Wacky Wimbledon. That is how one can describe the 2013 Wimbledon Tournament. Hardly anything went right from day one and it did not stop until the very last day. Falls, eliminations, unlikely winners, and the grass. This was not your normal Wimbledon tournament.
I wrote about Rafael Nadal’s elimination right after it happened on Day 1, and, along with every other sports reporter, thought it would be the biggest story of the tournament. It was at last year’s Wimbledon when Nadal was booted in the second round and lost over seven months due to his bad knees. While he would not confirm his knees were bothering him in his first round match against 135th ranked Steve Darcis it was obvious they were bothering him because he was moving slow and could not chase hard shots. At the end of the day everyone thought nothing could beat that loss.
Boy, were we wrong.
Nothing could prepare anyone for Day 3. Nadal’s loss on Day 1 overshadowed another aspect that would greatly affect the future: the grass. Players left and right were falling and slipping. Minutes before the day was supposed to start it started to crumble–#2 Victoria Azarenka, Darcis, the man who defeated Nadal, #15 Marin Cilic, and Yaroslava Shvedova withdrew from their matches due to injuries from Day 1. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, John Isner, and Radek Stepanek had to retire during their matches because of injuries. A few had previous injuries that were aggravated by falls on Day 1, but a few like Azarenka and Darci, received their injuries because of horrible falls on Day 1.
Did the falls occur because of the grass? A few thought it was because of the Olympics from last August or the new groundskeeper treated the lawn differently. The All England Club insisted nothing was different, but it is hard to believe that because of all the spills on Day 1 and Day 3. Seven players, yes SEVEN players, had to withdraw or retire on Day 3.
That was not the only story from Day 3. Many highly ranked and favorite players were eliminated by mostly unknown and unseeded players. Ana Ivanovic lost in straight sets to Eugenie Bouchard. Julien Benneteau was eliminated. Caroline Wozniacki was picked off. Jelena Jankovic was defeated. Maria Sharapova could not keep up with Michelle Larcher de Brito. All of these matches ended in straight sets. STRAIGHT SETS.
Then it was Roger Federer’s turn. He is the King of Grass and reigning champion and the road to the final was easier for him since Nadal was eliminated on Day 1. He won his first match in 68 minutes and appeared to be in top form. But then he met Sergiy Stakhovsky. He won the first set, but had to fight for it. After that, Stakhovsky owned him and took him out.
Things started to quiet down until Round 4. Serena Williams was the favorite and on a 34-match winning streak. In fact, she was so favored and dominant the ladies side of Wimbledon was sort of brushed off from the beginning because of her. She met up-and-coming star Sabine Lisicki in the Round of 16 and LOST. Lisicki managed to get under Williams’s skin and take the first set 6-2. Williams fought back and played brilliantly in the second set to win it 6-1 and started the third set just as well. Somehow, Lisicki figured out Williams’s powerful serve and kept her on her toes on the baseline. Lisicki kicked out the reigning champion and the overall Wimbledon favorite.
I may have been the only person who saw Juan Martin del Potro as a problem for those seeded above him, and I was proven right. I said he would reach the quarterfinals and while David Ferrer was the favorite to reach the semifinals and was tempted to pick del Potro over Ferrer. Del Potro did reach the quarterfinals and easily beat Ferrer to secure a spot in the semifinals against Novak Djokovic. Even with a hurt knee he forced Djokovic to fight and play hard to win the match.
The drama did not end there. It would not be right if the crazy Wimbledon ended without some excitement in the final. Marion Bartoli finally won her first Grand Slam and Wimbledon title in a runaway match against Lisicki, 6-1, 6-4. Andy Murray struggled in his quarterfinal and semifinal, but had no problem beating Djokovic in the gentleman’s final. He is the first British male to win Wimbledon since 1936.
It was a historic Wimbledon and more than likely we will never see another like this again. But it did prove why it is the most beloved tournament and that anything can happen. I personally cannot wait to see what happens next year.