Sunday, July 7, 2013

77 year British Wimbledon drought ended on 7/7

A new national holiday should be declared in the U.K. on this 7th day of the 7th month, the day the 77 year drought of having a British Wimbledon champ ended.  The tension was palpable as Andy Murray served for the championship at 5-4 in the third set.  Having three championship points at 40-love it seemed like it was a done deal.  However, #1 ranked Novak Djokovic is never one to back down, no matter how unlikely a comeback looked down two sets to none.  But it seemed in a heartbeat it was suddenly break point instead, three times to be exact, which Murray fought off with everything he had.  When his 4th championship point came along he took it, raising his arms toward the press in exhilaration.  After the tears and disappointment last year when he had been so close in his loss to Roger Federer he had finally done it, bringing fans all across the United Kingdom to their feet in joy and relief.  For all of history he will be remembered as the man who brought them another Wimbledon crown after what seemed like (per Roger Federer a few years ago) 150,000 years.

I had the privilege of watching the final with a friend who grew up in Scotland, who even brought some strawberries and cream for us to enjoy to commemorate the event, so I got to be even more involved in the joy the country was experiencing after such an extended time.  Now that it's over I think they would say it was worth the wait.

Though the match had its moments of stress for Murray fans in the long rallies, breaks back and forth, and especially the last service game, overall it could have been a lot more stressful.  Surprisingly Andy was able to win this in straight sets, which I never would have guessed from the start.  Djokovic just seemed a bit weary out there, probably worn down from his epic match with Del Potro, and simply didn't have the same ability to fight it out this time.  Andy played some very strong and smart tennis and fully deserved his straight set win to etch his name forever with the champions of Wimbledon.

Marion Bartoli was also a first time Wimbledon champion this weekend, as well as being her first major title.  I'm sure there was hardly a person in the world who would have had her name in the winners box in their draw before the tournament started.  It doesn't matter that she didn't have to beat a top ten opponent - no one will remember that in the history books - and that her opponent took out both last year's champion and finalist.  It's the last match that counts and Bartoli played determined tennis, while her opponent, Sabine Lisicki, emotionally exhausted from all that the fortnight had required of her, simply didn't have what it took to hardly even make it a contest.  You couldn't help but feel for her as she struggled with tears at different times during the match.  But in the end, no matter who you were cheering for, how could anyone not be happy for Marion Bartoli, the joy evident in everything she did, including her climb up to the player's box to collect hugs from her team.  She is also the first person who plays with both hands on each side to win Wimbledon.  Since I also play the same way, that novelty couldn't escape my attention.

And finally, history was made again by the amazing Bryan Brothers, who now hold all four grand slam titles simultaneously, as well as the Olympic gold medal.  What an incredible achievement by these highly talented and very likeable guys.  And now in a couple months they will have the opportunity to go for a calendar year grand slam at the U.S. Open.

So Wimbledon is over for another year and soon we will be fully into the build-up to the final hard court slam of the year.  More stories to be written, more curiosity as to who will  hold the next trophy, but in the meantime history has been made in several ways and we will long remember many of the stories created in this wacky and wild fortnight.

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