Two Grand Slams in 2022, two wins for Rafael Nadal
If it’s been a good year for the veteran Spaniard, who keeps pulling clear of his big rival Novak Djokovic in terms of Grand Slam titles, it’s also been a good year for us. We were bitterly unlucky that our pre-tournament pick Daniil Medvedev lost the Australian Open final from two sets up against Nadal, but we backed Nadal before the French Open at big odds and this despite Djokovic being the big favourite there.
Let’s see if we can build on that one. Here’s all you need to know about Wimbledon 2022 betting.
The case for Djokovic
There’s only one place to start and it’s with 1.75 favourite Djokovic.
The Serb has dominated this tournament over the past few years, winning it in 2018, 2019 and 2021, remembering that the 2020 edition didn’t take place because of the pandemic.
It’s also worth remembering that last year he won the first three Grand Slams of the year, including this one, before surprisingly losing the US Open to Medvedev in straight sets. Meaning he’s been in the mood for the big events as he carries on that battle with Nadal for that record of Grand Slam wins.
His success here at Wimbledon should come as no big surprise. He’s a good server who can win lots of points off serve, returns well against big-servers, has a strong net game and the experience of playing on a slick, irregular surface after years and years of visiting SW19 and having plenty of success here. Few would argue that he doesn’t have the best all-round game on the tour and that’s a big advantage on grass…
The case against Djokovic
But if those are all the pluses, then how about the negatives?
Well, 2022 has been an extremely hard year for him. First, he was excluded from playing at the Australian Open as a result of his unvaccinated status and then he missed out on playing a few more tournaments as a result of that as well.
So, it’s been a stop-start season for him that’s meant he’s not always been at his best in physical terms, while his game has occasionally lacked rhythm. That lack was certainly evident in Paris when Djokovic was soundly beaten by Nadal, although the Serb was a strong favourite going into the game.
There’s obviously no disgrace in losing to Nadal at Roland Garros, but the Spaniard won pretty easily and at times Djokovic looked out of sorts, which is what happens when you don’t play enough. That was the last time he played a competitive match, almost three weeks ago. It means that all he has to show for his efforts this season was a win at the Rome Masters, a poor return by his standards.
So, the question is: would you want to be backing a player at 1.75 who has hardly played all season, hasn’t played a single event on grass in preparation for this tournament and has admitted he’s far from being at his best physically?
TIP Djokovic is the most likely winner, but that doesn’t make him a good bet…
Grass is arguably the best of his surfaces
The veteran recently became one of a select group of players still active to have made the semis (or better) of all four Grand Slams. It’s evidence of what a well-rounded, versatile player he is. And he’s a former Grand Slam winner. Yes, it was a while back in 2014 that he won the US Open, but it does show his class.
And grass is arguably one of Cilic’s best surfaces. His last few visits to Wimbledon weren’t particularly profitable but then again, he was often suffering from injuries or had been out of form going into it. Noteworthy, he boasts a superb record at Queen’s, which is an excellent proof that his big power game is perfect for grass.
Additionally, Cilic has shown good form as of late with a fine win over Medvedev in Paris before losing to Casper Ruud in the semis. That was followed by a good run at the recent Queen’s tournament on grass, making it to the semis once again.
So, here we’ve got one of the game’s big servers, in good form, possessing a fine temperament, with a wealth of experience under his belt, and on top of it – fresh from a good run at a prestigious grass-court tournament. At those odds, he’s worth a bet!
He may be 36 years old, but so far 2022 has been an excellent year for the Spaniard
He already has two Grand Slams this year, won at the Acapulco Open and also made the final at Indian Wells, showing he’s not just playing well in general: Nadal is playing well on all surfaces and going deep in the big tournaments.
Including 2020 when the tournament didn’t take place, Nadal has played here at Wimbledon in just three of the last six years, missing the other two through injury. But in two of those three he made the semis, losing to Roger Federer in 2019 and Novak Djokovic in 2018, meaning it’s needed the very best to knock him out at Wimbledon.
TIPDespite being far from the most natural grass-court player, Nadal has won Wimbledon twice before, in 2008 and 2010. So, he knows what to do here.
The lack of practice on grass may be a concern to some given he hasn’t played since Paris, but he knows his body better than anyone else does, so obviously figured he was better off with the rest than playing just to get accustomed to the green stuff.
Three Grand Slams in a row in a season where he’s suffered from that foot injury may seem like a big stretch… But this is Nadal, he’s looking fit, has won here before and may just be about to write a new chapter in what has been a fairy-tale year for him already.
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