Novak is back
When the emotional Novak Djokovic lifted the trophy last Sunday, the relief he was feeling was evident for all to see. Describing it has his ‘most special victory’ there were questions beginning to be asked about the player’s mental toughness at crucial points in big games, having lost his last three grand slam finals and five out of the last six.
Enter Coach Becker, brought in specifically to help Djokovic keep his nerve and play the ‘big points’ better – despite squandering championship points he held his nerve eventually to take the title in an epic 6-7 (7-9) 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 5-7 6-4 battle. Arguably the best returner in the game with some of the most consistent groundstrokes and lightning speed across the court, often the only thing that stands in his way is his own mindset – a part of his game he appears to have full control over again.
Federer finds form
While unable to clinch a record 8th Wimbledon title, the tennis that Federer played this fortnight should silence any doubters of his motivation or quality even now in what must be the latter stages of the 32 year old’s illustrious career. Despite many regarding him as the best player in the Open Era, his early exit in the second round of last year’s tournament and inability to capture a grand slam title since Wimbledon in 2012 has led some to believe that he could no longer mount a serious challenge in the biggest tournaments.
However, after a comfortable first week, a victory over in-form compatriot Stanislas Warwrinka in the quarter final and calm dismantling of Milos Raonic in the semi final is more than adequate proof that Federer is still firing. In Djokovic he came up against an exceptional fighter with real quality like himself and proved that he could still go the full distance, taking 5 games in a row to save the 4th set. While it wasn’t meant to be for Federer this time, it would be foolish to bet against him adding to an unrivalled 17 grand slams.
Murray-mania no more?
After confidently breezing through the first week and comfortably defeating Kevin Anderson in the fourth round not dropping a set along the way, the Scot looked to be in fine form to mount a defence of the title he won so memorably, ending 77 years of wait for British tennis. His more recent form was patchy coming into the tournament – having crashed out in the quarters of the Australian Open and despite an encouraging run to the semi final of the French Open – he suffered a shock defeat to Radek Stepanek in the second round at Queens in the weeks before Wimbledon. He faced talented Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter final and lost in straight sets, meaning he has failed to defend all of the titles he started the year with. Now ranked 10th in the world, Murray has time on his side and remains a top player, but questions will arise surrounding new coach Amelie Mauresmo if titles do not appear soon.
USA men’s struggles continue
With only giant serving John Isner in the world’s top 50, the USA continue to struggle in the men’s singles and left craving the past successes of John McEnroe and Jim Courier, or more recently Andy Roddick. Isner, a Wimbledon hero after his marathon record breaking match last year against Nicolas Mahut, made it to the third round before being narrowly stopped in his tracks by Feliciano Lopez 6-7 7-6 7-6 7-5, but still went significantly further than his other countrymen in the draw.
DenisKudla, Sam Querrey and Jack Sock all crashed out in the second round, as the USA is left waiting perhaps for the next generation of singles players to come through to make a real impact on the tour. The future is positive though, in Noah Rubin, Taylor Harry-Fritz and Stefan Kozlov, they made up 3 of the 4 semi-finalists in the Boys’ Singles draw with Rubin going on to lift the coveted title.
Changing of the guard in women’s tennis
Despite Serena Williams sitting well above the others in the WTA world rankings, her shock defeat to Alize Cornet and unfortunate illness which required her to retire from the doubles with her sister Venus has only emphasised the trend that is appearing in the women’s game that really all of the titles are up for grabs. Each of the Grand Slam events has had a different winner this year, with Czech Petra Kvitova blitzing Canadian star Eugenie Bouchard 6-3 6-0 in the final – few would bet against her adding to her tally of 2 Wimbledon titles.
For Bouchard, the future is extremely bright, having reached the semi finals of the French and Australian Open tournaments this year, at just 20, the tennis world is expecting big things from her to come. Both Simona Halep and Lucie Safarova, the defeated semi-finalists, had excellent tournaments and can be expected to challenge for more titles in the future.
The end of the ‘big four’?
It may seem ridiculous to claim that the ‘big four’ (Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray) domination at the top of the game is over, having just watched a final between two of them, but given the performances of Nadal and Murray as well as some of the challengers, perhaps the end is nigh? With all but 2 grand slam titles going to the 4 players since 2006, it would be wrong to say that there is a complete overhaul.
However, the encouraging performances of 2014 Australian Open winner Stanislas Wawrinka, Grigor Dimitrov and the giant-serving Canadian, Milos Raonic in his run to the semi-finals, suggest that perhaps future grand slams will be less of a foregone conclusion. Also, after a sensational performance against Nadal, all eyes will surely be on future Australian superstar Nick Kyrgios.
Whiley dominates the wheelchair game
British wheelchair tennis star Jordanne Whiley and partner Yui Kamiji of Japan, last years defeated finalists, won the ladies’ wheelchair doubles against the Dutch pairing of Jiske Griffinen and Aniek van Koot. The 22 year old from Birmingham who won the Australian and French Open titles earlier this year, is now a US Open title away from completing the famous ‘Grand Slam’ of all four titles – having fought back from losing the first set to win the title 2-6 6-2 7-5. A sufferer of brittle bone disease, Whiley had broken her legs 26 times and yet no one would bet against her adding to a incredible trophy haul in the last year.