2022 Wimbledon Women’s Contenders

Iga Swiatek Wimbledon 2021
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We recently looked at the contenders for the men’s championship. Let’s have a look at the top contenders for the Venus Rosewater dish.

This is probably the most Open Wimbledon I can remember. There has always been a favourite over the decades, from Martina Navratilova, to Steffi Graf, to Venus then Serena Williams. But 2022 will be different for sure.

Iga Swiatek

The current number 1 player, Swiatek took over the position after Ashleigh Barty’s sudden retirement in March. Swiatek has done an incredible job since then, winning every match she has played! This includes winning the Italian Open and French Open, Barty’s memory as number 1 is fading fast, which is what the WTA needed.

This makes Swiatek the clear favourite to win Wimbledon. Swiatek already has a feel good factor on grass, as she was junior Wimbledon champion in 2018. However, even though Swiatek is favourite does not mean she will win it. Despite junior success, it is fair to say Swiatek is an unknown quantity at senior level.  So far there are no clues, such as titles on grass, or extended runs at previous championships. This makes her challenge an exciting one, as we wait to see how Swiatek fares on the surface.

Typically, on grass the games go quicker and theoretically there are more chances for upsets. We will see if Swiatek’s kick serve is as effective on grass as it is on clay. Can Swiatek play the diagonal game as she likes to play on clay? I am not sure opponents will allow her to dictate with the forehand from the backhand corner as easily.  It will be a very interesting Wimbledon, Swiatek will be favourite but not as watertight as her French Open odds.

Karolina Pliskova

Pliskova is currently number 7 in the WTA rankings.  Pliskova has not had a stellar year to date but enough to keep herself in the Top 10.

Usually, Pliskova’s chances of a Wimbledon win will be remote but she is almost a throwback. Throwback in the sense that with her grass court pedigree, she is a contender regardless of form. Pliskova ran Ashleigh Barty close in the 2021 final and would love to go one better this year. To achieve this, Pliskova will have to up her level. This includes continually working on her movement along the baseline and when being drawn forward by her opponents. Pliskova has one of the best serves on tour, a great return and extremely clean groundstrokes.

If Pliskova can get a kind draw and navigate her way to the quarterfinals, she will have a great opportunity. Pliskova hopefully learned from last years’ experience and with no Barty in the way, must fancy her chances to take the title this time.

Garbine Muguruza

Muguruza is a former champion, taking the title in 2017 beating Venus Williams in the final. Muguruza is currently ranked 10 but has always struggled with consistency.  However, with Muguruza’s pedigree on grass as champion and finalist, will be a contender regardless of form coming in.

Similar to Pliskova, Muguruza is a tall player who has great groundstrokes but limited movement.  For whatever reason, grass suits Muguruza’s game regardless of these shortcomings. I would add that Muguruza does not possess a great serve either but in women’s tennis, return of serve is just as important.

Muguruza will need a favourable draw and somehow navigate her way to the quarterfinal. If she makes the quarterfinal then she becomes dangerous for her opponents. Like Pliskova, Muguruza will be very vulnerable in the early rounds, so consistency and determination will be a key to her success.

Coco Gauff

Spring 2022 has so far proved great for Coco Gauff. Gauff made the French Open final for the first time, losing to friend Iga Swiatek in straight sets. It was impressive progress for a player who is finally, at the age of 18 playing a full schedule on the WTA tour.

With the increase in confidence, Gauff will feel good going in to Wimbledon. Not least because Wimbledon is where Gauff made her name back in 2019 beating Venus Williams at the age of 15. Grass should prove a good surface for her over the next ten years.  As for this Wimbledon, not sure Gauff is ready to win the tournament. It was a great achievement to make the French Open final but her forehand was given a going over by Swiatek. This will be a cause of concern for her parents and coach, can Gauff correct those technical issues so quickly? Or can she hide them on grass. Amelie Mauresmo was one of the best grass court players of her generation despite having a shaky forehand. Mauresmo was able to cover that by stinging volleys, great movement and a beautiful backhand, winning the title in 2006.

For now, Gauff will have to find a solution that protects her forehand until she can improve it technically. She has the movement, athleticism and a good backhand.  So the two things to look for are her serve and forehand for improvement.

On that basis, Gauff will be a contender this year but unlikely to win at this stage of her career. If she were to pull it off, as far as I am concerned that will be a surprise.

Others to watch

Serena Williams

Given a wildcard, she should not be considered a contender under any circumstances, but we are talking about Serena Williams :-0

Angelique Kerber

Kerber reached the semifinals last year losing to Barty. A former champion but now age 34 so getting more difficult.

Simona Halep

A former champion in 2019, Halep has struggled with consistency and injuries, plus she recently got married. If she finds her rhythm, she could still be a threat.

Emma Raducanu

Since winning the US Open as a qualifier, Raducanu has experienced incredible ups and downs. Ups off the court in terms of sponsorship and profile, downs in terms of injuries and performances on court. Grass is a favoured surface, let’s see how she goes.

Paula Badosa

Saw her lose last year in the 4th round to Karolina Muchova. Needs some good performances at major tournaments to justify her position as number 3 in the rankings.

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