Wimbledon ATP: The Story So Far

(Photo by AELTC/Pool/Getty Images)

As we enter the second week of this year’s Wimbledon Championships, it is time to look back at what has been a thrilling tournament so far in the gentleman’s singles.

There was drama heading into the tournament as it was announced that Russian and Belorussian players would be banned from competing due to the conflict in Ukraine, causing controversy as it meant that men’s world number one Daniil Medvedev and top ten player Andrey Rublev would not be fighting for the crown at SW19.

More drama would come at the start of the draw as last year’s finalist and eighth seed Matteo Berrettini was ruled out due to a positive covid test. The hard-hitting Italian was heading into the tournament as a strong favourite with his grass-court double in the warm-up tournaments at Stuttgart and Queen’s after returning from a lengthy spell out injured.

Last year’s champion and top seed Novak Djokovic went into the championships with his eyes on a 21st major and clawing back at Rafael Nadal in the Grand Slam race and pushing away from Roger Federer on 20, who hasn’t competed since his quarter-final exit to Hubert Hurkacz at Wimbledon last year. The Serb has had a comfortable run into the last eight, defeating South Korea’s Kwon Soon-woo, Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis, fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanović and Dutch wild card Tim van Rijthoven, dropping just two sets on the way to the quarter-finals.

Novak Djokovic is searching for his sixth Wimbledon title. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Alongside Djokovic, 36-year-old Rafael Nadal is looking at winning his third Wimbledon title with the illustrious Calendar Slam still on, the same achievement that narrowly eluded Djokovic last year. The Spaniard survived a scare in his opening match to the young Argentinian Francisco Cerúndolo, getting over the line in a fourth set that saw him a break down to the rising star. It’s been plain sailing since then for Rafa, taking out Lithuanian Ričardas Berankis, 27th seed Lorenzo Sonego and Netherland’s Botic van de Zandschulp to reach the final eight. With a rematch of March’s Indian Wells final set up against Taylor Fritz and a potential blockbuster semi-final clash with Nick Kyrgios on the cards, Nadal will be pushed hard if he is to make his first Wimbledon final in 11 years.

Many of the other top seeds were knocked out early on in the draw, as Félix Auger-Aliassime (6) and Pole Hubert Hurkacz (7), who made the last four in 2021 and entered the tournament as champion at Halle, both suffering first-round exits. More were to fall in round two, with French Open finalist Casper Ruud (3), Diego Schwartzman (12) and 2021 semi-finalist Denis Shapovalov (13) being sent home early. Spanish sensation Carlos Alcaraz went out in the round-of-16 to Jannik Sinner in an exciting four-set match on Centre Court between two of tennis’ next superstars. Alcaraz continues to shine after his Masters 1000 titles in Miami, Madrid and impressive run at Roland Garros.

It has been a tournament to remember for American and Australian players, with several men making it to the second week. For the first time since 1999, four Americans made it to the fourth round at SW19, with Taylor Fritz (11), Frances Tiafoe (23), Tommy Paul (30) and Brandon Nakashima all impressing in the first week, most notably the unseeded Nakashima’s five-set victory over Shapovalov. Fritz was the only one to progress into the final eight though, with Tiafoe, Paul and Nakashima going out to David Goffin, Cameron Norrie and Nick Kyrgios respectively. Fritz comes up against Nadal next and not having dropped a set yet, we could see an upset when they battle on Wednesday.

Never far from controversy, Nick Kyrgios has been a highlight of this Wimbledon tournament. (Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

As for the Aussies, Kyrgios, Alex De Minaur (19) and qualifier Jason Kubler have been flying the flag high into week two. Kyrgios, in particular, overcoming two opponents in five sets and defeating fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in a heated and ugly third-round contest which brought out the best and worst of both players. Kyrgios’ fiery style has led to him becoming one of the main talking points of the tournament, with players, officials and even fans not safe from his outbursts on the court. The power-serving showboat will face Chilean Cristian Garín next, who defeated De Minaur in a tense final set tiebreak on Monday. Kubler saw his run ended by a dominant Fritz, but made it the furthest into the competition than any other qualifier.

The championships have been a mixed bag for the British men, with Dan Evans (28) and Jay Clarke (WC) going out in the opening days of the tournament, alongside Paul Jubb (WC) who took Kyrgios to a final set but ultimately fell short in the end. The second round saw the former world number one Andy Murray lose out in a hard-fought battle with now record holder for aces John Isner (20), Ryan Penniston who shined at Queen’s defeated in straight sets by Steve Johnson, future prospect Jack Draper stopped by De Minaur and Alastair Gray (WC) exiting at the hands of Fritz. Liam Broady managed to make it to round three as a wildcard after an excellent performance to down Diego Schwartzman in five sets before bowing out against a lethal De Minaur.

But the dream of another British winner at Wimbledon is still alive this year thanks to the superb Cameron Norrie who has made it to the semi-finals, knocking out Pablo Andújar and Jaume Munar of Spain and Steve Johnson and Tommy Paul of the USA. A 3-2 victory over David Goffin sees the Brit set up a tie against the world number one Novak Djokovic. The Serbian saw off Jannik Sinner 3-2 in one of the games of the tournament, one that lasted over three and a half hours. Both players will now be hoping that the other half of the quarter-finals go the distance, with the enigmatic Nick Kyrgios taking on Cristian Garin and Taylor Fritz squaring off against the legendary Rafael Nadal.

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