Picture Credit- Serena Williams. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Brad Gilbert reckons 40 women have a shot at the Wimbledon title which, depending on which side of the fence you stand, means either the WTA Tour is blessed with extraordinary depth or chronically short of capable understudies for Serena Williams.

With Serena on maternity leave since winning a 23rd major title at this year’s Australian Open, the door has been open for a bunch of new names to barge through.

Jelena Ostapenko did it at the French Open in stunning style to take the title, prompting none other than Chris Evert to proclaim the birth of a new star.

Only time will prove whether the 20-year-old Latvian can establish herself as a consistent grand slam challenger.

Twice champion Petra Kvitova returns to Wimbledon having recovered from injuries sustained in a stabbing last December and the fact that she is being tipped as favorite by many speaks volumes for the vacuum that currently exists.

Only world number five Elina Svitolina from Ukraine, with four, and Russian world number 17 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, with two, have managed multiple titles since the Australian Open.

Svitolina, 22, Madison Keys, 22, and Croatian Ana Konjuh, 19, are in a similar mould to Ostapenko, as is Estonia’s 21-year-old Anett Kontaveit who could be a dark horse at Wimbledon after winning the grasscourt title in Den Bosch this month.

 

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