So there it is; after two weeks of racquet smashing, cross-court winners and ridiculous grunting, Wimbledon 2015 is over. Time for the British spectators to put their tennis clobber back in the loft and return to return to the sport(s) they follow for the other fifty weeks of the year. On paper it was a tournament lacking in surprises as the No.1 seeds won three of the five senior competitions. Look further into it, though, and you will see that there was far more to it than that.
Fans of any sport love an upset and there were plenty of those right from the very start, especially in the women’s event. Both Simona Halep, ranked third in the world, and ninth seed Carla Suarez Navarro were defeated in the first round, as was 2014 runner-up Eugenie Bouchard. Defending champion Petra Kvitova could only make it as far as round three. However, the biggest surprise has to be Rafael Nadal’s defeat to the unknown Dustin Brown in round two. The only Rastafarian player on the tour was in scintillating form as he battered Nadal into oblivion amongst a frenzy of flying dreadlocks and chest thumping. There were outrageous drop shots, unbelievable winners and smiles aplenty as the Jamaican-turned-German citizen epitomsed the adjective ‘cool’ in the scintillating heat.
Whilst Brown may have captured the affections of those at SW19, Australia’s Nick Kyrgios certainly got them talking. After announcing himself to the world last year with a spectacular run to the quarter-finals as a wildcard entrant, more of the same was expected this time round. However, although his tennis was largely up to standard, it was his antics both on and off the court that caught the attention. Fines for swearing, arguments with umpires and even accusations of not trying in a game against Richard Gasquet overshadowed what should have been seen as another impressive performance. At one point he even turned on his own fans – the Aussie ‘Fanatics,’ who bought a sense of fun to an often mundane crowd – and generally behaved like a stroppy teenager in press conferences. Whilst we often implore for more characters in professional sport, there are many who would rather Kyrgios kept his mouth shut and got on with the game.
As for the respective singles champions, their tournaments were much less eventful. Novak Djokovic, accused of cheating in the run-up to the event, barely looked troubled as he eased his way to a third Wimbledon crown. Even in the final, where he was up against a rejuvenated Roger Federer, you got the sense that the Serb never really needed to play at full capacity in order to win. The only time he was properly challenged was when he lost the first two sets against South African Kevin Anderson in the fourth round, yet the general consensus was still that the 11-time Grand Slam winner would still be the victor and, despite rain and bad light forcing the game to be played over two days, he did just that.
Serena Williams’ path to a sixth Wimbledon title could have been quite tricky due to a tough draw that included matches against her sister Venus, two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka and 2004 winner Maria Sharapova. However she bulldozed past all these opponents, with the only player to really test her being Britain’s Heather Watson in the third round. The 23 year-old, who had only ever made it so far at her home event once before, was in inspired form as she took arguably the greatest female player ever all the way, even leading 3-0 in the final set. Her courage and sheer determination gripped the hearts of a nation and, if few had heard of her before, they certainly have now.
That game was just one of many special moments witnessed across the fortnight. Fellow Brit and wildcard Liam Broady showcased his potential with a gutsy 5-set win over Marko Matosevic, a performance which got the crowd on Court 18 so loud they could be heard from the other side of the grounds, whilst James Ward came agonisingly close to reaching the fourth round before bowing out to Canadian Vasek Pospisil in another 5-set classic. There was also the return of Laura Robson after a lengthy injury lay-off and, as previously mentioned, the performance of Dustin Brown. However, the most heart-warming moment has to be the successes of 34 year-old Martina Hingis. The former world number 1 is a Wimbledon favourite, having won the 1997 event at the age of 16, and the sight of her beaming smile collecting the women’s and mixed doubles titles was verging on magical.
As for the sport on the whole, things look good for the future. Although both Djokovic and Williams still continue dominate, there are a whole host of other players ready and waiting should they slip up. On the men’s side, Federer and Andy Murray barely put a foot wrong all tournament, whilst both Marin Cilic and Stan Wawrinka have won Slams in the last couple of years. Things are even more open on the women’s side, with Sharapova, Halep, Bouchard, Ana Ivanovic, Caroline Wozniacki and now the hugely impressive Garbine Muguruza being among just a handful of the names knocking on Serena’s door. Whilst critics may argue it’s currently boring and predictable, the future of tennis looks to be an exciting one.