Sunday marked the finale of yet another nail-biting and wholly unpredictable Wimbledon Championships, with Carlos Alcaraz taking the men's singles crown in three sets to two; and Markéta Vondroušová claiming it in the women’s in two sets to none.
The oldest and arguably the most prestigious tennis championship in the world, Wimbledon has been captivating its audiences since the 1870s, showcasing two weeks’ worth of world-class talent and enthralling matches. With new names taking both crowns, it is clear that the new era of tennis has arrived.
Men’s tennis has been controlled by the same names for almost two decades, with Alcaraz bringing Djokovic’s winning streak to a swift end. Despite Alcaraz being the current world number one, he was not the bookies' favourite, with experts believing Djokovic’s experience at Centre Court would clinch it.
Following Serena William’s retirement from professional tennis, the women’s game has showcased many new names of the next generation totalling seven different winners, seven years in a row. Going into her match Vondroušová was the clear underdog, with her win securing her as the first unseeded female player to take the title.
Alcaraz (Spain) VS Djokovic (Serbia)
Spectators were treated to a five-set rollercoaster that lasted almost five hours. It was a gripping match that was hard fought for by both men, with the intensity levels increasing after every set. The game could have gone either way at any point; however, it was perhaps the stamina of Alcaraz that took it – a particular perk of being 16 years Djokovic’s junior.
Djokovic won the first set comfortably, the set that later proved to be merely a warm-up for Alcaraz. He swiftly grew in confidence, and by the third set, he was dominating the game, spurred on by the crowd who developed an early fondness towards him.
Despite facing one of the most decorated and experienced tennis players of our time, Alcaraz refused to back down and continued to pack on the pressure, showcasing some of the best tennis spectators have seen in years. By the fifth and final set, Djokovic, feeling the relentless force from his opponent, broke his racket by slamming it on the net post.
Alcaraz’s triumph means he is the first winner since 2002 to not be part of the Big Four (Djokovic, Federer, Nadal, and Murray). With Alcaraz’s skills, experience, and confidence all set to increase as time goes on, Djokovic’s goal of equalling Federer’s eight Wimbledon wins is in limbo.
In the after-match interviews, Djokovic said: “I’ve never played someone like Alcaraz,” suggesting that the 20-year-old harboured a mixture of skills from himself, Federer, and Nadal. He added: “He’s got basically the best of all three worlds.”
Vondroušová (Czechia) VS Jabeur (Tunisia)
After falling short in the 2022 final against Rybakina, spectators were hoping for Ons Jabeur to seal the deal in 2023 and become the first African person to win a Wimbledon singles title. As they made their way onto Centre Court, both ladies looked ready and focused, and for the first two games, Jabeur dominated.
Vondroušová refused to be cowered into a corner by her opponent and come back fighting, comfortably winning the first set 6-4; something that evidently unsettled Jabeur, as her serves started to either hit the net or go out.
With the pressure of an entire continent on her shoulders and Vondroušová’s consistent attacks, it proved too much for Jabeur as she seemed to be getting more agitated and less focused as the game went on. It began to prove an uncomfortable viewing as spectators watched her chances of winning seep away from her with every hit of the ball.
Following the defeat, Jabeur said: “It's the most painful loss of my career… But we're going to make it one day, I promise you. I'm going to come back stronger.”
Vondroušová’s win is a huge turnaround from 12 months ago when she visited London as a tourist with a broken wrist; fast forward one year and her name would be etched into Wimbledon history forever. When asked how she would celebrate her triumph, she quipped: “I think I’ll have a beer.”
As Patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, the Princess of Wales holds the honour of presenting the winners with their trophies. Men receive The Gentlemen's Singles Trophy, which was made from silver gilt in 1887 and is adorned with the names of all previous winners. Women receive the Venus Rosewater Dish, a salver made from sterling silver in 1886. The prize money for male and female winners now runs at £2,350,000.
As the 2023 Wimbledon season comes to an end, tennis fans still have the following to look forward to:
- August – US Open
- September – Laver Cup, China Open
- October – European Open, Rolex Paris Masters
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