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Magnificent Sevens for Djokovic and Swiatek?

| by Kevin Richard

image Magnificent Sevens for Djokovic and Swiatek?
Wimbledon begins on June 27 and Novak Djokovic bids to win a seventh men's singles. Meanwhile, Iga Swiatek is out to win a seventh straight tournament but has never made it past the fourth round at Wimbledon. Will it be seventh heaven for these two players?

Magnificent Sevens for Djokovic and Swiatek?


Wimbledon begins on June 27 and it’s the time when the grass court specialists take centre stage. It’s a slightly different tournament this year with Russian and Belarusian players banned. That has led to the decision not to award ranking points for the tournament. It’s still Wimbledon though and every player will want to win a title. No way is this an ‘exhibition tournament’ but who should you be backing?

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Another Title for Novak?


Novak Djokovic may have lost his world number one ranking but he’s still the Wimbledon favourite in the men’s singles. He’s won the title on six previous occasions and another victory tthis year will take him level with Pete Sampras and Harry Renshaw. The current record is eight for Roger Federer who doesn’t look like entering the tournament this year.

Djokovic has yet to reach a Grand Slam final this year and only won one tournament. His chances of another Wimbledon title look good though. The ban on Russian players means that new world number one Daniil Medvedev (a position he doesn’t deserve on current form) and Andrey Rublev won’t be at Wimbledon. That’s two of the top eight absent and you can likely add on the injured world number two Alexander Zverev.

Three of the top ten absent means Djokovic is a deserved favourite to win yet another Wimbledon title and his third in a row. Even if he does, the Serb will drop further down the rankings due to him being unable to defend the 2000 points he earned for winning the 2021 title. Make sure you check the world rankings the day after the men’s singles final. That will determine seedings for future events.

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Who Can Stop another Djokovic Triumph?


Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam played on a grass court surface. That means it is important to look at the players and how they have performed in grass court tournaments. For example, Stefanos Tsitsipas will be highly seeded but he has three first round defeats at Wimbledon and never made it past the fourth round.

2022 has seen Rafael Nadal win the first two Grand Slams of the year for the first time in his career. Can he make it three by winning Wimbledon? You never know with this guy but he hasn't reached a Wimbledon final for 11 years and the second of his two titles here was in 2010.

This is only the second time at Wimbledon for Carlos Alcaraz and he lost in the second round last year. Casper Ruud and Jannik Sinner are yet to play a second round match at Wimbledon. Wish Pablo Carreno Busta good luck as he’s lost all six of his matches at Wimbledon. Seventh time lucky perhaps?.

Who should you look out for? Felix Auger-Aliassime was a quarter finalist last year and could go well again in 2022. Denis Shapovalov and Hubert Hurkacz were the losing semi-finalists last year.  Shapovalov is definitely one who could go far again this year.

Grigor Dimitrov made the last four eight years ago. Marin Cilic is a danger and has lost in three quarter finals and the 2017 final but won two Queen’s Club tournaments.

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One Better for Berrettini this year?


Matteo Berrettini is another player who will see his ranking drop even if he does well at Wimbledon. Last year saw him win the Queen’s Club tournament and then reach the final at Wimbledon. He’s been out injured for a long time this year and only made his comeback in Stuttgart this month. He made a great return to the ATP circuit by winning the title there, beating Andy Murray in the final. Another good run at Wimbledon looks likely for the Italian.

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British success in the men's singles?


Andy Murray has won Wimbledon twice, the last time being in 2016. He’s had his well-documented injuries since then but has slowly been making his way back up the rankings. Murray got to the final in Stuttgart and that was his first on grass since winning his second Wimbledon title.

Murray sustained an abdominal injury in that final, yet another injury. He had to miss the Queen’s Club tournament and therefore couldn’t boost his ranking. That means he will be unseeded at Wimbledon this year.

That was the case last year when he beat seeded Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first round before eventually losing to Denis Shapovalov in round three. No one will fancy taking on Murray in the first round but the danger is he could end up drawing one of the top seeds, perhaps even Novak Djokovic.

Britain are likely to have two seeds in the men's singles. Cameron Norrie will be in the top ten but he's never made it past the third round at Wimbledon. The same applies to Dan Evans, so a title challenge by either looks unlikely. Look out for Jack Draper who is now in the top 100 and last year took a set off Novak Djokovic in the first round.

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Big Test for Swiatek


Iga Swiatek has dominated women’s tennis for the past few months. Six tournaments in a row have been won by the Pole and she’s unbeaten in her last 35 matches but none have been played on grass.

Swiatek has taken over as the world number one after the retirement of Ashleigh Barty. Now she attempts to win Wimbledon for the first time and this is perhaps her biggest test. The 20-year-old has never got past the fourth round at Wimbledon and is yet to win a grass court tournament.

The women’s game is so unpredictable apart from Swiatek winning all the time. We may again see the top seeds fall early on and surprising players reaching the latter stages. That was the case at Roland Garros with Coco Gauff reaching the final and Daria Kasatkina (not at Wimbledon due to the ban) making it to the last four.

A look at the top tennis players doesn’t reveal too many who have an impressive grass court record. That’s why you need to be checking how players perform on this surface when working out your bets. In the women’s singles, of the top ten in the world, only Ons Jabeur, Karolina Pliskova and Garbine Muguruza have got past the fourth round at Wimbledon. Of those players, only Jabeur has had a consistent 2022 but even she lost in the first round at Roland Garros.

Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep are former champions and could go well. Serena Williams is back but hasn’t played singles since she retired hurt at Wimbledon last year. Not a great deal can be expected of her to be fair, perhaps in the doubles though.

Karolina Muchova has played Wimbledon twice and on both occasions got to the quarter finals. Madison Keys made it to the last eight seven years ago but has shown improved form in 2022. Camila Giorgi was a quarter finalist in 2018 and others to consider are Ajla Tomljanovic, Allison Riske and Viktorija Golubic.

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More Success for Raducanu?


This time last year, few of us had heard of Emma Raducanu. Only those in the game really knew about the player who was ranked 336th. Then, the young British player reached the last 16 but retired in her match after having a panic attack.

Fast forward to the US Open and Raducanu went through the qualifiers and went on to win the title. Since then, it’s not been that great a time for her. There have been several injuries and three retirements, including in the recent grass court tournament at Nottingham.

Raducanu has only won two matches in a tournament once since the US Open. Both those wins were against players outside the top 100. Backing her is so difficult because of her fitness. Perhaps a return to Wimbledon will inspire her. A kind draw and retaining her fitness might see her go well. However, she’ll also see her ranking slip due to not being able to defend the points won last year at Wimbledon.

The women's singles is again likely to be a minefield for gamblers. It's best to keep stakes low and enjoy watching what is still the world's greatest tennis tournament even if there's no ranking points. 

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