Wimbledon 2022 - Highlights
Miss any of the action from this year's Wimbledon? Catch up on all of the surprises and highlights with Tennis Expert Nicolas Carrero.
Wimbledon 2022 is in the books with a surprise winner on the women's side and business as usual on the men's side. It was a crazy tournament this year at the All England Club… In a tournament that banned Russians, a Russian won the title; Nick Kyrgios, yes, Nick Kyrgios, made a grand slam final; Rafael Nadal won a match without a first serve! Let’s take a look back at all of the highlights!
The legendary Serbian player collected his 21st grand slam at this year’s Wimbledon, leaving him one behind Nadal and surpassing the great Roger Federer. After the tumultuous beginning of the year for Novak, he found comfort in his second home—Wimbledon’s Center Court. The Djoker has won Wimbledon seven times, including four straight titles, and hasn’t lost a match in Center Court since 2013 against local hero Andy Murray. It’s starting to rival the Australian Open, where he has eight titles, as his favorite major!
Novak looked to have a difficult draw, but a few upsets early on led to a fairly straightforward tournament. Though he dropped the first set in nearly all of his matches, it wasn’t until the quarterfinals against 21-year-old Italian Jannik Sinner that he was truly tested. In this match, he dropped the first two sets and Sinner looked like the superior player until early in the third. After finally breaking Sinner, Novak seemed to lock in and completely dominated the match the rest of the way. As we’ve seen many times with Novak, if you give him a slight opening, he can take it all. He ended up winning comfortably in five, winning the last three sets 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
He lost the first set again in the semis, this time to Brit Cam Norrie, before rolling on to a four-set win.
In a tasty final against the notorious Kyrgios, Djokovic kept his cool amongst all the drama caused by Kyrgios and took him apart in four sets.
Now the race to see who ends up with the most male majors is back on between Rafa and Novak. The question now is whether Djokovic will be allowed to play the next few majors. New York has a strict vaccination policy so he may not be able to play in the U.S. Open and the Australian Open deported him and placed him in a three-year ban due to his no-vax status. Will both of those tournaments make an exception for Novak this time? Or will he have to helplessly watch again as Rafa gets two chances at adding more majors to his total? Whatever the future holds, Djokovic had to win this tournament and he did. The greats always rise to the occasion.
Elena Rybakina has an amazing story! Russian-born, Elena felt she wasn’t getting financial support from the Russian Tennis Federation and switched nationalities to Kazakhstan. There, she received the backing she always wanted, and her pro career took off. She was ranked #23 coming into the tournament and had never won a major. Yet, her huge serve and easy power took her through the draw.
In the semifinals, she faced former champion Simona Halep. In a shock to the media and fans, she easily dispatched Halep in straight sets. In the final against Ons Jabeur, once again as the underdog, Rybakina lost the first set. But her demeanor never changed, and she comfortably won the next two sets, overpowering Jabeur to complete the dream run. A Russian-born woman won a tournament in which Russians were banned.
At match point, she barely even smiled, still cool as a cucumber. It wasn’t until the post-match press conference when asked about what winning Wimbledon would mean to her parents, that she finally let it all out and broke down in tears. “You wanted emotion?” she asked as she wiped her tears. The press room erupted into applause.
Australian bad boy Nick Kyrgios finally fulfilled the potential he teased when he burst onto the scene in this very tournament in 2014, beating then number-one-ranked Rafa Nadal in the fourth round. Since then, he’s been called a brat, an underachiever, and a few other words not suitable for children. He had never been to a quarterfinal, much less a final of a grand slam.
However, this year, he played a fantastic tournament, serving lights out and playing his usual on-court mind games. In the fourth round against top 10 player Stefanos Tsitsipas, Kyrgios got so deep into Stefanos’s head that the Greek tried to hit the Australian several times instead of playing the point to win! After the match, he called Kyrgios “a bully” and said he “disrespects the sport.” In classic Nick fashion, Kyrgios responded “If he believes that, then he’s not a competitor and that’s what is holding him back.”
Unfortunately for us fans, the dream semi-final against Rafa Nadal couldn’t happen (more on that below). Yet he reached his dream of making the final at Wimbledon and won the first set against Djokovic before succumbing in four. Hopefully, we see more of Nick in these future big matches!
The Spanish legend came into this tournament looking for the Calendar Grand Slam, something unachieved since Rod Laver’s run in the 1960s. However, there was a doubt whether Nadal would even play in this tournament. A debilitating, chronic foot injury was threatening to end his career just over a month ago. Thankfully for tennis fans, a special procedure on his foot seems to have worked for now and retirement is off the table in the near future!
Nadal started off a bit shaky—having not played a match at Wimbledon in three years due to injury—and dropped a set in each of his first two matches. He seemed to get the rhythm of the grass by the third round and rolled to the quarters with two straight-set victories.
In the quarterfinals, he faced American Taylor Fritz. Fritz has had a terrific year and beat Rafa earlier this year to win his first masters 1000 title in Indian Wells. It was a heavily anticipated rematch, with Fritz coming into the quarterfinal having not dropped a set. Nadal raced out to an early 3-1 lead, yet Taylor surprisingly rolled to five straight games and won the first set 6-3. The second set looked like deja vu, with the same 3-1 lead for Rafa but with Taylor coming back to take the lead 4-3. Then it became clear something was wrong with Nadal.
During the changeover, he put his hands on his head and had to call a medical timeout. He had come into the tournament with mystery tape on his stomach area, and now it seemed like he had an abdominal injury. He could barely serve for the rest of the match. His own family was asking him to retire for his own good.
Yet not only did he play on, but he also won in five sets, setting up for a mouth-watering semifinal encounter with rival Nick Kyrgios. Unfortunately, after practicing the next day, Nadal withdrew from the tournament with an abdominal tear, saying that he couldn’t serve well enough to win two more matches in this tournament. With the Calendar Slam dreams dashed by his own body, Nadal will look to bounce back in the U.S. Open and finish the year undefeated in slams.
The No. 1 player on the women's side was riding a 35-match winning streak heading into the tournament. Not comfortable on grass, Świątek dropped a set in her second-round match, before extending the streak to 37.
In the third round, she faced feisty veteran Frenchwoman Alizé Cornet and was defeated in straight sets. Although she didn’t have a great tournament, we still have to respect the incredible streak and run she was on. The two-time major winner will now shift her focus to the American hard-court season, where she will be the favorite to win many trophies!
I also have to give a mention to Ons Jabeur! The Tunisian top 10 player made history when she became the first African or Arab woman to ever reach a grand slam major at the 2020 Australian Open. After reaching the quarterfinals last year, Jabeur promised that she would win the title this year. Although she fell in three sets to Elena Rybakina, she inspired millions across the world with her run and her attitude. I’d bet she’s back in a grand slam final soon!
After a very entertaining tournament, we move on to the North American hardcourt swing. The U.S. Open is just around the corner, and tennis is just heating up in the States! If you want to get onto the court yourself, we have all the latest new gear here on Curated for all your summer playing needs. Chat with a Tennis Expert today for help finding the best setup for you!