Wimbledon Review 2013

Wimbledon 2013 a fortnight of shocks

The 2013 championships turned out to be a memorable Wimbledon for many reasons, not least for the nationality of the winner of the men’s singles. Sometimes Wimbledon is about the seeding system keeping the favourites apart until they head for their inevitable showdowns in the quarter finals onwards and it’s only them matches that define the tournament, occasionally though we have a year when what happens before the last eight stage lasts longer in the memory. In this year’s championships there were an amazing amount of upsets that made sure that it was definitely in the latter and rarer category.

First Nadal went in the first round on Tuesday, the following day became a wacky Wednesday where it was difficult to keep track of the superstars who were getting knocked out. Ordinarily the men’s sixth seed Tsonga getting beat would’ve been one of if not the main headline of the first week, this year it was hardly noticed on that Wednesday of second round matches where Sharapova, Azarenka and then Federer amongst others followed Nadal out of the event.

Anytime there is a year like this questions get asked as to whether it is good for the game or not to have so many upsets. On the one hand it shows a strength in depth of the world’s players, on the other hand when it comes to the big matches the players the fans were hoping and expecting to see aren’t all there. Personally I think it’s great to have the occasional year like this, as long as it’s the exception rather than the rule, otherwise the drama of an upsets is taken away if they happen too often.

This year was particularly noticeable for the fact that all the players who produced a big upset barely won a match after that between them. The noticeable exception being Sabine Lisicki who blew the women’s event wide open by beating odds on favourite for the title Serena Williams in the last 16, then deservedly reached the final until the enormity of what she was doing finally seemed to dawn on her and have a detrimental effect on her performance.

What I like most about championships like this one is that it allows us to be introduced to some new characters and new stories about those players, then the fascination comes whilst we see which one of these unheralded players makes the most of the opportunity that they have been presented with as the higher ranked players are knocked out. In the men’s event this year the title was never really ‘wide open’, as long as Djockovic and Murray stayed in there needed to be two more massive upsets before the whole event had an unlikely winner. As it played out it was two tall and incredibly powerful players who took the most of their opportunity to reach the semi finals. Janowicz from Poland caused Murray a few problems before losing in four sets, then Del Potro showed his class to come so close to beating Djockovic.

From the moment Lisicki beat Williams the women’s event was always going to have an unlikely winner. Would 2011 winner Kvitova rediscover her best form for the first time since then, or would there be a new champion? The pressure can become greater for these players if they start thinking that this is their one chance to win Wimbledon. Some like Flipkens from Belgium seemed to take a ‘happy to be there’ approach, whilst the eventual winner Bartoli seemed utterly determined to take her chance. The stylish Radwanksa was alsways unlikely to waste her chance to win a major championship when the three players ranked ahead of her were no longer there to overpower her. Unfortunately for her Lisicki was on a roll and her extra power was just enough to win their semi final.

So many players had a story behind their unlikely path to the final stages of that championship, whether it was coming back from a serious injury or in Bartoli’s case overcoming modest early years practice facilities and constantly being told she isn’t good enough. Ultimately her determination was rewarded with the grandest prize in tennis.

To read sample chapters of my published book ‘Spirit of ‘55’ based on life as a Warrington Rugby League fan, their season in 2012 and sporting ‘curses’, and links on where to buy it, you can follow this link: http://lupine-rob.hubpages.com/hub/Spirit-of-55

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