Wimbledon 2022 grades: Who shone along with champions Novak Djokovic and Elena Rybakina? Who came up short?
Novak Djokovic and Elena Rybakina were singles champions at Wimbledon 2022, but who else impressed? We grade the performances of the top players at SW19. Djokovic beat Nick Kyrgios to win a fourth straight Wimbledon title while Rybakina overcame Ons Jabeur in the women's final. But Andy Murray, Emma Raducanu, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Iga Swiatek suffered early exits.
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The youngest Wimbledon singles champion since 2011, Rybakina was hugely impressive, only dropping two sets and finishing with a tournament-high 53 aces, 23 more than second-placed Caroline Garcia.
Rybakina’s powerful game is well suited to grass and in the final she won the big moments, converting four of six break points and saving nine of the 11 against her, including at 0-40 down early in the final set.
It’s unfortunate for Rybakina that there are no ranking points on offer at Wimbledon – she would be world No. 6 if there was – but on this evidence she will surely challenge for plenty more titles.
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Novak Djokovic: A
The puff of the cheeks at the end said it all: this was one Djokovic was desperate to win.
After missing out on the Australian Open and French Open, and probably not getting a chance to play the US Open due to being unvaccinated, Djokovic has won Grand Slam No. 21, moving one behind Rafael Nadal in the all-time standings and ahead of Roger Federer for the first time.
It was not plain sailing for Djokovic, who lost at least one set in each of his last four matches, and he did not produce his peak performance, but as Rod Laver said afterwards: "it was controlled and masterful”. Djokovic has now won 28 matches in a row at Wimbledon and 39 in a row on Centre Court. Along with Federer he is undoubtedly the finest player on grass this century.
Nick Kyrgios: A-
He didn’t lift the trophy at the end of it, but this was arguably Kyrgios’ Wimbledon. The headline-making, controversy-creating, huge-hitting, rule-breaking Kyrgios was the player almost everyone at SW19 wanted to watch over the last fortnight. It’s clearly not just his game that draws the crowds, but there’s no doubt he has played some of the best tennis of his career over the last month. Kyrgios was a popular ‘dark horse’ pick before the tournament due to his strong form in the lead-up events and it’s testament to him that he managed to deliver, seeing off fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and battling through two five-setters to reach the final.
Kyrgios is absolutely box office, and he knows it and seems to thrive from it. Now the challenge is to remain focused, harness everything he has shown over the last month, improve on it, and carry it forward. If he can, then USA and Canada look out.
Novak Djokovic y Nick Kyrgios posan para los fotógrafos tras la final de Wimbledon
Image credit: Getty Images
Ons Jabeur: A-
One three-setter too many for Jabeur? The history-making Tunisian had won the deciding sets 6-1 in both the quarter-finals and semi-finals, but couldn’t take back the initiative when it mattered most in the final against Rybakina.
Jabeur, who was bidding to become the first Arab woman to win a Grand Slam singles title, has enjoyed a fantastic year and her entertaining style of play won her plenty more admirers at Wimbledon. With oodles of talent at her disposal, and increasing confidence in her game, Jabeur's time will surely come again.
Cameron Norrie: A-
What a tournament for Norrie. The draw opened up delightfully for the British No. 1 and he took full advantage by reaching the semi-finals.
Despite his achievements over the last year – reaching the top 10, winning Indian Wells, playing at the ATP Finals - Norrie went into Wimbledon under the radar and with nowhere near as much focus on him as Andy Murray and Emma Raducanu. He seems to like it this way, but his performance over the last fortnight will ensure a few more eyes are on him in future.
Tatjana Maria: B+
Maria’s run to the semi-finals is one of the tales of the tournament. In 46 previous Grand Slams the world No. 103 had never made it past the third round. And just 15 months ago she gave birth to her second daughter.
Maria ousted 12th seed Jelena Ostapenko and fifth seed Maria Sakkari before falling to Jabeur.
It’s a fantastic success story and hopefully inspires more players to follow her lead if they desire.
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Ajla Tomljanovic: B
The Australian Open might be known as the “Happy Slam”, but for Aussie Tomljanovic it’s Wimbledon where she appears to be most at ease. Tomljanovic has made two quarter-finals in a row at SW19 vs just one fourth round at any other major.
The 29-year-old was impressive in beating Iga Swiatek’s conqueror Alize Cornet and Barbora Krejcikova, but consistency across the whole season remains the biggest challenge now.
Taylor Fritz: B
After four matches without dropping a set, Fritz’s quarter-final defeat at the hands of an injured Nadal hurt badly. “I was sitting there and I felt like crying, like I wanted to cry. I've never felt like that ever after a loss. I've never felt like I could cry after a loss.”
Fritz should have put Nadal away, just as he did in the Indian Wells final earlier this year, but the 24-year-old failed to come up with his best at key moments. Still, an impressive tournament for Fritz in reaching his first Slam quarter-final, and when Nadal and Djokovic do call it a day, he may be in the mix for majors.
Rafael Nadal: B
The foot lasted the course, but the rest of Nadal’s body couldn’t sustain his Calendar Slam bid. He produced a heroic effort to beat Fritz when some in his box had been urging him to retire, and had been playing at a high level in his previous matches.
Whether the level was high enough to beat Kyrgios and/or Djokovic is up for debate. The road ahead now looks far from certain for the 36-year-old. Will he play much of the US hard swing? And will he play the US Open for the first time since 2019?
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Simona Halep: B
This has been some year for Halep. From the brink of retirement, the 30-year-old has come back and almost hit the same heights she did at the peak of her Grand Slam-winning powers.
With Patrick Mouratoglou in her corner, Halep was superb in dispatching Paula Badosa and Amanda Anisimova in straight sets, but came up short against Rybakina.
Amanda Anisimova: B-
Fourth round, fourth round, quarter-finals.
Anisimova has made the second week at all three Grand Slams so far this year and, still only aged 20, looks to have a very bright future. She has a strong game and was particularly impressive in beating Coco Gauff and Harmony Tan. “She doesn’t miss a lot,” said Tan of Anisimova. “When she plays like this, it’s really hard to play against her.”
Anisimova made the French Open semi-finals in 2019 but has struggled for consistent high-level form over the last two years following the death of her father and coach, Konstantin. If she continues to play like she did at Wimbledon she will be on the right track.
Jannik Sinner: B-
Another step forward for Sinner, who has now reached the quarter-finals at three of the four Grand Slams. The world No. 13 beat Stan Wawrinka, Isner and Carlos Alcaraz, before producing some excellent tennis to win the first two sets against Djokovic.
He couldn’t close out a famous win but this was a timely reminder that Sinner should be a big part of the future of tennis.
Il saluto a fine partita fra Jannik Sinner e Novak Djokovic, Getty Images
Image credit: Getty Images
Serena Williams: C+
Williams’ dramatic first-round loss to Harmony Tan feels like an age ago. It was a match that Williams might feel she would have won; she was 4-2, 40-15 ahead in the first set and 3-1 up in the deciding set, before having a chance to serve it out.
Despite the final result it was thrilling, and fantastic, to see 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams show such fire and passion after a year away from the court. It was also reassuring to hear her say afterwards she was motivated to “hit the practice courts”, which could set her up to play at the US Open or before. Williams may never win another major to equal Margaret Court's all-time record - and right now she looks further away than ever has done since winning No. 23 - but she remains a huge draw and, like with Roger Federer, tennis will feel her eventual retirement.
Some may have expected Raducanu to at least repeat her fourth-round showing from a year ago, but that would have been an impressive achievement with only seven games played on grass beforehand due to injury. The next month ahead of her return at the Citi Open should be a good opportunity for Raducanu to rest, reset and prepare for her upcoming US Open title defence.
Andy Murray: C
The disappointment for Murray after his second-round defeat to John Isner was obvious. “I was coming into Wimbledon feeling like I could have a deep run,” said the two-time champion, who had looked in good touch on grass before suffering an abdominal injury in the Stuttgart Open final that disrupted his warm-up plans.
The plus for Murray is that this loss was very different to his straight-sets defeat to Denis Shapovalov a year ago that left him demoralised and contemplating his future. It was not due to any physical limitations or a lack of quality that Murray lost, rather he just ran into an exceptional serving display from Isner that would have troubled most top players.
It started out so well for Swiatek as she tried to dispel doubts she could continue to dominate despite the switch to grass. But after dropping just three games in the first round, Swiatek was pushed hard in the second round, before falling in surprisingly one-sided fashion to Alize Cornet.
Cornet has history at Wimbledon, shocking Serena Williams in the third round in 2014, and has far more experience on grass that Swiatek, who perhaps erred by not playing any warm-up events on the surface.
Swiatek, whose winning streak ended at 37, should be the one to beat again when the tour switches to hard courts in a few weeks; earlier this year she won Doha, Indian Wells and Miami for the loss of just three sets. However, it will be interesting to see whether she bounces back straight away from her Wimbledon loss or if she needs longer to get back into her stride.
Stefanos Tsitsipas: D-
Whoever you sided with after the heated third-round clash between Kyrgios and Tsitsipas, it was telling to hear Toni Nadal’s view. “I was greatly surprised Tsitsipas couldn’t deal with those situations,” wrote Rafael Nadal’s uncle and former coach in El Pais.
Even with all that was happening on the other side of the net, it was a shock to see Tsitsipas unravel and lose control the way he did. The world No. 5 looked to have hit some form after winning on grass in Mallorca, and should see his early exit as a missed opportunity, especially given the way the draw opened up after the withdrawals of Matteo Berrettini and Marin Cilic due to positive Covid-19 tests. Tsitsipas was playing good tennis at times against Kyrgios but came up short in key moments.
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Felix Auger-Aliassime: D-
Much was expected of Auger-Aliassime this grass season after he made the Stuttgart final and Wimbledon quarter-finals a year ago, but over the last month he has found himself edged out every step of the way, narrowly beaten in 's-Hertogenbosch and Halle before only managing to create one break-point chance in a tight loss to serve-and-volley expert Maxime Cressy at SW19.
Auger-Aliassime, 21, still looks almost ready to make his breakthrough, and it will be intriguing to see how he fares this summer. He will be back on the grass at the Hall of Fame Open this week and with his big game he should bounce back from his early Wimbledon exit.
Denis Shapovalov: D-
This is a summer Shapovalov will want to forget in a hurry. After going out in the second round at Wimbledon to Brandon Nakashima he has lost seven of his last eight matches since upsetting Nadal in Rome.
Shapovalov made the semis at SW19 a year ago and looked good in making the quarters at the Australian Open in January, but he looks very out of form right now.
Hubert Hurkacz: E
The curse of the Halle champion continues.
Since 2011, every player who has won Halle has gone on to lose in the first round of Wimbledon, aside from Federer. Hurkacz was expected to be a contender after his run to the semi-finals last year but couldn’t overcome Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, despite rallying from two sets down and serving for the match. A big, missed opportunity for Hurkacz.