No Russians, but with Serena and Novak at Wimbledon
The odds for the London major, where our fans will be passive observers
Despite all the circumstances, deprivation of ranking points and absence of Russian and Belarusian tennis players, Wimbledon will take place, and even with a huge prize fund – the singles winners will receive £2 million each. Without Medvedev, Rublev, Khachanov and Karatsev (and Sasha Zverev with a torn ligament), the tournament will of course be less exciting to watch, but still, the men’s half of the majors is almost full: Djokovic, Cicipas, Nadal, Berrettini, Murray and even Wawrinka.
For Djokovic, winning Wimbledon is a matter of honour
Novak Djokovic, in the absence of Dani Medvedev and Alexander Zverev, is the tournament’s first seed and is in a more passable half of the net than Nadal and Berrettini, but it’s not all smooth sailing. Novak is having the strangest and most difficult season of his career, so it is a matter of principle and honour for him to win Wimbledon now. The other question is whether his fitness will allow him to do so.
Nole turned down the opportunity to take part in an exhibition tournament with Nadal and Tsitsipas, so he has no matches in his arsenal on grass this season. Despite being in the second half of the table with Kyrios, Djokovic could face Carlos Alcaraz and Hubert Hurkac, who recently defeated Danya Medvedev in the final of the Halle tournament. Still, he needs to get past Sung Woo Kwon of South Korea first.
After his foot treatment in Spain, Nadal trained for a week in Mallorca before playing two exhibition matches at the Herlingham club a little later. Rafa beat Stan Wawrinka 6-3, 6-3 on Wednesday but lost to Felix Auger-Allassim 6-7, 6-4, 3-10 on Friday. As his coach Marc Lopez said, Nadal’s foot is in good condition and is not bothering him. That is why Nadal himself hopes to be one hundred percent ready for Wimbledon, to show the best level of tennis in his 36. Rafa’s first opponent in England will be Francisco Cerundolo (Argentina).
Berrettini is a dark Italian horse
A guy to definitely keep an eye on is Matteo Berrettini. He is the one Rafa trained with before Wimbledon, and it was Matteo who won the last two tournaments on grass, although he returned to the tour after a three-month absence and injury. The dark Italian lost to Djokovic in the Wimbledon final last year, but today the tennis players approach the tournament in different states. On Matteo’s side is youth and a lack of the kind of pressure that is now being put on Nola or Rafa. Not ruled out that Berrettini can take revenge for last year and finally win his first ‘major’.
And what about Sir Andy Murray? The two-time Wimbledon champion is hungry to win it for a third time, and the final in Stuttgart sets the stage for that. The threat could be John Isner, who is Andy’s second-round rival, and is already facing Yannick Sinner in the third.
Serena Williams’ return
The women’s part of the tournament will take place without our girls and without Belarusian stars Arina Sobolenko and Victoria Azarenka, but with Serena Williams and Iga Sventek. The odds of the world number one and second seed Annette Kontaveit meeting in the final are not zero, but close to it, given the trends in the women’s tour. Notably, Iga is considered the favourite, but she has not played a single match on grass since winning the title at Roland Garros. The Pole will begin her tour of the tournament net with a match against Croatia’s Jana Fett.
Trying to get off the couch is Serena Williams, who is in the hunt for her 24th Slam. The American super veteran hasn’t played singles for a year and here she is again at Wimbledon. Last time it all ended sadly – a hip injury prevented Serena from even a lap in the grass majors. What will happen this time, it is difficult to predict. Let us just say that last week Serena was quite confident in tandem with Ones Joubert (until Joubert got a right knee injury). Williams, who received the wild card in the first round of Wimbledon, will test herself in a match against Armoni Tan of France.
England favourite Emma Raducanu’s participation is questionable – the girl fears she will not be able to recover in time for the start of the tournament after injuring her abdominal muscles. The day before she practiced for about an hour on the first court of Wimbledon, but the second training session, where the British player was to play Garbiña Muguruza, Emma missed. Radukanu will be playing on home courts for the first time as Britain’s first racket, so the organisers are really counting on her, as the US Open champion has become something of a brand that sells very well. The number of promotional contracts the girl has signed over the past year far exceeds the number of titles she has won. Nevertheless, it is unfair to write her off completely.