By Jack Davies for Surrey Tennis
After a two-year hiatus, Wimbledon 2021 is over and Ashleigh Barty and Novak Djokovic, the world number ones have proven once again that they are the best of the best by taking home the silverware. This is Barty’s second grand slam victory after winning the French Open in 2019 and Djokovic has finally equalised his tally with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer with 20 grand slams a piece.
Barty’s victory is symbolic for many reasons. This year marks 50 Wimbledons (but not years), since Evonne Goolagong, the last Australian woman to the win tournament, lifted the Venus Rosewater Dish. Barty wore a similar dress to Goolagong to pay tribute to her amazing career and legacy in Australian tennis. Goolagong has been an inspiration and a mentor for Barty since she was a teenager, and in her winner’s speech, Barty said: ‘I hope I made Evonne proud.’
This year saw great matches for British men, but unfortunately none of our players made it past the third round. Andy Murray returned to Wimbledon where he beat the 24th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili, and Oscar Otte, before succumbing to eventual semi-finalist Denis Shapovalov. Dan Evans beat the fan favourite Feliciano López (perhaps most famous for his hair) and Dušan Lajović, before losing to the American Sebastian Korda. Cameron Norrie did equally as well before losing his third-round match to Roger Federer – but he did manage to grab a set from the Swiss Maestro himself.
The best performing British player in the singles this year was 18-year-old Emma Raducanu, who reached the fourth round before retiring against Ajla Tomljanović. I think it’s fair to say that Raducanu has grabbed the attention of the British public with her excellent ground strokes and fantastic movement across the court, let’s hope we continue to see great things from her. Heather Watson lost a nail biter against the American Kristie Ahn in the first round, while Katie Boulter lost her second-round match to the second seed Aryna Sabalenka. Unfortunately for fans of the British number one Johanna Konta, she was unable to compete this year due to a close contact testing positive for Coronavirus.
In the doubles, Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram made it to the semi-finals of the men’s before losing to the top seeds Mektić and Pavić. I was lucky enough to see all four of these players in action in Eastbourne just before Wimbledon, and can safely say, I’m glad I never have to play against them.
Salisbury did slightly better in the mixed doubles this year with his partner Harriet Dart, but unfortunately lost in the final to Desirae Krawczyk and fellow Brit Neil Skupski. Just two months ago Salisbury and Krawczyk won the French Open together, so it must have been strange to suddenly be on the other side of the net. I managed to catch a Krawczyk match at Eastbourne too and I am not at all surprised that she has won her second grand slam of the year, she was absolutely everywhere on the court. This victory is the first mixed doubles title for Skupski and what a place to win it!
Though Dart may have knocked Watson out in the first round of the mixed doubles, there was clearly no hard feelings as they were all smiles on the way to the round of 16 together in the women’s doubles before losing to the Taiwanese pair Latisha Chan and Chan Hao-ching.
And just like that the third Grand Slam of the year is over and players have either gone back to clay (!) in Hamburg or have started to prepare for the Olympic Games, which start on the 23rd of July. Though it is a shame that it’s over, I’m sure many people working from home will see their productivity increase again…
Next year hopefully The Championships can be at full capacity and back to the way it used to be – but I quite enjoyed this year’s ticketing system, mostly because I was more successful than ever before – managing to grab court 2 tickets for the last ever Manic Monday. I am sure next year we will once again find ourselves casting our tickets into the ballot and hoping we get lucky.
Jack Davies for Surrey Tennis.