In 1936, Gone with the Wind was published, the Phantom made his first appearance, the Hoover Dam was completed, Jesse Owens won the Olympic 100m at the first ever live television broadcast of a sporting event and a certain Brit, Fred Perry became the All England Lawn Tennis Club Single Handed Champion of the World. The world has changed since then – great novels have been published, legendary comic characters have made their appearance, amazing engineering feats have been completed and when Usain Bolt won the 100m dash at the 2012 Olympics, it was broadcast live on 3D. Today, Britain can also finally leave the ghost of Fred Perry behind as Andy Murray ended the island nation’s 77 year wait for a Wimbledon men’s singles champion by defeating Novak Djokovic 6-4, 7-5, 6-4. A year on from his heartbreaking loss to Roger Federer, Andy Murray showed his increased maturity, control and resilience, upstaging the World No.1 sinking to his knees, covering his face in disbelief and finally climbing the stands to celebrate with his family and team in jubilation. Djokovic for his part had his chances but couldn’t convert the key moments against an inspired Andy Murray. The win was Andy Murray’s second slam to go with his US Open triumph last year and his second consecutive triumph at Wimbledon following Olympic gold last year.
Murray was given a rousing cheer by the adoring British public who to their credit also cheered on Djokovic. Djokovic was composed and gracious in defeat congratulating Murray for his achievement stating that to face the pressures that Murray does only enhanced this triumph. Murray was his usual understated self only saying that it was “different” from last year. He congratulated his opponent and joked with the crowd clearly displaying that relief at finally winning the title that clearly means so much to him.
In 2007, a little known 22 year old Frenchwoman named Marion Bartoli caused a stir at Wimbledon by ousting world no.1 Justine Henin in the semi-finals despite losing the opening set 6-1. However, she failed to turn up in the Final, going down rather tamely to Venus Williams 6-4, 6-1 in the Final.
It took Bartoli 6 years to return to Ladies Finals Day on the second Saturday of Wimbledon, and now at the prime age of 28, there was no stopping the focused Frenchwoman as she destroyed her opponent Sabine Lisicki in much the same way Venus beat her. Bartoli raced to a 6-1, 5-1 lead, earning herself three match points on the Lisicki serve before the 23 year old German started swinging freely and caused a minor stir by winning three games in a row to add respectability to the scoreline. However, Bartoli kept her nerve under pressure and eventually served out the match to love, finishing with an ace to complete a long awaited and much appreciated triumph.
It has been two weeks of upsets, slips, slides and thrilling tennis, but when all the dust was cleared and everything was said and done, the top two players in the world today - Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray - kept their date with each other on the second Sunday at Wimbledon.
World no.1 Novak Djokovic, the 2011 Champion, was up first, and came through a slobber-knocker off a contest against the 8th seed Juan Martin del Potro in a match that was worthy of being played on Sunday's show piece. Djokovic had a pair of match points in the fourth set tiebreak, but the Argentine sensation saw them off and forced the match into a deciding fifth set before injuries and exhaustion took its toll on the 'Tower of Tandil' with Djokovic prevailing in five sets - 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-7 (6), 6-3.
In what surely is a Wimbledon Final that no fan of the sport or any pundit for that matter could have predicted a fortnight back, 28 year old Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli will battle 23 year old German Sabine Lisicki for the greatest prize the sport has got to offer that of being a Wimbledon Champion.
Bartoli is of course no stranger to a Wimbledon Final, having ventured into one 6 years ago, and the no.15 seed made sure she got another crack at the prize by dismissing Belgian Kirsten Flipkens in a disappointing one side affair 6-1, 6-2. Flipkens, who had done remarkably to stun the 2011 Champion Petra Kvitova in the quarter-finals, never really turned up for this match, and the former Girls' Champion was simply out gunned by a focussed Bartoli who gave herself another opportunity at tennis immortality.
Tennis legend Martina Navratilova predicts that Wimbledon and the other Grand Slams will switch to three set matches for men in the future – or we could see more injuries to the top men’s players.
In an exclusive interview with Laureus.com, Martina, who won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, including nine at Wimbledon, said: “It’s really becoming so taxing that I believe one day we will have two out of three sets in the Grand Slams, otherwise they’re going to be taking people out on stretchers.”
Martina says the injuries to the big name players this year – Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray – has highlighted a growing concern.
It has been quite a Wimbledon to remember for the underdogs so far, but while seeds slipped and slid out of the main draw at Wimbledon, fans were secure in the one certainty in life - Serena Williams remained odds on favourite to win her 6th Wimbledon title. Well, that went out of the window today as big serving German sensation Sabine Lisicki did what she does best - turn up for her favourite tournament of the year and play the match of her life.
There is a special bond between Lisicki and Wimbledon, and a charming smile that never escapes her happy face when on the grass at SW 19. And that smile was from ear to ear today as she beat the defending champion in three exciting sets 6-2, 1-6, 6-4.
It continues to be a good year to be an underdog at Wimbledon as four more seeds were shown the exit on an inspiring Saturday afternoon where former runner-up Tomas Berdych was the star attraction.
The no.7 seed, Tomas Berdych, the losing finalist here in 2010, was under threat early in his match today against big serving South African Kevin Anderson, but eventually prevailed in four sets, 3-6 6-3 6-4 7-5. The lanky Czech will take on Australian youngster Bernard Tomic in what should be an exciting fourth round match-up. Young Tomic showed his second week credentials by putting on an excellent showing against a bit of a grass court expert in 9th seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet, ousting the veteran also in four sets, 7-6(7) 5-7 7-5 7-6(5).