TENNIS

5 things to know before the tournament opens

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The 2022 Wimbledon Championships will be the 135th edition of the Grass Slam. On the men’s side, defending champion Novak Djokovic is the top seed. Iga Swiatek is the top seed in the women’s draw. Defending women’s singles champion Ashleigh Barty retired in March.

The 2022 edition marks the return of fans to SW19 at full capacity after two years of restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also the first time that players have been allowed to train on center court on a limited basis. Prior to this, Wimbledon was the only event that did not allow players to practice before the tournament due to the difficulty of maintaining the grass.

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Marking the 100th anniversary of the prestigious Center Court, the Royal Box will have a more refined look and the 15,000 seat stadium will be more accessible. Legendary host Sue Barker, a former Wimbledon semi-finalist, will say goodbye as a BBC presenter after 30 years. Hailed as the voice and face of the British major for the past two decades, a small celebration will take place on center court in tribute to Barker’s contribution to the broadcast of Wimbledon.

A look back at five key points before the third Grand Slam of the year, which will not follow the usual trend of previous editions:

#1 Introduction of the Mixed Doubles Invitational Tournament

Until 2019, men’s and women’s invitational doubles featuring retired tennis players was a common feature at Wimbledon. However, these two events were not played in 2020 due to the pandemic and were also reduced in 2021. These two events will return to the tournament this year.

In addition to the invitational doubles competition, there will be an invitational mixed doubles competition for the first time. The event will take place from July 5 to 10.

Wimbledon Mixed Doubles Invitational Mary Pierce & Goran Ivanisevic Nenad Zimonjic & Marion Bartoli This could be fun….. https://t.co/BfZlAz46ys

#2 Introduction of the 10-point tie-break in the decider

Earlier this season, the ATP, WTA and ITF came together to introduce a universal tiebreaker system for all four Grand Slams. Under the new rules, matches that go 6-6 in the last set of the match will be decided by a 10-point tie-break. The 2022 French Open became the first tournament to follow this rule.

Unlike 2019 and 2021, where a tie-break decided the match 12-12 in the final set, the 2022 edition of Wimbledon will now follow the new 10-point tie-break system.

#3 Introducing the Scheduled “Middle Sunday” Game

A highlight of Wimbledon’s programming in the past has been that no matches have been played on “middle Sunday”. This was attributed to the preparation of the grass for the second week. Gardeners at Wimbledon use a machine called the Billy Goat which vacuums up any debris that has accumulated near the lines of the pitch. They also water the grass as needed. “Middle Sunday” was also used as a reserve day for fourth-round matches if they were not completed on schedule.

From this year, Wimbledon will have fourth round matches scheduled for “middle Sunday”. The technology that will help maintain the quality of the surface is called steamed grass. This will kill unwanted pests and also make the grass more hard wearing. The new format also means that the tradition of ‘Manic Monday’ will come to an end.

Earlier, ‘Manic Monday’ featured all of the round of 16 matches in the men’s and women’s singles draws.

#4 Russian and Belarusian players banned

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022. The two nations have been at war for four months and the repercussions have been felt on both men’s and women’s tours. The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) announced in April that players from Russia and Belarus would not be allowed to compete in the 2022 Wimbledon Championships.

The AELTC statement consisted of a comment from Ian Hewitt, chairman of the All England Club.

“We recognize that this is hard on those affected, and it is with sadness that they will suffer from the actions of the leaders of the Russian regime. We have looked very carefully at alternative measures that could be taken within UK Government guidelines, but given the high profile environment of the Championships, the importance of not allowing the use of sport to promote the Russian regime and our broader concerns for the public and players. (including family safety), we do not believe it is viable to proceed on any other basis at the Championships,” the statement read.

Statement regarding Russian and Belarusian individuals at the 2022 Championships.

#5 No ranking points for Wimbledon 2022

The AELTC’s statement banning Russian and Belarusian players drew immense criticism. The ATP, WTA and ITF have protested removing ranking points for the 2022 Wimbledon Championships. This has led to the withdrawal of many top players from the event.

The decision has been called crazy, illogical and discriminatory by players like Novak Djokovic and Andrey Rublev. However, Ukrainian players Marta Kostyuk and Sergiy Stakhovsky welcomed the decision.

AELTC statement regarding ATP/WTA/ITF ranking points at Wimbledon https://t.co/0MEEqTIvQy


Edited by Nihal Taraporvala

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