Heading rapidly towards the 2022 Wimbledon Championships, the world’s leading tennis players are currently appearing at numerous tournaments around the globe, getting themselves ready for the key event in London. Putting in vital hours of practice could make all the difference, particularly for those who haven’t had the opportunity to play regularly on grass.
Marking a fine start to his Wimbledon warm-up schedule, Rafael Nadal beat Stan Wawrinka at Hurlington Club, showcasing some fine form in the exhibition match. Although the 36-year-old had not played on grass for three years, there was no question about the quality demonstration of skills he put on display, looking more than capable of winning his third Grand Slam title of the year.
“It has been a while without playing on grass. Since 2019 I haven’t been able to play on grass through the tough moments we went through with the pandemic and last year I got injured. So I am excited to be back where we are today. It has always been a pleasure playing here in Hurlingham. It is special to be back,” enthused Nadal following the comfortable 6-2, 6-3 victory against Wawrinka.
“Honestly, for me it is positive to play a couple of matches before the competition starts at Wimbledon. I used to play at Queen’s a long time ago. I am older now and I can’t manage to play so many matches. For me it is perfect to play a couple of matches here before Wimbledon starts. That helps me to feel at least some competition before Wimbledon,” the 22-times Grand Slam winner explained.
Confidence tempered by caution
Ahead of the 2022 Wimbledon Championships, early predictions tip Novak Djokovic as the overwhelming favourite for the men’s title. Meanwhile, odds for Rafael Nadal are quite lengthy at some online bookmakers, largely due to the Spaniard not having won the tournament since 2010, making it worthwhile comparing the latest tennis markets.
With this in mind, SBO provides in-depth reviews covering online bookmakers around the world, such as country-by-country guides including the best betting sites in Poland, providing expert advice on where to find value odds and appealing bonus promotions. Insofar as Nadal actually winning a third Grand Slam title this year, his coach Carlos Moya has expressed a mixture of both confidence and caution.
“It is a realistic goal, right now he is the only one that can achieve it this year,” explained Moya during an interview at Eurosport Spain, ahead of Nadal’s bid to win at Wimbledon
“At the moment he doesn’t lose sleep, as a team few things keep us up at night and this is not one of them. We have to go little by little, it is not something we talk about, it is not a primary objective, although we are not going to give up on it,” concluded Moya. Those points are a reminder that over the last few years, Nadal has endured numerous physical problems, albeit while showing a remarkable mental fortitude in recovering his best form.
Practice makes perfect
While his appearances in the satellite tournaments may be reduced, practicing on grass is of great importance ahead of Wimbledon. “We had a pretty good week of training in Mallorca, although the grass there is a bit different from London, maybe that’s why it’s taking a little bit of time for him to adapt to the grass in England.” Moya underlined regarding Nadal’s preparations.
“Right now, the important thing is that he spends time on the court and that his foot is fine. Little by little he will pick up the pace,” he noted, highlighting the importance of solid and productive practice on grass courts. “My confidence in him for Wimbledon remains the highest. He is perfectly suited to grass,” concluded Moya with enthusiasm regarding Nadal’s chances of success.
Amongst the top four contenders according to the latest odds, Novak Djokovic is inevitably the clear favourite. He the reigning 2021 Wimbledon men’s champion and also won the two previous tournaments, held in 2018 and 2019, before the event was interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021 and cancelled. Amongst the contenders, 2021 finalist Matteo Berrettini is regarded as the strongest challenger, insofar as the bookies are concerned.
Rafael Nadal will head into the 2022 Wimbledon Championships as third-favourite, although his practice performances at Hurlingham could inspire additional confidence, shortening odds once the Grand Slam event actually begins. Also enthusing Spanish tennis fans is the form of Carlos Alcaraz, given the 19-year-old is demonstrating excellent potential, peaking at 6th in the official ATP Tour Rankings earlier this year.