It has been an eventful 2022 in Tennis so far but Wimbledon has even outdone the Australian Open for drama this time round. Their controversial ban of Russian and Belarussian tennis players saw the ATP (and WTA) rescind points from the tournament meaning that the No.1 spot in the rankings will stick with Daniil Medvedev for much longer, even with his absence from the tournament. Novak Djokovic is the favourite for the title but Rafael Nadal can never be written off, especially in the midst of his slam match winning streak this year.
Djokovic is expected to cut Nadal’s lead in slams by the end of the fortnight, having seen the Spaniard pick up Australia in his absence and beat him on the way to yet another French Open title. He is just consistently too strong on the surface although it should still be interesting to see how he copes against the big hitters/servers like Hubert Hurkacz and Matteo Berrettini later in the tournament. The early rounds should be fairly straight forward as usual. Of the early seeds, Reilly Opelka would look to be the biggest threat on paper. However, the American has not yet shone on the surface and was easily beaten in both his warmup matches while Nikoloz Basilashvili has only made the third round once. Wildcard Tim Van Rijthoven could be the one to watch here, having defeated now No. 1 Daniil Medvedev on his way to the Rosmalen title.
Carlos Alcaraz will be playing just his third main tour match on grass when he opens against Jan-Lennard Struff. He chose the path more suited for established veterans – not taking part in any warmup tournaments between the French Open and Wimbledon. Struff is the kind of guy who could spring a shock if Alcaraz is caught cold but it feels like a tough section of the draw to land in regardless. A resurgent Andy Murray and Stanislas Wawrinka are amongst the big names here while Jannik Sinner and John Isner are also seeded. Sinner was defeated in his only Wimbledon match to date – losing to Marton Fucsovics in four sets last year.
With a successful clay court season juicing up the rankings of several players, some seeds could fall early here. Casper Ruud would have been one of the more likely with a tougher draw but may escape until round three or four. He was beaten by Ryan Peniston in his only grass court match this year in what was the first main tour tournament for the Brit. Ugo Humbert and David Goffin may be among those gunning for Ruud while Sebastian Baez is seeded for the first time in his career, having stormed up the rankings in the past 12 months. Pablo Carreno Busta has yet to win a match at Wimbledon so Frances Tiafoe must be hoping he can take his chances in this section of the draw to make the quarter final.
No. 7 seed Hubert Hurkacz has to be seen as one of the next set of contenders following Djokovic. The Pole has a big game and should continue to be difficult to break down on this surface. Last year’s semi finalist has improved and he is in-form having won the title in Halle. It was an impressive run too, beating Auger-Aliassime, Kyrgios and Medvedev back to back. Cameron Norrie will fancy his chances of a first ever fourth round in any slam with Grigor Dimitrov the biggest contender while Tommy Paul and Jiri Vesely are others in the section who could make a run.
Alongside Hurkacz, Matteo Berrettini has to be the other top contender outside of the main two. The bookmakers slightly favour him over Rafael Nadal, likely meaning he could be favourite should they clash in the semis. A host of lucky losers and wildcards should allow the Italian to ease into the tournament although it’s unlikely he needs it. He is on a nine match winning streak on grass having breezed through the fields in Stuttgart and Queens. Jenson Brooksby will play his first Wimbledon but the signs don’t look too good for the American early on. He went 1-3 on grass in the warmup tournaments and won just 11 games across two losses at the UK tournaments.
With three first round losses in four tries at Wimbledon, Stefanos Tsitsipas can only improve at SW19. It isn’t through a lack of ability on grass as he sealed a title on the surface just today, the first of his career. Even by the standards of his performances previously here, making it four losses with defeat to Alexander Ritschard would be a huge shock. The Nick Kyrgios hype will rumble around as it always does on the grass after the Australian picks up a few good wins then has a nice draw. A quarter final is not out of the question but Roberto Bautista Agut and Denis Shapovalov are both more than capable of frustrating him on the way to the victory.
After losses to wildcards at Queens and Rosmalen, Taylor Fritz looked like he may struggle to take advantage of a surface that should be suited to his game in what has been career year for the American. Many of those doubts can be erased with his Eastbourne title – where he didn’t give up a single break all tournament. The early rounds for him could include a few far more comfortable on clay including French Open semi finalist Holger Rune. The Dane lost to Ryan Peniston and Pablo Carreno Busta with the latter in particular fairly concerning so it would be no shock if Rune lost his opener to Marcos Giron. Felix Auger-Aliassime and Daniel Evans wrap up a qualifier-heavy section of the draw so a third round between the two could be one of the better matches of the tournament in the opening week.
The outcome of Rafael Nadal’s tournament here is going to depend in large part on how the 22-time champion’s foot injury holds up. It seemed for a while like he would choose not to compete and instead build up to the US Open where he may fancy his chances more. However, he is ready to compete and as of now still has to be one of the favourites. There are some troubling clashes along the way with Sam Querrey early on but it may be the Marin Cilic fourth round that could see for Nadal if his fitness is not 100%. The Croatian has been a strong performer at Wimbledon in the past and his deep run in Paris suggests that he is far from done just yet.
Prediction – Novak Djokovic defeats Matteo Berrettini