I’m a little delinquent with my Wimbledon wrap-up but better late then never as they say. The highlight was Roger Federer capturing his eighth title at the All England Club, becoming the only man to do so. In addition, Federer added his 19th major title, also a record. And he solidified his claim as potentially the greatest player of all time. Federer at age 35 was totally dominant the entire tournament, becoming the first man since Bjorn Borg to win the tournament without losing a set.
With Murray out for an extended period with a hip injury and Djokovic also out for an undetermined period with an arm injury, Federer probably becomes the early odds on favorite for the US Open too. A few years ago, as Roger was struggling in majors, he said he still believed he had a chance to win 20 major titles. Even I scoffed at that. But Federer changed racquets, revamped his game and is now poised to do exactly as he said. It just shows what a real champion he is.
It was pretty much a given that one of the big four, Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, or Murray would win this tournament. It would have been a real shocker if one of them hadn’t. But the real surprise was that one of the other three did not make it to face Federer in the final, that was left to an injured Marin Cilic, or semifinal. And it was injuries that forced Djokovic to retire and Murray to succumb in five sets. Nadal, on the other hand, just had not played enough on grass and was served out of the tournament by Gilles Muller in a 5 set classic, one of the matches of the fortnight. Nadal just could never get a handle on Muller’s serve and finally succumbed 15–13 in the fifth.
Sam Querrey, who made the quarters here last year, once again got an American man deep into the second week by making the semifinals, where he seemed to let Cilic off the hook. The rest of the American men, including big-serving John Isner and Steve Johnson continue to disappoint. Isner especially should thrive here at Wimbledon but he has never learned how to return serve. In the early round loss that he had, I recall him being something like 2 for 23 in break points. You just can’t win with numbers like that.
On the ladies’ side, Venus Williams found solace away from the unfounded accusations about her off court to blast her way into the finals. There she lost to a surprising opponent in former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza, who fought through to win a tough first set and then overwhelmed Venus in the second. Muguruza has had nothing but problems since her French Open win last year and had suffered a horrible first round loss at a grass court warmup tournament in preparation for Wimbledon. But a few coaching tips from the from the former Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez seemed to transform her game and she became confident and aggressive and eventually champion.
Joanna Konta raised British hopes by getting to the semifinals before running into Venus. My pick to win, CoCo Vandeweghe, seemed overwhelmed by expectation and lost to another surprise in Magdalena Rybarikova in the quarter finals. Jelena Ostapenko proved that her French Open win was perhaps no fluke by winning four rounds and making it to the second week, a pretty good result considering the excitement of the last month for her.
The tragedy of the tournament was the horrific knee injury suffered by Bethany Mattek-Sands in her singles match in the first week. She and her partner, Lucie Safarova, were going for the consecutive Grand Slam in women’s doubles here at Wimbledon, having won the last three majors coming into the fortnight. All that came crashing down when Mattek-Sands knee gruesomely collapsed.
While the men’s and women’s finals were lopsided affairs, the men’s doubles final provided some real drama as Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo beat Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic 5–7, 7–5, 7–6 (2), 3–6, 13–11 in a nearly five hour marathon. Martina Hingis won her first Wimbledon singles title 20 years ago. This year she won her second mixed doubles title pairing with Jamie Murray, an amazing achievement for someone who, like Federer, never seems to age on court.
Finally, many of the players complained bitterly about the quality of the grass and lack of it this year. Even Martina Navratilova, who made these courts her own, said that the courts were really chewed up and that there were some serious problems with the surface this year.
Originally published at tidalsoundings.blogspot.com on July 18, 2017.