The flow around a cylinder rolling or sliding on a wall was investigated analytically and numerically for small Reynolds numbers, where the flow is known to be two-dimensional and steady. Both prograde and retrograde rotation were analytically solved, in the Stokes regime, giving the values of forces and torque and a complete description of the flow. However, solving Navier–Stokes equation, a rotation of the cylinder near the wall necessarily induces a cavitation bubble in the nip if the fluid is a liquid, or compressible effects, if it is a gas. Therefore, an infinite lift force is generated, disconnecting the cylinder from the wall. The flow inside this interstice was then solved under the lubrication assumptions and fully described for a completely flooded interstice. Numerical results extend the analysis to higher Reynolds number. Finally, the effect of the upstream pressure on the onset of cavitation is studied, giving the initial location of the phenomenon and the relation between the upstream pressure and the flow rate in the interstice. It is shown that the flow in the interstice must become three-dimensional when cavitation takes place.