Serena Williams, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal return to Wimbledon. Can they beat him again? | Wimbledon 2022

There’s the angst at Wimbledon on Friday when the draw for this year’s championship is made. Which unlucky soul would land a first-round match against the woman currently ranked 1,204? The full fate of the burden fell into the hands of a beautiful French player named Harmony Tan, himself the world No. 113. At that time, the other 126 women in the singles competition could breathe a sigh of relief that they would not face number 1,204, better known as Serena Williams.

For much of the 21st century, playing against Serena Williams at Wimbledon has been tantamount to a death sentence in court. The 40-year-old American has won seven singles titles (and seven doubles titles) in 20 visits. But, as recently as a month ago, there were doubts that we would ever see him on the grass at the All England Club again – or perhaps any tennis court. He gave up Wimbledon last year after slipping and exacerbating a hamstring injury in the first round. He hasn’t played a single competitive match since.

But the appeal of Wimbledon – and the chances of winning that elusive 24th major title – proved too much. And he’s not the only big name to return to SW19. Andy Murray, a 35-year-old two-time Wimbledon champion, is back again, and in his best form since he underwent his second hip surgery – “resurfacing” – in 2019.

Andy Murray celebrates his victory over Milos Raonic in the 2016 final. Photo: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

On grass in Stuttgart earlier this month, he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas, world number 5, and Nick Kyrgios, and increased his ranking to 47. Murray has recently been hampered by an abdominal injury but will still be favorite against Australia’s James Duckworth in the first round. Wimbledon.

For Andrew Castle, BBC commentator, the least known is Serena Williams’ form: “I think Serena is done. I was really surprised,” he said. “I don’t know if he’s capable of winning another grand slam or running well, or if he’s here to hit a tennis ball and say goodbye to Center Court’s 100th anniversary. But he wasn’t someone who usually appeared to make up numbers. So whatever the plan, I think they’ll reveal themselves soon enough.”

Williams, for her part, seems relaxed about coming to Wimbledon. When he canceled his training session at the Eastbourne tournament, reporters were told he was “having a day off”. When asked about his recent preparations, he said: “After I couldn’t play [at the US Open in] New York, I just got cold turkey from not working out, and it tasted great. ”

Rafael Nadal in training on the Friday before this year's Wimbledon championship.
Rafael Nadal in training on the Friday before this year’s Wimbledon championship. Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

Murray also wants to play down expectations. While he believes he has played enough matches heading into Wimbledon, he does not predict that he will make it all the way into week two. “I wouldn’t say that,” he said this month. “I haven’t shown that in recent years. My goal is just to try to get to the starting line in a good place physically and give myself the best chance to do well.”

Andrew Castle believed that it was a bluff on Murray’s part. “Obviously I know more about Andy and what his intentions are,” he said. “And the intention is to win the tournament. There were probably only five or six people maximum I would place in front of him. ”

There will be a different kind of pain with Williams and Murray’s performances. Add to that the resurgence of 36-year-old Rafa Nadal, who hasn’t won Wimbledon since 2010 but – in the event of a foot injury – is back to his most dominant form, and has won the first two grand slams of 2022.

All of these players have ages and weaknesses that, if they lose, could possibly be their last Wimbledon. When asked about retiring, Williams insisted that he would keep his plans to himself.

“If I ever said goodbye,” he said last year, “I wouldn’t tell anyone.”

Serena Williams, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal return to Wimbledon. Can they beat him again? | Wimbledon 2022

Source link Serena Williams, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal return to Wimbledon. Can they beat him again? | Wimbledon 2022

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