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Wimbledon - Tennis: Men's Preview

There is a familiar feel during the build up to Wimbledon 2022 with Novak Djokovic heavily touted as the player to beat.

What2022 Wimbledon Men
WhereAll England Club, Wimbledon, London
WhenMonday 27th June to Sunday 10th July 2022
How to watchBBC or bet365 Live Stream
OddsN Djokovic 4/5, Matteo Berrettini 5/1, Rafael Nadal 7/1, Carlos Alcaraz 12/1, Andy Murray 40/1 

The Serbian is bidding for a seventh title - which would draw him level with Pete Sampras and one behind Roger Federer in the list of all-time Wimbledon greats.

Federer misses out this year due to injury, but there is plenty of talent in the field, including former champions Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray, and rising star Carlos Alcaraz.

Others like Matteo Berrettini, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Casper Ruud are eager to take the last step, having reached Grand Slam finals, and are sure to contribute to a fascinating tournament.

Djokovic's Wimbledon run could end

Djokovic was the player all of the unseeded men were eager to avoid in the draw and the unenviable task of facing him in the first round goes to South Korean Kwon Soon-Woo, who has won just one of his previous three main draw Wimbledon matches.

Kwon appears unlikely to pull off what would be one of the greatest shocks in Grand Slam history, but Djokovic will face sterner tests as the tournament progresses and is not a shoo-in to reach a fourth successive Wimbledon final.

Djokovic has lost five of 21 competitive matches this year and has won just one of the last seven tournaments he has contested.

He is far more difficult to beat in Grand Slam matches, where the best of five-set format plays to his physical strengths, but his famed powers of durability are going to weaken at some point.

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It could certainly be argued that Djokovic may be less battle-hardened, having played fewer matches than normal by this stage of the season, and his chances may be better assessed after the first few rounds when he should be afforded the chance to ease his way into the tournament.

The biggest threat lurking before the quarter-finals could be potential fourth round opponent Reilly Opelka, who has a big serve and has won two titles this year.

Opelka won the indoor event at the Dallas Open and the US Open Clay Court Championships in Houston, helping him break into the world's top 20.

Berrettini ready to break his duck

Berrettini gave Djokovic a decent match in last year's Wimbledon final - losing 7-6 4-6 4-6 3-6 - and is hopeful of going one better and landing a career-first Grand Slam title.

The Italian has the right weapons to succeed on grass courts thanks to a powerful, reliable serve and a solid all-court game, highlighted by his powerful forehand.

Berrettini's backhand is more of a defensive shot and an area that can sometimes be his downfall in longer rallies where he can be dictated to.

However, that is not so much of an issue on grass courts where points are shorter and accurate blocked returns can be a useful tool.

The 26-year-old is steadily working out how best to use his assets and there are signs of slow but steady progress. He achieved a career-best run to the semi-finals at this year's Australian Open and reminded everyone of his grass court prowess by winning the Queen's Club Championships earlier this month.

Berrettini's preparation could not have gone much better and he slots into the bottom half of the draw, ensuring he avoids any potential meeting with Djokovic until the final.

Alcaraz may have to bide his time

Rafael Nadal became the second Spanish winner of Wimbledon with his successes in 2008 and 2010 and his achievements may serve as an inspiration to compatriot Carlos Alcaraz, who is likely to become a star of the future.

Alcaraz turned 19 in May this year, but already has the game to compete with the best, as he showed by defeating Nadal and Djokovic on the way to winning this year's Madrid Open.

He was the youngest ever winner at the Madrid Open and set the same benchmarks at the Rio Open and the Miami Open which he won earlier this year.

Alcarez's sharp rise and fearless approach make him a player to be respected, but a lack of Grand Slam experience counts against him.

He has featured in six Grand Slams, but is yet to advance beyond the last eight and was beaten in the second round at Wimbledon last year, losing 6-4 6-1 6-2 to Daniil Medvedev.

Eventually Alcaraz will leave that effort a long way behind but it may take him time to work out the best strategy for playing on grass courts and it would not be a huge surprise if he was upstaged by one of the more experienced players lurking in his section of the draw.

Murray's biggest moments may have passed

One of the players Alcaraz may have to contend with could be two-times winner Murray, who is a potential fourth round opponent.

Murray has had some tough times on his long road back from a hip-resurfacing operation, but he has had better results this year and reached the final of the grass court Stuttgart Open, where he lost 4-6 7-5 3-6 to Berrettini.

Murray retains his competitive edge and a superb touch and feel around the court, but there are huge question marks over how his body would hold up to the rigours of a long run at a Grand Slam.

He has not advanced beyond the third round in his last seven Grand Slam appearances (all post-op) and may struggle to do any better this year.

Cilic renaissance set to continue

An experienced player with better prospects could be 33-year-old Marin Cilic, who was a losing Wimbledon finalist in 2017.
Cilic's career appeared to be on the wane after he entered his thirties, but he has returned to prominence this year with a string of good performances.

He reached the fourth round at the Australian Open and posted a career-best run to the semi-finals at the French Open.
However, grass is one of his favourite surfaces and a run to the semi-finals at Queen's Club tees him up nicely for a shot at the Wimbledon crown.

Cilic was a Grand Slam winner at the US Open in 2014 and may have one more big tournament left in him.

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