This week we got the news that Nadal and Osaka are out of Wimbledon. It’s a blow to the tournament, only a bit more than a week away.
When two of the biggest stars of the game withdraw from a grand slam, it’s always a sad news story. Nadal wanted time to heal his body after intense competition and also withdrew from the Olympic Games, while Osaka said she will not play Wimbledon but aim to play the Olympics. Osaka has been in the media frequently during the French Open for her decision not to do press conferences (citing mental health issues) and when the grand slams came down on her for not doing her obligation, she decided to withdraw from the event. This means that Osaka now misses two grand slams in a row without a physical injury hindering her.
Nadal, on the other hand, gave it his usual all during his quest for a 14th Roland Garros title and is probably not in peak physical and mental condition to go for the grand slam that he is least likely to win: Wimbledon. Since the French Open was postponed one week, the time between these two important tournaments is shorter than ever. It’s therefore pretty logical that Nadal, who likes to make sure he is well prepared for each event, doesn’t have enough time to get adjusted to the surface.
What does this mean for Wimbledon?
The women’s game is impossible to predict at the moment and Osaka’s withdrawal doesn’t make it less so. The field is completely open, which is a stark contrast to the men’s tournament where the favorites can be counted on one hand. One player stands out though Novak Djokovic. His quest to be the best player of all time has plenty of momentum after his French Open win and a Wimbledon title would put him on equal footing to Nadal and Federer with twenty grand slams apiece.
The race is definitely ON and with one key competitor out of the event, Novak’s chances got even bigger. Who can threaten him? Federer, of course, but he has looked less than himself during the warm-up events. Medvedev perhaps? Cilic is an outsider that loves the grass and has reached the final (long shot though!). Otherwise, it looks pretty much lined up for another GS title for Djokovic.
Who do you think can challenge the world number one at Wimbledon?