Wimbledon 2019 Review: Novak Djokovic narrowly edges past Roger Federer, Simona Halep records a thumping victory
On 14th July 2019, London, UK turned out to be a sporting spectacle as the city and the millions of sports fanatics around the world witnessed two riveting, breathtaking, roller coaster, edge of seat thrillers in the form of Gentlemen’s singles final of Wimbledon 2019 at the Centre Court, SW19 and ICC Cricket World Cup final at the home of cricket, Lords.
During the closing stages, both these matches appeared to be in a competition with each other as to which contest would end first, however it was Wimbledon final which concluded first after the ICC Cricket World Cup final ended in a tie, demaning a Super Over to decide its victor.
As far as the tennis was concerned, one could not have expected for more as the high octane drama on the concluding day of the Championships, Wimbledon ended with the full house witnessing a newly introduced rule of final set tiebreak being played at 12-12 in the 5th set.
After 4 hours and 57 minutes, in what was the longest men’s singles final in the rich history of Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic eventually edged past Roger Federer in a match that saw the shift of momentum at a speed of knots, with the World No.1 eventually clinching a 7-6(7-5), 1-6, 7-6(7-4), 4-6, 13-12(7-3) win.
Especially the fifth and final set which alone lasted for 2 hours and 2 minutes saw the two greats of the game produce some of their best tennis amidst highest pressure. It immediately turned out to be an instant classic which pretty much defined the final and no doubt the marathon final set would be remembered not only in the history of Wimbledon but also in the history of the sport.
With back to back wins yet again at SW19, Djokovic now has recorded five Wimbledon titles, emulating the great Bjorn Borg and 16 Grand Slam Majors overall to trail behind his rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer by a margin of two and four respectively.
Once again, Roger Federer showed the world that age is just a number and athletes can defy the odds even in their late thirties as long as they have undying passion for the game and willingness to adjust to the changing demands of the sport.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion came agonizingly close to winning the Championships, but squandered both the match points to narrowly miss out on his 21st Grand Slam title. Nonetheless, at the age of 37, Federer had an incredible season on grass following his victory at the Halle Open and a runner-up at the Championships, Wimbledon which also saw the Swiss maestro overcoming his long-time rival Nadal in the semi-final before crumbling to eventual victor Djokovic in the closing minutes of their summit clash.
The veteran Spaniard Rafael Nadal, who walked into Wimbledon following a sensational 12th title triumph at the French Open last month, had a tournament to remember at the All England Club following a consecutive semi-final appearance at SW19.
He succumbed to his long-time nemesis Federer in the semi-final, but was brilliant, authoritative in a display of some of the best grass court tennis the 18-time Grand Slam champion has ever produced and it took a special effort from the Swiss maestro in their four set thriller to dislodge Nadal from the competition this year.
Amidst the fascinating stories of the dominance of ‘Big 3’ yet again at a Grand Slam Major, one should not forget the fourth semi-finalist, Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut, who himself scripted a staggering tale of success at this year’s Wimbledon and in the process made his first-ever semi-final appearance at any Grand Slam Major.
Among other notable contributions, Argentina’s Guido Pella sensationally overcame former Wimbledon runner-ups Kevin Anderson and Milos Raonic to qualify for his first ever quarter-final at the Grand Slam level events.
The likes of Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas, all three of who many regard as the future greats of tennis, disappointed yet again as all the three underwent shocking first round exits at this year’s Championships.
No doubt, one wonders when and where are the next gen stars going to catch-up the ‘Big 3’ to win the Grand Slam Majors for themselves. As of now, one can’t imagine the young guns displacing the trio any time soon, to have an impact on today’s tennis.
In the women’s side of the draw, the 2018 French Open champion and the former World No.1 Simona Halep played some of the best tennis of her life and was especially brutal and invincible in the final against Serena Williams to be crowned as the Wimbledon Champion for the first time ever in her career.
The 27-year old Romanian woman now has won two Grand Slam Majors and what was most impressive was the fact that she just dropped a solitary set in her journey towards her first title at SW19.
The 37-year old Serena Williams, who struggled for any rhythm following her appearance in the US Open final last year, brushed aside any injury concerns and inconsistent form to once again appear in the final of a Grand Slam Major.
While Williams can draw huge inspiration from her appearance in yet another Grand Slam Major final after being plagued by injuries throughout the year in the lead up to the Championships, the 23-time Grand Slam champion now has bowed out in three consecutive Grand Slam finals after her loss to Halep at this year’s Wimbledon.
While the former Grand Slam victors Angelique Kerber, Sloane Stephens and Naomi Osaka suffered early exits at the Championships this year, Ukrainian Elina Svitolina scripted a remarkable story of her success, qualifying for her maiden Grand semi-final before succumbing to the eventual champion Halep.
Now that the Wimbledon is over with Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep being deservingly crowned as champions, the focus now shifts towards the upcoming hard-court season in the build-up to the last Slam of the year, the US Open.
Djokovic, who missed out on completing the second ‘Nole Slam’ of his career when he was stunned by Dominic Thiem in the semi-finals at Roland Garros last month, has returned back to his winning ways after going off the boil following his victory down under earlier this year and once again starts as a favourite to lift US Open title later this year, 2nd hard court Major of the year, the surface that the Serb relishes playing the most on.