Earlier than June 13, the final time that no less than one of many Massive Three — Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Roger Federer — wasn’t ranked within the Prime Two was manner again in November 2003. However two of those residing legends aren’t fading away. Removed from it. Rafael Nadal, 36, and Novak Djokovic, 35, have grabbed 5 of the final six main titles. And so they’re as hungry as ever to win extra.
The tennis gods delivered harsh blows to the brand new Prime Two. The Wimbledon ban of Russian and Belarusian gamers sidelined No. 1 Daniil Medvedev, and torn ankle ligaments from a nasty fall within the French Open semifinals will stop No. 2 Alexander Zverev from competing till August. Two different notable Russians, No. 8 Andrey Rublev and No. 22 Karen Khachanov, may even miss The Championships.
Wimbledon 2022 draw: Nadal vs Auger-Aliassime, Djokovic vs Alcaraz amongst potential quarterfinals
Regardless of a weakened discipline and no rating factors awarded — the ATP’s and WTA’s retaliation in opposition to the Wimbledon ban — the match stays the game’s most prestigious occasion. It’s additionally the inexperienced pasture the place Djokovic has reigned for 5 of the previous eight years. (Wimbledon wasn’t performed through the peak Covid yr of 2020).
Do any of the main contenders have the fitting stuff to dethrone Djokovic? Let’s see in case you agree with these predictions.
Sebastian Korda – AFP
Sebastian Korda — “I’m making an attempt to think about one other American in recent times who makes it look really easy. The way in which he strikes and generates energy, it seems to be easy. The place is the weak spot in Korda’s sport? He’s been so spectacular,” mentioned former world No. 1 Jim Courier.
Seb made the fourth spherical on the Massive W a yr in the past, and he ought to go farther this time. “All the pieces Korda naturally does nicely interprets higher on grass,” mentioned Andy Roddick, a three-time Wimbledon finalist. Korda, the son of 1998 Australian Open champion Petr, will win a serious this decade, however not at this Wimbledon.
Felix Auger-Aliassime – AFP
Felix Auger-Aliassime — When “FAA”, as he’s usually known as, went 5 units in opposition to Nadal on the French Open, that was solely the third time that had occurred in 112 matches on clay. However the Canadian misplaced, simply as he had in one other five-setter in opposition to Medvedev on the Australian Open in January. Coming shut has been the story of 21-year-old Felix’s younger profession to date. He misplaced his first eight match finals till he received Rotterdam in February with spectacular wins over Stefanos Tsitsipas and Rublev.
With a lean, 6’4” physique excellent for tennis, Auger-Aliassime made the Wimbledon quarterfinals a yr in the past and is way too athletic and gifted to not win a serious. No. 9-ranked FAA’s most auspicious profession stat is that he’s received 89% of his service video games on grass. His depraved slice serve, significantly vast within the deuce court docket, is a giant motive for that alongside along with his highly effective, topspin forehand. With an excellent draw, he might make the semifinals.
Carlos Alcaraz Garfia – Getty Pictures
Carlos Alcaraz — “What a mixture when you’ll be able to hit 100 mile-an-hour forehand winners and 25 mile-an-hour drop shot winners,” raved Courier about Alcaraz’s great mix of energy and contact. On the Madrid Open in Might, the 19-year-old Spaniard grew to become the primary participant to beat Nadal and Djokovic on the similar clay-court occasion. He missed the Queen’s match in June because of a reoccurring elbow harm and could be very inexperienced on grass. In his solely Wimbledon look, he was crushed decisively by Medvedev within the second spherical final yr.
“My aim till the tip of the yr is to attempt to win one of many three remaining Grand Slams,” the formidable, No. 7-ranked Alcaraz mentioned in a Might interview with Marca. “It’s a nice motivation for me and I’ll battle for it.” Whereas the muscular, high-energy teenager is a robust contender, he’s not fairly able to win Wimbledon.
Stefanos Tsitsipas – Getty Pictures
Stefanos Tsitsipas — “Tsitsipas is 6’4” and strikes like a gazelle. It’s exhausting to think about this man isn’t going to win Wimbledon,” mentioned Courier a yr in the past. Not so quick! No. 6-ranked Tsitsipas owns a dismal 3-4 profession document at Wimbledon and misplaced within the first spherical in his final two appearances. This grass-court season, he received just one match every at Stuttgart and Halle. “The Greek Freak” strikes nicely and volleys deftly, however his lengthy backswings can backfire on quick, unpredictable grass.
Although Tsitsipas is sometimes in contrast stylistically to Federer, he lacks the Swiss’s versatile slice backhand, efficient serve, and tactical smarts. His profession 27-36 document in opposition to top-10 opponents will not be encouraging. Most problematic, although, is his comparatively weak one-handed backhand. That alone will kill his probabilities to win Wimbledon.
Marin Cilic – AFP
Marin Cilic — Taking a cue from the Massive Three who’ve performed excellent tennis nicely into their 30s, the rejuvenated Cilic lately romped to his first French Open semifinal at age 33, a shocking end result on clay, his least profitable floor. The 6’6” Croatian received the 2014 U.S. Open and reached the ultimate on the 2017 Wimbledon and 2018 Australian Open.
Cilic nonetheless has the stamina as his 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (2) Roland Garros quarterfinal victory over Rublev, lasting 4 hours and 14 minutes, attests. Equally vital, he has the nerves as his spectacular 10-2 deciding set tiebreaker proves.
The previous world No. 3 depends on booming serves, usually greater than 130 mph, and highly effective groundstrokes with out a lot nuance. That mixture will take Cilic far at Wimbledon in his comeback yr.
Jannik Sinner – REUTERS
Jannik Sinner — Italian coach Simone Vagnozzi began working with No. 13-ranked Sinner in February, and the early outcomes have been stable. The 20-year-old Italian superior to the quarterfinal at Masters 1000 occasions in Miami, Monte Carlo, and Rome and made the fourth spherical at Roland Garros.
“The pace of the primary serve is enhancing and the pace of the second serve,” Vagnozzi instructed ATPtour.com. “How he alters the path on the second serve is vital as nicely. We’re additionally engaged on including extra selection — hitting drop photographs and coming to the web extra.”
Workforce Sinner grew to become stronger when Jannik introduced on June 19 that he employed Darren Cahill. The extremely revered Aussie beforehand coached Andre Agassi, Lleyton Hewitt, and Simona Halep.
The slender, 6’2” Sinner is famend for his calmness and preventing spirit. Each attributes helped him stave off match factors and go on to win in 4 matches already in 2022. Sinner misplaced his solely earlier Wimbledon match final yr. Along with his expanded shot-making and groundstroke energy, this rising star ought to make the second week this time.
Hubert Hurkacz – AFP
Hubert Hurkacz — The mild-mannered Pole loved his finest Grand Slam efficiency final yr when he upset Medvedev and Federer to succeed in the Wimbledon semifinals. Since then, nonetheless, Tenth-ranked Hubie has faltered a bit, going solely 4-8 in opposition to top-10 opponents, though, importantly, the final two got here lately over Auger-Aliassime and Medvedev when he received the grass-court occasion in Halle, Germany.
With a giant serve and a sound volley, the agile, 6’5” Hurkacz is extraordinarily comfy on grass. His backhand is yet one more power, although his Japanese forehand is likely one of the least offensive forehands amongst top-15 gamers.
On his tactical maturity, Martina Navratilova mentioned, “Hurkacz is a very good participant. I haven’t seen him hit the incorrect shot but.”
Don’t be stunned if Hubie repeats his semifinal displaying of 2021.
Rafael Nadal – Getty Pictures
Rafael Nadal — Rafa’s shocking Australian Open title and unsurprising French Open title made him the undisputed GOAT with 22 majors, two greater than Djokovic and inactive Federer. It additionally propelled him midway to a calendar Grand Slam. A brand new radiofrequency therapy for his power foot illness was profitable sufficient that the Spanish famous person lately introduced he’ll play Wimbledon.
Nadal’s solely titles on the All England Membership got here manner again in 2008 and 2010, although he reached the semifinals in 2018 and 2019. Rafa’s full sport and good ways can flourish on any floor. What’s extra, his slice serve within the advert court docket and his wonderful volleys will show extremely efficient on grass. Nevertheless, his lack of matches on this specialised floor will damage. He hasn’t performed there since 2019 and won’t enter a tune-up occasion on grass. Consequently, his ceiling this yr is probably going the semifinals.
Matteo Berrettini – AFP
Matteo Berrettini — A yr in the past, the Italian Stallion raced all the way in which to the Wimbledon remaining. Belting rocket serves — his serve ranking is No. 4 on the ATP Tour — and bullet forehands, Berrettini produced stable wins over Auger-Aliassime and Hurkacz earlier than Djokovic stopped him 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3. Most impressively, he ranks No. 2 within the Below Stress standings.
Matteo’s slice backhand, a legal responsibility on different surfaces, is commonly a power — apart from passing photographs — on grass as a result of it skids low and quick. Additional, he’s shortened his forehand backswing to tailor it for grass, so he can hit method photographs extra successfully. It’s no shock that in his first match since March after present process surgical procedure on his proper hand, Berrettini captured the BOSS Open in Stuttgart, edging Andy Murray, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3. He then received his second straight Queen’s Membership title. That gave him a terrific 19 wins in his final 20 matches on grass, the one setback coming in opposition to Djokovic.
If the good-looking, 6’5” Berrettini lands on the alternative half of the draw from the top-ranked Serb, he’ll have an excellent probability to make the ultimate once more.
Novak Djokovic — A yr in the past, Djokovic captured his sixth Wimbledon title and twentieth main to create a three-way tie with archrivals Nadal and Federer. He regarded unstoppable till Medvedev thwarted his bid for a uncommon Grand Slam within the U.S. Open remaining. Then he sabotaged his Australian Open probabilities by refusing to get a Covid vaccination and was deported. Profitable Rome signalled a return to high type, despite the fact that Nadal whipped him in 4 units on the French Open.
“I take into consideration profitable extra Slams and breaking information,” mentioned the Serb after profitable his 18th main. “And most of my consideration and my power from at the present time ahead, till I retire from tennis, goes to be directed in majors, making an attempt to win extra main trophies.”
With that motivation, the perfect serve return in historical past, and a whole sport, The Djoker is the oddsmakers’ robust favorite and my choose.
Miomir Kecmanovic – AP
Darkish Horses — Control Miomir Kecmanovic. This season, the 22-year-old Serb energy hitter, coached by 2002 Wimbledon finalist David Nalbandian, has already crushed Berrettini, Auger-Aliassime, Cilic, Korda, and Taylor Fritz. The racquet-smashing and umpire-baiting Nick Kyrgios, who says “Count on the surprising” about his chequered performances, has wasted a lot of his huge expertise for years. Even so, the explosive Australian shot-maker, now 27, made the semis at Stuttgart and Halle, and will take out a seed or two. Holger Rune, a 19-year-old Dane whose on-court persona is nearly as aggressive as his sport, has notched wins over Zverev, Tsitsipas, and Denis Shapovalov this yr and gained the French Open quarterfinals. “I’ve a giant ego, I’m actually passionate, and I like tennis,” mentioned Rune. These substances have fuelled many champions.
The surprising retirement of No. 1 Ashleigh Barty in March, and the extended hunch of four-time main champion Naomi Osaka created a gaping void in girls’s tennis. Iga Swiatek shortly stuffed it with a profitable streak not seen since Serena Williams and Justine Henin reigned.
Wimbledon 2022 draw: Serena Williams faces Frenchwoman Concord Tan in comeback to Grand Slam tennis
The Wimbledon ban of Russian and Belarusian gamers prevents a number of top-30 gamers from competing — No. 6 Aryna Sabalenka, a semifinalist a yr in the past, No. 13 Daria Kasatkina, No. 20 Victoria Azarenka, No. 22 Veronika Kudermetova, and No. 28 Ekaterina Alexandrova. Osaka withdrew from the match due to a lingering Achilles tendon harm.
Can Swiatek, a clay-court star whose two Grand Slam titles have come at Roland Garros, change gears to prevail on the Wimbledon grass? And who has the sport, the athleticism, and the fortitude to problem her?
Let’s analyse the highest contenders and discover out.
Ons Jabeur – REUTERS
Ons Jabeur — The 27-year-old Tunisian made historical past as the primary Arab woman to win a junior Slam title at 2011 Roland Garros, the primary Arab girl to win a WTA title on the 2021 Viking Traditional Birmingham, and the primary Arab man or girl to make the highest 10 in singles. Now ranked a career-high No. 4, Jabeur has racked up a powerful 15-2 document on grass for the reason that begin of 2021.
“She’s a guile participant, not an influence participant, with a sport that’s primarily based on having nice contact,” mentioned ESPN analyst Brad Gilbert. Certainly, the entertaining, 5’6” trickster relishes drop photographs a lot she’s nicknamed “the drop shot queen.”
Though Ons upset 2017 champion Garbine Muguruza and Swiatek to succeed in the Wimbledon quarters final yr, it’s uncertain her light-weight, finesse sport will advance farther this yr.
Karolina Muchova – AP
Karolina Muchova — Don’t be deceived by her No. 80 rating. Prior to now 18 months, Muchova has knocked off then-No. 1 Ash Barty on the 2021 Australian Open, then-No. 2 Naomi Osaka, Karolina Pliskova, Maria Sakkari (twice), Paula Badosa, and Bianca Andreescu.
The versatile Muchova boasts a robust, 5’11” physique, distinctive pace, efficient flat and kick serves, and aggressive volleys. Touted as a future top-10 participant by all-time nice Martina Navratilova, the 25-year-old Czech will break via at Wimbledon, and with a beneficial draw, might attain the ultimate.
Coco Gauff – AFP
Coco Gauff — Coco has been tabbed for stardom ever since she upset the fading Venus Williams three years in the past at The Championships to grow to be the primary 15-year-old to succeed in the Wimbledon fourth spherical since teen queen Martina Hingis in 1996. Gauff made her first Grand Slam remaining on the latest French Open, although she didn’t defeat a top-30 opponent. Regardless of beating solely two top-15 foes this yr, Badosa and Pliskova, she lately reached a career-high No. 12 after making the semifinals in Berlin.
Coco’s robust first serve, stable backhand, elite pace, and competitiveness are main strengths. However her excessive Western grip could make her forehand error-prone, significantly on low balls, that are frequent on grass. Her second serve may also let her down, as she’s averaging almost 4 double faults a match. Gauff, listed at 12-1 by oddsmakers, wants one other yr or two to study the subtleties of enjoying on grass earlier than she will be able to contend for the Wimbledon title.
Anett Kontaveit – REUTERS
Anett Kontaveit — The late-blooming Estonian shot as much as a deceptive No. 2, thanks mainly to wonderful outcomes on true-bouncing exhausting courts. Kontaveit received 5 tournaments and reached two finals, together with the WTA Finals final November.
However her one-dimensional, hard-hitting type lacks athleticism and improvisation. Consequently, the 26-year-old Kontaveit has but to advance previous the third spherical at Wimbledon or defeat a top-25 opponent there. With a restricted shot repertoire, she’ll battle once more on grass and lose early.
Maria Sakkari – AFP
Maria Sakkari — One of the best girl in Greek tennis historical past suffered a disaster of confidence after she did not convert a match level in opposition to eventual champion Barbora Krejcikova within the 2021 French Open semifinals. “I felt like I misplaced that bravery after the French. I used to be extra hesitant. I used to be not going for it a lot,” she recalled on the U.S. Open three months later. With the help of coach Tom Hill, hitting associate and brother Yannis, alongside together with her psychologist, she regained her mojo sufficient to beat 2019 champion Andreescu there in a 6-7, 7-6, 6-3 marathon lasting 3-1/2 hours.
A perfectly match athlete with a well-rounded sport and a zest for competitors, Sakkari nonetheless has some scar tissue from that heartbreaking loss to Krejcikova. Though Maria rose to a career-high No. 3 on March 21 and now ranks No. 5, a key query stays: Will she be capable of deal with her nerves, particularly on the pivotal factors?
Sakkari has by no means gone previous the third spherical at Wimbledon. If she’s courageous, she ought to simply surpass that this yr.
Amanda Anisimova – AFP
Amanda Anisimova — What the 20-year-old American lacks in consistency, she greater than makes up for together with her excessive ceiling. Within the first 5 months of 2022, Anisimova received the Melbourne Summer season Set 2 occasion and defeated Osaka (twice at majors), Sabalenka (twice), Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic (twice), Danielle Collins, and Victoria Azarenka. However she’s additionally did not get previous the second spherical in 4 tournaments, together with Indian Wells and Miami.
A statuesque, 5’11” blonde with basic strokes and a potent serve, Anisimova most resembles five-time main winner Maria Sharapova, who initially impressed her. At 17, Amanda instructed The New York Occasions, “I positively wish to grow to be No. 1 on the planet and win each Grand Slam.” Other than reaching the 2019 French Open semis, she hasn’t come near both aim — to date.
Anisimova boasts the heavy weapons to beat anybody, and my crystal ball exhibits Anisimova will upset an elite participant or two and go far at Wimbledon.
Iga Swiatek – AFP
Iga Swiatek — Simply turned 21, Swiatek has captured six straight tournaments and is driving a 35-match profitable streak. She idolises Rafael Nadal, and like him, her concussive topspin forehand is her greatest weapon. Taking the recommendation of latest coach Tomasz Witorowski, Iga has grow to be extra aggressive. She combines her potent forehand with wonderful pace and court docket positioning (usually contained in the baseline) to dictate rallies. Swiatek’s solely weaknesses are a backhand that sometimes errs, and a volley that must be extra penetrating.
Is the slender Pole destined for greatness? Or is she merely a red-hot participant capitalising on the unusually weak competitors? Swiatek received’t win Wimbledon, however how far she goes will however present vital solutions.
Paula Badosa – AFP
Paula Badosa — It often takes a heavy hitter to cease the rampaging Swiatek. Two of the Pole’s three losses this yr have been dealt by sluggers — Danielle Collins on the Australian Open and Jelena Ostapenko at Dubai. World No. 4 Badosa, whose mother and father are trend designers, possesses comparable groundstroke energy, has a much bigger serve, which exceeds 115 mph, and strikes higher than Collins and Ostapenko.
The comely, 24-year-old Spaniard upset Swiatek 6-3, 7-6 on the 2021 Tokyo Olympics and almost three months later captured her greatest title at Indian Wells. Since then, the 5’11” Badosa has racked up a terrific 14-2 document in tiebreakers, usually the deciding think about shut matches.
Paula retains resistance bands in her tennis bag, and she or he’ll encounter loads of resistance through the fortnight. However Badosa will survive a near-upset or two after which declare her first Grand Slam title.
Qinwen Zheng – AP
Darkish Horses — At Roland Garros, Zheng Qinwen outhit two-time main titlist Simona Halep 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 earlier than extending Swiatek to 6-7, 6-0, 6-2, regardless of abdomen ache, within the fourth spherical. The 19-year-old from China attracts inspiration from Li Na and shows the identical sound approach and offensive type. Linda Fruhvirtova, a 16-year-old Czech, ranks solely No. 175 and should qualify, however her spectacular maturity helped her upset No. 66 Danka Kovinic, No. 24 Elise Mertens, and No. 16 Azarenka on the Miami Open. Beatriz Haddad Maia, a late-blooming Brazilian at 26, is on a grass-court roll. The 6’-tall, lefty energy hitter captured tune-up occasions at Nottingham and Birmingham, upsetting Sakkari, Halep, and Camila Giorgi alongside the way in which, to rank a career-high No. 29. And let’s not rely out seven-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams. The 23-time main winner, now 40, acquired a wild card to play her first singles occasion since retiring injured from a first-round match right here a yr in the past, however stranger issues have occurred in unpredictable girls’s tennis. As Badosa admitted, “Nobody needs to play Serena, [especially] on grass.”