Predictability is No More as New Tennis Stars Are Born on Centre Court
A captivating fortnight of tennis came to a close on Centre Court last Sunday, as fans waved goodbye to Wimbledon for another year. Enthusiastic and passionate crowds were in attendance throughout, as is so often the case with this historic event, while the usual spattering of royalty and celebrity took centre stage in the stands.
With television viewing figures reaching almost 26 million across the two-week period, as well as record-breaking digital viewing figures that eclipsed 54 million online streams, it was one of the most viewed tennis tournaments of all time. A stunningly dramatic final weekend ensured those viewers were not left wanting more.
On the Saturday, many will have tuned in to see if Tunisian Ons Jabeur could win a Wimbledon title at the second time of asking in consecutive years, while on Sunday the sport’s golden boy Novak Djokovic was attempting to become the joint most decorated tennis player of all time by equalling Margaret Court’s 24 grand slam titles. However, it was well and truly the underdogs who stole the show.
To those who aren’t avid tennis followers, Czech Marketa Vondrousova was somewhat of an unknown entity before this year’s Wimbledon kicked off. By the end of the fortnight, however, the emergence of her charming and unique demeanour has enabled her status in the game to elevate immensely.
The 24-year-old was unable to compete in London this time last year, as a career-threatening wrist injury kept her out, however, a remarkably strong comeback ensured the 42nd-ranked woman in the world became the first-ever unseeded player to win the ladies’ Wimbledon singles title. In keeping with her personality, and deep love of body ink, Vondrousova immediately promised to celebrate her feat by getting a matching tattoo with coach Jan Mertl.
As for the men’s final, it’s clear that a new star has been born. Already a major winner, but not quite a household name prior to the tournament, Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz stole hearts around the globe with an infectious and passionate display that saw him defeat pre-tournament favourite Djokovic in dramatic fashion.
The match, which went all the way to a tense fifth set, has been hailed an instant classic and Alcaraz the new star of men’s tennis. Showing a shot selection, poise and temperament beyond his 20 years, Alcaraz cemented himself into Wimbledon history whilst showing the world that Djokovic will not be able to see out his career unchallenged, as so many had previously assumed.
Many will argue that this is exactly what the men’s game needs, as a sport of this nature thrives on rivalry and jeopardy. The final major of the year takes place at the end of next month, as Alcaraz will set out to defend his only other major title at the US Open. For Djokovic, it marks a second opportunity to reach 24 majors and his first to remind the tennis world who is king.
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