Wimbledon 2022 awards: the final word on the best and worst at SW19

Wimbledon 2022 awards: the final word on the best and worst at SW19


Tumaini Carayol

Best shot Novak Djokovic’s sliding, open stance cross-court backhand passing shot winner against Jannik Sinner, which ended with him falling face down. He celebrated by lifting his arms and legs off the ground. Flying.

Best match Nick Kyrgios v Stefanos Tsitsipas. One of the most chaotic I’ve seen. Kyrgios tried to get Tsitspas defaulted, Tsitsipas lost his head and spent a set trying to hit Kyrgios with the ball, two intense press conferences and, most importantly, quality tennis in an encounter that was tight until the end.

Biggest letdown After all of his efforts to be ready for Wimbledon, what a shame Rafael Nadal’s calendar grand slam bid was ended by an abdominal injury, which robbed him of the chance to face Kyrgios in the semi-finals. Matteo Berrettini catching Covid on the eve of the tournament was also extremely unfortunate.

Best story Ons Jabeur so nearly became the first Arab person and African woman to win a grand slam. Her achievements alone have been incredible, but they are so much more meaningful considering how well she has carried herself and how much of a pleasant person she is. Her press conference after her loss to Elena Rybakina is essential viewing for all tennis fans.

In 2023 I hope … the 40-plus club give themselves another year and that Wimbledon gets one last dance with Roger Federer as well as Serena and Venus Williams.

Barney Ronay

Best shot Disdainful cross-court sliced backhand drop-dink from Benoît Paire during a limp first-round defeat, bookended by moaning at his agent and complaining loudly that the sun kept coming out (to the sun). Benoît, have a holiday.

Benoît Paire had a lot going on during his first-round loss.
Benoît Paire had a lot going on during his first-round loss. Photograph: Alberto Pezzali/AP

Best match Serena Williams versus Harmony Tan. Odd styles, but a perfect match up and grand operatic drama. Totally gripping.

Biggest letdown No Nadal v Kyrgios. Couldn’t be helped, but a safe bet they could have seriously driven each other insane.

Best story Unnamed coach maxing out his daily food allowance with 26 bottles of yoghurt drink. Partridge vibes.

In 2023 I hope … the Russians are back because the world is once again sane and Everything Is Going To Be All Right.

Simon Cambers

Best shot Djokovic’s backhand pass that ended with him in some sort of yoga pose could have won it but it has to be Jabeur’s half-volley, with the ball behind her, on the spin, against Tatjana Maria. The only disappointment was that she didn’t win the point in the end.

Ons Jabeur made history at Wimbledon and also some stunning shots.
Ons Jabeur made history at Wimbledon and also some stunning shots. Photograph: Frey/TPN/Getty Images

Best match For drama alone, it has to be the Kyrgios-Tsitsipas match. It was intense, it got heated and was verging on the nasty at times but, by the end of it, it was absolute quality. Just wish it had gone to five sets.

Biggest letdown Bit obvious but Nadal’s withdrawal before the semis. Nadal was going for the third leg in the calendar grand slam and playing well. It would have been great to see him play Kyrgios but he made the wise choice.

Best story Maria’s run to the semis. In her second comeback, after having her second daughter, she played better than ever. If there had been ranking points she would have got a full reward but the confidence she gained should give her the chance to come again.

In 2023 I hope … Federer is fully fit and in the draw. Even at 41, as he will be then, if he’s injury-free, who’s to say he can’t get to the business stages again? The way the crowd greeted him for the 100-year celebration of Centre Court, they can’t wait either.

Kevin Mitchell

Best shot For all that it was the wrong shot at the wrong time with the right result, Kyrgios’s reverse tweener from the baseline that skimmed the net, dipped wickedly and forced Djokovic to net his volley in the fourth set was screamingly sublime.

Best match Kyrgios-Tsitsipas was tantrum-riddled theatre at its best, full of illogical conflict out of nowhere, like a low-grade farce – and the explanations later were no better – yet so rich in strokeplay and commitment. It might have been the centrepiece of the championships instead of an off-Broadway, third-round warm-up.

Biggest letdown The roof. It is a magnificent feat of engineering, a boon to schedulers, players keen to dodge spitting rain and fading light and patient fans prepared to linger a little longer before trekking home. Yet, almost daily, it turned an outdoors midsummer carnival into a TV studio event – and this on the centenary of the adored Centre Court.

Best story Like all tales of the unexpected, Tan provided an early shock to set Wimbledon buzzing when she dumped Serena Williams out in the first round – on merit, as well. The French player took her glorious nomme de tennis a little further and, briefly, was the star of the tournament.

Harmony Tan provided an early shock with her defeat of Serena Williams.
Harmony Tan provided an early shock with her defeat of Serena Williams. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

In 2023 I hope … Federer returns for a farewell to arms. Sue Barker, herself now withdrawing into the shadows, whispered in an aside to the ageless John McEnroe that the most popular player in the history of the game will be back. It might have been her last great call.

Paul MacInnes

Best shot Jabeur provided her own shortlist of top shots in her semi-final against Maria. The diving reverse passing shot was pretty decent, but it was trumped by the Tunisian’s 360-degree spinning drop shot, which as far as I’m aware is unique, but didn’t even win her the point.

Best match There was just something about Nadal’s comeback against Taylor Fritz that grabbed in a way other matches could not. It went beyond the see-saw struggle and the unrelenting quality of the tennis to something more human, or superhuman perhaps. Watching the 36-year-old not only refuse to give in to his opponent, but to injury, and indeed time itself was a reminder of how lucky we are to live in an era of tennis legend.

Rafael Nadal was injured in his quarter-final against Taylor Fritz but still won.
Rafael Nadal was injured in his quarter-final against Taylor Fritz but still won. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Biggest letdown There were a few names who were supposed to mark their mark and, by and large, did not. Among them: Félix Auger-Aliassime, Iga Swiatek, Carlos Alcaraz and, yes, Emma Raducanu.

Best story Jabeur. Admittedly not a well-kept secret, she is the world No 5, but this was the grand slam where she at last made her mark and made history too. That she did it with a smile and a beguiling brand of tennis only helped matters.

In 2023 I hope … Raducanu goes all the way. She’s a young woman with her head screwed on and a desire to work on her weaknesses. It would be great to see her replicate her Flushing Meadow form in SW19.

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