|On a plate in the end – historic victories for the King and possible future Queen|
Despite the historic title wins of a certain Spaniard and Swiss – for many, Wimbledon 2017 will be something of anti-climax.
A fortnight of British hype, tumbling records and more than a few high profile injuries culminated in two finals which failed to deliver what the rest of the tournament had promised.
On the women’s side, it was the most open Championships in a long while, and not just due to Serena’s absence. This year’s Wimbledon has exposed the women’s game in rude health; a top thirty full of talent young and old and with both explosive newcomers and evergreen past champs all delivering week in week out.
A word here for poor Bethanie Mattek Sands who’s screams of anguish will haunt those hallowed lawns for many a year – good to see her recovering well.
Okay, so the loss of the likes of Pliskova, and the woman she has today replaced at the summit Kerber – early in the tournament were undeniable blows. But in their stead were a crop of contenders more than worthy of the latter stages.
We were treated to Kuznetsova’s ageless form, Ostapenko’s fearless aggression, Rybarikova’s fairytale run drenched in grass court pedigree and of course ‘Our Jo’ delivering on British hype on the women’s side, something I never thought I’d see.
Then, amidst all this we had the return of the woman who – along with Kerber and perhaps still Halep – was expected to lead the charge after Serena finally bids farewell and Azarenka continues to try and say hello again.
Garbine Muguruza quietly and assuredly scythed her way through to the final – her opponent would be none other than 37 year old Venus Williams, herself enjoying a renaissance akin to some Swiss bloke, what with that final Down Under in January and now defeating all comers here with little fuss.
Garbine Muguruza def. Venus Williams 7-5, 6-0
That the final itself then was such a non-event was so very disappointing, Williams senior no doubt gave up, again something we all thought we’d never witness. The Spanish starlet who fought bravely and smartly in a tight first set, truly had the title handed to her on a rosewater dish – might as well wear it on your head love!
The men’s side was a rather different story – the Big Four dominated the headlines, and rightly so as they were on course to meet in a mouth-watering last four. But that was at the detriment of the other guys playing out of their skin – at least when they weren’t hampered by injury.
Poor Cilic is the obvious mention, but Berdych, Querrey and another ‘dinosaur’ of the tour Gilles Muller, all produced memories that will remain.
What to say of Murray, Djokovic and Nadal that hasn’t already been written? As the latter was outfoxed and ultimately outgunned by Muller’s grass masterclass and bulletproof belief, so the form men were dismantled by their own athleticism.
All three men rely on athleticism as much as technique to prevail; Murray most of all. So without the break that Nadal enjoyed last year, the other two were always going to be exposed to injury sooner rather than later.
It was simply very unlucky for them and very fortuitous for Federer that they succumbed here.
Yes, it was a kind draw for the Swiss – something only Murray has experienced here with any regularity. But at 36, there shouldn’t be an easy match for any mere mortal.
Roger Federer def. Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4
Such was the Croat’s form here, and with memories of his victory and a half over Roger still very relevant, there was a real contest in store here. It was certainly not going to be a coronation for the man who snuck past a dogged Berdych two days previous.
Alas, thanks to that blister hampering his movement, Marin never really showed up here and it was soon apparent that the King would seal his 19th crown.
Andy melted hearts and silenced his critics in 2012 and Roger memorably shed a single tear in 2014, but Cilic’s breakdown halfway through this mauling was truly gutting to watch. He may just get more chances as the aforementioned chart-toppers struggle with injury and age.
That is if they ever do stop playing!