier path to the final.

Simon Cambers: Djokovic. Though Philipp Kohlschreiber is a tough opener, Djokovic has a great draw. And having missed out on the French Open, he will be smarting and extra determined to win here again. Djokovic is motivated and fully fit, and the chance to win a fifth Wimbledon title should keep his mind focused throughout.

Can Ashleigh Barty become the first woman to pull off the French Open-Wimbledon double since Serena Williams in 2015? PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images

Who will win the Wimbledon women’s title?

Patrick McEnroe: Barty. She has a great pure grass-court game, now with confidence as the French Open champ.

Chris Evert: Serena. She’s the best and most experienced grass-court player. I think she’s worked hard getting ready for grass season.

Brad Gilbert: I thought there might be 15 who could win Paris, and maybe there are 10 who can do it at Wimbledon. Barty is on a tremendous roll, even though she is in a group of death quarter of the draw. I think she can make it two Slams in row.

Cliff Drysdale: There are several “ifs” in the women’s draw. The No. 1 “if”: If Petra Kvitova is playing injury-free, she is even in the winner’s stakes with Serena Williams.

Pam Shriver: Barty. Her athleticism and game style are perfect for grass. On the heels of Naomi Osaka’s surprising back-to-back majors at the US Open and Australian Open, Barty will keep the pattern going during the most unpredictable and balanced 1 through 15 seeds in WTA history at Wimbledon.

Darren Cahill: Serena. We will see the best of Serena this year at The Championships. She is in a brutal quarter of the draw, but that’s just how she likes it. Grand Slam title No. 24 is waiting, and Serena will bring it from the opening round to send a message to the field.

Rennae Stubbs: I HAVE NO IDEA. But I am going to go with Serena. I think it might be her last stand to break the record for all-time slams. (Williams has 23, one behind Margaret Court.)

Peter Bodo: It’s a big ask of Barty, who has played an awful lot of tennis lately, but she is a tough young player and she has a refreshing, no-nonsense, old-school Aussie way about her. No drama, no complications, no overthinking any aspect of it. Just what the WTA tour needs at this moment.

Alyssa Roenigk: Barty stands up to the pressure of her first Grand Slam as the No. 1 seed (and No. 1 player in the world) and delivers.

D’Arcy Maine: Barty. Aside from that whole winning her first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros just a few short weeks ago and becoming the new world No. 1, the 23-year-old Australian just won a grass title at Birmingham and believes herself to be stronger and more dangerous on the surface than she is on clay. She looks virtually unstoppable right now, so I’m banking on the Barty Party continuing at Wimbledon and into the hard-court season.

Tom Hamilton: Barty has had a nagging arm injury, but she is best placed to make it two Slams in a row to continue her remarkable run of form after winning the French Open. With injury doubts clouding Serena Williams and Kvitova, Barty could dominate the women’s draw.

Jerry Bembry: With nine different winners in the past 10 Grand Slam events, the question among the women is less “who will win?” and more “who’s next?” I’ll go with the woman who has had the most success at Wimbledon: Serena Williams, even with the tough draw.

Simon Cambers: Barty. Her win at the French Open was a joy to see, a player with real variety able to blunt the power games of some of the big hitters to win her first Grand Slam. A former junior champion at Wimbledon, Barty’s game is even more suited to grass. If she can handle the pressure, she is the woman to beat.

Young stars Stefanos Tsitsipas, left, and Felix Auger-Aliassime both have the potential to break through at Wimbledon. GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images

Who is your men’s dark horse contender?

Patrick McEnroe: Auger-Aliassime is the real deal on every surface. He will be first to break through in a major.

Chris Evert: Stan Wawrinka. Why not?

Brad Gilbert: Once again hoping for someone 21-and-under to make a deep run — FAA or an American, or maybe even Matteo Berrettini — but going with Milos Raonic for some reason.

Cliff Drysdale: Tsitsipas has the game, the personality and the pride to make a dent in the Big Three domination. The potential Djokovic-Tsitsipas battle in the fourth round will have Brad Gilbert handing out the popcorn.

Pam Shriver: Tsitsipas. He will play calmer at Wimbledon and his serve and forehand can dominate one-to-three-shot rallies.

Darren Cahill: Wawrinka. He is in a great section of the draw where he can go deep. He continues to look a little better every time we’ve seen him this year, and he is not far away from his best. Second-week Stan sees him walking taller and ripping groundies, but a lot rests with his first serve. Get that firing and he is a threat to anyone.

Rennae Stubbs: Tsitsipas. He has a big game and loves coming into the net when he has an opportunity.

Peter Bodo: I’d love to go with Auger-Aliassime because he is part of such a wonderful story, but he’s probably a year away. The other guy who interests me is Karen Khachanov, whose huge serve and punishing forehand can punch through anyone’s defenses.

Alyssa Roenigk: Outside of the Big Three, everyone feels like a long shot. But Kevin Anderson, seeded No. 4 (four spots above his world ranking) and in possession of a whomping serve that makes him tough on grass, is primed to improve upon last year’s runner-up performance.

D’Arcy Maine: Auger-Aliassime. The 18-year-old Canadian has had an impressive grass season entering Wimbledon, with a final appearance at Stuttgart and a semifinal bid at Queen’s Club that included victories over Tsitsipas and Grigor Dimitrov. While Auger-Aliassime has yet to win a title on any surface so far in his young career and will be making his senior debut at the All England Club, he has proved he can play beyond his years and live up to the big moments as of late. A teenage man hasn’t won a major since Nadal in 2005, but if anyone has a chance, it’s Auger-Aliassime. (And if all of this doesn’t make you feel old yet, please note he is just three years removed from losing in the junior doubles championship match at Wimbledon in 2016.)

Tom Hamilton: Alexander Zverev already has showed his boundless potential with last year’s ATP Finals win, but he still needs that Slam alongside his name. If he makes a storming early start to Wimbledon, then expect to see him in the final matchups. And from there, if he can harness that mental strength, he could win his maiden Wimbledon title.

Jerry Bembry: Tsitsipas. You just feel he is going to break through sooner or later. Why not now?

Simon Cambers: I’m going for a real long shot and picking Berrettini. The Italian has been making big moves on the tour this year, and unlike most of his compatriots, he seems to really enjoy playing on grass. Winning Stuttgart put him on the map, then he reached the semis at Halle. Confident and young, Berrettini could give a few people a scare.

It might seem weird to call 23-time Grand Slam champ Serena Williams a dark-horse contender, but that’s exactly what she is this year. Peter Klaunzer/Keystone via AP

Who is your women’s dark horse contender?

Patrick McEnroe: Coco Gauff at age 15 makes Week 2.

Chris Evert: Aryna Sabalenka. Her power is a plus on grass, and she’s looking more comfortable on grass and playing a little more consistent.

Brad Gilbert: After the success of the young Americans in Paris, why not go the same route? Hoping for Amanda Anisimova, but thinking Sofia Kenin.

Cliff Drysdale: The second “if” on the women’s side: If Sloane Stephens is in a good mental frame of mind, she has the movement and game to go undefeated. (P.S. Stephens and Kvitova, my women’s title pick, are seeded to meet in the fourth round.)

Pam Shriver: Serena, only because she is in the draw. Clearly her movement, fitness and match toughness is not there now, but no one — especially on grass — can get match tough quicker than Serena. It also wouldn’t surprise me is she withdrew or retired injured early.

Darren Cahill: Anastasija Sevastova. She is a great artistic player on all surfaces and always around the mark. Sevastova made the semifinals in Mallorca on grass and is in a good section of the Wimbledon draw. She has a game good enough to go all the way, but she ends up playing against herself as well as her opponent at times. She’s always dangerous against the best players.

Rennae Stubbs: Angelique Kerber. How can you not pick the defending champ, who loves grass as much as any player in the draw?

Peter Bodo: Given that you have a Williams here, a Garbine Muguruza and a Maria Sharapova there, I am assuming it’s OK to pick Kiki Bertens. She is ranked and seeded No. 4, sure, but a lot of people have not heard much — if anything at all — about her. Look for her to ride that big serve to the title.

Alyssa Roenigk: The women’s field feels as wide open as ever, opening the door for a first-time winner at Wimbledon. Stephens has a new coach, is coming off a good run at Roland Garros and extends her success at All England.

D’Arcy Maine: It feels weird to call Serena Williams — a 23-time Grand Slam champion — a “dark horse contender,” but here we are. Yes, 2019 hasn’t exactly been kind to her, and she has struggled with injuries and only advanced past the third round at any tournament once this season (a quarterfinal run at the Australian Open). But it’s Serena Williams at Wimbledon. With seven singles titles at the All England Club, and a finals appearance last year, she is always a contender.

Tom Hamilton: With Andy Murray sidelined in the men’s singles draw, Johanna Konta will wear the home expectation and also harness the Wimbledon support. She is playing some brilliant tennis, having made the semifinals at Roland Garros. And if you’re looking for an outside shot for the title, then group Konta alongside Bertens and Caroline Wozniacki.

Jerry Bembry: I’ll stick with my dark horse from the French, Garbine Muguruza. Just because she has won here recently (2017).

Simon Cambers: It has been 15 years since a 17-year-old Maria Sharapova won the title, and it could be time for another 17-year-old to make a big name for herself at Wimbledon. Anisimova reached the semis in Paris, and there is no reason she can’t go well at Wimbledon. The American is groomed for stardom and backs it up with a smart, all-court game. Sharapova was Anisimova’s hero, so it would be fun if she emulates the Russian’s stunning win.

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