Wimbledon is a unique Grand Slam tournament, and not just because members of the Royal family are frequently in attendance. The grass surface and the timing of the tournament leads to some unique considerations for bettors. If bettors haven’t properly compensated for those differences in their handicapping then they are limiting their chances at long term profit. Here are six factors that make betting Wimbledon unique:
Short transition time from clay – There is typically just two weeks between the end of the French Open and the start of Wimbledon. Rarely will players focus on transitioning to playing on grass surfaces until they have finished their play on clay. That means that there are only a couple of weeks to get ready for grass season, and only a small handful of tournaments to choose from to play. For players who aren’t typically very comfortable on grass that’s not a lot of time to work out issues and gain confidence. It’s easier for players who like grass to begin with to make a quick transition, so their edge is bigger on grass than it might already otherwise be.
Fewer specialists than other surfaces – On clay courts you have to be very aware of the specialists because the quirks of the surface – the ability to slide to shots, the ineffectiveness of big serves, the long slow rallies that are typical in the game, and so on. Some players are more suited to succeed on this surface. There are also hard court specialists in the sense that the large majority of American play is on hard courts, so that is what American players are most used to. Because grass courts are not particularly common, and are most present in England, there are fewer specialists on this surface. Also, players who shine on hard courts are also likely to be able to make the transition to grass reasonably smoothly. You still need to look for players who perform well above expectations on grass, but you don’t need to be nearly as vigilant as you do on clay.
Suits serve and volley players – On clay players typically sit back at the baselines and play long, slow rallies. That is far less common on grass. Players with big serves can use those to an advantage, and will typically follow those up with a rush to the net to cut off the angle of return and deliver a kill shot quickly. That is a specific skill, and players who are good at serve and volley play are going to have an edge at Wimbledon. On the other hand, players who are not swift of foot will struggle to get into position and will be at a disadvantage on this surface compared to how they might fare on clay.
Easier on bodies – Grass is softer on other surfaces. Because it can be slick, players generally take smaller steps and keep their feet under their center of gravity. This means that playing on grass is easier on bodies than playing on other surfaces. Playing deep into a Grand Slam can be a real physical and mental test for players, but it is often less of an issue here than elsewhere.
Serves are important – At the French Open the clay surface doesn’t reward big servers. The ball bounces high and the ground steals momentum from the ball. Big serves slow down and are far less effective than on other surfaces. That’s not the case at Wimbledon. The friction of the grass is low, so balls that hit the grass leave it quickly and without losing significant speed. A serve that comes in fast and low will bounce fast and low as well. Players with a big serve will have a bigger impact at Wimbledon than at the French Open. If they can combine that serve speed with good movement they are going to be dangerous.
Weather is a big factor – Weather always seems to be a factor at Wimbledon – mainly because it always seems to rain in England. On grass surfaces rain is a major issue. Once it rains on a day it is very tough for the action to get started again because wet grass is slippery, and it is hard to dry the grass. That can force players to play matches over a couple of days, endure strange scheduling, or play matches close together. Players who are not physically sound and, more importantly, emotionally tough are going to struggle to be at their best in a typical year at Wimbledon.