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An ace up the sleeve: why grand slam tennis is booming among SA bettors

Fresh faces and an unpredictable recent history are getting South African punters excited about major tournaments. These trends are redefining the tennis betting arena.

For the first time in 28 years, neither Venus nor Serena Williams will take to the court at Wimbledon to challenge for the Venus Rosewater Dish. The Williams sisters are synonymous with the tournament - having a total of 12 singles titles between them.

Their absence, along with that of other tournament legends like Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, signifies how grand slam tennis has entered a new era which offers unpredictability and exciting stakes.

Brenton Chelin

"Wimbledon has seen a different woman winning the trophy in each of the last seven years. This has led to South African punters taking a refreshing interest in tennis," said Brenton Chelin, Sportingbet's  Head of Brand.

Before going over emerging trends in grand slam tennis, let's look at how punters, new and experienced, should get ready for Wimbledon.

What to know about Wimbledon

The oldest tennis tournament in the world is played on grass courts during London's summer season. Grass is the fastest kind of surface used across the major's and it typically leads to quicker and shorter points. 

"Wimbledon has traditionally favoured those player with a big serve and a strong net game, although we've seen that trend change over the last 20 years. Serve and volley points accounted for 30% of all serve points at the turn of the century, but are down to around 5% in the modern game. You need a far more rounded game to triumph here than perhaps you used to," says Chelin.

Where the hard court used for the US and Australian Opens results in a high bounce, the ball bounce on the French Open's clay surface is the most unpredictable. A ball's bounce on grass is lower than that of the hard court, favouring players who can react with speed and accuracy.

The Men's Singles

Will Carlos Alcaraz stand in Novak Djokovc's way as he seeks to break Federer's record eight titles at the London major? Last year Alcaraz caused an upset as he beat the Serbian, but they could both fall behind the current world number one - Italy's Jannik Sinner.

"Our odds make Sinner (2.90) and Alcaraz (3.40) exciting options for bettors but Djokovic (4.60) has made a determined effort to get to Wimbledon after undergoing knee surgery three weeks before the tournament," says Chelin.

The Women's Singles

The trend in the women's game at Wimbledon can be defined by one word: unpredictable. 

Exciting games await bettors yet again. Last year the first unseeded female player - Markéta Vondroušová - won the tournament. This year's two favourites, Aryna Sabalenka and world number one Iga Świątek, both have the same outright odds of 5.00 according to Sportingbet.

Young star Coco Gauff is another one to watch closely. Although she suffered a surprise first-round round exit at Wimbledon last year, she returns as a world number two this time having made the semi-finals or better at the last three majors.

South Africans are loving the incalculable experience that grand slams tennis offers.

Chelin's concluding advice is that "punters should research a player's records and their history when gauging who to place their money on. When it comes to the women's side of the Wimbledon draw, however, it's going to take more than stats and rankings to predict future success."

Tennis, Sportingbet's

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