2022 ATP Predictions: the Grand Slams and ATP Finals

Daniil Medvedev in action at the ATP Paris Masters.

Following my popular article last year, I will once again be giving my ATP predictions for the upcoming 2022 season. In this article, I shall be giving my predictions on the biggest tournaments of the year (the Grand Slams and ATP Finals). So without further ado here are my predictions…

Australian Open  

2021 Final: (1) Novak Djokovic d. (4) Daniil Medvedev 7–5, 6–2, 6–2

Predicted Champion: Novak Djokovic

It’s interesting how Tennis only makes the mainstream media in times of controversy than for the sport itself! After Judge Kelly served justice by overturning Djokovic’s visa cancellation, it does appear that Djokovic will be competing for his 10th Australian Open title and a men’s record of 21 Grand Slam singles titles. However, my confidence for the Serbian to win in Melbourne is less so than the previous three editions of the season’s opening Grand Slam. That isn’t because of the backlash from many of the Australian public saying that “he will get booed” – Djokovic always gets booed and it is the norm for him to have the crowd supporting his opponent and it hasn’t seemed to impact his success. Instead, my concerns of a Djokovic victory are because of the inhumane conditions he suffered whilst detained in Park Hotel and also missing out on valuable practice time, which would have severly hampered his preparation. There’s also the risk that he tests positive for COVID-19 again, which given all the increasing number of cases would be a fitting end of irony to this tragic scandal. However, if Djokovic doesn’t win, I believe the champion will be a first-time winner but given that I am not sure who it would be, the safer pick is to stick with the Serbian to defy the odds.

Who else is in the mix?

Whilst 2021 Australian Open finalist and US Open champion Daniil Medvedev is primed for another deep run at a hard court Grand Slam, I don’t think he will be the one lifting the title. This is because no man in the Open Era has won their second Grand Slam straight after winning their first. However, he has more chance that 2020 Australian Open finalist and US Open champion Dominic Thiem, who has withdrawn from the tournament as his absence from the tour since the French Open continues.

This years Olympic and ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev seems like a more likely contender to win the title after ending 2021 with a victory and a tour-leading six titles. However, I still have my doubts on whether he will be able to deliver in a Grand Slam as he 0-11 against Top 10 players at the sport’s biggest stages. However, with Djokovic’s complicated situation, an early loss for Medvedev more likely (than usual) as he has just come off his first Grand Slam title and Omicron spreading like wildfire, there is a slim chance he could win the Australian Open without having to beat a Top 10 player, making him a title contender.

The other Olympic medallists Karen Khachanov and Pablo Carreño Busta could have deep runs but I don’t really see either with a big chance at the title, perhaps the semi-finals at best so if there is a surprise winner, I think it will be someone that I have overlooked.

French Open

2021 Final: (1) Novak Djokovic d. (5) Stefanos Tsitsipas 6–7(6–8), 2–6  6–3, 6–2, 6-4

Predicted Champion: Rafael Nadal

Even though the Spaniard did not win the French Open this year, we have to remember he has a 105-3 match record at Roland Garros with 13 victories in Paris and is undoubtedly the greatest clay court player of all time. I still have my concerns about whether the statue has ruined his career as I did even before the 2021 tournament began. However, I have given Nadal the benefit of doubt given the pattern of losses made sense. His first ever French Open loss was in 2009 in the 4th round, his next loss was six years later and a round further (2015 quarter-finals) and the same pattern continued this year (2021 semi-finals). He also seemed to be struggling with injury in his defeat as we haven’t seen him play a competitive match since. Therefore, if Nadal is fully fit I expect him to rebound from this year’s disappointment and win a record-extending 14th French Open title.

Who else is in the mix?

There are two other players I see in the mix and they are this year’s finalists. Novak Djokovic is the defending champion and I now feel he will be particularly dangerous at the French Open going forward because there are no real mental hurdles in his way. He is now the only player in the Open Era to have won every Grand Slam at least twice and he is the only person to have beaten Nadal on the Parisian clay and end up winning the tournament. Therefore, I think he may be harder than ever to stop.

I also think this year’s runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas is in with a  good chance of winning the title. Taking his first Grand Slam final to five sets makes me believe he definitely has a French Open title in him in his career. The only question is if 2022 is too soon given that both Nadal and Djokovic will still be in the draw. But if there is anyone that could beat them I believe it would be Tsitsipas.

Wimbledon

2021 Final: (1) Novak Djokovic d. (7) Matteo Berrettini 6–7(4–7), 6–4, 6–4, 6–3 

Predicted Champion: Novak Djokovic

I have mentioned this previously but I think Wimbledon is now Djokovic’s best chance of a Slam each year, especially after he managed to win the 2019 final whilst playing his C-game in the final against the greatest grass court player of all time. I really cannot see anyone beating him because almost all the other top-ranked players have yet to have significant success at Wimbledon yet. The Serbian is the three-time defending champion after winning in 2021 with the loss of just two sets and I expect a route to the title not too much more difficult in 2022.

Who else is in the mix?

The only other player who I believe is in contention is Matteo Berrettini but to be honest, I do not see him beating Djokovic but only taking him to a deciding set. However, I believe the Italian has definitely established himself as the 2nd best player on the surface having gone 11-1 on the surface in 2021 (having claimed the prestigious Queen’s Club title before his run to the Wimbledon final). Therefore, if for some reason Djokovic was well below 100% at Wimbledon next year, I think Berrettini can take advantage as I see him as superior on grass to everyone else on tour.

US Open

2021 Final: (2) Daniil Medvedev d. (1) Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4

Predicted Champion: Daniil Medvedev

I actually found this the hardest one to predict, or at least this is the prediction that I feel does not have as much logic behind it. In the end, I have gone for Medvedev to defend his US Open title. Whilst being successful in your first Grand Slam title defence attempt is a difficult task, I really believe in Medvedev’s competence going forward after the reliability he showed at the biggest tournaments in 2021. I felt that a Grand Slam in 2022 had to be allocated to him for that reason and I think there too many people ahead of him on clay and grass, plus previously mentioned why the Australian Open would be rather unlikely for him in 2022. Therefore, by process of elimination I have picked him as my US Open champion.

Who else is in the mix?

Obviously Novak Djokovic will be in the conversation at any Grand Slam and after all, he was the runner-up at the US Open this year. I see no reason why he wouldn’t be able to win although he does always seem to underperform in New York as given his ability and playing style you would have expected him the US Open on more than three occasions. 2020 champion Dominic Thiem should hopefully have settled back into tour from his long injury layoff by the time the US Open begins next year. Given that 2021 was essentially a write-off year for the Austrian he could be primed for success in New York as he will enter the tournament with a wealth of experience and positive memories without the pressure of being one of the main title favourites.

Looking at this year’s Olympic medallists, the Gold medallist Alexander Zverev seems most likely to win the US Open of the three. It is the scene of his only previous Grand Slam final and also the place where there have been most first time Grand Slam champions in recent years so there could be a slim chance he may not have to play a Top 10 player all tournament (given he has never beaten one at Grand Slam level). Silver medallist Karen Khachanov and Bronze medallist Pablo Carreño Busta showed in Tokyo that they can get big results on hard courts but I think best of five sets is a whole extra challenge and so again, I think the semi-finals will likely be the furthest either of the get.

ATP Finals

2021 Final: (3) Alexander Zverev d. (2) Daniil Medvedev 6–4, 6-4

Predicted Champion: Daniil Medvedev

The only reason why I felt Medvedev didn’t win the ATP Finals this year is because he was on a nine-match winning streak at the tournament. It is never good to be on big win streaks at tournaments as it adds additional pressure, especially for someone like Medvedev who is still at a stage in his career where winning tournaments of this magnitude are big milestones and not necessarily routine. In addition, in the ATP Finals when two players face each other twice in the same edition of the tournament, more often than not the player who wins the first match, loses the second. Taking these extenuating circumstances into account, I feel that there is logic in predicting him to win the ATP Finals in 2022.

Who else is in the mix?

Part of the reason I have gone with Medvedev is because World No.1 Novak Djokovic has not seemed to bring his best tennis to the year-end championships for several years. I believe the Serbian is at a stage in his career where is so focused on winning Grand Slams that even the ATP Finals appears anti-climatic. However, Djokovic’s peak level is still better than any other player’s peak level on a hard court and so he will still be considered a title contender.

There is probably more chance for this year’s champion Alexander Zverev to retain his title in 2022 instead. The German has beaten every player in the Top 10 and whilst he has yet to properly prove himself at Grand Slam level, across best-of-three set format he is a force to reckoned with, already having two ATP Finals titles and an Olympic Gold medal under his belt. There will be some additional pressure on Zverev next year as the defending champion, but other than that he will be a threat in Turin.

What are your predictions? Let me know in the comments!

 

Main Photo from Getty Images


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