- Wimbledon men’s preview: Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are the top two seeds, but will we see a dark-horse title run by a younger contender? | tennis.com
For the third straight Slam, there are questions about Nadal’s physical status. Clearly, he answered those questions pretty convincingly by winning the title at the last two. Could he do it again and keep his surprise quest for the Grand Slam at age 36 alive? This one will be the toughest. Nadal hasn’t won Wimbledon since 2010, hasn’t been to the final since 2011, and hasn’t played the tournament, or on grass, since 2019. He’ll be vulnerable to a big server or big hitter in a way he isn’t on the other surfaces.
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Williams also said that she was rooting for Rafael Nadal, who heads to Wimbledon nursing a chronic foot injury, but gunning for a Calendar Slam
“He’s done a lot in 2022,” said Williams of Nadal, who has won the Australian and French Opens this year.
“He’s been busy. I’ve always been a Rafa fan. I named my dog after him. He’s so cute. I miss the little guy. I am always rooting for Rafa. He’s been really inspiring in everything he’s done this year and he has a lot more to do.”
Before this year’s tournament, though, he [Djokovic] couldn’t help but pile praise on Spaniard Rafael Nadal.
“He had surgery, he missed half a year and after that, to come back and win a Grand Slam…. It’s impressive,” Djokovic said of Nadal. “Hats off to him for what he’s done. He’s an incredible champion, with a real fighting spirit. He’s to be admired. He’s one of my biggest rivals, but I can only have respect for him.”
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Can Rafael Nadal do the Year Grand Slam? 12 months ago, I would have said ‘not a chance in the world’, but now he’s two legs up, had the foot procedure after the French Open and he’s looking good. He doesn’t start as my favorite to win Wimbledon, but he’s in my top two or three picks. It’s possible that he can go into the US Open like Djokovic last year and already be three legs up.
It’s a really intriguing part of this year’s Wimbledon, if he can get through the semis and into the final, the excitement will really build. What he’s shown us by winning Grand Slams 21 (in Australia) and 22 (in France) and everything he told us afterwards about the foot, I think they were his two greatest accomplishments at this stage of his career. It could be one of those magical runs.
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