Men's Wimbledon Preview: Nick Kyrgios Enters with Strong Recent Form
If you’re reading this to see why you should bet Novak Djokovic to win Wimbledon this year, then you might as well stop and go somewhere else.
You don’t need me to tell you to take the best player in the world to win one of the marquee tournaments. If taking a –125 future is your kind of thing, then go for it, but I’m not here for that.
Besides Djokovic, this could be one of the more wide-open men’s Wimbledon tournaments in recent memory.
No. 2 Alexander Zverev is out because of an ankle injury he suffered during the French Open, and Russian players are banned from competing, meaning No. 1 Daniil Medvedev and No. 8 Andrey Rublev are also out.
Add in Rafael Nadal’s foot concerns and the continued absence of Roger Federer, and you have a tournament that has Djokovic as an overwhelming favorite with multiple contenders with their best chance to compete for a grand slam title.
On the men’s side, I’m backing one of the most polarizing figures in the game: Nick Kyrgios.
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Kyrgios Enters with Good Form
Sure, there are always concerns about his conditioning or his mental well-being. Of course, there are likely to be emotional outbursts and tantrums that could lead to point penalties or even a game penalty. And there’s even the chance he could give up and not even try if he thinks things are going unfairly against him.
But considering the absent players and the form he has shown, I’m ready to back Kyrgios to win Wimbledon.
He was 50/1 just two weeks ago and is now down to 20/1 at DraftKings Sportsbook, 22/1 on BetMGM Sportsbook and 29/1 at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Kyrgios has had one of his better grass seasons. He’s 7-2 in 2022, including a top 10 win over No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas and has shown some mental resolve in his matches.
He dropped the first set against Tsitsipas and then rallied to win (5-7, 6-2, 6-4). In his last match, he lost the first set to Laslo Djere before winning two tiebreaks to secure the victory (5-7, 7-6, 7-6).
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Recovering from a dropped opening set isn’t something that has always been in Kyrgios’ repertoire, but it speaks to his form and perhaps improved mental mindset. There was also the dominant win over No. 19 Pablo Carreno Busta (6-4, 6-2) that highlighted just how good he can be on grass.
Kyrgios did withdraw from his second-round matchup against Roberto Batista Agut, citing an abdominal injury, but it seems that was more because of having played enough matches in preparation for Wimbledon than any serious injury concern.
He’s played nine matches since June 7 and if he went deep in Mallorca this week, it would be his third semifinal in three weeks. As a Kyrgios backer, I don’t mind this. And if there was any evidence the injury shouldn’t be an issue, he was posting vacation adventures in Mallorca following his withdrawal.
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Kyrgios’ best weapon is his serve, which has the third-best rating on tour this year (298.9), trailing only John Isner and Reilly Opelka.
His serve has always been one of his best assets, providing easy service games. But he’s also been winning longer rallies as of late. In the loss to No. 10 Hubert Hurkacz, Kyrgios was never broken and won more rallies that lasted longer than four shots.
Dropping two tiebreakers kept Kyrgios from advancing to the Halle finals. But the patience he displayed in longer rallies against Hurkacz could be a flash of improved discipline from Kyrgios.
Kyrgios was anointed as a potential generational talent when he defeated Nadal at Wimbledon in 2014 as a 19-year-old. That prediction hasn’t quite panned out. But given his recent form and the mental improvements he has shown, this could be the week Kyrgios finally puts it all together.
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