Novak Djokovic Rafael Nadal Lead Wimbledon's Title Chase

The Wimbledon championship race is dominated by Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal without eight-time winner Roger Federer, the top two players in the world, or prized ranking points. 

At the All England Club, Djokovic attempts to tie US legend Pete Sampras, with a seventh victory. Nadal is halfway to the first men’s calendar Grand Slam in more than fifty years after winning his 14th French Open match and a record-extending 22nd major. 

Even before the first ball is delivered on Monday, the third Slam event of the season has stirred much controversy in the political sphere.

Daniil Medvedev, the current world number one, and Andrey Rublev ranked eighth, are both ineligible due to the decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players after the invasion of Ukraine.

The men’s and women’s circuits’ governing bodies, the ATP and WTA, responded by removing ranking points from the competition.

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Federer, 40, will not compete for the first time since his 1999 debut, except for the Covid-cancelled 2020 event, while he recovers from knee surgery.

World No. 2 Alexander Zverev of Germany, who injured his ankle in his match against Rafael Nadal in the French Open semifinal, is also absent.

But neither Medvedev nor Zverev has ever excelled at Wimbledon, as neither player has advanced beyond the fourth round.

Since they are the top seeds and are rated three and four, respectively, Djokovic and Nadal can only meet in the championship match for the 60th time.

‘I love Wimbledon’

Djokovic may compete in his last Grand Slam of the year. He won in 2011, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019, and 2021.

He will probably be disqualified from the US Open later this year due to his unwillingness to be inoculated.

He will probably be even more motivated because of his painful quarterfinal defeat against Nadal at the French Open, which caused him to lose his title in Paris.

In 2010, Nadal won the second of his two Wimbledon championships after winning the first two years before in a thrilling victory against Federer.

The 36-year-old Spaniard has already won the Australian and French Opens before arriving at Wimbledon.

He is halfway to becoming only the third person to complete a calendar Grand Slam and the first since Rod Laver in 1969.

Wimbledon and Nadal have had a tumultuous relationship.

Three finals losses and forced absences in 2004, 2009, 2016, and 2021 have been followed by two championships.

His ability to last the two weeks at Wimbledon is still in doubt after playing the French Open with his problematic left foot anesthetized.

Since then, Nadal has had a round of radiofrequency stimulation, a procedure meant to lessen nerve discomfort in his foot.

Nadal said, “I adore Wimbledon. “There, I was successful. I am always prepared to play Wimbledon as a player.”

Berrettini is waiting

Italy’s Matteo Berrettini, who finished second to Djokovic in last year’s final, would be the most probable winner if Djokovic or Nadal lost.

At Queen’s and Stuttgart, world number 11 Berrettini has won consecutive grasscourt championships.

When asked about his Wimbledon prospects, 26-year-old Berrettini stated, “I don’t know whether I’m the favorite since Novak and Rafa (Nadal) are always there; Rafa has already won two Slams and no one anticipated him to win in Australia.”

I don’t feel like the favourite, but I know I can do it and won’t try to mislead anybody.

The second-place finisher at the French Open and current top-10 player Casper Ruud have both exited Wimbledon in the first round.

While Spanish teen sensation Carlos Alcaraz made his main draw debut in 2021 and only advanced as far as the second round, Stefanos Tsitsipas has lost three of his four matches at the first hurdle.

While Hubert Hurkacz, the 10th-ranked player who won on grass in Halle last weekend and reached the semifinals in 2021, Felix Auger-Aliassime reached the last eight last year.

In the quarterfinals, the Swiss star’s farewell outing on the circuit, the Polish player overcame Federer along the route.