5 players to watch at Wimbledon

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Wimbledon is one of the most eagerly anticipated tennis tournaments of the year and the 2018 competition gets underway on Monday.

Garbine Muguruza and Roger Federer are defending champions, and have been drawn against Naomi Broady and Dusan Lajovic respectively.

This year is an interesting one given that there are former top 10 players now returning from injury and the likes of Serena Williams also back in action.

Here are five players you should watch out for.

Andy Murray

Murray has won the title twice - in 2013 and 2016 - but has only played three competitive matches since losing to Sam Querrey at Wimbledon last year.

A persistent hip injury has result in the former world number one dropping down to 156 in the rankings, and that will fall even further if he is unable to defend the points we earned here in 2017.

He has looked good since making his return to the tour at Queens on June 19, taking Nick Kyrgios three sets before losing 7-5 in the third set.

The 31-year-old picked up his first win of the year in a straight sets victory over former Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka, who has also had his troubles with injury.

Kyle Edmund, the new British number one, beat Murray in the second round in Eastbourne earlier this week, but Murray served relatively well and looked good considering it was only his third match back.

He has been drawn against Benoit Paire in the first round who can be a dangerous and enigmatic player, before a possible second round against Denis Shapovalov and a mouth-watering third round match against Juan Martin del Potro.

The Wimbledon lawns and patriotic support will help fuel Murray, and it would be foolish to think if he doesn't have great days still ahead of him.

And who knows, maybe it could be this year.

Andy Murray with the Wimbledon trophy Andy Murray with the Wimbledon trophy

Aryna Sabalenka

The Belarusian has a big, powerful game and will be capable of giving anyone trouble on this surface if she is able to eliminate her tendency to produce a few too many unforced errors.

She has made the final of Eastbourne on Saturday, picking up some fantastic wins, including Elise Mertens, Karolina Pliskova and Agnieszka Radwanska.

The 20-year-old has reached two WTA finals already in her young career in Lugano and Tianjin, where she was beaten by Maria Sharapova.

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Ranked 45 in the world before her points are included for her great run in Eastbourne, she is going to be one of the main dangers in the draw that isn't seeded and has also drawn Mihaela Buzarnescu which can be viewed as a very winnable match.

After that a second round match against wildcard Katie Swan or Irina Begu would await, before possibly meeting Pliskova again, which she will be confident of doing well having beaten her this week.

There will be plenty of chances for Sabalenka to do well at this tournament because her game suits grass, but she is entering the tournament this year with a lot of momentum and could cause a few shocks.

Aryna Sabalenka Aryna Sabalenka

Borna Coric

Coric picked up his first grass court title in Halle earlier this month, beating Roger Federer in the final.

He couldn't have asked for better preparation, and that success elevated him to 21st in the rankings, and he will be seeded 16th at Wimbledon.

It marked his second career title, with his first coming in the clay of Marrakech in 2017, and has shown fantastic progress again in 2018.

The 21-year-old has been drawn against Daniil Medvedev in the first round, who has only won two matches on grass this year and is low on confidence having lost seven of his last 10 matches since April.

A win over the Russian would set up a second round clash with either Guillermo Garcia-Lopez or Gastao Elias, with grass neither of the pair's most preferred surface.

The Croatian's big task would come in the fourth round when he meets defending champion Federer.

This tournament offers Coric a big opportunity to further announce himself as one of the shining lights in the world of tennis, and don't be surprised if he takes it.

Borna Coric with the Halle trophy Borna Coric with the Halle trophy

Angelique Kerber

The German had a poor year in 2017, but she has bounced back superbly in 2018 and is one of the form players in the world.

Kerber won the Australian and US Open's in 2016 - a run which resulted in her climbing to world number one, and has shown signs of that form so far this year.

She reached the quarter-final at the French Open - her best result since 2012 - before losing to eventual champion Simona Halep, and has also reached the latter stages in the majority of the big tournaments.

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The 30-year-old made the final at Wimbledon in 2016 where she was beaten in straight sets by Serena Williams, but crashed out in the fourth round to winner Garbine Muguruza.

She has a fantastic game that is adaptable to all surfaces, with her lefty serve dragging opponents out wide before ending points with her signature forehand.

Kerber is one of the most successful females of recent times on the court, earning over $20 million in prize money and picking up 11 titles, and her resurgence in 2018 could be confirmed with a deep run at Wimbledon.

Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon in 2017 Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon in 2017

Nick Kyrgios

Kyrgios has all of the talent required to win a major and then some, and the tennis world is waiting for him to sort out his attitude so he can take that next career step.

The Australian announced himself to the world at Wimbledon in 2014 when he beat Rafael Nadal in 2014 as a teenager, and at that point many expected him to go on to win a lot of titles and be ranked in the top 10, if not higher.

It hasn't quite happened for the 23-year-old, reaching a career high ranking of 13 in October 2016 and currently sits at 19.

Lleyton Hewitt, a former Wimbledon champion, has been working closely with Kyrgios in recent times, and it is hoped that he can get the best out of him.

Kyrgios has one of the biggest games in men's tennis, and served 32 aces in two matches at the recent tournament at Queens.

He will face Denis Istomin in the first round before setting up a match against Marius Copil or Robin Haase, and then could face the likes of Kei Nishikori and Alexander Zverev.

If he is tuned in, then he can beat anyone in the world, and let's hope that it all comes together for two weeks at Wimbledon.

Nick Kyrgios Nick Kyrgios

Words: Johnny Morton

Images: PA

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