French Open 2022 Men's Final: Early Predictions for Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJune 5, 2022

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 05: Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates with the trophy after winning against Casper Ruud of Norway during the Men's Singles Final match on Day 15 of The 2022 French Open at Roland Garros on June 05, 2022 in Paris, France. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal has won the first two men's tennis majors for the first time in the same season.

Nadal captured his 14th French Open title Sunday with a win over first-time major finalist Casper Ruud at Roland Garros.

The 36-year-old Spaniard opened the season with an unexpected Australian Open triumph in which he battled back from two sets down to beat Daniil Medvedev in the championship match.

Nadal heads to Wimbledon as a 22-time Grand Slam champion in search of completing the third leg of the season-long Slam.

The grass in London has not been as kind to Nadal as the Paris clay. He has two Wimbledon titles, with the last one coming in 2010.

The same argument could have been made about Nadal going into the Australian Open. He had not won that tournament since 2009 before he defeated Medvedev.

Wimbledon has been dominated by Novak Djokovic since 2018. The 20-time major champion won the last three iterations of the event in 2018, 2019 and 2021.

Djokovic will be Nadal's biggest rival once again at a major, but the Serb should have the advantage if the two legends were to meet at Wimbledon.

Wimbledon Prediction

Rafael Nadal reached the semifinal stage at Wimbledon in his last two appearances at the English tournament.

Nadal lost to Novak Djokovic in five sets in 2018 and to Roger Federer in four sets in 2019. He did not play in the 2021 tournament.

Djokovic will be the biggest threat to Nadal's pursuit of the calendar Slam. The top-ranked player has not lost at Wimbledon since 2017.

Djokovic finds himself in a rare scenario in which he has not qualified for a major final in the first two majors of the season. He did not play in Australia and lost to Nadal in the French Open quarterfinals.

The No. 1 player in the world is a six-time Wimbledon champion, and he should enter the event as the favorite to win his seventh crown.

Nadal should hope that he resides on the opposite end of the bracket. That was not the case at the French Open, and the two legends were forced to meet earlier than usual at a major in the quarterfinal round.

The threat from the younger crop of players will not be as heavy as it usually is. Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev are not participating in the tournament because of Wimbledon's ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes.

Alexander Zverev could be viewed as the biggest threat to Nadal and Djokovic. He advanced to the semifinal round in five majors since the start of 2019, including the French Open.

Zverev has not made it past the fourth round at Wimbledon. If he can get can past the first week without an upset, the German player could make a run at his first Grand Slam title.

Casper Ruud and Carlos Alcaraz were major threats in Paris, but they may not play as well at Wimbledon since clay is their best surface.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Felix Auger Aliassime and 2021 Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini are worth watching from the second tier of contenders, but until any of them beats Djokovic or Nadal, it will come down to the two best players in the draw.

As long as Nadal and Djokovic are not drawn in the same half, the Spaniard should make a deep run in London and potentially make his way into the final for another showdown with the Serb.

Prediction: Nadal advances to championship match.