Djokovic, Nadal lead title chase at all-change Wimbledon

Thursday, Jun 23, 2022

LONDON: Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal headline the title chase at Wimbledon where eight-time champion Roger Federer, the world’s top two players and cherished ranking points will all be missing.

Djokovic is bidding for a seventh title at the All England Club to move level with US great Pete Sampras. Nadal, fresh from a 14th French Open victory and a record-extending 22nd major, is halfway to the first men’s calendar Grand Slam in more than half a century.

The season’s third Slam tournament has already made political waves even before the first ball is served on Monday. The decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players in the aftermath of the invasion of Ukraine means there is no place for world number one Daniil Medvedev or eighth-ranked Andrey Rublev. Both the ATP and WTA, who control the men’s and women’s tours, retaliated by stripping ranking points from the tournament.

For the first time since his debut in 1999 — notwithstanding the Covid-cancelled 2020 edition—Federer will be a no-show as the 40-year-old recovers from knee surgery. Also missing is Germany’s world number two Alexander Zverev, who suffered serious ankle ligament damage in an horrific injury in his French Open semi-final against Nadal.

However, Medvedev and Zverev have never shone at Wimbledon with neither man making it past the fourth round. Djokovic and Nadal, ranked three and four, are the top seeds meaning if they are to face each other for the 60th time, it can only be in the final.