Wimbledon 2022: No points, all about prestige
The 135th edition of Wimbledon starts on Monday with defending champion Novak Djokovic and world No. 1 Iga Swiatek carrying the mantle of being the top seeds. However, this time, the Championships is under a political cloud, having banned players from Russia and Belarus for Moscow’s aggression on Ukraine.
As a result, the ATP and WTA have stripped it of valuable points. But that has not deterred too many top players from taking part in the world’s oldest grand slam. The Telegraph takes a look
Djokovic, with six Wimbledon titles under his belt, including the last three, is undoubtedly the favourite. But he will have Rafael Nadal to contend with, and with the duo being the top two seeds and featuring at the opposite ends of the draw, chances are they will meet in the final.
Nadal, already leading the men’s list with 22 grand slam titles, will look forward to equal Serena Williams’ Open Era record of 23 grand slam singles titles.
Absence that matters
Conspicuous by his absence will be Roger Federer, who has a record eight Wimbledon titles to his credit. This will be the first Wimbledon since 1998 not to feature the iconic Swiss. The 40-year-old hasn’t played competitively since undergoing knee surgery following his straight-sets loss to Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter finals in 2021.
This will also be the first Wimbledon since the introduction of the ATP rankings in 1973, and the first major tournament since the 1999 Australian Open, where both the reigning men’s world No. 1 and No. 2 (Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev, respectively) will not compete. Medvedev is prohibited from playing due to his Russian nationality, while Zverev is recovering from an ankle injury.
With 2021 champion Ashleigh Barty no longer playing competitive tennis, the focus will be on rising star Swiatek. The world No.1, however, has never reached the quarter finals even at the grass court grand slam.
Another player sure to draw eyeballs will be Emma Raducanu. The teenager is the reigning US Open champion and the first British woman to win a grand slam singles title since Virginia Wade in the 1977 at Wimbledon.
She is seeded tenth this time. However, her run-up to SW19 has not been smooth. Earlier this month, she had to retire before the completion of her first-round match at the Nottingham Open. Raducanu also missed the Eastbourne International due to an injury.
And then there will be Serena Williams. With 23 grand slam singles titles under her belt, seven of which came at Wimbledon centre court, the former world No.1 is now 1204 in the WTA rankings and has been granted a wild card to play on the courts that she once ruled. She has not played since she withdrew from her first-round match at the 2021 Championships, slipping and injuring herself on Centre Court.
For the first time
This will be the tournament’s first edition with a scheduled order of play on the “Middle Sunday”. Earlier, the tournament had seen only rare exceptions to the tradition of withholding competition on that day to accommodate delayed matches during championships that were heavily disrupted by rain.
The modified champions tie-break rule in the final set will also be introduced at Wimbledon in 2022. In the new format, the tie break will be played up to 10 points when a match reaches 6 games all, but it has to be won by two clear points. There have also been reports that Wimbledon will break tradition and allow players to practice on Centre Court and Court 1. The decision was made to protect players from injuries, after quite a few mishaps took place in 2021 due to slippery conditions at the Championships.
2022 marks the centenary of the hallowed Centre Court at Wimbledon. To celebrate the occasion, Wimbledon.com will run a series where fans can vote for their most memorable Center Court moment. A set of platinum coins will be used for the toss in the singles finals (both men and women) commemorating both the Queen’s platinum jubilee and the centenary of Centre Court.