Chris Evert believes former champion and Aegon Classic winner Petra Kvitova is a leading contender for Wimbledon 2017.
WTA Staff

Three-time Wimbledon champion Chris Evert has tipped comeback queen Petra Kvitova to equal her feat at SW19 this year.

The Czech, who has just returned to the WTA Tour after a stab injury to her left hand, won the Aegon Classic in Birmingham - and Evert thinks that was ideal preparation for another successful campaign at the Championships.

"For her to win the tournament in Birmingham was awesome," said the former World No.1, who will be an analyst for ESPN this summer. "To me, she is the best grass court player that is playing at Wimbledon. Seeing that there are not too many, if any, grass court specialists in the tournament, she is the one that I think everybody has to look out for."

Evert is impressed with two-time for champion Kvitova's demeanor as well as her tennis.

"I think that was such a scare that she went through, it's made her just appreciate the game a lot more," she said. "She's certainly more relaxed. You can tell by her press conferences, the way she speaks, she's just happy to be out there. That's just freeing her up to play her best tennis.

"Fortunately for her, she's coming back at a time when she's playing on her favorite surface, the two Grand Slams she's won. It's looking good for her right now."

Evert also thinks French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko has the game to succeed at Wimbledon.

"If the power of Ostapenko won on red clay, certainly (she has) the power has to win on grass," she said. "That's even more magnified. Before you could have a counter-puncher winning the French Open. Nowadays, if you look at the past few years, it's the power that's winning the French Open, which is the slowest surface."

Chris Evert in the commentary box at Wimbledon (Getty)
Chris Evert in the commentary box at Wimbledon (Getty)

She also tips Romania's Simona Halep as a potential contender, saying: "Maybe that loss at the French [Open final] will tilt her enough to know she can't be passive when she's winning. She's got to be able to play more aggressively on the big points to close the matches. Hopefully that's a big, big lesson.  She let that match slip through her fingers because she wasn't aggressive enough. Maybe she'll have a second life, come back.

"She's a beautiful ball-striker. She does have a big first serve when she uses it and she has confidence. She's the only outsider I think as far as being a counter-puncher that I would think has a chance to win."