A nation expects ahead of this year’s All-England Championships from Wimbledon. But rather than pile more pressure upon the beleaguered Andy Murray, it’s women’s singles hopeful Johanna Konta who could be forced to bear the burden on home soil.
The British number one and world number number seven is the 9/1 third favourite to take the 2017 title.
And given her rise up the rankings and the wide-open feel to this year’s grass court Grand Slam there’s every reason to believe the Australian-born star can do the business.
Can Konta fill the void left by the absent Serena Williams and propel herself into the upper echelons of British sporting royalty?
Here’s our look at the market leaders, as well as a few outsiders for good measure…
Karolina Pliskova – 9/2 to win Wimbledon
It’s no secret that the SW19 courts should play to Pliskova’s strengths. The big serving Czech looks tailor-made to blitz the opposition on grass and she’s got the added incentive of a world number one spot up for grabs.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on her at Eastbourne this week, especially after she made last year’s final in East Sussex.
Go one step further and her Wimbledon odds will surely fall, although it’s worth noting that the 25-year-old is yet to get past the second round in South-West London.
Petra Kvitova – 5/1
The extremely likeable Petra Kvitova may have already won Wimbledon twice before but nothing would compare to winning the upcoming renewal.
Having been injured in a burglary last year there were fears the Czech may never play tennis again.
However, she’s bounced back in fine fashion, taking the title in Birmingham last week in what was only her second tournament since returning to the game.
Injury has forced her to miss Eastbourne and that’s a concern. But if it looks like she’s fighting fit in the first round then get on while you still can.
Johanna Konta – 9/1
Plenty of comparisons are being made between Konta and the last British Ladies’ champion at Wimbledon, Virginia Wade.
But, like her predecessors, Konta is going to have to shrug that off and just stay focussed if she’s to succeed.
The talent is there, although her previous second round best at Wimbledon is not much to boast about.
She reached the recent final at Nottingham before being hammered by Coco Vandeweghe in Birmingham and it’s now all eyes on Eastbourne.
The 2016 Australian Open semi-finalist has shown she’s got a big-game mentality but it remains to be seen whether Konta can be as effective on grass as she is on hard courts.
Venus Williams – 11/1
It’s quite incredible to see the 37-year-old Venus Williams this high up the betting list. But there she is and her backers can be guaranteed the five-time Wimbledon champion will give it her all.
Not that the American will be relying on mere spirit alone.
Venus is enjoying something of an Indian summer with her semi-final run at last year’s tournament followed by an appearance in the 2017 Aussie Open showpiece decider.
Her experience at the business end of Slams could well make all the difference.
Jelena Ostapenko – 14/1
The 100/1 winner of this year’s French Open finds herself much shorter in the betting now with our odds-compilers not prepared to take any chances.
In truth, Jelena Ostapenko’s price is more a reflection of that Roland Garros success rather than her pedigree on grass.
The 20-year-old holds a 9-7 record on the surface at the time of writing and is still a largely unknown quantity despite her high-profile victory.
We won’t be rushing in.
Coco Vandeweghe – 18/1
The 6ft 1in American Coco Vandeweghe is starting to make her presence felt on tour with her run to this year’s semi-finals of the Australian Open her best Slam result thus far.
Her record on grass is decent enough and given the 25-year-old’s height and power you’d think she’s capable of improving upon her quarter-final placing in 2015.
An injury in Birmingham isn’t ideal preparation but if Vandeweghe can shake that off then she has the skillset to go far in the third major of the year.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing