Wimbledon 2013: Exciting, Enthralling, Epic!
What an exciting fortnight it was! The tennis arena was abuzz with ups and downs and topsy-turvy results. The end was even more epic. New champions, who strived hard to claim the kingdom of grass, were crowned.
History was created in terms of men’s singles and doubles. Wimbledon saw a new ladies’ singles champion in two years while the top seeded team in mixed doubles was also defeated. The quality of tennis displayed was astonishing. The top seeds were ousted right in the week one, a rarity, considering the top quality tennis they play. Week two began with names unheard of in advanced rounds.
Sergiy Stakhovsky, Steve Darcis, Michelle Larcher de Brito , Kimiko-Date Krumm, Jerzy Janowicz, Sabine Lisicki, Marion Bartoli, all were in superb forms and displayed amazing shot making. The big upset of the tournament came in form of loss of seven-time Wimbledon winner and defending champion Roger Federer, two-time winner Rafael Nadal, five-time Wimbledon winner Serena Williams and one-time winner Maria Sharapova.
It is heartening to see new players come up and prove their mettle on a stage as big as Wimbledon. Although disappointment came in form of Sergiy Stakhovsky and Steve Darcis, who could not catapult their stupendous wins over Federer and Nadal to advance to further rounds.
Another surprise element was pull out of players due to injury. A record seven players backed off the tournament citing injury. These include former world number one Victoria Azarenka, Steve Darcis, John Isner, Radek Stepanek, Marin Cilic, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and Yaroslava Shvedova.
The slippery grass courts were questioned. But the dream run of Sabine Lisicki, Stephens Slaone, Mationa Bartoli, Andy Murray and others continued. There was no stopping and the excitement was high.
The ouster of Tsonga, Federer and Nadal meant an easy run for Andy Murray. His opponent on the final would be the mighty Serb, World Number One Novak Djokovic, who was seeking his second Wimbledon title.
On the women’s singles front, Marion Bartoli, the experienced player and 2007 Wimbledon finalist was progressing ahead slowly but steadily amidst the talks of twenty-three year old Sabini Lisicki’s magical run.
The hard fought semi-final between Novak Djokovic and Argentine Juan Martin del Potro was a match to remember. The injured Del Potro made sure that the Serb had to run and rally for each point.
In the women semi-finals, Lisicki once again proved her dominance on grass when she defeated the number four seed Agnieszka Radwanska in a hard fought three-setter.
The men’s doubles victorious team created history. The Bryan brothers- Bob and Mike- became the first men’s doubles team to hold all four Grand Slam titles simultaneously in Open-era. In mixed doubles, the number one seeds Bruno Soares and Lisa Raymond were defeated in a very close match by Daniel Nestor and Kristina Mladenovic.
In women’s singles, Marion Bartoli was seeking her maiden title but Sabine Lisicki was the crowd’s favourite. The mere fact that she defeated World Number one Serena Williams was enough to attract new fans. But the underdog of the tournament, Marion Bartoli was elegant and overcame the visibly nervous Lisicki in the finals. The new queen of Wimbledon knew the value of her victory. Her loss to Venus Williams in 2007 made her persevere for the title. In her own words, "Holding this trophy has been my dream since I was six years old. I cannot believe it,". On realizing her dream, her ecstasy was understandable.
But the historic match of the tournament was yet to come. The British were cheering the local lad Andy Murray to bring a new defining moment for British sports. For, no man since Fred Perry’s victory in 1936 had won a Wimbledon trophy for Great Britain.
Andy Murray, the finalist of 2013 Wimbledon was way different from Andy Murray, the finalist in 2012. In a span of one year, he now had his first major (US Open 2012), and an Olympic gold medal. Last year, he was feeble and cried, winning hearts but not the championships. This year he was tough, mentally strong. And as a commentator put it, he ‘came of age’.
The battle between the two top warriors in men’s tennis was much anticipated. The home crowd pressure on Murray was immense. The Serb was not at his best, but it was Andy Murray’s day. Murray won in straight sets and won a million hearts. The British crowd went gaga over their hero. Andy Murray had created history and his name will now be etched in golden pages of British sports.
Wimbledon will continue for years to come. But Wimbledon 2013 will be remembered for the twist and turns, for upsets and injuries, for Marion Bartoli and for Andy Murray!