Despite Wimbledon’s yearn to uphold tradition, this year’s competition will be a very different oneJeremy Thompson / Flickr /

This summer, sports fans won’t be lost when it comes to things to watch: the Euros, the Olympics, the Tour de France, and the golf Open will all make for perfect excuses to have a pint in a sun-soaked pub in the middle of the afternoon. But despite all the competition, there is still one sporting event that I am most looking forward to this summer: Wimbledon.

Like Cambridge, Wimbledon is a British institution; it represents what it means for something to be quintessentially British. It exudes that British sense of prestige, tradition, formality and superiority. While these qualities are not always good things, and can often lead to problematic outcomes, they really work for the sport of tennis. The prestige of Wimbledon attracts the greatest players and makes for thrilling games; the formality of the competition ensures it’s one of the classiest sporting events of the season and adds to the drama of the already very intense matches, while Wimbledon’s sense of superiority also means that the event is ruthlessly efficient, making it one of the cleanest sporting tournaments to watch. Plus, if it wasn’t for Wimbledon’s pomp, the world wouldn’t have strawberries and cream, nor Pimm’s – what kind of world would that be?

“If it wasn’t for Wimbledon’s pomp, the world wouldn’t have strawberries and cream, nor Pimm’s”

Yet despite Wimbledon’s yearn to uphold tradition, this year’s competition will be a very different one. For the first time in most students’ living memory, this competition could help usher in a changing of the guards in men’s tennis. For the last two decades, ‘the Big Three’ – Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal – have dominated the sport. However, this Wimbledon may look a little different: Federer and Nadal are both not playing, and Djokovic nearly pulled out of the competition due to an injury. It’s unclear how well Djokovic will play this Wimbledon, and there’s a chance he could get knocked out early, leading to a very different kind of Wimbledon from the one we have grown accustomed to.

Hoping to take their place at the top are the players some are already calling ‘the New Big Three’ – Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner, and Holger Rune. These players are much younger (the age of most Cambridge undergrads) and already have a very impressive record. The Spaniard and defending champion, Alcaraz, is returning to the grass courts with a historic win at the French Open, but it is the Italian Sinner who holds the top seed this year. However, to win, Sinner will also have to compete against Denmark’s Rune, who has made no effort to hide his ambition to be the world number one and defeated four top ten opponents in four days at this year’s Rolex Paris Masters.

“It will undoubtedly be a historic year for a historic institution”

It is bound to be a close competition, and if one of ‘the New Big Three’ win, this competition will be historic not only because the Big Three aren’t playing, but because it will further cement the view that men’s tennis has skipped a generation. The cohort of players now in their mid-20s such as Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas are unlikely to do well this year, and a win from the younger players will only embolden them further, which will mean this generation will have failed to command the level of supremacy their predecessors enjoyed.

But it’s not just international tennis that is going to see a marked change this year: twelve years on from his monumental Wimbledon win, the beloved national champion Andy Murray has confirmed this will be his final Wimbledon. Murray is resilience personified – refusing to let his injuries define him and doing everything in his power to fight on. But, like the Big Three, he’s realised it’s time to move on. The new star of British men’s tennis is likely to be Jack Draper, the twenty-two-year-old who beat Alcaraz two weeks ago in the Queen’s Club quarter-finals. He is heading to his first Wimbledon quietly confident.


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In terms of female British tennis, the US Open champion Emma Raducanu is set to return to SW19 this year after a rocky period since her American victory. She missed the entire grass-court season last year following surgery on both wrists and one ankle, but she has said she’s regained her confidence and love for tennis as she prepares to play for what is sure to be a very supportive crowd in July. However, it is unclear what her long-term tennis plans are, with rumours spreading that she’s seeking to do a degree in Economics at Cambridge. If so, Cambridge tennis players better start training hard now if they want to stand a chance of winning anything here in the future!

So, while many sports fans may be glued to the Euros or the Olympics this summer, don’t forget to tune into Wimbledon from July 1 to July 14. It will undoubtedly be a historic year for a historic institution.