Katie Boulter
Katie Boulter is one of Britain's best hopes in this year's Wimbledon Championships. | @Wimbledon
We have questions. Can Marketa Vondrousova repeat? Can Elena Rybakina win her second Slam? Can Ons Jabeur finally get it done? Can Iga Swiatek figure out grass? Can Aryna Sabalenka have any more fun?

Can Marketa Vondrousova Repeat?

Last year’s champion caught everyone off guard.

Marketa Vondrousova has largely flown under the radar in the year following her Wimbledon title. She remains a steady top-ten player, but has not yet replicated her Wimbledon success on any meaningful stages.

Part of that is that she isn’t a dominant player. She put all the pieces together last year and deserved her title, but she is not a player like Swiatek who thrives at the top of the game, week in and week out, delivering merciless beatdowns of hapless opponents.

She’s a groove player, and she found a groove a year ago.

She has likely been adjusting to life as a Wimbledon champion as well, which may have affected her results. Plus her game is best suited to grass.

All of that should play in her favor this year when she returns to defend her title. She’ll have new duties this year as the returning champ. It will be comforting for her to remember what it felt like to climb this particular mountain. It should also be nice to close this year-long chapter and move past all the “firsts” that she experienced with press coverage, media hits, public recognition, sponsorships and the like. Not to mention the added motivation her opponents fed on to defeat the Wimbledon champ. All of those things take time to get used to. From here on out, she will have seen them before.

It’s also a great opportunity to prove it wasn’t a fluke. And to get a new tattoo.

Can Elena Rybakina win her Second Slam?

Likewise, Elena Rybakina is still searching for her second Slam title since her 2022 Wimbledon breakthrough. She has had markedly more success on tour since crossing that Rubicon than Vondrousova, including Grand Slam finals, a slew of additional titles, and a steady top 5 ranking.

Still, the clock is ticking louder on her need to bag a second major. Her peers Swiatek and Sabalenka have already done it, and Coco Gauff is nipping at her heels to claim multiple majors as well.

Rybakina’s powerful game is well-suited to the low bounces on grass. In particular, her serve can get her a slew of free points that most other players can’t summon. She’s the only player in the draw who can actually ride her serve all the way to the title.

She’ll need more than that, of course, but it will be able to get her out of some jams, and that’s a huge piece of what’s required to survive a two-week Slam.

Can Ons Jabeur finally get it done?

Wimbledon rewards craftiness. Not only the surface, but the British crowds. They love clever shotmaking. Jabeur’s game obviously works well here, given her two runner-up finishes the last two years.

She must have scar tissue. You can’t get that close and not have any. It will take firm resolve to block out previous heartaches to grind through another two weeks to give herself another shot at the prize.

She’ll get the same questions at every press conference. “What did you learn the last two years by getting so close?” “Will you do anything different this year to try to finish the job?” “How painful has the last two years been for you with so many close calls?” “Do you think your window of opportunity has passed?”

Shooing those questions aside and not letting them infiltrate her calm, confident mind will be a task in itself. But it’s what she must face.

She’s the Minister of Happiness, though, perfectly suited for that very task. Self-belief and unrelenting positivity is how you put tough memories like that behind you. Jabeur can do it.

Can Iga Swiatek figure out grass?

We know how good Iga is on clay. We also know she has struggled her entire career on grass. We also know she’s still only 23 years old.

She’s comfortable as the world No. 1 now with five majors under her belt she doesn’t have much left to prove to the tennis community. She’ll want to win at Wimbledon to prove to herself that she can do it more than she needs to prove it to anyone else.

It can take players a few years to figure out how to acclimate to their least natural surfaces. Iga’s game is predicated on heavy spin, which doesn’t translate on grass the way it does on clay and hard. Her terrific sliding isn’t as much of a benefit here, either. She’s the best defender in the game, but grass generally favors the more offensive player. Still, one thing that always translates well is footwork, and Iga has the best footwork on tour by a country mile. That alone will keep her in matches.

Iga is a champion, and champions figure things out eventually.

Champions are also completionists. They don’t like it when a task goes unaccomplished. When a puzzle goes unsolved.

The first round against Sofia Kenin will be tricky, especially since Swiatek didn’t play any warmup grass events. She opted for some much-needed rest after winning Madrid, Rome, and Roland Garros back-to-back-to-back. That was a lot of tennis. The lack of match play on grass will hurt her, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her drop a set to Kenin.

If she gets through that, though, she should get her footing on the grass fairly quickly.

Swiatek made the quarterfinals here last year, her best result to date. She may not win this year, but anything less than a semifinal appearance will be a disappointment. If she does win, it’ll be another big step up her already growing Hall of Fame ladder.

Britain’s Hopefuls

(32) Katie Boulter

Katie Boulter enters Wimbledon with a good head of steam, having won on grass two weeks ago in Nottingham, where she beat fellow Brits Heather Dart and Emma Radacanu en route to the trophy.

She may face Dart again in Round Two this week.

(WC) Emma Radacanu

Emma Radacanu has shown good form lately, getting the occasional good win but ultimately not able to make deep runs. She is still looking for a meaningful follow-up to her 2021 U.S. Open breakthrough, and would love nothing more than to pull off a deep run on home soil.

Can Aryna Sabalenka have any more fun?

Dark Horse

Anna Kalinskaya

She’s getting secret insider tips from the men’s number one. That counts for something.

Best First Round Matchups

(1) Iga Swiatek vs. Sofia Kenin

(WC) Ajla Tomljanovic vs. (13) Jelena Ostapenko

(22) Ekaterina Alexandrova vs. (WC) Emma Radacanu

Paula Badosa vs. Karolina Muchova

(16) Victoria Azarenka vs. Sloane Stephens

(WC) Naomi Osaka vs. Diane Parry

Extra Topspin’s Prediction

Jessica Pegula