Wimbledon 2022 draw: Rafael Nadal's projected path to the final

Rafael Nadal's Wimbledon draw is quite challenging.
Rafael Nadal's Wimbledon draw is quite challenging.

Rafael Nadal's quest for a record-extending 23rd Grand Slam title begins next week at Wimbledon. He's a two-time champion at the tournament, having won the title in 2008 and 2010, while finishing as the runner-up in 2006, 2007 and 2011.

After a string of poor results at Wimbledon, the Spaniard made consecutive semifinals in 2018 and 2019. The 2020 edition was canceled and he didn't compete last year due to an injury.

Having won the Australian Open and the French Open this year, he's on track for a calendar year Grand Slam. However, the former World No. 1 has been handed a tricky draw.

On that note, let’s take a closer look at Rafael Nadal's projected path to the final of Wimbledon:

Rafael Nadal's 1st-round opponent - Francisco Cerundolo

Nadal faces 23-year-old Wimbledon debutant Francisco Cerundolo in the first round. The youngster has won just one match on grass in the lead-up to the tournament, which is also his solitary career win on the surface so far.

While Cerundolo has made his way up the rankings this year, he's unlikely to pose a threat to Nadal.

Rafael Nadal's likely 2nd-round opponent - Sam Querrey

Nadal is likely to take on the tricky Sam Querrey in the second round. The American has previously stunned Wimbledon defending champions Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray in the 2016 and 2017 editions respectively.

Querrey is a former semifinalist here, so Nadal will certainly need to be wary and put his best foot forward to defeat him. The Spaniard leads 5-1 in the head-to-head and won their previous encounter at the 2019 Wimbledon in straight sets.

Rafael Nadal's likely 3rd-round opponent - Lorenzo Songo

Sonego has been wildly inconsistent this year. He made it to the fourth round here last year, but will need to raise his level considerably if he wants to replicate or better that result. The Italian's best result during the grass season this year has been a quarterfinal in Stuttgart.

Nadal and Sonego haven't met prior to this.

Rafael Nadal's likely 4th-round opponent - Marin Cilic

Nadal will be tested thoroughly in the fourth round as he's likely to face 2017 Wimbledon finalist Marin Cilic. He has been in good form over the past few weeks. The Croat made it to the last four at the French Open for the first time in his career.

Cilic then made it to the semifinals at Queen's Club in the lead-up to the grasscourt Major. Nadal leads 7-2 in the head-to-head and this will be their first meeting on grass.

Rafael Nadal's likely quarter-final opponent - Felix Auger-Aliassime / Taylor Fritz

Felix Auger-Aliassime recently put up a tough fight against Nadal when they faced off in the fourth round of the French Open. The Spaniard emerged victorious in a five-set thriller. The youngster made it to the last eight at Wimbledon last year and is quite a capable player on grass.

Gentlemen's Singles - Projected Quarter-finalsDjokovic vs Alcaraz Ruud vs HurkaczBerrettini vs TsitsipasAuger-Aliassime vs Nadal#Wimbledon

Another possible opponent at this stage is Taylor Fritz. After a couple of first-round losses, the American got his grass swing going at Eastbourne. He's currently a semifinalist there. He also defeated Nadal in the final of the Indian Wells Open earlier this year.

Rising teen star Holger Rune is also in the mix. The teenager made it to the quarterfinals at the French Open and would love to step up at a Grand Slam once again.

Rafael Nadal's likely semi-final opponent - Matteo Berrettini

Matteo Berrettini stands between Nadal and a sixth final at Wimbledon. The Italian was the runner-up here last year and has transformed into one of the best grass court players of his generation. He missed the entire clay season to recover from surgery, but made a stunning return to the tour.

An historic pre-tournament practice on Centre Court for Matteo Berrettini and @RafaelNadal#Wimbledon | #CentreCourt100

Berrettini returned to action during the grass swing and won consecutive titles at Stuttgart and Queen's Club. Both of their previous encounters have also been in the semifinal stages of the Grand Slams - at the US Open in 2019 and the Australian Open this year. Nadal won on both occasions and went on to win the title as well. However, the Italian certainly has a chance of scoring an upset win here.

Rafael Nadal's likely opponent in the final - Novak Djokovic

Three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic is most likely to await Nadal in the final. The two recently squared off in the quarterfinals of the French Open, with the Spaniard winning in four sets. Their previous meeting at Wimbledon was in 2018, with the Serb winning a five-set thriller.

Djokovic also beat Nadal to win the 2011 Wimbledon title, while Nadal's lone victory over him in the tournament came in 2007 when the Serb retired in the third set. Should the Spaniard's arch-rival falter before the final, he could meet teen sensation Carlos Alcaraz. Other contenders include former World No. 1 Andy Murray, Jannik Sinner and Hubert Hurkacz.

Edited by Anirudh


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