7 things we learned from Wimbledon

16 July 2017 07:54

Roger Federer and Garbine Muguruza were crowned Wimbledon champions after another dramatic fortnight at the All England Club.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at seven things we learned from this year's tournament.

1. Age is just a number

Federer will turn 36 next month but having won his second grand slam title in six months, he shows no sign of slowing down. The Swiss has rested his body after taking the second half of last year off and then sitting out the clay-court season just gone to hit the summer fresh. Both moves have paid off and with two of his key rivals in Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray floundering, he may well have a few more majors in him yet. Venus Williams also chalked one up for the old guard after she made her first Wimbledon final for eight years at the age of 37. The American fell to Muguruza but has proven she is once again a real contender.

2. Serena's successors are coming

Serena Williams' absence was always going to open the door to the chasing pack. Muguruza, at 23, has won her second grand slam title and now looks primed finally to establish herself among the elite. The 20-year-old Jelena Ostapenko backed up her French Open triumph with a run to the quarter-finals and who could forget Johanna Konta, the new world number four, who looks all the way a major champion of the future? Throw in 19-year-old Naomi Osaka, 21-year-old Donna Vekic and 25-year-old Coco Vandeweghe, and it is a clear a new crop of challengers is ready to emerge.

3. Give women equal billing on show courts

Midway through this tournament the age-old debate about scheduling resurfaced and maybe the time has come for Wimbledon to react. In the first seven days, when the men and women's draw ran concurrently, 14 men's matches were put on Centre Court, with only eight coming from the women's draw. Wimbledon insists these are the marquee matches crowds pay to see, but none of the other grand slams show such gender bias. In fact, this year's women's tournament was arguably more exciting than the men's, with the likes of Konta, Angelique Kerber, Muguruza and Simona Halep delivering the most nerve-shredding matches of the fortnight. How will spectators learn to love the leading female players if they see them half as often?

4. Retirements rule outdated

Wimbledon was rocked by eight retirements in the singles first round, seven in the men's draw and one in the women's. First-round losers pocket £35,000 as long as they start the match, raising suggestions some walked out to collect the cash. Competitors work hard to earn their spots at major tournaments, either by ranking or through qualifying, and first-round prize money can be crucial to lower-ranked players making ends meet. But the ATP, which runs men's tournaments outside the grand slams, is trialling a rule where players still earn prize money if they withdraw shortly before a match begins, therefore allowing a lucky loser to take their place. It might be time for the grand slams to follow suit.

5. Murray and Djokovic need a holiday

It is no coincidence that the two outstanding figures in the men's game in the last two years are both crocked. Murray's hip problem did for him against Sam Querrey and becomes the latest in a long line of ailments this year. Djokovic retired against Tomas Berdych with an elbow injury, which he said he has been suffering from for more than a year and a half. There is a psychological element too. Murray and Djokovic need only look at Roger Federer, back after taking the second half of 2016 off, to see the benefit a break can bring. The US Open is only six weeks away, but for Murray and Djokovic there might be long-term gains to be taken from a short hiatus.

6. Konta really can win Wimbledon

Regular observers of Konta's progress over the last two years have seen her become a genuine grand slam contender, but one big question remained unanswered: her form at Wimbledon. Whether it was the grass, tough draws or the pressure of a home tournament, Konta had won only one match in five main-draw appearances prior to this year. Any doubts, however, have vanished. Konta stormed through a tough section of the draw and came within a whisker of beating Venus Williams in the semi-finals, when the turning point proved to be a pair of missed break points towards the end of the first set. Konta has the serve, power and support to win Wimbledon. Next year she might get over the line.

7. Brits improving but work to do

For the first time in 20 years, Britain had four players in the third round at Wimbledon as Heather Watson and Aljaz Bedene joined Murray and Konta in getting through. Watson steamed past world number 19 Anastasija Sevastova while Bedene came through a marathon five-setter with Ivo Karlovic. There were encouraging performances too from Katie Boulter, who led Christina McHale by a set before losing on her debut, and Alex Ward, a surprise survivor of qualifying, but as Murray said we should not get carried away. Laura Robson, Naomi Broady and Kyle Edmund all bowed out with a whimper. For a grand slam hosting nation, a handful of players reaching round three should be the norm, not a cause for celebration.

Source: PA