Wimbledon showcases the delicate balance between jeopardy and quality.
Even the best players struggle to adapt to the short grass court season. This results in more early-round upsets. The women’s 3-set format only increases the chances of a shock result.
This early-round jeopardy impacts latter-round quality and jeopardy, at the exact point when fans are most likely to care.
Since 2021, Wimbledon’s final three rounds have had the lowest-quality matchups of all the slams, even after accounting for 2022’s ban on Russian and Belarusian players. Moreover, the match winners were largely expected to win – much more so than in other majors, according to our models. Too much jeopardy at the start of the tournament has had the effect of creating too little jeopardy by the latter stages.
Wimbledon’s move to fortify the grass season is therefore a smart decision if it wants to ensure its crown jewel remains a healthy sporting product.