Wimbledon is over. The tennis world moves on, but not quite. The tournament had too much going on to be just forgotten like that. Memories of great matches, players breaking through and impressive finals will linger on for a while.
First things first, the finals. Both were remarkable, but for different reasons. The men’s final was one of the all-time great contests. The topsy-turvy nature of the match, the narratives behind it, the sheer quality of the serving and shot-making had tennis fans on their feet. Novak Djokovic’s digging deep to recover from another disappointment in a slam final as he let his championship point slip, the Serbian had lost five of his last six championship matches, was inspiring and his tears as he held the trophy aloft will have been mirrored by many a fan.
Petra Kvitova’s performace in the women’s final was great for altogether different reasons. Her 6-3, 6-0 victory in 55 minutes in which she struck 28 winners to 12 errors will go down as ‘a thing of beauty’ according to 1999 champion Lindsay Davenport. Kvitova not only knocked aside her opponent Bouchard but also the hype surrounding the young Canadian’s title chances. It was Bouchard who dominated the tennis media in the lead up to the final, but it was Kvitova’s name which was engraved onto the Champion’s board.
One former champion, though, stole the limelight at the event. Roger Federer was as much the star of SW19 as he was the seven times he won it. The Swiss rolled back the years as he flew around the courts, struck down aces left, right and down the line and wore down the service boxes while others were busy muddying the baseline. When Federer saved championship point and took the final to a fifth, the roar was so loud on center court it was like the second-coming at the Vatican and it did not get any quieter when he held up the runner-up plate.
While Federer, closing in on the grand old age of 33, made the vets proud, it was a tournament that mostly opened up for the young guns. None more spectacularly than 19 year old 144th ranked Nick Kyrgios whose aggressive, stunning four set win over Nadal brought the crowd to their feet. In the next round, he went down to another youngster, 22 year old Raonic who made his first slam semi-final. Another 22 year old, Grigor Dimitrov, also made a statement as he tore apart an out-of-sorts Andy Murray in the last eight. Meanwhile, on the women’s side, Halep and Bouchard kept up their charge of the next generation as they made their second and third semi-finals at slams this season.
Special mentions must go to Marin Cilic whose straight sets defeat in the dark of Berdych and five set tussle with Djokovic showcased the game of a future Wimbledon champion, Alize Cornet who turned round an awful start against Serena Williams to come through with her unique brand of creativity and flair, and Marion Bartoli who did not defend her title but reappeared on Wimbledon’s centre court at 1pm on the first Tuesday to take part in a touching tribute to recently deceased Elena Baltacha.
Commentary by Christian Deverille
Tennis shots is the regular Guardian Liberty Voice tennis column