Wimbledon is considered to be the pinnacle of tennis. Why is that? One, Wimbledon is the oldest tennis tournament in the world, dating back to 1877, only a few years after the invention of the modern game. Not only that, but the game originates in Britain and is considered to be “at home” with the Wimbledon Championships. Similar to the Golf Masters in Augusta, Georgia, the All England Club has worked hard to maintain the old customs and rituals, as all players must predominantly wear white and are expected to curtsy or bow towards the royal box. And so these traditions have created a special aura around this tournament.
This weekend in London the 2015 Wimbledon Tennis Championships concluded in memorable fashion once again. On Saturday, Serena cemented her dominance on the women’s game with 21st Grand Slam Title against Garbine Muguruza 6-4, 6-4. The 33-year-old took home her 6th Wimbledon title, and her 28th consecutive victory in a Grand-Slam match. Meanwhile, the two heavyweights (Number 1 and Number 2) did battle earlier today on Centre Court, with Novak Djokovic beating Roger Federer 7-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-3 to defend his Wimbledon Title and win his 3rd overall.
Let’s start with Serena. To the casual fan, there is nothing shocking about another Serena victory, but in looking at exactly what she has done for as long as she has done it … it’s quite remarkable. Her 16-year gap between her 1999 US Open win and Saturday’s Wimbledon championship is the largest in women’s tennis history. Her 21 Grand Slam victories rank second all time, only trailing Steffi Graf. Moreover, Serena is the current champion of each of the four Grand Slam events: the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open. And at 33 years and nine months, she became the oldest women’s tennis player to ever win a Grand Slam title, eclipsing Martina Navratilova, who was a month younger when she won Wimbledon in 1990.
She has seemingly become better with age as she has transcended her sport to be able to comfortably say she is the best female tennis player of all time. Comparing athlete’s dominance across different sports is an inexact science, but certainly her dominance and longevity outshines the likes of LeBron James or Tiger Woods.
The arch of a typical professional tennis career resembles that of a pop star: ascendant at 17, dominant at 21, washed up and done by 30. And yet, Serena who will turn 34 in September, is playing the best tennis of her career.
On the men’s side it has been a four horse race for the last several years with the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray all sharing Grand Slam Titles. The top two coming into Wimbledon were Djokovic (#1) and Federer (#2), and sure enough both held serve through the field meeting in the final earlier today. The matched lived up to the hype as Federer went up an early break in the first set, only to see Djokovic break back and win in a tiebreaker. In the second set, the opposite happened, as Djokovic went up a break early only to see Federer claw back. Similarly, in the tiebreaker, Federer went down early but saved 6 set points to win a memorable 2nd set tiebreaker. After a brief rain delay, Djokovic cruised relatively easily to take the following two sets 6-4 and 6-3 to defend his Wimbledon title.
Legendary tennis coach Nick Bollettieri came out this weekend saying that Djokovic is the “perfect tennis machine” referencing everything about his game to his fitness to his personality. John McEnroe said he is the greatest returner in the history of the game. Surely, his back-to-back Wimbledon titles and his current world #1 ranking signal his current dominance.
After this entertaining Wimbledon Championship, tennis fans have lots to look forward with the summer series of tournaments leading up to the US Open in September.