|The 2016 winners
The 130th Championships, although ultimately not producing the result I wanted – were undoubtedly a success. The tournament produced two thrilling weeks of tennis (including that men’s Quarter-Finals day) and in its victors represents – in my small opinion at least – the bookmarking of one era of dominance and the very probable start of another.
For Murray, the overnight reversion to the ultra-aggressive, uber-confident world beater now again under Lendl’s wing has been remarkable and no better displayed than during this last fortnight. The indecisiveness, over-defensiveness and negative play that had characterised the Mauresmo partnership (compounded further by the surgery) is again a distant memory, banished one feels for good this time.
With Novak – the only other serious contender to Murray at the summit – reportedly taking a break from tennis after the mental exertion in winning the French and with it everything, this is Andy’s time to really dominate matters. Certainly, another Olympic gold (Djokovic doesn’t seem wholly motivated for Rio) and a second US Open triumph are within reach of the Scot – and with them a genuine shout for the World Number One spot.
With Serena, well one feels that the elusive 22ndtitle represents more now than it might have done a year ago. Turn the clock slightly back and Williams Jr was the undisputed champion and an uncharacteristic loss to Vinci away from surely sealing the calendar slam. Instead she has been usurped in Australia and Paris since and probably felt the tide had turned from a new generation of players finally delivering where the eastern Europeans could not.
No, this title may well hint the start of a Sampras-esque bowing out whilst at the very top, yes her serve and overall power are still too much for 99% of the tour when on form, but at nearly 35, will Serena really want to continue?
Federer, Raonic and Djokovic
I was devastated by Roger’s loss to Milos on Friday, with Djokovic out this was Federer’s true last chance and after his heroics against Cilic that signalled more than enough the Swiss still had it all, the tables violently turned against the young Canadian.
Next year the great will be a week shy of 36 and – barring another early exit for Novak and likely Murray, then he simply won’t be able to clinch one more title. This I’m afraid was the last real chance, and we must bid farewell for good.
Raonic, well he played a great match against Roger – although was lucky at times and really didn’t produce anything like that form against Murray in a lacklustre final, so the jury is out but undeniably the McEnroe effect is strong here.
Novak? Well it was the perfect time for Querrey to pounce, early in the tournament when the Serb is still playing himself into robotic form. Murray had one hand on the trophy with that result and another easy draw.
What the tournament highlighted
Elsewhere, Wimbledon 2016 signalled other talking points:
· The re-emergence of serve and volley
· Raonic and Kerber frontrunners to take lead of new generation
· Del Potro and Bouchard’s small signs of recovery
· That British Tennis – even given the home media’s lofty aspirations, is clearly genuinely on the up and at the very least – no longer an abject embarrassment on the world stage.
Pictures from Official Wimbledon site