Tennishead’s guide to Wimbledon 2022
Wimbledon 2022, the 135th edition of the tournament, gets underway on Monday 27th June. Novak Djokovic will be ready to defend his fourth Championships title from 2021 and look to reach 21 Slams in total, just one behind Rafa Nadal, whilst Ash Barty will not be defending her 2021 title leaving Iga Swiatek as the top seed and favourite.
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In this 2022 guide to Wimbledon we’ve included in-depth content on a wide range of fascinating topics which you’ll find listed in the table of contents below. Click the blue heading to jump to that section.
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History of Wimbledon
The first Wimbledon Championship was held back in 1877 on one of the croquet lawns of the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club. In 1884, a women’s championship was introduced at Wimbledon, and the national men’s doubles was transferred from Oxford. Mixed doubles and women’s doubles were later introduced in 1913.
In 1920, Frenchwoman Suzanne Lenglen became the first player to win three Wimbledon championships (in singles and doubles events) in a single year. In 1937, American Don Budge became the first man to replicate Lenglen by winning three Wimbledon championships in a single year, repeating the feat once again 12 months later.
Prior to 1968, which saw the introduction of the Open Era, the Wimbledon Championships was originally played by amateurs. Australian Rod Laver and American Billie Jean King won the respective singles events in 1968.
In 1980, Bjorn Borg won the men’s singles for a fifth consecutive year and Martina Navratilova soon bettered that feat by winning six consecutive women’s championships between 1982–87, also eclipsing the record of Lenglen (1919–23).
In 1990 Navratilova lifted her ninth singles title to break the record set by Helen Wills. Other history-making players at Wimbledon include American legend Pete Sampras who won his seventh Wimbledon title in 2000, and Roger Federer, whose fifth consecutive title in 2007 equaled Borg’s streak before beating Sampras’ record with an eighth Wimbledon title in 2017.
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Review of Wimbledon 2021
After two years without the grass, Wimbledon 2021 was a welcome sight for tennis fans everywhere.
Novak Djokovic was the defending men’s champion after a five set epic against Roger Federer in 2019.
Conversely, Simona Halep dominated 23-time Slam champion Serena Williams in the women’s 2019 final to capture her second Major crown.
World number one Djokovic was in imperious form entering SW19.
The Calendar Slam was well and truly on for the Serb after he won both the Australian Open and Roland Garros.
Meanwhile, after returning from injury, Federer played Roland Garros. There he bowed out ahead of a fourth round clash with Matteo Berrettini to rest for the lawns of the All England Club.
Rafael Nadal was out with injury, whereas former two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray was making his first singles appearance since 2017.
Ranked 118th in the world at the time, Murray required a wildcard to enter the main draw.
With Djokovic and Federer drawn in separate halves, a repeat of the 2019 Wimbledon final was a possibility. The former began his campaign against a different British wildcard in 19-year-old Jack Draper.
On such a huge occasion as a Slam main draw debut at home, Draper stepped up to take the opening set off Djokovic. But the two-time defending champion rallied to win in four sets to close out a memorable start to Centre Court proceedings at the 2021 Championships.
Djokovic then cruised past 2018 finalist Kevin Anderson, American qualifier Denis Kudla and Chilean 17th seed Cristian Garin all in straight sets to book his spot in the quarter-finals.
In the next eighth of the draw, Russian Andrey Rublev was the highest seed at fifth. He dropped a set in each of his first and third round matches against Federico Delbonis and Fabio Fognini respectively.
The opponent waiting for him there had been quietly doing the business on the grass to reach the fourth round. Unseeded world number 48 Marton Fucsovics had ousted 19th seed Jannik Sinner in the first round before ninth seed Diego Schwartzman in the third, each in four sets. Then, despite going two sets to one down facing Rublev, the Hungarian responded well to claim the final two sets 6-0, 6-3 to reach a first career Major quarter-final.
In the next quarter, the first big upset of the men’s draw came about, at least on paper.
Third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, fresh off a Roland Garros final, was downed by American showman Frances Tiafoe in straight sets. However, grass is certainly the Greek’s least comfortable surface, whereas Tiafoe came into Wimbledon with a challenger title on the grass in Nottingham before a couple solid results at Queen’s. Nevertheless, this result thoroughly entertained and enlivened the Centre Court crowd, even if for just three straight sets.
The same quarter put out one of the most absurd matches of The Championships 2021.
Karen Khachanov, seeded 25th, had defeated Tiafoe in the third round to book a meeting with young American Sebastian Korda in the fourth round. Each of the first three set were decided by a single break, before there were three in the fourth to force a deciding fifth. After just six breaks in the opening four sets, the decider went on to have an astonishing 13 breaks of serve which included a run of eight consecutive service breaks from 3-3 to 7-7 before Korda finally broke the streak with a hold. But it was Khachanov who eventually came out on top 10-8 in the final set after nearly four hours of play.
The British public had their eyes set on the next eighth their own 2013 and 2016 champion Murray. The former world number one came past 24th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia first before a late night battle with German qualifier Oscar Otte. After going two sets to one down the underpowered veteran dug deep to win in a thrilling five sets, even signing off with a signature backhand lob winner.
The Wimbledon 2021 road soon came to an end though as Murray came up against 10th seed Denis Shapovalov and had his weaknesses shown up by the 10th seed.
The next quarter’s highest seeds were newly-crowned Queen’s champion Matteo Berrettini and Germany’s Alexander Zverev, seeded seventh and fourth respectively. The Italian eased into the quarter-finals with the loss of just one set to Guido Pella in the first round.
Meanwhile, Zverev had made it the fourth round with similar ease before facing young Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime. And the younger man came out firing, the 16th seed going up two sets to love 6-4, 7-6 (8-6). Zverev justified his seeding to come back and force a decider before Auger-Aliassime was able to close out the battle 6-4 in the fifth.
In the bottom quarter, sixth seed and eight-time champion Federer and second seed Daniil Medvedev were the two highest-ranked pros.
Federer had lost in the second round of Halle to enter Wimbledon with just one match win on grass under his belt for the season. Meanwhile Medvedev came to SW19 with a first career title on grass at the inaugural Mallorca Championships. Federer did make it through his quarter, though with some difficulty.
After Frenchman Adrian Mannarino had gone two sets to one up he was forced to retire after Federer levelled by winning the fourth following a nasty fall earlier in the match. Federer then beat generational rival Richard Gasquet before progressing past Cameron Norrie in four sets and Lorenzo Sonego in straights to reach the last eight.
Medvedev came through his first two matches with the loss of one set before his third round encounter brought its own troubles. Facing 2017 finalist Marin Cilic, the Russian went two sets to love down before completing an improbable comeback to clinch a spot in the fourth round, one stage further than his previous best from 2019 and 2018. He then took on 14th seed Hubert Hurkacz in an unusual match played across two venues. The opening three sets took place on Court Two, with Medvedev going two sets to one up. Then at 4-3 to Hurkacz in the fourth, pay was suspended due to rain before resuming on Centre Court the next day.
Under the roof, the Pole surged back to claim a big personal victory and reach a maiden Slam quarter-final.
Despite his spirited run to the quarter-finals, Fucsovics was swept aside by Djokovic in their clash, the Serb advancing to an 11th career Wimbledon semi-final.
Shapovalov had overcome 2019 semi-finalist Roberto Bautista Agut after Murray to meet Khachanov for a place in the last four. The Canadian went two sets to one down but recovered to win in five, making it to his first ever Major semi-final. Facing Djokovic there, the 10th seed went toe-to-toe with the world number one in the opening set only to lose it in a tiebreak. A tight affair from there, Djokovic was clinical to close out the next two sets with a late break and service hold on both occasions to win 7-6 (7-3), 7-5, 7-5 to reach a third consecutive final at SW19.
In the bottom half, Berrettini and Auger-Aliassime played out a close-fought first two sets before the Italian triumphed in four. However, the match between Federer and Hurkacz stole the headlines due to the shock result. The Pole downed the eight-time champion in straight sets, including a 6-0 third set to stamp the misery home for the Swiss. Federer has not played competitively since.
Having already secured his best Slam result by reaching the quarter-finals, the semi-finals was eventually the end of the road for Hurkacz as he fell to Berrettini in four sets.
So came the 2021 Wimbledon men’s singles final between Novak Djokovic and Matteo Berrettini.
Berrettini was in his first Major final, Djokovic incredibly in his 30th. But the Italian drew first blood, winning the opening set in a tiebreak to become the only man other than Jack Draper in the first round to claim a set off the top seed.
But Djokovic was too strong in the end as he regrouped to win the next three sets to clinch a then men’s record-equalling 20th singles Major crown.
Unfortunately, Halep sustained a calf tear in Rome earlier in 2021, forcing her to withdraw from Wimbledon and leaving her unable to put up a title defence.
Meanwhile, 2019 finalist and 23-time Major champion Serena Williams was going for an all-time record-equalling 24th Major singles crown and an eighth title at SW19.
After a strong start to 2021 on the hard courts and the start of the clay, world number one Ashleigh Barty struggled in Rome and at Roland Garros before a break ahead of Wimbledon.
She faced veteran and cancer survivor Carla Suarez Navarro in the first round as the Spaniard was making her farewell tour around each Slam before retirement.
Barty came through in three sets to end the Wimbledon career of the former world number six.
She then breezed through to the fourth round before taking on Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova.
The Czech had dropped a set in her previous match after two straight sets matches before Barty put on a show to oust her in straight sets herself.
The next section produced arguably the story of the tournament in talented British youngster Emma Raducanu.
Then ranked 338th in the world, the 18-year-old received a wildcard for her Slam main draw debut.
She then upset qualifier Vitalia Diatchenko for a dream debut at her home Major, but the journey was not over.
Raducanu then defeated 2019 Roland Garros finalist Marketa Vondrousova and veteran Romanian Sorana Cirstea, both top 50 players and both in straight sets, to reach the fourth round.
Sadly, what was a fairytale run came to an inauspicious end as, while down a set to Ajla Tomljanovic, Raducanu was forced to retire with breathing difficulties.
Nevertheless, those three wins proved a sign of things to come from the rising star.
In the next quarter, third seed Elina Svitolina was dumped out early by Magda Linette of Poland.
Roland Garros finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova was beaten by Karolina Muchova in the third round, leaving the Czech to then take out 30th seed Paula Badosa to reach the quarter-finals.
Further down in the top half, Serena Williams opened her campaign against Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus.
But what many hoped would be a wonderful Wimbledon of memories for Williams turned into a tragedy as the legend suffered injury early in the match.
She retired at 3-3 before waving goodbye to the gathered crowd as they wondered when they would ever see the great champion on Centre Court again.
Coco Gauff and Angelique Kerber took control in that eighth of the draw to meet in the fourth round.
There, the more experienced German came through 6-4, 6-4 to reach a fifth Wimbledon quarter-final, continuing her pursuit of a second title on the All England Club grass.
The top section of the bottom half was a breeze for eighth seed Karolina Pliskova.
She cruised to the quarter-finals without dropping a set and without having to face Kvitova, the next highest-ranked player in their eighth.
Viktorija Golubic came through the next section of the draw, defeating 2017 US Open finalist Madison Keys in the fourth round to reach her first ever Slam quarter-final.
In fact, the Swiss had never previously been beyond the third round of a Slam.
Rising Tunisian talent Ons Jabeur was the biggest story of the next eighth as she defeated 2017 Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza in the third round.
The Arab athlete then displayed silky skills to entertain the crowd and make it past seventh seed Iga Swiatek.
In doing so, Jabeur reached her second career Major quarter-final after first achieving the feat at the 2020 Australian Open.
To complete the quarter-final line-up, second seed Aryna Sabalenka made it through alternating straight set and three set wins to book her place in the last eight.
She defeated Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina in the fourth round 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals of a Major for the first time in her career.
None of the women’s quarter-finals were much of a contest as all four were decided in straight sets.
Barty made short work of Tomljanovic 6-1, 6-3, while Kerber conquered Muchova 6-2, 6-3 to meet the Aussie in the semi-finals.
Barty came through a tight encounter there, winning in straight sets but requiring a tiebreak in the second to reach her second Major final.
In the other two quarter-finals, Pliskova took out Golubic 6-2, 6-2, while Sabalenka ended the run of Jabeur 6-4, 6-3.
After the Belarusian went a set up on the Czech in the semi-final, Pliskova roared back to win 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.
Like Barty, she was booking her spot in a second career Slam final, having the final of the 2016 US Open.
And so onto the women’s final at Wimbledon 2021.
Barty was in pursuit of a second Slam title after Roland Garros 2019, while Pliskova sought a first after falling to Kerber in New York in 2016.
The Aussie asserted herself to win the first set before Pliskova steadied herself and clinched a tight second set in a tiebreak.
But Barty was not to be denied as she steeled herself to win the match 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3 and adding her name into the Wimbledon history books.
Wimbledon has seen some brilliant battle down the years throughout the Open Era.
1980 – Bjorn Borg defeats John McEnroe – Final – 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (16-18), 8-6
This was a battle for the shifting times.
Borg was the four-time defending champion and at 24 years old was very much at the height of his powers.
The younger McEnroe, 21, had claimed his first Major title at the US Open in 1979 but well behind Borg’s tally of nine Slam titles to this point.
In their respective routes to the final, Borg dropped just two sets while McEnroe dropped three, including in a four-set semi-final with rival and fellow American Jimmy Connors.
And it was McEnroe who started the stronger, taking the opener with a double break.
But Borg hit back in the second and third to lead 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 entering the fourth.
After McEnroe saved two championship points as Borg served for it at 5-4, the fourth set would put out an incredible 34-point tiebreak to determine whether a fifth set was required.
There McEnroe saved an astounding five more championship points to force a decider after claiming the breaker 18-16.
Borg eventually came out on top 8-6 in the final set for an unprecedented fifth consecutive title on the grass of Wimbledon.
That record streak would eventually be equalled by Federer in 2007.
While this was Borg’s final Wimbledon title, McEnroe went on to win three in four in 1981, 1983 and 1984.
1997 – Martina Hingis defeats Java Novotna – Final – 2-6, 6-3, 6-3
Today teenage stars Emma Raducanu, Leylah Fernandez and Coco Gauff are lighting up the women’s tour, but back in 1997 it was Martina Hingis.
She was already world number one at just 16 years old entering Wimbledon.
She already had a Slam title to her name from the Australian Open earlier in the year, as well as an appearance in the final of Roland Garros soon after.
Meanwhile, Novotna was an experienced 28-year-old and a former Wimbledon finalist in 1993, losing to Steffi Graf that day.
Hingis had breezed through to the final without dropping a set, while Novotna had three each of straight sets and three-set wins.
After Novotna inflicted the first dropped set of The Championships on Hingis it looked as though the Czech might redeem her 1993 final loss.
But the youthful exuberance of the Swiss was eventually too much for Novotna as Hingis triumphed for her second Major title and first and only crown at the All England Club.
2002 – Serena Williams defeats Venus Williams – Final – 7-6 (7-4), 6-3
In 2002, tennis was in the midst of Williams dominance.
Serena and Venus had won six of the last 11 Majors stretching back to the 1999 US Open.
Moreover, Venus was the two-time defending champion at Wimbledon entering The Championships in 2002.
Serena on the other hand was yet to reach a final at the grass Slam, having lost to Venus in the semi-finals in 2000 and to Jennifer Capriati in the quarter-finals in 2001.
Come 2002, Venus made it through to a third successive final with ease, dropping just one set en route, whereas Serena did so without even dropping one set.
Serena had won the pair’s two most recent meetings earlier in the year, in the finals of the Miami Open and at Roland Garros.
And so it would prove again here as Serena clinched her first of seven Wimbledon titles to date.
2008 – Rafael Nadal defeats Roger Federer – Final – 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-7 (8-10), 9-7
This match was truly one for the ages, a battle some consider to be the greatest tennis match ever played.
Astonishingly, Federer came into Wimbledon having been world number one for over four years straight since February 2004.
Soon after breaking onto the Slam scene with his first Major triumph at Roland Garros in 2005, Nadal had been chasing Federer as world number two.
The two men had fought in the Wimbledon final in 2006 and 2007, with Federer coming out on top on both occasions, in four and five sets respectively.
In 2008, Federer cruised to the final without dropping a set, while Nadal had surrendered just one, in a second round encounter with Ernests Gulbis.
Already their 18th showdown in just over four years, the final had the hype for sure.
However, initially it seemed as though the match would be straightforward, and not for the five-time defending champion Swiss.
Nadal went two sets to love up as he looked to have broken his Wimbledon curse.
But champions do not lie down, and neither did Federer as he steeled himself to win the following two sets in tough tiebreaks.
The second of those included two saved championship points from Federer, one with an unreturned serve and the other with an incredible down the line backhand passing shot.
Nadal could have crumbled from the missed opportunities…
But he did not.
Deep in the decider and without a tiebreak to separate them the two men arrived at 7-7 before Nadal finally broke.
As the light faded on Centre Court, Nadal finally clinched victory as Federer sent an approach forehand into the net.
2019 – Novak Djokovic defeats Roger Federer – Final – 7-6 (7-5), 1-6, 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 13-12 (7-3)
More than a decade on from that final heartbreak for Federer, another came along against another great rival in Djokovic.
The Swiss had won a men’s record-breaking eighth Wimbledon title in 2017 and was pursuing a ninth to tie the all-time singles record of Martina Navratilova.
Djokovic was looking to defend his 2018 title and claim a fifth crown at SW19, one which would see him level with none other than the great Bjorn Borg.
While the world number one did not reach the final flawlessly, he did so with minimal fuss, dropping just two sets across his first six matches.
Federer was similar, dropping one more set than the Serb, including in a four set encounter with long-time rival Nadal in the semi-finals.
So, the two most recent men’s champions locked horns in what would become a modern epic.
Djokovic won the opener in a tiebreak, taking the set at his first opportunity there, before Federer responded strongly with a triple-break in the second.
Like the first, the third was close, and again Djokovic came out on top.
That meant that despite not yet being broken on serve, Federer was still one set from losing the final.
Djokovic did land his first break of serve against the Swiss late in the fourth, but Federer held out to level the match and force a decider.
2019 was the first year that Wimbledon introduced a final set tiebreak, to be played at 12-12 if necessary.
Up until the final, not a single men’s match required this tiebreak.
So, after Federer failed to convert two championship points on his serve up 8-7, it was only fitting that such a close contest would be the first to be decided in such a manner.
And Djokovic made it three from three in tiebreaks in the final to clinch a 16th Slam title and fifth on the hallowed lawns of the All England Club.
At just under five hours long, it was the longest men’s singles final in Wimbledon history.
2022 men’s singles preview & draw
Both Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal will be pleased with their draws for the men’s singles but especailly the Serb who has avoided any of the really strong grass court players. Nadal will have to overcome the strong serving Berrettini or maybe Tsitsipas in his semi final should he reach that stage. so the mouthwatering prospect of 2011 final when Djokovic overcame Nadal in sets is most definitely on.
The main question is over Nadal’s foot but he has had to become good at managing his pain in these two weeks Grand Slam events as was shown at both this year’s Australian Open and French Open where a seemingly out of form and only recently recovered from injury Nadal managed to win both. Can he do it again and set up the calendar Slam? Yes he can.
There is a ‘quarter of death’ to enjoy in the men’s singles with Jannik Sinner, Stan Wawrinka, Andy Murray and John Isner all being drawn in the same section. Whoever comes through that will be (and should be) mightily proud.
Young sensation Carlos Alcaraz has a very kind section to negotiate which could help him build a head of steam on this unnatural of surfaces for the big hitting Spaniard so expect some fireworks if he does come through to play Djokovic in the quarter finals.
A block buster third round between Nick Kyrgios and Stefanos Tsitsipas isa a distinct possibility and with Kyrgios having shown some great form so far and with confidence high enough to name himself in the top 5 grass court players in the world, he could possibly upset the Greek who’s Wimbledon record is abysmal.
Rafa would have preferred not to have Cilic in his section but he is the master of taking one match at a time and doing enough to get by most opponents.
Predicted last 16:
Djokovic v Opelka
Sinner v Alcaraz
Ruud v Carreno Busta
Norrie v Hurkacz
Berrettini v Schwartzman
Shapovalov v Tsitsipas
Auger-Aliassime v Fritz
Cilic v Nadal
2022 women’s singles preview & draw
Will the unstoppable Iga Swiatek even care about the draw? Maybe but not much as she is on such a hot streak of form, has such confidence in herself and doesn’t really have any outstanding challengers that the draw will hold no fear for this plucky Pole.
The other big name to watch out for Serena Williams who very little is known about in terms of her fitness and form but a lot is known about in terms of her credentials to win this tournament. So a third round against 6th seed Pliskova will probably tell us what we need to know. Come through that and there’s a possible ‘Legend v future legend’ match up with Cori Gauff then a possible semi final against Swiatek beckons. What a classic that would be.
In the bottom half Kontaveit has been quietly going about her work and will be delighted with her Wimbldeon draw where Belinda Bencic and Maria Sakkari look like her main challengers for that semi final spot.
If Ons Jabeur has recovered from knee problems in Eastbourne then her range of shot making should be enough to see her through to the semi final to possibly meet Kontaveit.
The other name on every Brit’s lips is that of Emma Raducanu who will have to do it the hard way at Wimbledon this year. Right from the off with a first round agains Alison Van Uytvanck the young US Open reigning champion faces quality and experience with possible match ups against Caroline Garcia, Madison Keys and Danielle Collins.
Predicted last 16:
Swiatek v Krejcikova
Muguruza v Pegula
Badosa v Halep
Gauff v Pliskova
Collins v Raducanu
Kerber v Jabeur
Sakkari v Ostapenko
Bencic v Kontaveit
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History on the line
If Rafa Nadal wins Wimbledon he will move to 23 Grand Slam singles titles leaving Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic on 20 each and putting the spaniard just one tournament win away from the calendar Grand slam, that most mythical of all achievements in professional tennis.
Djokovic makes no secret of his desire to finish at the top of this list but if he were to go 3 behind Nadal then that dream would be far from certain. The great Serb has to deal with a number of high quality younger players all fighting to win establish themselves as Grand Slam winners and he is getting older himself, so to win 4 more Slams wiil be tough.
However if Djokovic were to win Wimbledon (and he’s the favourite in many people’s books have won the last 2) then he would only be 1 behind Nadal in the race which is a very different ball game.
Djokovic and Nadal have been helped by the withdrawal or banning of both the No.1 and 2 in the world, Medvedev and Zverev. Neither have ever shown their best form on grass but it’s still a much much simpler looking draw without those two great players in it. And it means that Djokovic is se3eded 1 which often means the path of least resistance in terms of the draw.
They should also be in different halves of the draw, unlike Paris, as Nadal will b seeded 2, which would mean they can only face each other in the final. Again, a great help in their lofty ambitions.
Youngsters to watch
Wimbledon men’s singles
If we are being honest, while the dominance of the big three has provided an unprecedented era of incredible tennis, it has also stripped away a good degree of the unpredictability from the men’s draws at majors.
This year, though, with a weakened draw, no Roger Federer, both of the top two players in the world missing, and serious questions remaining about Rafa Nadal’s injured foot, it feels like there is a real opportunity for a youngster if they are good enough to take it.
Carlos Alcaraz is arguably the story of the ATP season so far and considering what Rafael Nadal has achieved that is some going.
The reason for that is a very simple one: Carlos Alcaraz is the real deal, and that is something we have not seen since the emergence of the big three of Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.
We have seen quality young players before who you could see inheriting the mantle from the big three once they decide to walk away. Alcaraz is the first one we have seen who looks able to wrestle it from them when they are still here.
He proved that comprehensively at the Madrid Masters this year when he beat Nadal and Djokovic back-to-back in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, and then beat Alexander Zverev in the final for good measure.
In many ways, Alcaraz looks like some kind of hybrid of the best parts of all the top players. He is as quick and precise on the run as Roger Federer, and could rival the Swiss in the creativity department too. He also somehow marries the power and competitiveness of Nadal with the ruthless efficiency and baseline hitting of Djokovic.
Of course, that is all good in theory, but he still has to prove it. While in 2022 he has already become the youngest ever champions in the history of Rio, Miami and Madrid, the furthest he has been at a Grand Slam is the French Open. That also happened this year, at the French Open.
He is certainly on the right trajectory, and he already has a ranking to reflect that, but it’s the final step into the true elite that is the hardest to take, and that is the one Carlos Alcaraz is yet to accomplish.
If there is another young player in the ATP who looks primed to make a Carlos Alcaraz-style breakthrough then it’s Jannik Sinner. The problem is that we have been saying that for a while now.
Sinner is still only 20-years-old, and that is something that we tend to forget, just because he has been around the top 20 for a while now.
No one questions that Sinner has the potential to win majors in his career, but he faces some challenges for now. They include a knee-injury that forced him to withdraw in the middle of his fourth-round match against Andrey Rublev at Roland Garros this year.
Sinner is also adjusting to life with a new coach after splitting from Italian legend Ricardo Piatti this year, and in truth we are still waiting to see some kind of an impact from the man that replaced him, Simeone Vagnozzi.
The other thing we are waiting for Sinner to show is some development of his game around the net. The Italian is a fabulously clean hitter from the back of the court but his game lacks that variation, meaning matches can fall into patterns that become a little to easy for his opponent to read.
That net game is something that will be needed if he is to thrive at Wimbledon, and it’s not all about his technique around the net, because that is solid enough. Oftentimes with Sinner it’s about him overcoming an unwillingness to go to the net rather than an inability to succeed when he’s there.
Holger Rune is a player who has been talked up for some time, but he arrived with a bang at Roland Garros, where he reached the quarter-finals.
That perhaps shouldn’t have surprised anyone, though. Rune is most at home on clay and he won the French Open boys’ singles title in 2019. He was also a Challenger winner in 2019 when he won in Blois just a month after his 16th birthday.
The obvious challenge for Rune at Wimbledon will be the same that most youngster face: how can he adjust to grasscourt tennis. It’s clear that the talent is there, but for a player so at home on clay the jump in in court-speed will be considerable.
Rune tried to get some experience on grass by playing at Halle this year, although he only lasted one match. He was up against a tried and tested schemer in Pablo Carreno Busta, though, so there may not be too much we can read into his 6-3, 7-6 defeat.
However, what you can generally guarantee with Rune is entertainment. He’s a passionate young player and occasionally fails to keep that in-check on court, so win or lose he tends to provide something worth watching.
It’s fair to say that, for all the best efforts of the likes of John Isner, Taylor Fritz, Reilly Opelka and Frances Tiafoe, American men’s tennis has been in the doldrums for far too long now.
Perhaps things are just starting to change a little, though. Sebastian Korda is a young player with great promise and pedigree as the son for former Australian Open champions Petr, although he will miss Wimbledon with shin splints.
That leaves Jenson Brooksby to lead the charge of the young Americans, and that means it is in good hands.
The simple fact is that Brooksby is an unorthodox player with just a hint of genius in his groundstrokes. He is able to disguise them with a short back-lift, and when that is combined with genuine top-level footspeed, it can make for an exciting spectacle.
With regard Wimbledon specifically, though, there may be a real flaw in Brooksby’s game: his serve.
He is a tall player at 6’4 but his serve is not the best. On grass, that could be a problem as he won’t get the ‘free’ points that others do, meaning he will have to work that bit harder than many others.
Brooksby has been to the final of Newport in 2021, though, so he is certainly capable should the draw be kind.
The second young American to keep your eye on in the men’s draw is Brendon Nakashima. He is not quite as eye-catching as Brooksby, although many believe he is a more complete player.
Nakashima is also coming into Wimbledon in a pretty good place too. He reached the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time at the 2022 French Open and it took a tuned-in Alexander Zverev to stop him going nay further. Even then, Zverev needed two tiebreaks to beat him.
He took that form to ‘s-Hertogenbosch earlier this month to test himself on grass and he impressed again, just as he did at the Surbiton Trophy this year too.
In Den Bosch he beat compatriots Tommy Paul and Sam Querrey before running into the consistently difficult Adrian Mannarino in the quarter-finals.
Nakashima hasn’t quite his the headlines yet, but he goes about things in a quietly impressive way, He was nominated for the ATP Newcomer of the Year in 2021 after hitting a career high number 62 and beating Holger Rune in the Next Generation Finals.
Incidentally, he lost out to Jenson Brooksby in the voting.
How do you sum up Lorenzo Musetti? He is a player of undoubted talent capable of creating a must-watch spectacle. At the moment, though, his mental flaws are crippling him.
However, the other thing that those flaws do is make him captivating viewing. Put simply, there is no shot that Musetti does not see as a potential winner. If a ball is bouncing on his side of the net, he is winding up an attempted winner.
That can make for truly spectacular viewing too, because there is some real variation in his game. Musetti has a one-handed backhand that he can drive down the line with the best of them, and he also has the touch to trust his drop-shot too.
What he can’t trust at this stage of his career is his patience. If he was prepared to construct points and set up his winners rather than simply hitting his way through his matches, he would be up there with any young player in the world right now.
Instead, we are still waiting for Lorenzo Musetti to truly arrive on the ATP and convert his obvious talent into results. He loves the spotlight, though so perhaps Wimbledon can be the scene of a the genuine breakthrough we have all been expecting.
Wimbledon women’s singles
Brilliant teenage women winning major titles is not an especially uncommon thing in tennis. Emma Raducanu and Iga Swiatek did it relatively recently, Monica Seles and Martina Hingis did it a lot back in the day.
The WTA rankings are dominated by more experienced players right now as we head into Wimbledon, but there are still some young women you’d fancy to make a big impression on the tournament.
It’s pretty clear that the Wimbledon spotlight is something that Emma Raducanu is just going to have to get used to in her career, and no one is going to take her age into account when it comes to carrying the hopes of the home crowd.
Raducanu has already had a taste of this before after she made her name at the Championships as an unknown 18-year-old last year. If it feels remarkable that she is still just a teenager, it only goes to show how much has happened to her in 12 months.
She is, of course, no longer a plucky unknown. That definitely helped her at the US Open last season. She became the first qualifier to ever win a major, but she was undoubtedly helped along the way by opposition players and coaches not having enough of an opportunity to familiarise themselves with her game.
That is a luxury that Raducanu no longer has. Her game has been scrutinise and her weaknesses are now targeted. There are not many of them, in truth, but it’s proving to be a real challenge for her.
As was, last year, dealing with the expectation of the public from a mental standpoint. In the fourth round on Centre Court, it proved too much for her and she walked away mid-match.
This year she goes into Wimbledon the highest ranked teenager in the WTA. She won’t be allowed to hide away on the outside courts, and there will be even more expectation than there was last year.
With all that said, pressure is a privilege and it is one she has earned with some brilliant tennis – and it’s tennis she is still very capable of producing.
Coco Gauff is another teenager that will need absolutely no introduction to the Wimbledon crowd, and she looks in a better position than ever to make a genuinely deep run.
Gauff was just 15-years-old when she beat five-time champion Venus Williams at Wimbledon to announce herself to the world. It was a remarkable achievement.
She reached the fourth-round that year, and then backed that up by doing the same at SW19 two years later.
Because she started so early, Gauff arrives at Wimbledon this year with an incredible level of experience for such a young player. She reached not one but two finals at the French Open earlier this year – one in the singles and one in the doubles. She lost both, but she emerged stronger than before.
She also has a US Open doubles final under her belt, and she is on the brink of making her top-ten debut too.
Gauff is yet win a singles title this year, but it has become commonplace to see her going deep in tournaments and she has proven that he game plays out well in the grass courts at Wimbledon before.
Chinese teenager Qinwen Zhang will make her Wimbledon debut this year and that only adds to the layer of intrigue that surrounds the player.
Qinwen is certainly has a big game, although like most youngsters it struggles with consistency. She is a decorated youth player, having won five ITF junior titles, and she made a step up to the full ITF circuit, where she produced a perfect record of eight titles in eight finals.
She has an WTA Challenger title to her name this season too after beating compatriot Wang Xiyu in the final of Valencia.
This year has seen her turning a few heads and claiming some scalps on the WTA Tour.
She beat Simon Halep in the second round of the French Open and sent Sloane Stephens packing in Charleston too.
Grass is the big question-mark surrounding Qinwen as she prepares for her Wimbledon debut. None of the titles she has won at any level have come on grass, so she likely doesn’t even know herself what to expect.
Generally, though, her game is big enough to command respect of her opponents and, more often than not, the attention of spectators.
You might not be all that familiar with Clara Tauson yet, and it’s fine if you’re not, but I’d expect her to land on everyone’s radar before too long.
Tauson was the Australian Open junior champion in 2019, where she beat Leylah Fernandez no less in the final. She is also a decorated ITF Circuit champion and last year won her first WTA 125 title in Chicago too. The name of the player she defeated in the final to win that? Emma Raducanu. That was just weeks before the Brit was lifting the US Open trophy.
The Dane has also made her mark on the WTA Tour with a pair of WTA 250 titles in Lyon and Luxembourg.
Tauson, 19, is yet to win a title this season, but she impressed in beating the then world number seven Anett Kontaveit at the Australian Open.
Again, the question is whether she can do it on grass. With Wimbledon being cancelled in 2020 and the grass season shortened last year, it’s been tough for young players to get their feet on the surface.
Still, Tauson’s strong power game from the back of the court should cause problems on the quick courts and her good movement will be make her difficult to hit through. She is capable of overpowering opponents, but will the occasion overpower her? Time will tell, but she’s one to keep your eye on.
British players to watch
Every year, for two weeks in late June and early July, the sporting world (not just the tennis world) creates an intense focus on a small group of battle hardened tennis professionals like no other sports stars will ever experience. We look at four British men with the best chance of success at Wimbledon 2022
Being a British tennis player at Wimbledon is not for the faint-hearted and it’s only the professionalism of the individual and solid support from coaches, family and friends that can steer them through unscathed.
But if you can deal with this Wimbledon pressure and perform at your best then the rewards on offer are out of this world. (Just ask Sir Andy’s accountant)
This year, thanks to some good long term planning from the British tennis organisers, there is a strong crop of regulars playing their best tennis in years alongside new names who are starting to make it on the Tour. Here we pick 4 male players that could either turn back the clock and produce performances that we know they are capable or players that might surprise some doubters and perform better than their experience suggests.
He’s a two time former Wimbledon Champion with a metal hip and a steely resolve to regain his place at the very top table of the game. Imagine growing up with Novak Djokovic and having to watch as your arch rival accumulates trophy after trophy whilst you sit on a Peleton trying to will your body back to how it used to be.
Murray’s recent form is the best it’s been for years and he knows how to win on grass more than nearly any player in the draw. A kind draw and some good recovery between matches is all he needs to cause some serious damage in this year’s tournament.
Current form (Last 12 matches): WWLWWWLWWWWL
Chance of making the Wimbledon quarter finals: 6.5/10
This youngster from Surrey has been gradually working his way through the tennis ladder for many years without making a fuss and learning his craft at the same time. He already comes from great tennis stock and has the perfect build for a tennis athlete as well as that unquantifiable benefit of being left handed (have you ever seen and untalented lefty?)
So far Draper has taken some huge scalps on the grass and just like Murray, if the draw is kind and he builds some momentum, there will be a lot of experienced players with worried looks on their faces when they see Draper on the other side of the net
Current form (Last 12 matches): WLWLWWWWWWLL
Chance of making the Wimbledon quarter finals: 4/10
The quiet man of British tennis has achieved more this year than any Brit has for a long time. Winning in Indian Wells is close to winning a Slam in that it’s spread over 10 days and you have to learn how to pace yourself throughout the event. Valuable experience for these 2 week grinds.
Ok, Norrie’s game isn’t naturally suited to grass but if the weather is hot, the courts are slow and the balls are big (allegedly they are bigger than normal) then this gritty baseliner, who isn’t scared of anyone, could do well.
Current form (Last 12 matches): WLWWLWWWL
Chance of making the Wimbledon quarter finals: 7/10
Ryan who? you might be saying but this youngster has pulled off some big wins in the past few weeks on grass and as they say, “form is everything”. Peniston came through the US college system which is as tough as it gets so he’s not scared of putting in the hard yards.
Has he got the weapons to reach the top levels of the game? It’s debatable but then you wouldn’t say that someone like Diego Schwartzman has weapons and he’s done ok for himself. Peniston probably needs conditions like Norrie needs if he’s to win many matches but don’t count him out yet.
Current form (Last 12 matches): WLLWWLWWLWWL
Chance of making the Wimbledon quarter finals: 3/10
This young player will be the name on everyone’s lips this year as she comes into the tournament as the current darling of British tennis thanks to her astonishing (and yes we are still astonished) triumph at the US Open in 2021.
Raducanu’s form hasn’t been quite as stunning as in New York but she’s been playing a lot of matches and learning her craft at the same time as dealing with the incessant focus of the media (yes that includes Tennishead!) and the stresses and strains put on her body.
She’s still the best chance that a British woman has of lifting the title but to be more realistic, a run to the quarter finals or better would be a great achievement, and then who knows…
Relatively unknown but showing some real grass court form, this motivated player has been through a lot to reach the stage of her career she finds herself at, and she certainly won’t give it up without a battle.
After two ankle surgeries there is little to doubt her commitment and she certainly is enjoying her tennis especially on grass, so if she can draw a big name in the first round who hasn’t had much grass practise, then Burrage can cause a shock.
Like Norrie, Indian Wells was a breakthrough event for this North Londoner. She’s also admitted to being very happy both on court and off which makes life on the tough tennis tour much more bearable.
On court, Dart won’t give up on anything and whilst she doesn’t posses the weapons of others her consistency and spirit have taken her a long way. She says the British crowd inspires her and she’ll certainly enjoy their support over the next two weeks.
The wild card of our picks due to her lack of play over the past few years thanks to serious injuries. But Boulter has all the pieces of the puzzle to make it a long way on the grass of Wimbledon. She’s tall (5ft 11), has a big game, is totally committed on court and knows how to win having been as high as 82 on the WTA Tour.
Is this tournament just a little too early in her comeback to get a proper idea of her potential? Maybe, but the adrenaline of playing in front of an adoring crowd could give her that boost she needs. Recent strong wins in the warm up tournaments mean she comes into Wimbledon feeling positive.
The bookies favourites
Defending champion Djokovic is the bookies favourite to win and successfully defend his 2021 title, while last year[s finalist and recent Queen’s Champion Matteo Berrettini is second. Nadal is third favourite to win his 23rd Slam title 14th Paris crown, while young superstar Carlos Alcaraz is an outsiders pick at 4th.
Novak Djokovic 4/5
Matteo Berrittini 11/2
Rafa Nadal 13/2
Carlos Alcaraz 8/1
Felix Auger-Aliassime 11/1
Hubert Hurkacz 14/1
Off the back of her huge win streak and Roland Garros title, Swiatek is the heavy favourite to win her first Wimbledon title. The others are a long way behind in the bookies eyes but Serena Williams obviously has the pedigree (if maybe not the form or fitness) to defy her 16/1 odds.
Iga Swiatek 13/10
Ons Jabeur 10/1
Cori Gauff 10/1
Simona Halep 12/1
Serena Williams 16/1
Karolina Pliskova 18/1
2022 Wimbledon Prize Money
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