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  1. Tennis
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Wimbledon - Tennis: Adrian Humphries' Tips

Novak Djokovic is odds-on to win his seventh Wimbledon singles crown and the super Serb is difficult to oppose in the view of the Racing Post's Adrian Humphries.

Djokovic is down to third in the ATP rankings, but unsurprisingly after lifting the grass-court championship in the last three years it has been staged, he has been given top billing on the All England Club seedings.

What:

2022 Wimbledon men’s singles

Where:

All England Club, Wimbledon, London

When:

Monday 27th June to Sunday 10th July 2022

How to watch:

BBC or bet365’s Sports Live Streaming

Odds:Novak Djokovic 8/11, Matteo Berrettini 11/2, Rafael Nadal 13/2, Carlos Alcaraz 8/1, Felix Auger Aliassime 11/1

He’s also desperate to eat into Rafael Nadal’s lead of two in the all-time list of Grand Slam singles titles won and, with Roger Federer an absentee in south-west London this year, Djokovic will not get a better chance to reduce the arrears.

A lack of match sharpness and general fitness is probably the biggest question for Djokovic, but he went a long way to easing such fears with victory on clay in the Rome Masters before falling to Nadal in the French Open quarter-finals.

Since Federer’s powers have waned, Djokovic has shown he’s the best on grass and the 8/11 chance is expected to rubber-stamp that in the coming days.

Nadal’s chance should not be dismissed lightly, however. The Spaniard has won the first two Grand Slam singles titles of the season at the Australian and French Opens and he’s clearly playing well.

The fact that he has had foot injections prior to playing important matches has not been to everyone’s liking, but formwise Nadal is in a good place after making such a positive start to the campaign.

He opens at Wimbledon with a potentially tricky clash against Francisco Cerundolo, but if Nadal can find a way past the talented Argentinian his confidence should be boosted.

Matteo Berrettini, last year’s All England Club runner-up who has won grass-court titles in Stuttgart and at the Queen’s Club in recent days, looks a genuine threat to Nadal in the bottom half of the draw. But should the pair meet in the semi-finals the Majorcan’s greater experience can help him win the day.

Cilic best of the outsiders

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Felix Auger-Aliassime, seeded fourth and sixth respectively, could go well in the bottom half of the draw. But if Nadal does fall short, Marin Cilic could benefit the most.

Cilic’s game looked in great order at the French Open recently, but at his peak he’s always been more of a threat on faster courts than slow ones and it’s a boost for the Croat, Wimbledon finalist in 2017, that Federer won’t be competing this year.

That said, Cilic still has to find a way to lower the colours of longtime Big Four members Djokovic, Nadal and even Andy Murray, so he still has plenty to do to add to his solitary Slam singles crown captured at the 2014 US Open.

Hurkacz to make hay in second quarter

In the top half of the draw, it will be fascinating to see how Nadal’s young compatriot Carlos Alcaraz fares in this year’s grass major.

The Murcian, 19, is an incredible talent but while he has shown already that he is a force on fast and slow courts, he looks a little short at 8/1 given that many of the more experienced luminaries are still playing at the top level. His time could well come soon, though.

Murray was playing some superb tennis last year, but things then went quiet for the Briton for six months or so. However, his level rose instantly on his grass bow recently, although an abdominal injury saw him retire early in the week at Queen’s.

The Scot has made the Wimbledon draw, though, so it can’t be all bad. And at his peak, Murray is still playing well enough to sweep aside the majority of his opponents so don’t rule out a big effort from the two-time champion, who is a 25/1 chance.

Hubert Hurkacz made the semi-finals last year and the Pole, who is in the second quarter of the draw, has a big chance to prove that effort was no fluke.

And Berrettini’s biggest threat in the third quarter may be the unseeded Nick Kyrgios. The Australian has talent to burn, although a lack of fitness has often cost him dear in best-of-five-set matches.

What:Wimbledon women's singles
Where:All England Club, Wimbledon, London
When:Monday 27th June to Sunday 10th July 2022
How to watch:BBC or bet365's Sports Live Streaming
Odds:Iga Swiatek 6/4, Ons Jabeur 8/1, Cori Gauff 12/1, Simona Halep 14/1, Serena Williams 16/1 

Right time to oppose Swiatek

Woman-of-the-moment Iga Swiatek bids to win her first grass-court championship in the coming two weeks, but although she has won her last 35 matches the Pole looks a little short given what she has achieved on the nippy green surface.

World No. 1 and top seed Swiatek recently claimed her second French Open title in the space of three years at Roland Garros. But while that proved to be pretty much a cakewalk, her trip to London may not pan out the same way.

True, she has the ability and the weapons to succeed at Wimbledon, but at 6/4 to capture her maiden grass major she can definitely be opposed at the price.

Anett Kontaveit is seeded second in the women’s singles but the Estonian’s form in recent months has been questionable.

Third seed Ons Jabeur is an admirable battler who should give a good account of herself providing her withdrawal from playing doubles with Serena Williams in Eastbourne was nothing serious, but fourth seed Paula Badosa is unlikely to have the power to last the course against some hard-hitting opponents.

Super Serena interesting contender

The women’s event is clearly a wide-open heat then and it could pay to give consideration to some of the top younger performers.

Cori Gauff, 18, will surely have her day at Wimbledon before long and the American played a blinder to reach the final of the French Open recently. However, Gauff’s proximity in the draw to all-time legend Serena Williams is a concern.

It’s difficult to gauge Williams’ level of fitness going into the year’s third Slam, but it definitely wouldn’t take much for her to be a significant force in this year’s tournament.

Prior to her year off the 40-year-old laboured noticeably in hard-court Slams, but Wimbledon is a different kettle of fish and her powerful weapons could still send many an opponent packing on the grass.

She is interesting at 16/1. The big issue for potential Williams backers is trying to estimate her fitness level, but if that is anywhere near where it should be then she becomes an instant danger to all. And it would not be the greatest surprise to see her send Gauff packing should they clash in the last 16.

Radacanu could make mockery of odds

Back to the younger players, and Olympic singles gold medallist Belinda Bencic could be a big player in the fourth quarter, while US Open champion Emma Raducanu could quite easily step things up in the third quarter.

Raducanu is a 28/1 chance and could make a mockery of that quote if suddenly finding her best in SW19.

After a tough opener against in-form Alison van Uytvanck, E-Rad may meet Madison Keys in round three, so the Briton will have it tough from the outset.

But we know from her performances in winning the Flushing Meadows title without dropping a set last year that Raducanu’s groundstrokes are up there with the best in the world when she peaks, so don’t be surprised if her price quickly shortens.

Mention should also be made of Angelique Kerber, who is in Raducanu’s third quarter. The German, who went all the way at Wimbledon in 2018, is in decent form and remains a live title chance at 25/1.

And pretty much the same can be said of Simona Halep, who ruled the grass world a year after Kerber. The Romanian seed is in the top half of the draw and, at her best, could cause big problems for Swiatek.

By Adrian Humphries

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