As the Wimbledon qualifiers get underway today there will be some unfamiliar faces who will be looking to make a name for themselves at the All England Club this summer. Here is a look at some of the best hopefuls to keep an eye on in 2021.
Arthur Rinderknech - France
No. 7 seed Arthur Rinderknech’s game is built for the grass. Despite playing only four matches on the surface in his career so far, it is hard to take him off of this list when you see the way he plays: Rinderknech has a huge first serve, flat, cutting groundstrokes, and he judges situations well when he needs to come to the net. He has all the attributes to be a success at SW19 this summer.
In his first grass-court tournament ever in Halle last week, the Frenchman came through qualifying and also won a round in the main draw. This included a significant, straight-sets victory over famous grass courter Sergiy Stakhovsky. With an asset such as his first serve and an overall game that suits the grass well, Rinderknech should have no issues navigating his Wimbledon qualifying draw.
Denis Kudla - USA
No. 6 seed Denis Kudla is an excellent player on grass. With a 67-42 career record (61% winning percentage), he has a wealth of experience on this surface and will be looking to take his impressive form on the green stuff into the Wimbledon qualifiers.
Kudla won the Ilkley Challenger title in 2015 over another solid grass courter in Matthew Ebden. He’s made two other grass-court Challenger finals, including a couple weeks ago during the Nottingham Challenger and although he lost to fellow American Frances Tiafoe in that final, he had impressive wins over Dan Evans and Kamil Majchrzak during his run to the championship match.
Kudla had an eye-catching win over Alexander Zverev in the second round and even took Marin Cilic to four sets in the round of 16. Looking at Kudla’s game, he has compact, flatter groundstrokes, his shots cut through the court and he is able to deflect back cruel serves and powerful shots from the baseline. He also has the ability to prolong points on grass that many other players do not have, which gives him a distinct advantage.
Jule Niemeier - Germany
In only her second WTA main-draw appearance in Strasbourg last month, German Jule Niemeier made a surprise run to the semi-finals, as a qualifier, beating the likes of Andrea Petkovic and Shelby Rogers before falling to Roland-Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova in three close sets.
The 21-year-old drew more attention on home soil last week at the WTA event in Berlin, where she qualified for the main draw before narrowly losing 7-5 in the third round to world No.12 Belinda Bencic. A skilled shot-maker with a lot of potential, the world No.168 Niemeier is making her Grand Slam qualifying debut this week in Roehampton.
Wang Xiyu – China
China's former junior No.1 is looking to qualify for her first Wimbledon main draw this week at the Bank of England Sports Centre. The 20-year-old left-hander had a stellar junior career, winning the US Open girls’ singles and the Wimbledon girls’ doubles, the latter alongside her compatriot Wang Xinyu.
Fresh from a strong campaign at Roland-Garros, where she qualified before stretching 2020 quarter-finalist Danielle Collins to three sets in the first round, the world No.137 Wang has enjoyed a smooth transition from clay to grass. She also reached the last 32 in the WTA 250 tournament in Nottingham, then rose to the quarter-finals at the W100 ITF there a week later.