Can you believe that another Wimbledon has been and gone? It doesn’t seem like five minutes since Novak Djokovic stepped out onto Centre Court on the first Monday of the Championships, and yet here we are reflecting on yet another year, with all the highs and lows that have happened over the last two weeks.
From a British perspective, it has been a Wimbledon to remember. Whilst you could argue that in some ways it has been a tournament of almosts, to take such a viewpoint would be being overly negative. Despite a few disappointments, there has been much to celebrate, and there are plenty of signs that there is a lot to look forward to over the rest of the season.
Let’s begin with my personal highlight of the tournament: Heather Watson’s stunning third-round performance against Serena Williams, a match in which she was just two points away from defeating arguably the greatest female player of all time. Whilst Heather will have been devastated to have ultimately lost the match, she should take great pride in the performance she gave in front of a patriotic Centre Court crowd. No other player pushed the eventual champion so hard during the fortnight, and it is certainly a mark of the improvements she has made to her game that she was able to really challenge the world number one. All the signs are there that Heather could soon be knocking on the door of the very top of the game.
The other star British player of the first week was undoubtedly James Ward. I was lucky enough to watch James play in his third round match against Vasek Pospisil and thought that he played some great tennis during what turned into a five-set thriller. Although it was disappointing to see him lose, Ward’s run to the middle Saturday of the tournament means that he has achieved a crucial milestone in his career: He is now ranked in the world’s top 100 for the very first time.
There were other British successes, too. Let’s not forget Liam Broady’s fantastic first-round victory against Australian Marinko Matosevic, a match in which he came from two sets to love down. Aljaz Bedene also gave a great performance to beat the experienced Czech Radek Stepanek in round one, whilst it was wonderful to see Laura Robson back on the court at Wimbledon following such a serious injury. The comeback trail will be a long one for Laura, however she is a great player that is more than capable of getting back to where she once was.
Moving on to the second week of the Championships and British hopes once again lay firmly on the shoulders of Andy Murray. Victories over big serving Croatian Ivo Karlovic and surprise package Vasek Pospisil put Murray back into the Wimbledon semi-finals and a date with Roger Federer. It was not to be for Andy, with the Swiss maestro playing some unbelievable tennis to come through in straight sets.
Whilst Andy will be hugely disappointed to have missed out on the opportunity to make another Wimbledon final, he should certainly take heart from the fact that he went down playing some sublime tennis.
Let’s also not forget what a fantastic achievement it actually is to reach the semi-finals of Wimbledon. We’ve almost come to take Andy’s Grand Slam performances for granted over the years, and yet we should never lose sight of the fact that consistently going so deep into these tournaments is a truly remarkable achievement. Andy has reached 18 consecutive Grand Slam quarter-finals, and his showing at Wimbledon was the 17th time he has reached at least the semi-finals of a Grand Slam during his career. It is a fantastic record, and we are truly lucky to have him around.
Another British player we were always lucky to have was Tim Henman. I have great memories of watching Tim down the years, so it was great to catch a glimpse of him during my visit this year, alongside former ladies champion Lindsay Davenport.
The final Saturday of the Championships saw more British interest, with Andy’s brother Jamie appearing in his first Grand Slam men’s doubles final. Together with Australian partner John Peers, the pair lost in straight sets to the experienced Rojer and Tecau, however it was a great performance from Jamie and means that he moves up to 20th in the rankings.
Away from the British action, there were plenty of other great moments to enjoy during this year’s Championships. It was special to see Serena Williams achieve the much talked about ‘Serena Slam’, whilst the final between Djokovic and Federer provided a truly wonderful spectacle. During my trip to Wimbledon, I will always remember sitting just in front of the main TV cameras on Centre Court to watch the conclusion of the Simon v. Monfils match under the roof. Although this was my 13th time on Centre Court, this was by far the best seat I’ve ever had. The view was amazing and will live long in my memory.
Whilst Wimbledon might be over for another year, we’re now just a few days away from Britain’s Davis Cup quarter-final clash with France. I can’t wait to get out there and support the British team next weekend. Come on Great Britain!