STARNBERG, June 23, 2022 (Guest Post)
Wimbledon is on the mind of most tennis fans, and the rapid changeover from clay-court to grass-court tennis is already under way as players, coaches, pundits and journalists prepare for London.
In addition to being one of the most compelling of global sports, tennis has also developed a strong following in the sports betting world, and ahead of the tournament there will be plenty of tennis bettors claiming their PointsBet deposit bonus to bet on the Wimbledon winner.
Unlike a sport such as the NFL, in which upsets are relatively rare, tennis, being for the most part an individual sport, can be more unpredictable, as form, injury and morale can all affect the outcome, which makes for an exciting spectacle and can sometimes influence some unexpected wins.
Of course, this year’s championships will also be unusual as there will be no ranking points available, following the ATP and WTA’s reprisal for Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players after the invasion of Ukraine.
Meanwhile, new challenges await Roland-Garros champions Rafael Nadal and Iga Swiatek, who both have plenty to be happy about as they move into the grass-court season. As well as impressing the tennis world with his incredible 14th French Open win, Nadal is halfway to the coveted calendar-year Grand Slam. Of course, it remains an incredibly tough assignment. Winning Wimbledon and the US Open while managing his persistent left foot discomfort will be immensely difficult, but it is unlikely he will ever get another chance to do what Rod Laver last did in 1969 in men’s tennis, something that Nadal’s main rival Novak Djokovic came within one match of doing last year.
Nadal was missing from Wimbledon last year, but reports suggest that he and his medical team are pulling out all of the stops to ensure he is ready this time around.
Djokovic, meanwhile, will have to recover from the disappointment of losing again to Nadal in Paris, but he will go into this tournament as a six-time Wimbledon winner, so he is sure to start as favorite. And while losing in Paris was a blow, particularly as Nadal’s tournament win means the Spaniard is now two Grand Slams ahead of Djokovic in the all-time lists, he has a record of bouncing back from tough losses in the past, and having missed much of the start of the season, will perhaps be fresher than most.
Having claimed her second French Open title in the last three years, Swiatek will head to Wimbledon as favorite, though it has to be acknowledged that there remains a question mark over her ability to reach the same level of form on grass. Swiatek herself has expressed her doubts over the prospect and has said that she would prefer to go to Wimbledon with lower expectations. Still, the expectations are a result of her phenomenal success, which is, in turn, a reflection of her supreme talent, and as we have seen with Rafael Nadal and others, the very best players can succeed on all surfaces.
And what of the other challengers to the crown in the men’s and women’s tournaments? While the likes of World No. 1 Daniil Medvedev and former women’s No. 1 Victoria Azarenka will not be able to compete, others will hope to join the Grand Slam winners’ circle. But as they found out at Roland Garros, it’s a significant jump from contender to the level of actually winning one of these titles.
Alexander Zverev is not likely to feature at Wimbledon due to injury, but Denis Shapovalov, Stefanos Tsitsipas and last year’s runner-up, Matteo Berrettini, will be in action. And then, of course, there is the return of crowd favorite Andy Murray to the arena where he has twice triumphed before.
In the women’s tournament, Coco Gauff will be the focus of much attention after her breakthrough run to the French Open final, which suggested that we could be witnessing the rise of a new star in the women’s game. Home fans will definitely be cheering on Emma Raducanu, who famously clinched the US Open last year and who will be bidding to become the first British woman since Virginia Wade to win at Wimbledon.
With the retirement of Ashleigh Barty, there is the chance for a new champion to get their name on the famous trophy. Of course, to do that, they will have to get past Swiatek, which is a pretty formidable challenge, but which should make for a fascinating tournament.