The last ball has been hit, the last strawberries eaten, the last photo taken, and we have two new Wimbledon Champions.
Press, TV, players, agents, friends, family , everyone has packed and made their way to Heathrow for the trip home. The streets in Wimbledon are once again quiet and suburban.
I’m writing this from my home in Hermosa Beach, the french doors are open, and a cool ocean breeze sets the wind chime singing. Music from my favorite jazz station fills the air. Life is good.
By Day 13 everyone was looking forward to going home. Grand Slams are amazing, exciting, and a lot of work. The media have been working together in close proximity for weeks now, many of them since before the French in May, and to tell the truth we were getting on each others nerves.
Now that I’ve had a day’s rest and a great evening watching fireworks to celebrate America’s independence from the Brits, I’m ready to recap, so here are a few thoughts and observations from the fortnight
Fancy fingernails seem to be the cool thing with the women here.
The fashion was unusually dull except for Venus and Mattock Sands.. what’s up with that tennis ball jacket? Ok, I know, I know, give her points for being unique and you do have to do something to stand out with the boring “predominantly white” rule. Serena usually gives us fodder for conversation, but was quite conservative this year as was Sharapova. The men of course rarely give us anything to write about.
Celebs and royals came out to see and be seen. Kate and William caused a stir, while Princess Beatrice and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, made a showing, but didn’t get nearly the paparazzi attention of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Wimbledon Champion Bjorn Borg was in attendance looking as gorgeous as ever, chating with Aussie tennis legend, John Newcomb. Also sitting in the royal box with Mark Woodford was the ever hot Ivanisovic.
Diana Ross and Kim Cattrall were also spotted but for the most part, I have a really hard time recognizing who all the photogs in the pit are pointing their cameras at when not shooting the players, and there are always a lot of personalities who are famous in Britain who I have no idea about. I did finally recognize Rupert Grint of Harry Potter fame.. he actually looks just like a taller version of Ron Weasley, the boy he played in the famed films.
As for the tennis, some very interesting matches. Mardy Fish gave notice in his first match that he might be more dangerous than anyone thought, defeating 6th seed Tomas Berdych in straight sets. Fish, was seeded 10, but frankly no one was really paying much attention to him. However he made it through to the quarters losing to Rafa in four.
Unseeded “Deliciano” Lopez served up 28 aces, 57 winners, eight unforced errors. and a spectacular loss to 8th seed, Andy Roddick, who left the court, head bowed, dragging his purple and green Wimbledon towel behind him. When fans ask for autographs as he left, he threw his racquet into the stands, guess he figured he didn’t want to be using the losing racquet again.
Then of course there was the big upset. Tsonga over Federer. Frankly I wasn’t that surprised. When Tsonga is in form he can be a threat to anyone. For the Swiss moving into the semi’s looked like a sure thing, after winning the first two sets, but Tsonga had other ideas. Never giving up he knocked out The Fed’s cruise control and took the next three sets. This was Roger’s first ever grand slam loss from two sets up. To me, this marks the end of RF’s domination of the grass courts at SW 19.
Later in press, the former Wimbledon Champion commented, “Quarters is a decent result. Obviously people think quarters is shocking, but people would die to play in the quarter-final stages of Grand Slam play.” Yeah Roger, I’m sure you are truly satisfied with this result. Could you ever show us how you really feel? Then the former Wimbledon Champion, went on to say, “It’s not something I’m used to doing, losing in quarter-finals, because it’s not something I’ve done in the last six years.”
The Murray/Nadal match-up in the semi’s was eagerly awaited by the British fans and press, but truthfully, I never thought that the Scot could prevail over the Spanish. The Brits don’t really like Murray that much thinking him sour and not even close to the English gentlemen aura that Tim Henman possessed.
Okay want to talk about the women? In a quote I find eerily similar to Roger’s, Victoria Azarenka said after losing to Kvitova in the semi, “I haven’t lost to anybody who didn’t [go on to] win the tournament since March.” Well, good for you Victoria..does this mean that you only lose to the best? Does losing to the eventual winner ease the sting of the loss?
Truth is, everyone in the photo pit was talking about how horrible a final between Sharapova and Azarenka would be with all the screaming and shrieking streaming from each of them. For sure you would need noise canceling headphones. In one of her earlier matches, the fans actually started mimicking the Bulgarian’s grunts and shouts.
As for Kvitova, she came through to the semi’s with no big challenges. A player that no one knew much about even though she was seeded 8, she moved through the draw without drama or fanfare. The first lefty to win the women’s title since her role model Czech born Martina Navratilova won in 1994, at 21 it looks like we’ll be seeing a lot more of the tall Czech.
Petra, may have also made unintentional history at the Championships by dropping an F-bomb when Wimbledon Chairman Phillip Brooke showed her the Wimbledon plaque with her name engraved on it minutes after the match, here’s the link. I think we are going to like this new champion!
As for the men, DJ’s win wasn’t really a surprise. He’s been on a roll since the beginning of the year. His loss in paris ending his winning streak actually took the pressure off a bit for Wimbledon. He’s been stuck at number 3 behind Nadal and Federer for the past four years, but gained the number one ranking with his semi-final win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. It looks to me like the Nadal/Federer rivalry is finished and a new Djokovic/Nadal rivalry is born. Federer is five years senior to Nadal who just turned 25, and six years older the 24-year-old Serb. Thirty is not exactly over the hill, but tennis is a young players sport, and with so many younger players with a lot of desire, the Fed Express is going to have a very long road to gain a number one or two ranking again.
While all the other photographers were jockeying to get photos of Nola with the gold trophy, I couldn’t help but notice Rafa sitting in his chair looking wistfully at the finalist trophy. I had a feeling that he was already thinking about how to regain the number one ranking.
So the mantle has been passed two first time champions hold the gold cups and we put another Wimbledon to rest.