WIMBLEDON PREVIEW



The two most dominant names in Wimbledon’s recent history have been Roger Federer and Serena Williams.


This year’s campaign will be the first Wimbledon tournament not to feature the Swiss maestro since 1998, a time when the top 10 was full of names like Petr Korda, Pat Rafter, Marcelo Rios and Greg Rusedski.


The standing ovation Federer received from the centre court crowd after his quarter-final defeat last year seems all the more poignant.


This year’s event does mark the return of 7-time champion Serena Williams though in a timely reminder of the amazing longevity these superstars have provided.


Williams' last single’s clash was at Wimbledon last year when a knee injury ended her run in the opening set of the opening round.


As we preview this year’s event, her presence alone will loom large over anyone who comes up against her, and as unlikely as victory might be, the elusive 24th slam remains tantalisingly close. 


Iga Swiatek enters the 2022 Wimbledon campaign as the breakaway world No.1 and on the back of an extraordinary 35-match winning streak. 


After winning her second French Open in three years, the 21-year-old has skipped the grasscourt lead up events in order to enter Wimbledon fresh.


The gap is likely closer between her and the rest on grass than it is on clay, but she is clearly the player to beat all the same.


Ons Jabeur had a frustrating first round exit at the French Open, and has had a couple of injury niggles in recent weeks but enters Wimbledon with 22 wins from her last 26 matches and 5 in a row on grass.


Coco Gauff is on the back up from her tremendous French Open, with the youngest grand slam finalist in 18 years set to go deep again here.


A semi-final run in Berlin recently on the grass will hold her in good stead.


Aryna Sabalenka produced the best slam run of her career to date at last year’s Wimbledon tournament, but is absent this year due to the decision not to allow Russian or Belarusian athletes to compete due to the war in the Ukraine. 


Former champion Simona Halep has had a change of coach and a good run of form on grass at both Birmingham and Bad Homburg, with dominant wins over the likes of Anisimova and Zidansek. 


A player on the rise to certainly keep an eye on is Beatriz Haddad Maia, with the Brazilian winning titles in Nottingham and Birmingham with another deep run currently at Eastbourne. She is the most in form player in the world on grass at the moment.


Others to consider would be last year’s finalist Karolina Pliskova, although she’s been in dicey form of late, Belinda Bencic, who hasn’t gone deep at slam level for a while, and talented Spaniard Paula Badosa. 


Teenage sensation Emma Raducanu is back where it all began for her 12 months ago, so a spike in her form is certainly possible.


Karolina Muchova and the Danish emerging star Clara Tauson could pop up and surprise with good runs.


TOP 5

Swiatek

Halep

Haddad Maia

Jabeur

Gauff


On the Men’s side of the draw, Rafael Nadal will contest, despite some recent injury setbacks as he looks to win his 3rd consecutive major this year.


With Federer in the twilight of his career, and absent from this event, his 2 slam lead at the top of the tree looks all the more imposing.


Novak Djokovic is currently unlikely to compete at the US Open due to vaccine mandates in that country so this event is possibly his only chance this year to bridge the gap on his great rival.


Djokovic has won 21 consecutive matches at Wimbledon, and 3 straight titles and is clear favourite to go again here, especially given the absence of Medvedev, Zverev and Federer, and the underdone nature of Nadal.


Last year’s finalist Matteo Berrettini has won back to back grass court titles having missed the clay swing with injury. The Italian has won nine matches in a row and is perhaps the biggest danger for Djokovic.


Carlos Alcaraz is a star on the rise, but whether he is ready to win a grand slam event on grass remains to be seen. You sense those chances are more likely to come in a few years time, but he does have the talent to trouble anyone.


Poland could be in for a good event, with Swiatek clear favourite amongst the women, but also Hubert Hurkacz starting to find his best form.


Hurkacz reached the semi-finals last year, eliminating Roger Federer before losing to Berrettini.


He was excellent in Halle, claiming the title with wins over Auger-Aliassime, Kyrgios and Medvedev in consecutive matches. 


Auger-Aliassime is also a fascinating study, having lost epic five setters at the Australian Open to Medvedev, and the French Open to Nadal this year.


He is creeping closer to announcing himself amongst the big boys, and the open nature of this draw might give him that chance.


Marin Cilic, youngster Holger Rune and Brit Andy Murray could also win a few matches here, although a title is very unlikely.


Nick Kyrgios is the final word here though, with the enigmatic Australian in excellent grass court form, lifting his ranking into the 40s in recent weeks.


Kyrgios has beaten some good players, but his recent withdrawal in Mallorca with an abdominal complaint is a worry.


It also remains to be seen whether Nick can run through a best of 5 set, 7 match fortnight with his body and game intact.


It should be fun though.


TOP 5

Djokovic

Hurkacz

Berrettini

Auger-Aliassime

Nadal