The anticipation for this year’s Wimbledon is building and it is safe to say that the Women’s single competition will be highly competitive as the tournament gets under way today with the last three grand slam single titles having been won by someone other than perennial champion Serena Williams.
The list of potential champions will include 2016 French Open champion Garbiñe Muguruza, two-time winner Petra Kvitova, Serena Williams, but also British hopeful Johanna Konta.
Johanna Konta has become the first British woman to be seeded at Wimbledon since Jo Durie in 1984 which showcases her rise from a top 100 player to top 20 in two years. Konta became the first British woman player to reach a grand slam semi-final in 32 years at the 2016 Australian Open.
TSZ looks at how British women have fared since Virginia Wade’s victory in 1977 – the last time a British woman won the singles title at Wimbledon – and whether 2016 will be the year that this success is repeated.
The below table details the number of British women tennis players that have entered the tournament each year since 1977 and the round of the tournament that they reached. As you can see from the table the number of participants entered has become less and less each year since 1977, culminating in a new low of four in 2015.
As mentioned previously, Johanna Konta has become the first British woman seed since 1984 and this is shown in the table. This may be an advantage to Konta as previous seeded players have performed well, reaching the quarter final on three occasions and the semi-final in 1978.
The table below shows us the current top 10 British women single players. We can see that some of the players are nowhere near their highest world ranking. This could be due to persistent injury which has affected many of the players, for example, Laura Robson. However, there have been some impressive rises in 2016 for many women including Gabriella Taylor who has risen 283 places.
Six British women have been entered into the tournament this year, which is an improvement from last year where only four participants entered. This includes 17-year-old Katie Swan who has been given a wild card and will be hoping her Wimbledon record reads, won 1, lost 0 after round one. Still 17, she has already represented Great Britain in the Federation Cup. Certainly one for the future.
The future looks bright for the British women but progression to the later rounds of the tournament may have come too soon for many of them. However, it can be argued that Johanna Konta has a great chance to progress through the tournament. Although having never won a singles match at the All-England club, her performance at Eastbourne last week, where she reached the semi-final will provide optimism ahead of her bow this week.
2016 has seen a British woman reach the semi-final of a grand slam which gives the country hope of a repeat performance at Wimbledon, in front of home support. For the first time in years Great Britain have a player in the top 20 and someone who could genuinely contend for major titles.