The 2021 Wimbledon draw is out, and while it answered a few big questions - no, Simona Halep will not be defending her title - it also offered up many more. Main-draw play begins Monday with the bottom half. The top half will play Tuesday.
WTA Insider analyzes the draw and highlights 10 big questions we don't have the answers to.
1. How is Ashleigh Barty's hip?
The World No.1 is obviously an all-surface threat, but grass holds a special place in Barty's heart. The 2019 Roland Garros champion used to joke that every day of the clay season is a day closer to the grass, a surface that accentuates her touch, feel and improvisational skills.
Given her love for the surface, it was worrying not to see Barty's name in a draw over the past two weeks. Not unlike defending champion Halep, who withdrew from the tournament Friday, an ill-timed injury has stalled Barty's otherwise outstanding season. For Halep, it was a bad-luck calf tear she sustained in an innocuous movement on court in Rome. For Barty, it has been a left hip injury she picked up after landing after a serve during practice less than two days before the French Open. The injury forced Barty to retire from her second-round match in Paris, and she has been racing the clock to be fit and firing since.
Barty opens her campaign against Carla Suárez Navarro, who will be playing her final Wimbledon.
2. Who will survive the loaded top half of the draw?
A quarterfinalist in 2019, Barty returns to Wimbledon to lead a loaded top half of the draw, which includes No.6 seed Serena Williams, Berlin finalist Belinda Bencic, Nottingham champion Johanna Konta and newly minted Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova.
Also in the top half of the draw are Eastbourne finalists Anett Kontaveit and Jelena Ostapenko and Birmingham finalist Daria Kasatkina. All those names, yet we still haven't mentioned 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu, Roland Garros quarterfinalist Coco Gauff and 2019 semifinalist Elina Svitolina. And there's more: 2018 Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber and Victoria Azarenka, both of whom have made semifinals on grass this season, also landed in the top half.
3. How will Barbora Krejcikova fare in her Wimbledon debut?
The French Open champion took a much-deserved two-week break after running the table in Paris, winning 13 matches over two weeks to sweep the singles and doubles titles. Her tactical game should flourish on the grass, where she is set to play her first Wimbledon main draw in singles.
In fact, Krejcikova comes into Wimbledon having never played - let alone win - a tour-level, main-draw match on grass. Her only grass-court experience in singles is five qualifying matches, played at 2015 Wimbledon, 2016 s'Hertogenbosch, 2016 Wimbledon and 2017 Wimbledon. She won a total of two sets across those five matches.
What Krejcikova lacks in singles experience at Wimbledon she makes up for in doubles. Along with Katerina Siniakova, she won the Wimbledon doubles title in 2018. Coming off their recent triumph in Paris, the Czech duo will be the top seeds in the doubles draw.
4. How tough is Serena Williams' road to No.24?
The seven-time Wimbledon champion and finalist in the last edition of The Championships, Serena continues her quest for another major title. Wimbledon has been her most successful Slam in recent years, having made Championship Saturday in her past four appearances, winning in 2015 and 2016.
Drawn into the packed top half of the draw, Serena's quarter of the draw should yield a number of high-profile tests for the American superstar. She could face Kerber in the third round, a rematch of the 2018 and 2016 finals. Kerber has been fantastic this week in Bad Homburg, where she is looking to win her first title since 2018 after beating Kvitova in a third-set tiebreak.
Serena could see a Round of 16 looming against Coco Gauff or Belinda Bencic. It would be the first-career meeting between Serena and Gauff and the first against Bencic since 2017.
5. Will the Slam champions hold down the Azarenka-Andreescu section?
Andreescu, Azarenka and unseeded Jelena Ostapenko occupy an interesting section of the draw, which also features two in-form players in Kontaveit and Kasatkina. That could lead to a bit of draw-breaking turmoil during the first week.
Andreescu returns to Wimbledon for the first time since making her Grand Slam debut in 2017. The Canadian notched her first main-draw, grass-court win this week in Eastbourne, where she defeated Christina McHale and lost to Kontaveit in the second round.
While Andreescu is still learning how to effectively unleash her game on grass, the other four favorites to make it out of this section are all showing good form on the turf. Kontaveit and Ostapenko are set for a Baltic derby in the Eastbourne final, while Kasatkina made the Birmingham final before scoring her first Top 10 win on grass over Iga Swiatek in Eastbourne. And though Azarenka withdrew from Bad Homburg because of injury, the Belarusian did make the semifinals in Berlin the week before.
6. Will Petra Kvitova take advantage in the bottom half of the draw?
The No.10 seed and two-time champion is enjoying a confidence-boosting week in Bad Homburg, where she tested the injured ankle that forced her withdrawal from the French Open and advanced to the semifinal.
Kvitova was drawn into the third quarter, which is anchored by No.4 seed Sofia Kenin and No.8 seed Karolina Pliskova. She has a potentially tricky opening round against Sloane Stephens, but the American has never been particularly keen on the turf. Kvitova could face another American, No.22 seed Jessica Pegula in the third round.
If the Czech can navigate her opening week, the draw should open up well for her in the second week. The seeds in this quarter, which include Pliskova, Sofia Kenin, Elise Mertens, Madison Keys, Veronika Kudermetova and Alison Riske, are searching for either form or comfort on grass. On form and pedigree, Kvitova is the one to circle.
“It’s a disaster and it’s pretty close to my parents and my family where I grew up. I’m really sorry. I was very sad it happened in Czech Republic. Having a tornado, we probably never had it before. It was really surprising. I hope the people will be ok.” - @Petra_Kvitova— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) June 25, 2021
7. Is Ons Jabeur ready to blaze a new trail at Wimbledon?
After her historic title run in Birmingham last week, can Tunisia's Ons Jabeur book a spot in the second week? Wimbledon is the only major at which she has yet to make it past the second round, but Jabeur's game is built perfectly for the grass and she now has the confidence to build toward a deep run.
Seeded No.21, Jabeur opens against Rebecca Peterson and could face Venus Williams or Mihaela Buzarnescu in the second round. The first seed she could face is 2017 champion Garbiñe Muguruza, with Swiatek or Petra Martic potentially looming in the Round of 16. That's a rough draw on paper, but give Jabeur's form and comfort on the surface, she has the game to do it.
8. How much has changed since 2019 Wimbledon?
The youth movement make a dent at SW19? While the Australian Open, Roland Garros and the US Open have seen a flurry of young champions in recent years, Wimbledon remains dominated by the experienced set. No teenager has won the title since Maria Sharapova in 2004, and Kvitova is the only player since to have won the title before her 22nd birthday.
Will that change at this year's Championships? The last time we were at Wimbledon, Gauff was making her Slam debut and the trio of Swiatek, Andreescu and Kenin weren't major champions. This year, 23-year-old Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka is the No.2 seed and smooth-swinging 18th seed Elena Rybakina is set to play her first Wimbledon main draw.
Despite how much their young careers have changed over the past two seasons, success on other surfaces may not necessarily translate here. Despite being a junior champion just three years ago, Swiatek has been transparent about her learning curve on grass. She is still learning how to use her heavy topspin game on the low-bouncing surface and said in Eastbourne that she's giving herself the mental freedom to enjoy the surface and learn. Gauff and Andreescu have also openly discussed their lack of experience on the surface.
9. Will Sabalenka break new ground on grass?
Sabalenka comes into Wimbledon with a good amount of preparation on grass. She won the doubles title with Azarenka in Berlin and made the quarterfinals in Eastbourne, losing 6-4 in the third to Camila Giorgi. She has put in enough hours on the grass to at least feel at ease when she steps on court against the ever tricky Monica Niculescu in the first round.
That will be a first-round match to watch for the pure contrast of styles - and to see if Sabalenka can hold her nerve against Niculescu's forehand slices - but if she can manage that, it's a workable path for Sabalenka into the second week. The first seed she could face is No.32 Ekaterina Alexandrova, with her potential seeded opponents in the Round of 16 being Roland Garros semifinalists Maria Sakkari or Rybakina. The one caveat to all this: Sabalenka has won only one match at Wimbledon, and that came in her 2017 debut.
10. Who will be the tournament's big surprise?
Berlin champion Liudmila Samsonova ran the table as a qualifier to win her first WTA title, scored five Top 50 wins (she only had three before that week), make her Top 100 debut and earn a Wimbledon main draw wildcard. She's been drawn into the third quarter and will face Kaia Kanepi in the first round, with the winner to face either 22nd seed Pegula or Caroline Garcia.
It's also worth noting the players who are looking sharp on the grass at the tour's events over the past three weeks. Bencic, Kasatkina, Jabeur, Ostapenko, Konta and Katerina Siniakova all look ready to do damage through the first week.
Ukrainian teenager Marta Kostyuk continues to be a name to watch in the draws. She pushed Swiatek hard over two sets before losing in the Round of 16 at Roland Garros. Now up to No.67, the 18-year-old is set to make her Wimbledon main-draw debut, and she's drawn former quarterfinalist Kiki Bertens in the first round. She could face Krejcikova in the third round.
Seeded No.19, Karolina Muchova had a breakout tournament in 2019, when she edged Pliskova 4-6, 7-5, 13-11 to make her first major quarterfinal. Since then, Muchova has quietly become a remarkable big-match player. She is the only player on tour to tally wins over No.1 Barty (Australian Open) and No.2 Osaka (Madrid) this season. Muchova's variety of spins and pace will make her a danger on grass.