Wimbledon 2022: Can Djokovic be challenged by Nadal, Berrettini or Kyrgios?


Reigning Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic is overwhelming favourite to win his seventh title at the All England Lawn Tennis Club – but which stars can challenge the Serbian?

Could Rafael Nadal win an incredible third major of the year to keep alive his shot at winning a Golden Slam?

Will the in-form Matteo Berrettini take the next step after making the final in 2021?

Or can Nick Kyrgios maintain his focus for two weeks on his favourite surface?

The Sporting News analyses the contenders to win the Wimbledon men’s singles title.

Novak Djokovic (Serbia)

If it wasn’t for Rafael Nadal’s presence at French Open 2022, it is likely the world no.2 would have won the crown at Roland-Garros.

Djokovic (20 Grand Slam titles) currently sits two behind Nadal’s (22) career tally – providing the Serbian with extra motivation to start the chase of the Spaniard at Wimbledon.

Having won the last three Wimbledon titles that have been held (2020 was cancelled because of COVID-19), Djokovic will be hot favourite to win once again.

In the 2021 final, Djokovic recovered from losing the first set against Berrettini, before closing the match out in four 6-7(4) 6-4 6-4 6-3.

After his exit at the French Open, Djokovic has chosen to rest up, avoiding the main grass-court warm-up tournaments such as Queen’s and Mallorca, but will instead play in the Giorgio Armani Tennis Classic – an exhibition tournament at the The Hurlingham Club in London.

Matteo Berrettini (Italy)

Can you prepare for Wimbledon any better than winning two consecutive tournaments at Stuttgart and Queen’s?

The Italian is yet to lose a match since returning for the grass-court season following a three-month injury layoff because of a hand issue.

Berrettini defeated the likes of Lorenzo Sonego and Andy Murray on his way to the title in Stuttgart, before defending the Queen’s Club Championship he won in 2021 by only dropping one set in the 2022 edition.

Having reached the final and taking a set off Djokovic, Berrettini looks primed as the second favourite to win the title at Wimbledon.

Berrettini has all the attributes to win the third major of the year – with a huge serve, quality volley technique and arguably the biggest forehand in the game.

Matteo Berrettini

Rafael Nadal (Spain)

Surely Nadal can’t win his third consecutive Grand Slam of the year?

There were question marks about the Spaniard even starting at Wimbledon 2022 after he admitted he had to numb his injured foot with painkilling injections to get through the French Open.

But despite the chronic injury, Nadal has confirmed he will be in the main draw at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, and how can you rule him out as being a contender?

Nadal is set to warm-up for Wimbledon at the same exhibition event as Djokovic – the Giorgio Armani Tennis Classic at The Hurlingham Club in London.

The 36-year-old has won Wimbledon twice before – 2008 and 2010 – and has reached the final on three separate occasions, but interestingly hasn’t reached the last two of the event since 2011.

If Nadal was to salute at Wimbledon to keep alive the possibility of a Golden Slam, and win a 23rd career Grand Slam, the debate to who is tennis’ best-ever will be even closer to being decided.

Nadal Wimbledon

El Español

Nick Kyrgios (Australia)

There is no doubting Kyrgios has the ability to win a Grand Slam – particularly on his favoured grass surface – but can he stay focused across a two-week five-set Grand Slam in order to challenge?

The 27-year-old’s grass court form prior to Wimbledon has shown he can beat any player, reaching the semi-finals at both Stuttgart and Halle.

However, Kyrgios’ combustible nature contributed to his exit to Andy Murray in Stuttgart, while his emotions were highly-varied throughout his run to the Halle semis, which was eventually cut short by Hubert Hurkacz.

There was no shame in losing to Hurkacz – a Wimbledon semi-finalist suited to grass – with Kyrgios winning the first set before the Pole nicked the next two via tiebreakers.

Kyrgios would have noted that Hurkacz demolished world no.1 Daniil Medvedev in the Halle final – and it could have easily been him in that decider.

Nick Kyrgios Wimbledon

Getty Images

Other contenders

Wimbledon 2021 semi-finalist Hurkacz has shown he is in the form for a deep run once again, especially after his performances to win at Halle – particularly against Medvedev and Kyrgios.

World no.1 Medvedev won’t be a starter at the All England Lawn Tennis Club with Russian and Belarusian players banned from the event after the war in Ukraine.

Teen sensation Carlos Alcaraz could be in the equation but his limited grass-court experience (eliminated 2R at Wimbledon 2021) and decision to avoid the traditional grass warm-up tournaments suggests he might struggle to go the distance.

Canadian star Felix Auger-Aliassime could also be a contender after showing impressive form at Halle, only going down to eventual winner Hurkacz in two tiebreak sets.


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