Wrapping up a crazy Wimbledon which saw the two World No. 1s win it just like they did in Australia. Here are a few closing thoughts:
1. Serena = GOAT
I know Margaret Court and Steffi Graf have more Grand Slams, and Graf even a “Golden Slam”, but for my money the women’s GOAT is Serena Williams.
What she’s doing at the age of 33 is quite remarkable. Not just winning Slams, not just holding twice as many points as the No. 2 player Maria Sharapova, but doing it consistently for the last 52 weeks under a hot global spotlight.
Sure, there have been bumps and controversies in her career, but consider that she went through an embolism, the death of her sister and overcame a variety of on-court issues, yet here she is, still collecting Majors, dominating all in front of her as never before.
21-4 record in Grand Slam finals – wow!
If you want to make the case that women’s tennis is watered down right now, I’ll listen – in fact it is, just look at all the upsets and inconsistency at the top other than Serena. But even still, to have won 28 straight Grand Slam matches, to be just seven matches, 14 sets from a calendar sweep at her age in absolutely amazing. And she’s won 21 straight at the US Open.
You might not like her, but you have to respect the achievement.
2. There’s Novak and then there’s everyone else
Novak Djokovic brushed off what had to have been an awfuly tough loss to Stan Wawrinka at the French Open to beat Stan’s streaking countryman Roger Federer for a third Wimbledon title. Oh, and that’s the same number of Wimbledon’s as Boris Becker – think about that!
Had it not been for Stan’s zoning, Djokovic, like Serena, might also be headed for that Calendar Slam in New York. But Djokovic will instead try to win three Slams in a season for a second time. And with the lack of anyone real threats out there to push Novak, I don’t see anyone stopping him in New York and in the near future.
3. Who’s got next?
Speaking of who’s going to push Novak, it’s been 13 long years since anyone outside the Big 4 has won Wimbledon, and Lleyton Hewitt just played his last grass event. So is anyone going to step up and take it from them?
Last year we saw some push forward from Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic, but both failed to make it back to the second week. Kei Nishikori broke through in New York, as did Marin Cilic. But this year in the Slams we haven’t seen that follow up.
Glossing over the final eight, the youngest guy was 25-year-old Vasek Pospisil. So it seems we’ll have to wait a little longer for the next generation. And maybe it won’t be the Raonic-Dimitrov-Nishikori trio to make the move, but the younger guys like Borna Coric, Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev.
4. The extra week helped the servers
Maybe it was me, but it felt that we saw a lot more aces this year than in the past. With 2,997 aces for the men, we saw Ivo Karlovic, John Isner and even Roger Federer racking up big serving numbers.
Maybe it was due to the warm conditions, I don’t know, but something I did notice. But bottom line, I think everyone liked the extra week.
5. Andy Murray is 1-14 vs the Big 3 since back surgery
The trend continued at Wimbledon. In a much-hyped semifinal matchup against Roger Federer, Murray got blown out by the Swiss in straight sets. Based on the clay and strong grass results, I, too, got sucked into Murray Mania. But once again he showed that he’s just too defensive to win.
Murray’s been proficient at beating the guys he should, but to win Grand Slam titles he’ll have to do more than that, and that means beating the Big 3, something he’s only done once since his 2013 Wimbledon win.
6. Rafael Nadal needs help
After a fourth straight shock loss at Wimbledon, the pundits were out in full force declaring Rafael Nadal needed a new voice in his camp. I agree. He needs something.
Keep Uncle Toni around, but hire someone with a new slant on the game. There is no shame in asking for outside advice. Djokovic hired Becker, Federer grabbed Edberg, Murray went to Lendl and now Mauresmo/Bjorkman.
But Nadal is so true to his family I fear that it will never happen. And we may never see him bite another Slam trophy again.
7. WTA Future
While the young men continue to struggle to make an impression, the youth movement on the women’s tour is much more advanced. Last year we saw Simona Halep and Genie Bouchard breakthrough. This year the new face is Garbine Muguruza. The 21-year-old has got some serious power and game, and I think she’ll become a more consistent threat going forward than say a Bouchard or maybe even a Halep who lacks the Spaniards raw power.
For Bouchard and Halep, the sophomore slump is more than real as players now get another look at how to play them. That and the pressure of having to live up to expectations weighing them down, but they should rebound.
8. Baby Isner
If you really hate John Isner, well, get ready, because the U.S. has John Isner 2.0 ready and waiting to become the next American No. 1. Over the weekend, 6-foot-11 Floridan Reilly Opelka captured the Boys’ singles crown. And the 17-year-old is as advertised.
Massive serve. Big forehand. Decent at net. Shaky backhand. Clumsy mover. And hell, he’s still growing! Or said another way, he’ll be a Top 20 mainstay for 8-10 years once he joins the pro ranks. Watch out.
I’ll have my summer hardcourt preview coming up soon.
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