Seven men who could win Wimbledon if Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal don't

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There is no doubt that Wimbledon is a special time in the tennis, and sporting, calendar, although this year the men's competition is looking a little predictable. Novak Djokovic has won the last three editions, and won them well. Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal was won both the Australian Open and French Open this year, so he has to be a strong contender too. Is that it, though, in terms of the depth of their field? Certainly not. Here are seven men who could win it if Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal don't.

The genuine challengers

Matteo Berrettini

By now, everyone probably knows about just how good Matteo Berrettini is on grass. In an era when quality grasscourters are a rarity, he is shining though. Berrettini reached the final of Wimbledon last year before losing to Novak Djokovic and he arrives in fine form again this season, which is even more remarkable given he only returned from hand surgery this month. Since then, though, he has played two tournaments, both on grass, and won them both. He beat Andy Murray in the final of Stuttgart and then successfully defended the Queen's title he won last year. In fact, in the last three years there have only been two players to beat Berrettini on grass: Djokovic and Roger Federer. That tells its own story.

Carlos Alcaraz

Nobody seems to be talking about Carlos Alcaraz right now, which is unusual in itself for this year.

Carlos Alcaraz
Carlos Alcaraz

Alcaraz has only just turned 19 and yet he has made a massive impression on the ATP Tour in 2022. He has won four titles, including two Masters, and in the most recent of them he beat both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic back to back. He went to Roland Garros being talked about as a genuine contender for the title, and fairly so. He was bang in form and Spanish players are brought up on clay courts. He lost out in the quarter-finals in Paris.

People don't seem to talking about him as much for Wimbledon because, like most of the young players on the ATP Tour, he is a total unknown quantity on grass. He is also carrying an elbow injury and practicing with heavy strapping around the affected area.

That said, in terms of talent and temperament, he has it all. It is not a case of if Carlos Alcaraz will win a major, it is when and how many - and it could happen here.

The comeback kids

Andy Murray

Andy Murray's injury problems have been well-documented to the point they made an actual documentary.

Everyone knows the story because it's such a harsh one. Andy Murray was the world number one back in 2017 and entering what should have been his peak years. Instead, he spent them in constant pain and unable to even walk properly, never mind play tennis.

Andy Murray serves as he downs Stefanos Tsitsipas in Stuttgart
Andy Murray serves as he downs Stefanos Tsitsipas in Stuttgart

It has been an incredibly long road back for Murray since. He is technically playing with a metal hip, which is remarkable in itself.

Finally, though, he is looking much more like his old self. He warmed-up for Wimbledon with a run to the final of Stuttgart, where he saw his chances of winning a first ATP title in three years ended by an abdominal injury.

He looks like he is over that now, though, and that makes him a genuine danger to anyone in the draw at Wimbledon.

That draw has not been kind to Murray, though. He is in the same quarter as both Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz, and there are a plethora of big servers in there too.

However, if we have learned anything over the years, it is to never rule out Murray, especially at Wimbledon.

Marin Cilic

Marin Cilic is a name we often forget about, but he has some serious Grand Slam pedigree.

He won the US Open back in 2014 and he has appeared in two other Grand Slam finals in the last five years too.

Marin Cilic celebrates Roland Garros semi-final spot
Marin Cilic celebrates Roland Garros semi-final spot

One of those was at Wimbledon in the 2017 final where he suffered from some severe blistering, resulting in a largely routine win for Roger Federer.

There is little doubt that those days are very much behind him now. At his peak, Cilic was a big-serving all-court player who was similar to Matteo Berrettini. He still is, of course, but he just doesn't show it often enough. However, he certainly showed it at the French Open a few weeks ago, where he rolled back the years to power his way to the semi-finals. If he is still feeling in a similar kind of mood, expect him to be a major threat on grass.

The dark horses

Hubert Hurkacz

Hubert Hurkacz beat Roger Federer in straight sets at Wimbledon last year. Little was made of it, with the narrative being Federer's injured knee instead, but that was perhaps a little unfair.

Hurkacz is an interesting player, probably because he is easily overlooked. He is one of those that you expect to win nothing yet are also never surprised when they do.

He comes to Wimbledon on the back of a really impressive run on the grass courts of Halle, where he beat Nick Kyrgios in the semi-finals then completely dominated world number one Daniil Medvedev to win the title.

Halle has traditionally been the stronghold of Roger Federer, and it is probably the biggest grasscourt tournament on the Tour behind Wimbledon, so Hurkacz has to be taken very seriously.

Nick Kyrgios

It's always difficult to know what to expect from Nick Kyrgios in any given minute, never mind any given tournament, but there are an awful lot of experts predicting big things for him at Wimbledon this year.

A lack of talent has never been Kyrgios' problem. In fact, he is arguably the biggest raw talent in the whole ATP. He has just never been disciplined enough to make the most of it.

Nick Kyrgios backed to do well at Wimbledon
Nick Kyrgios backed to do well at Wimbledon

Has that changed now? Probably not, and nor will it ever now. He does seem to be much more focused than he ever has before, though. Kyrgios has had struggles with his mental health and the Covid-19 pandemic gave him a chance to confront those. He has emerged from that in a much better place. In terms of his tennis, Kyrgios has a huge game and it is absolutely ideal for grass. He himself says he considers himself one of the top five players in the world on the surface, although he has yet to prove that. If he can get some momentum going at Wimbledon, though, and things start going his way, he is definitely one to watch very closely.

Felis Auger-Aliassime

Felix Auger-Aliassime has been around for a so long now that it is easy to forget that he is still just 21 years old.

The Canadian is another player whose big talent is often undermined by a mental fragility, although he has brought Toni Nadal, Rafa Nadal's uncle and former coach, onto his team to try and find a way past that.

Auger-Aliassime is, at his best, an incredibly dangerous player. He has only won one title so far, and it was on a hardcourt, but in terms of his career win-percentage, grass is by far his best surface.

He took Nadal all the way to five sets at Roland Garros a few weeks ago, and that is testament to his talent. He is a potential quarter-final opponent for Rafa at Wimbledon, and one he will not relish facing.

The article Seven men who could win Wimbledon if Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal don't appeared first on Planetsport.com.

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