Wimbledon is a highlight of the year for many people: tennis players, tennis fans and we dare say, TV lovers in general. And you can see why – there’s drama, suspense, surprise – all within a display of fine sporting prowess (and, we admit, far too much grunting these days).
Wimbledon 2013 has not failed to deliver and, has excelled in providing one thing in particular this year: surprises.
After last year’s shock defeat by Rosol and his comprehensive victory in the French Open a mere two weeks earlier, we definitely didn’t see a first round exit coming. Credit to Darcis who seemed to be playing like his life depended on it but it was clear that Rafa wasn’t his usual super-speedy self. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see as much of him as we expected at the All England Club this year but little did we know, there were many more surprises to come.
Former Wimbledon champion and French Open 2013 finalist, Sharapova’s early exit evened things up between the boys and the girls. Many people would have bet on a Sharapova vs. S. Williams final but her second-round Portuguese opponent (ranked 131 in the world) had other ideas and claimed a comprehensive victory over the Russian. Sharapova’s defeat contributed to complaints about the state of the courts as she fell over a few times during the match. Nonetheless, with her out of the way, the women’s draw was now a little more open than before.
After Nadal’s shock early exit, did anyone expect Federer to be the next to go – in the same week? To a man ranked outside of the top 100 players in the word no less? It was his earliest Wimbledon defeat since 2002 and ended his streak of 36 consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final appearances. He lifted the trophy last year and his premature (and unexpected) defeat meant we could be sure that the silverware would be in a different pair of hands this year.
The last of the ‘big’ shockers, it may have been hard to find a tennis aficionado who didn’t think that Serena would reign supreme again this year. Like her fellow 2013 French Open champion, Nadal, Serena succumbed unexpectedly to her lower-ranked opponent.
Admittedly, Sabine Lisicki is probably one of the few women on the tour who could keep pace with Serena but Williams’ win was never in doubt, up until the last point. And then, as the tears streamed from Lisicki’s face, the stunned onlookers realized, this was a changing of the guard. With Sharapova and Williams out, only a brave soul would dare predict who would now take the ladies singles title.
There were other usual suspects who exited Wimbledon early or unexpectedly this year – either in defeat, retirement or injury. The first week of Wimbledon 2013 was one of the most dramatic ones that we can remember, with an unprecedented number of surprises.
And so, here we are on men’s semi-final day. At the time of writing, Djokovic and Del Potro have just finished slugging it out for almost five hours in one of the most thrilling matches of the tournament, of the year…perhaps ever. If you wanted drama, suspense and surprise, you got it – and then some. Just when you thought it’s all over…it wasn’t – until, at long last, it was. Can Murray and Janowicz top that? And if that was just a semi-final, what on earth will they have left for us on Sunday?
First though, we have to get through the Williams-less ladies final tomorrow. Bartoli looked unstoppable in her semi-final but Lisicki is this year’s giant-slayer. Either will be a first-time, surprise champion.
We’ve still got two days to go – what further surprises are in store? Are we on the verge of even more upsets and new names entering the history books? In a way, as TV fans, we hope so. The tournament has been so exciting so far, stirring up a wide-range of emotions that it deserves to climax accordingly.
We aren’t brave enough to make any predictions – other than to say, with two days to go, Wimbledon 2013 is far from over.
Let’s not call out the fat lady just yet.