Wimbledon Betting Takeaways: Thoughts on Nick Kyrgios, Serena Williams, American Tennis & More
Visionhaus/Getty. Pictured: Nick Kyrgios.
Wimbledon is now over, and we’re left with far more questions than answers after a wild two weeks at the All England Club.
We knew going in that the tournament would be an odd one given the depleted field and the lack of ranking points, but I’m not sure anyone could have anticipated it being this odd.
At any rate, I think we should discuss where things stand following Wimbledon, and look ahead to the second half of the season.
Here are my takeaways from the third Grand Slam event of the year.
Kyrgios Motivated and Ready to Compete for More
Let’s start with the talk of the tennis world: Nick Kyrgios. While many were rooting for the eccentric Aussie to capture that elusive Grand Slam we’ve long been waiting for, I think it may actually be a good thing that he fell to Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s final.
Why’s that? Well, Kyrgios hinted in an Australian television interview prior to the final that he’d consider retiring if he won Wimbledon, saying there’d be nothing left for him to achieve in the sport.
After the final, he again told the press that had he won Wimbledon, he’d seriously lack the motivation to play other smaller tournaments.
So, for fans of Kyrgios, this means we will continue seeing the Aussie play tennis for the next three years, in his own estimation.
That’s great news because the player we’ve seen in 2022 has been dominant.
It’s easy for casual observers to look at Wimbledon and say it was Kyrgios’ first time taking tennis seriously, but in reality, it’s been a long time coming. All season long, Kyrgios has been focused and motivated, putting in hours training, getting treatment and recovering after matches.
He’s only lost seven matches all year long — three were to arguably the three best players in the world right now in Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev. The others were all to top-20 players, with the exception of Andy Murray, who was playing on his beloved grass.
Kyrgios was ranked outside the top 100 heading into the 2022 season, and some wondered if we’d ever see him again.
The thought of Kyrgios grinding out Challenger tournaments and going through qualifying seemed impossible given his attitude in the past. He took a few wild cards and parlayed them into a top-40 ranking. He then made his first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon.
All in all, it’s been an extraordinary year so far for Kyrgios, and it seems this is the player we should get used to seeing. Another deep run at a Grand Slam in the next calendar year is very much in the cards, and despite his indifference to rankings, I’d predict he’s a top-20 player by this time next season.
I don’t think we learned anything new from Kyrgios’ Wimbledon run. It simply cemented what we’ve seen for the entire season: that Kyrgios is finally focused and utilizing his special talent.
Djokovic Focused on Slam Chase
After crashing out of the French Open, it was easy to write off a 35-year-old Djokovic. It’d been a full year since we saw him win a slam, and in that time, Rafael Nadal had not only caught up to him but passed him.
The fact of the matter is that Djokovic is still just as dominant as he was three years ago. He’s the best player in the world, who has — like any great — had a couple of speed bumps.
I mean, he was 56-7 across all competitions last season, including his two losses at the Olympics. He did what only two men have done, and that is beat Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros. He was one match away from completing the calendar Grand Slam, and for the first time in his entire career, let nerves get the best of him.
That didn’t even seem to affect him much, either — Djokovic came right back out two months later and won a Masters 1000, getting revenge on Medvedev in the final in Paris.
Simply put, that is just GOAT stuff.
Djokovic didn’t play in Australia this season for obvious reasons, and after shaking off some rust, he re-established himself as the top dog in the ATP with another Masters 1000 win and a return to the winner’s circle at Wimbledon.
Like the Kyrgios story, I’m not really sure a close observer of Djokovic in the last three months would've expected anything different out of the Serb at the All England Club.
He was, after all, the favorite to win the tournament, according to oddsmakers. He was the most dominant player on tour last year.
This just cements his status as the favorite to win the next two Grand Slams, assuming he’s allowed to enter the countries which will be hosting them.
One thing we did learn from watching Djokovic talk to the press and play on the court is that the only thing on the World No. 7’s mind is Grand Slams. He admitted he’s not too worried about his ranking, which will crater, assuming he’s not allowed to play all the big tournaments this summer in the United States.
He just wants to collect trophies and presumably finish his career with the most in history.
American Men in a Good Place
It seemed the United States was destined to have a semifinalist on the men’s side, given there were four Americans alive in the fourth round and eight alive in the third round.
But it was not to be.
Taylor Fritz wasn’t able to convert a 2-1 lead over an injured Rafael Nadal in what was the closest the US has come to sending a player to the semis in a long, long time.
That doesn’t mean we should leave England with a sour taste in our mouths.
In fact, this is an incredibly encouraging sign as we enter the North American hardcourt swing.
This country is flooded with hard courts, so it’s no surprise that it’s the surface in which Americans have had the most amount of success on given it’s where American players train.
With that, I think the level of success that many U.S. players on the men’s side enjoyed at Wimbledon means even bigger things are coming in the next couple of months.
We saw Reilly Opelka compete in a Masters 1000 final last year in Toronto. Fritz won his first Masters 1000 earlier this year at Indian Wells.
The good results have already been coming for the Americans, but coming off a tournament where so many players produced career-best results, I think the expectations should be raised.
Fritz has put himself in position to be a real contender at the US Open, where his game probably translates even better. With Tommy Paul making an unexpected fourth-round run on a foreign surface to him, I think it’s fair to expect a run out of him, as well.
We already know Opelka and Frances Tiafoe are lethal on hard courts.
As for the younger crop of guys, we will soon remember why Jenson Brooksby is ranked so highly. The young American has been playing on unfamiliar surfaces in the last couple of months and should break back out as we re-enter the hard-court season.
Brandon Nakashima put together his best performance at a slam as well, and Sebastian Korda will soon be healthy.
There’s a ton of palpable buzz for the American men right now.
Rybakina an Elite Grass-Courter
Here’s the thing: Elena Rybakina has been one of the tougher outs on the WTA Tour for the last couple of years.
Like any young player, she had some tough results against poor competition, but the 23-year-old has proven she can go toe-to-toe with some of the biggest names in the game.
She had a strong performance at the Olympics last year, a quarterfinal appearance at Roland Garros, a semifinal run at Eastbourne and a close fourth-round loss against Aryna Sabalenka at Wimbledon last year.
This may be what the Kazakh needs to break into the top 10, however. I mean, she’d be there if they handed out ranking points at Wimbledon, but in a larger sense, that big result had been eluding her for the past few years.
She had her moments, like beating Serena Williams at the French Open, reaching the final of Adelaide earlier this year and playing Maria Sakkari very closely in the Indian Wells quarterfinal.
She simply didn’t have what it took to get a big win over a quality opponent until last week.
She did so in stunning fashion, with the wins over Simona Halep and Ons Jabeur, and I think not only does this help her get to the next level, I think it also cements her as a favorite next year at Wimbledon.
She’s now 22-7 on grass in her career and has to be considered one of the best in the world on the surface.
Serena Williams' Career May be Coming to a Close
Finally, we should touch on Serena, who was one of the biggest stories of the first week of Wimbledon.
Will we ever see her again? What are her chances of winning a Grand Slam?
It’s tough to say when we’ll see her again, but given what she’s said publicly, it’s hard to say we’ve seen the last of her. It would seem she’ll probably give it a go at the US Open, and if that’s the case, she’ll almost definitely play some tennis in the lead-up to the event.
Williams isn’t ranked right now, but it’s very likely she’ll be offered a wild card to play in Lexington or Cincinnati. Perhaps with some matches under her belt, she'll look a bit better the next time we see her at a slam.
What are her chances of winning another one? Well, I think, unfortunately, it’s next to impossible.
We've seen there’s a ton of parity on tour right now, but Iga Swiatek is simply on another level. While she flamed out of Wimbledon early, it’s easy to excuse the loss — given grass is a foreign surface for her.
Swiatek has yet to lose this year on clay or a hard court, and the chances of Williams knocking her off — if she advanced far enough — are probably slim.
Williams struggled against a world-class defender in the 2019 Wimbledon final when she was dusted by Halep. Swiatek is essentially a souped-up version of Halep.
Let’s also consider the fact that Williams is now 40 and is not moving very well, so playing someone who's going to extend rallies is going to be a nightmare. It’s unlikely she’s able to hit through most of the top 10, and it’s even unlikelier that she’s able to maintain the fitness needed for a two-week run at a slam.
It’s hard to say Williams looked terrible in her loss to Harmony Tan, but she looked nothing like the legendary tennis player we’re used to seeing.
I think she’s played her last Wimbledon, and I think she'll say goodbye to the sport after one more run at the US Open.