Wimbledon wildcard chat
A few of us have been discussing this for a good few weeks now on the Strawberries & Cream section, but with just over 3 weeks to go until qualifying starts and a couple of weeks until the initial WC picks, it would be good to get some widespread discussion and opinions.
No reciprocal wildcards as usual or no official race, but the previous junior winner and grass ITF winners will have a great chance as in previous years. I think the below 5 are extremely likely:
Boulter - If fit. Got herself comfortably into the cut off position, but no tour match since the start of March has seen her slide out of the top 100. Won a match last year and an instrumental part of the successful GB Fed Cup team, so if she is able to play, there's no doubt she'll be included.
Swiatek - even before this great run it was pretty much nailed she would get one as last years jr champ, huge potential, being just 4 places off getting in directly and they've never not given a jr champ some reward for over 10 years. Zhuk was injured and a couple were already in the main draw, but everyone else were rewarded.
Watson - Had a largely terrible year, but managed to win a few recent matches in Japanese ITFs, and a title, to come within one win of securing her place directly. She's 3 withdrawals from getting in and there will be some doubts like Sharapova, Andreescu, Gavrilova etc., but if the latter 2 couldn't feature, they'll likely delay withdrawal as late as possible opening up LL spots, rather than alts getting in.
Dart - Started the year very well, but has struggled since coming back from injury. Still, reasonably young, still in and around the top 150 and performed really well against Pliskova last year. Part of the Fed Cup team.
Swan - Very poor year and she recently opened up about her mental health struggles. Has fallen outside the top 200, but is still young and had a couple of encouraging top 150 wins in FO quals last week. Also won a Wimbledon match last year and was part of the Fed Cup team, so has sacrificed weeks where she could have picked up more points.
If they are all required (bar injury / sneaking in directly), I can't see any reason why they would be overlooked and I personally think those 5 are nailed on.
I'd imagine the Surbiton (starts next week), Manchester and Ilkley W100 winners would be prioritised for the final 3 MDWCs. Surbiton may experience a few French Open withdrawals like Zhang, but it is still very strong and there'll probably be 8 or 9 Wimbledon entrants (including defending champ Riske) as well as some Brits (Watson), so there's a good chance that winner won't need a MDWC, likewise Ilkley which will also have a high number of those already in the Wimbledon draw. However, there's only Linette, Diyas and Brengle (Kumkhum could yet sneak in) already at Wimbledon in the Manchester field, so there's far more chance that one will be won by someone requiring a MDWC.
The likes of Burrage, Dunne and maybe young Raducanu will probably be relying on the ITFs being won by someone already at Wimbledon (or themselves in the former 2's case), Boulter being injured and/or Watson/Swiatek sneaking in, as will any other Brit not mentioned yet who have a couple of good weeks at Surbiton and Nottingham/Manchester. Naiktha Bains will also be an interesting situation having recent ly switched allegiances from Australia to GB and finding herself on the periphery of the qualifying cut off.
Any alternative views?