Wimbledon 2022 - What to Look Out ForPublished on 07/15/2022 · 8 min readLooking forward to the 2022 showdown at Wimbledon? Tennis Expert Nicolas Carrero shares which players to watch in men's and women's singles.
The third and most prestigious major of the tennis season is upon us! Wimbledon 2022 will begin on June 27th, and the storylines are plentiful. As always, the All England Club will be hosting the event, but this time under some controversy!
After the first slam of the year, the Australian Open, Wimbledon made news with their newly formed rules. With the ongoing war in Ukraine, Wimbledon banned Russian players from playing in the tournament. Perhaps they thought other Grand Slams would follow suit; but they didn’t. The French Open went on with Russian players and the U.S Open has also said Russian players would be able to participate. Wimbledon, however, has held firm with this stance and understandably has gotten plenty of backlash for it. No Russian players means no men’s World No. 1—Daniil Medvedev.
To appease some tension, the ATP tour made the event literally pointless–players will not be able to win or lose points towards their ranking in this tournament! While some might question what the point is, it is still Wimbledon and it is still a Grand Slam! It’s especially important to a few legends on the men’s side racing each other for GOAT status, and on the women's side, the freight train that is Iga Swiatek rolls on, looking to capture another trophy on her path of destruction. Let’s look at who may win the tournament.
The defending champion and betting favorite, at this time last year, the Serb was on top of the world and would somehow reach even higher heights after winning Wimbledon. He had captured the first three Grand Slam titles of the year and had finally caught up to his two main rivals: Rafael Nadal and Roger Feder. With Federer close to age 40 and out of the tour nursing knee injuries, and with Nadal out for the foreseeable future with a foot injury, it looked like Novak had a clear path to the calendar slam, surpassing both his rivals comfortably.
However, a year later, Novak is facing uncertainty. Having been banned from the Australian Open due to his anti-vaccination stance, he not only missed his favorite Grand Slam, but he watched his biggest rival, Rafa, win it in spectacular fashion. He was finally able to play during the clay season, and it looked like he would repeat his French Open championship. Yet in the quarterfinals, he met Nadal and was upset—if you can call it that—by the eventual 14-time champion. Nadal had gone up two, once again, in the Slam race. Now, with his ban in Australia still in place and the U.S Open uncertain due to similar vaccine mandates, this tournament becomes crucial for the Djoker to keep pace in the GOAT race.
Rafa has had quite the season! At the beginning of the year, we didn’t even know if the Spanish bull was going to play. He was seen on crutches as late as December, still rehabbing from foot surgery post the 2021 French Open. Yet not only has he played but he’s won both Grand Slams so far!
He won the Australian Open in “The Miracle In Melbourne”, taking out Medvedev in five sets after being down two sets to love. And last month, he won his record-shattering 14th French Open by taking down Casper Ruud in the final.
Yet, the last time Rafa won a Wimbledon title was in 2010. From 2006 to 2011, he made five straight finals and won two titles, but since then, the grass hasn’t been as kind. Making no finals and routinely having to miss this tournament due to injury, Nadal hasn’t even sniffed a Wimbledon crown in more than a decade. However, when right, there may be no better tennis player in history than Nadal.
He was uncertain to play Wimbledon due to a chronic foot condition that is getting worse with age, but he seems to be healthy enough to give it a shot! What’s at stake? A calendar slam, something only Rod Laver in the 60s accomplished; and distancing himself further from his two rivals in the GOAT race. Rafa and Novak are seeded 1 and 2 in this tournament and would meet in the final if all goes according to seeding.
My girlfriend's favorite player, I wonder why! The Italian is a very interesting contender in this tournament. Last year, he made the final and gave Novak a decent battle, and this year, he is ready to further demonstrate that grass is his favorite surface. He comes into the tournament having won several grass tournaments this year already in Stuttgart and Queens. His game features a wicked forehand, and although his backhand was a clear weakness before, he’s been working on it hard to be strong from both sides. Because of an injury sustained during the first major of the season in Australia, Matteo didn’t play much of the hard court run and didn’t play a single clay-court tournament. Therefore his seeding isn’t too high at number 8. He may run into one of the favorites earlier than he’d like, but he may be the player the favorites are looking to avoid.
Carlitos comes into this tournament as a dark horse. The 19-year-old has never won a major, yet this season he has shown more promise than any teen since a guy named Rafa came onto the tour nearly 20 years ago. Alcaraz exploded onto the scene at last year’s U.S. Open, where he took down top 10 player Stefanos Tsitispas on his way to a quarterfinal appearance—at age 18. He’s followed it up this year by winning several masters and clay-court tournaments. But for the grass season, he will only participate in one tournament: Wimbledon. A true wild card, his game may suit grass with his electric forehands and awe-inspiring drop shots. Yet at such a young age, this may be too much too soon for the wunderkind.
Felix Auger-Aliassime, who seems to be getting better by the tournament, is another dark horse for this event. After taking Nadal to five sets at Roland Garros, the 21-year-old Canadian may be ready to truly challenge for a major. His big serve and athletic game may be just right for grass. Seeded 6, he can make some noise early.
Hubert Hurkacz is also having a great season so far. He loves grass and just a week ago won Halle, a grass warmup tournament. If he is in form, don’t be surprised to see him make a deep run.
A more wild card in this tournament would be Greek top 10 player, Stefanos Tsitispas. After a somewhat disappointing clay-court season, Stefanos will try to win his first major on his least favorite surface.
I have to mention Casper Ruud as well. Ruud had a great clay-court season and reached the final of the French Open. I don’t anticipate any of these honorable mentions wining, but they have an outside shot.
On the women's side, it is much more straightforward. Polish superstar Iga Swiatek has been dominating the tour ever since former World No. 1, Australian Ashleigh Barty, retired in March. Barty won this event last year and won the Australian Open to start this season off. However, she retired in March in a shocking move due to the physical and emotional demands of trying to be the best. Her retirement opened the door for the 21-year-old Swiatek, and she has run through it and then some.
Swiatek has won 35 straight matches, including a convincing title win in the French Open last month to win her second French and second Grand Slam title overall. The current World No. 1 seems to be just beginning her reign over the rest of the tour. It will be interesting to see how she does on grass. She’s already won two French Opens and has done very well during this season's early hard court swing. Winning Wimbledon would cement her as the next all-time great female player. It’s Iga’s world and we’re just living in it—she is the overwhelming favorite.
Some players that may shock the world at this tournament include 18-year-old American Coco Gauff. Second in the betting odds, she is coming off a French Open runner-up appearance and is getting better with each tournament she plays in.
Another possible challenger to Iga is Czech Karolina Pliskova. Pliskova is a former #1 who reached the finals here last year and likes grass a lot. Look for her to make a deep run again.
Japanese-American star Naomi Osaka, unfortunately, had to withdraw due to injury.
A true darkhorse on the women's side would be local star Emma Raducanu. She exploded onto the scene last year, winning the U.S. Open at just 18 years old. Unfortunately, this season has been a rough one for Emma. Plagued by injuries and disappointing performances, the critics have grown very loud for the teenager, and the possibility that she was just a one-hit-wonder is already a popular debate amongst tennis fans. If she can find her form, maybe she has a shot. But I know who I’m picking!
My predictions? A win for Djokovic and Iga.
If you have any questions as we approach Wimbledon or want to get geared up like the pros, reach out to a Tennis Expert here on Curated!