Roger Federer and Garbine Muguruza are Wimbledon champions after two weeks of action that saw injuries and poor form affect some of the sport’s biggest names.
Wimbledon 2017 came to a close this weekend with Roger Federer and Garbine Muguruza crowned champions of a thrilling and unpredictable tournament.
The Swiss made history and shattered expectations by claiming his record eighth title at the All England Club, and his second Grand Slam of the year. Marin Cilic will be devastated, as injuries clearly affected his play in the final, which ended 3-6, 1-6, 4-6.
Following a grand slam drought of almost five years, many pundits believed Federer’s best days were behind him, but 2017 looks like his return to the elite level of tennis.
Another veteran almost took home the women's championship, as Venus Williams battled through to the final only to be beaten resoundingly 7-5, 6-0 by a dominant Muguruza. The Spaniard now has two Grand Slams to her name and, at age 23, her future is certainly bright.
Let’s take a look at how two weeks of action played out:
Federer is back, but injuries played a part
While Roger Federer winning Grand Slams was customary ten years ago, watching the Swiss superstar rolling back the years with sublime tennis in 2017 is truly astonishing.
Although he may not have shown his cutting edge in recent years, his results at Wimbledon this year are certainly impressive. Victories over Milos Raonic and Tomas Berdych in straight sets on his way to his eighth title cannot be understated, but it’s a shame Marin Cilic was not 100 per cent fit in the final.
The Croatian broke down in tears during the match as blisters limited his movement, making it extremely difficult to counter Federer’s precise play. It would have been Cilic's second-ever Grand Slam win, but a victory became more unlikely as the final progressed.
However, the biggest argument against Federer’s win is the contenders he didn’t play.
Andy Murray was knocked out in the quarter-final by Sam Querrey as a lingering hip injury affected the World Number One’s bid to retain his title.
It was a similar story for Rafael Nadal, whose recurring knee issues have made Wimbledon a tough challenge for him in recent years. He was eliminated in the last 16 by Gilles Muller 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 13-15 in a nail-biting contest.
Another top contender, Novak Djokovic, retired in the quarter-final due to a recurrence of a long-term elbow injury.
Therefore, while Federer’s victory was certainly impressive, it will be interesting to see how he fares when other top stars regain fitness.
Muguruza stakes her claim for Serena’s throne
Ever since Serena Williams announced her break from the game to have a child, talk has centred on who will be the next dominant force in women’s tennis.
Jelena Ostapenko shocked the world by winning the French Open after Serena bowed out with an Australian Open victory in January. Angelique Kerber was tipped by many this year, but she was beaten by Garbine Muguruza in the last 16.
From then on, Muguruza was a highly dominant force, defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova and Magdaléna Rybáriková before beating Venus Williams in the final.
For Brits, the story of the tournament was Johanna Konta, who surprised the world by beating favourite Simona Halep and making it to the semi-final, where she lost to Venus Williams.
However, her performances certainly boosted the atmosphere at Wimbledon, especially after Heather Watson was knocked out in the third round by Victoria Azarenka.
Konta’s previous best performance was a semi-final place in the Australian Open last year and her second final-four finish suggests she could be the next great hope in UK women’s tennis.
Muguruza will now be looking towards the US Open in August, where she will be hoping to beat Kerber again, who is reigning champion at Flushing Meadows.