While Novak Djokovic normally has a strong following at the England Grand Slam, it is fair to say that all eyes were on Roger Federer on Sunday to take the tournament and become the new record holder with eight tournament titles. It was not to be, however, as Djokovich had other ideas, and Federer remains tied with Pete Sampras at seven Wimbledon trophies. At Saturday’s women’s final, there did not seem to be a favorite between the two fresh faces, but Petra Kvitova managed to pull past the young phenom Eugenie Bouchard and grab her second Wimbledon title. Both Wimbledon finals delivered a wealth of excitement. Federer managed to push Djokovic to five sets in the men’s, while Kvitova dispatched Bouchard in record time.
Djokovic and the Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova came to their respective finals this year amid doubts that they could deliver wins at Wimbledon this year. Neither player has won the English grand slam since 2011, and while both are seen to be strong on the grass courts at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, both were also facing very skilled grass court players. The fast and highly technical grass turf is known to be Roger Federer’s favorite playing surface, and it is clear the grass loves him back as he ties with Pete Sampras for the record of seven Wimbledon career titles. The young Eugenie Bouchard is also considered a great grass player, having come from a Junior’s win at Wimbledon in 2012, and making it to the third round in her first year of adult play at Wimbledon. Both Kvitoa and Djokovic seemingly had their work cut out for them in this year’s final.
Eugenie Bouchard was said to have a slight advantage over the sixth seed Kvitova going into the final on Saturday. Her run up to the final as well as her game in the 2013 season seemed a bit more consistent than Kvitova’s, and many were hailing the Canadian as a new star in women’s tennis, as she had done so well in Juniors. Energy and bandwidth were no match for experience and technical skill in this case, however, as Petra Kvitova was able to almost pull off a shutout of Bouchard, winning 6-3, 6-0 in a match that lasted under an hour. Though Bouchard had high hopes for her first grand slam title in only two seasons of regular play, Kvitova was clearly able to dominate, putting the young upstart in her place for now.
In interviews leading up to Djokovic winning his second Wimbledon title, the Serbian player expressed misgivings. After a back injury in 2013 which waylaid his season, tennis fans and players alike were left wondering if 2014 was Roger Federer’s last year as a grand slam contender. The 2014 season saw a loss in the semi-finals to old foe Nadal in the Australian Open, and an underwhelming defeat in the French in the fourth round for Federer. The 32-year-old Swiss record-holder was confident going into his favorite tournament on Sunday, however, and Federer had not only been playing very consistently throughout the tournament, but he had an extra push to set his Wimbledon title record and keep pace with Nadal, who had just set a new French Open with nine titles on the clay. The outcome of these finals seemed to be anyone’s guess right up until the end, as Djokovich and Federer kept pace with each other throughout, trading set for set and sometimes game for game until Djokovic was able to break in the fifth set and return a massive serve from Federer forcing a net error and quietly winning him the championship after over four long hours of riveting tennis.
Though the circumstances leading up to the Wimbledon finals seemed similar for the winners, the way in which Djokovich and Kvitova delivered their respective wins at the tournament seemed very different. Kvitova was able to anticipate Bouchard’s every move with her experience and technique, where Djokovic fought for every point against once of the most experienced and technical players in men’s tennis. The finals at Wimbledon this year showed that on the grass, it pays to understand the speed, angles, and lack of predictability with which the turf delivers its unique challenges, but in some cases when players are evenly matched, it still all comes down to chance.
Commenary by Layla Klamt