What's at stake at Wimbledon 2022?

 - Reem Abulleil

Plenty on the line this upcoming fortnight at the All England Club.

Novak Djokovic & Matteo Berrettini / Wimbledon 2021©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

On the heels of an exciting clay season, the grass swing will reach its climax these next two weeks in south-west London, where winning streaks will be put to the test, long-awaited comebacks will be made and breakthroughs are bound to unfold.

Here's a look at some of the main talking points surrounding Wimbledon 2022...

Nadal's bid for the Grand Slam resumes

For the first time in his career, Rafael Nadal arrives at Wimbledon having won the opening two majors of the season in Melbourne and Paris.

The world No.4, seeded second at the All England Club, is 30-3 win-loss in 2022 and will be looking to add a men's all-time record-breaking 23rd Slam title to his resume at these Championships.

Nadal is also in a position to go for the calendar-year Grand Slam (winning all four majors in the same season), a goal his coach Carlos Moya recently told Eurosport is a "realistic" one.

This is the second consecutive year - and only the third time since 1992 - that a men's singles player has swept the first two majors of the season.

Novak Djokovic was one victory away from completing the coveted Grand Slam last year but fell to Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final.

Nadal is a two-time Wimbledon champion but hasn't triumphed on the lawns of the All England Club since 2010. This is the 36-year-old's first appearance in south-west London since 2019, where he lost to Roger Federer in the semi-finals.


Swiatek puts winning streak on the line

World No.1 Iga Swiatek opted not to compete in any official tournament on grass after lifting a second Roland-Garros trophy earlier this month.

The 21-year-old Pole takes a 35-match winning streak into Wimbledon, where she will be making her third main draw appearance. A junior champion at the All England Club in 2018, Swiatek's best result at the tournament in ladies' singles came last year when she reached the fourth round.

Swiatek has won her last six consecutive tournaments - hasn't lost a match since February - and will be eyeing a seventh straight title this upcoming fortnight. She has been a class apart on tour these past four months and seems virtually unbeatable at the moment.

Despite her success on the surface as a junior, Swiatek admits she hasn't completely figured out the grass just yet.

"My only thought (heading into Wimbledon) is I want to get ready and learn how to play on grass better and this is the only thing I’m going to be focusing on," she told a small group of reporters in Paris after winning Roland-Garros.

“For sure Wimbledon is special but for me the most important thing is to bring a good performance and I still haven’t reached the comfortable feeling on grass, so that’s going to be my only goal."

Djokovic eyes title defence

Six-time Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic has not lost a match at the All England Club since he retired against Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals in 2017.

The Serb, who is ranked No.3 but will be the top seed in south-west London, is on a 21-match winning streak on the lawns of Wimbledon and will be seeking a first major title since his triumph at the Championships 12 months ago.

Like Swiatek and Nadal, Djokovic hasn't competed in an official grass-court tournament this season and will be playing his first match since his Roland-Garros quarter-final exit when he opens Wimbledon play on Centre Court on Monday.

The 20-time major champion is currently two Grand Slam titles adrift of Nadal and will be keen to catch up by scooping a seventh Wimbledon trophy.

In-form stars target maiden major silverware

Last year's Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini was out for nearly three months recovering from hand surgery before making a phenomenal return to action, winning back-to-back grass-court titles in Stuttgart and Queens.

The Italian world No.11 heads to Wimbledon on a nine-match winning streak and has firmly placed himself in the title contenders conversation. Could he finally clinch a maiden Grand Slam title?

Hubert Hurkacz, a semi-finalist at Wimbledon last year, strengthened his grass-court credentials by triumphing in Halle last week, taking out the likes of Daniil Medvedev, Nick Kyrgios and Felix Auger-Aliassime along the way.

Also in the mix for a decent run at the Championships is Tunisian Ons Jabeur, who rebounded from her Roland-Garros opening round exit in great fashion, taking the title on the lawns of Berlin before making the Eastbourne doubles semi-finals alongside Serena Williams.

A quarter-finalist at Wimbledon last season, can Jabeur, who will rise to a career-high No.2 in the world on Monday, make history as the Arab world's first major champion?

Roland-Garros runner-up Coco Gauff warmed up for Wimbledon by reaching the semi-finals in Berlin (lost to Jabeur) and the 18-year-old has shown she is ready to win that first major.

Former champions return to SW19

Two-time Wimbledon winner Andy Murray will compete in men's singles at the All England Club for just the second time since 2017, looking to keep up his good form that saw him reach the final in Stuttgart earlier this month.

Up to No.50 in the world, Murray fell in the third round to Denis Shapovalov at SW19 last year and will be looking to revive his glory days at his home tournament.

Meanwhile, seven-time champion Serena Williams made a promising comeback to competition, winning two doubles matches alongside Jabeur in Eastbourne this week, in her first on-court appearance since last year's Wimbledon.

The 40-year-old Williams is taking things one day at a time and has not made any announcements regarding her future in the sport but has received a singles wildcard for the ladies' event at the Championships and will be an unseeded floater no one will want to draw in the opening round.

Simona Halep was unable to defend her Wimbledon title in 2020 when the tournament was cancelled due to the pandemic and missed the action last year through injury. The 2019 champion now returns to the site of her second major triumph, looking to pick up where she left off three years ago.