Wimbledon 2013: Winners and Losers from This Year's Grand Slam
At the end of one of the wackiest Wimbledons in history, Marion Bartoli and Andy Murray will head together to the Wimbledon ball. What a couple.
Bartoli stole the hearts of tennis fans everywhere as she emphatically marched and smiled her way to the Wimbledon crown, the ultimate tale of an underdog stealing the show.
Murray winning Wimbledon will be the story of the tennis year, as the Brit finally triumphed in the Grand Slam that means the most to his hometown crowd.
What a moment. What a tournament.
From Rafael Nadal's knees to Maria Sharapova's falls, Victoria Azarenka's withdrawal to Roger Federer's mortality, Sabine Lisicki's heroics to Murray's tears, this is certainly one fortnight that will never be forgotten.
Here's a look at the winners and losers from an emotional, shocking and triumphant two weeks on the best lawns of tennis.
Winner: Andy Murray
He finally did it.
What a year it's been for Andy Murray, who has banished his runner-up status and become comfortable as a top dog.
But nothing he can ever do in his career will compare to winning his first Wimbledon title amidst millions of desperate British fans, just yearning for a winner to call their own.
To play such great tennis under such immense pressure and take out the best tennis players in the world with the weight of the nation on his shoulders is something that only true legends of the game can do.
With two Slams and a gold medal within one year, Murray has cemented his status as one of the greats.
Loser: Novak Djokovic
This was a great opportunity for Novak Djokovic to shake off the French Open heartbreak and win the title that means the most to him for the second time. Unfortunately, he just did not play his best tennis throughout the second week.
I've long said that despite his Wimbledon title in 2011, grass is Djokovic's worst surface. That was on display this fortnight. He's still one of the best players in the world on any surface, but his footwork and comfort level are just not the same on grass as they are on hard courts and clay.
This was a great chance for him to officially reclaim his throne at the top of the tennis world, but he fell just short once again.
Winner: Marion Bartoli
It was the unlikeliest of endings, but ultimately one of the sweetest.
Tour veteran Marion Bartoli, who made her only other Grand Slam final here at Wimbledon six years ago, didn't drop a set on her way to the maiden Grand Slam title of her career.
It was a heart-warming victory for many reasons, but mainly it was just great to see such a talented and unique woman come into her own in front of our very eyes.
Her celebration after her win—the look of disbelief, the sprint to her box and the sincere embracing of her entourage—was one of the best moments of the Championships.
Loser: First-Week Grass
Stars fell both literally and figuratively throughout the first week, and most people blamed the grass.
While Wimbledon officials allowed players to practice on the outside courts during the weeks leading up to the event, they kept the show courts pristine so that they would still be playable late into the second week.
But this year there were more slips and slides than ever before, as players such as Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, Caroline Wozniacki and Julien Benneteau all took early-round tumbles on big stages.
Fans and commentators wondered whether it was the late start to the grass-growing season due to the Olympics or perhaps the new groundskeeper that was making the grass more slippery than usual.
But the All England Club continued to insist that nothing was different about the lawns, and by the end of the first week this story died down.
Winner: The Bryan Brothers
Bob and Mike Bryan added another chapter to their storied careers when they captured the Wimbledon title on Saturday.
Not only was this their 15th major championship, but it put them in very rare territory—they currently hold all four majors (and the gold medal!) at the same time.
The most famous twins in tennis had a wonderful European swing, taking titles in Madrid, Rome, Roland Garros, Queen's Club and now Wimbledon. That's five huge titles in a row. At 35, they just seem to be getting better with age.
It will be fun to see if they can get the calendar Slam at the U.S. Open this year.
Loser: American Men
Another major championship, another incredibly disappointing showing for American men. This story is getting old.
At the first Wimbledon without Andy Roddick in 13 years, the three-time Wimbledon finalist was certainly missed.
Sam Querrey bowed out in the first round in five sets against Bernard Tomic, Ryan Harrison lost in the first round to Jeremy Chardy and John Isner suffered a bad break when he hurt his knee in the beginning of his second-round match against Adrian Mannarino.
All in all, it was the first time since 1912 that no American man made the third round of Wimbledon. Ouch.
Winner: Sloane Stephens
While the up-and-coming American men continue to struggle, Sloane Stephens continues to lead the future of the American women with pride.
For the second major of the year, Stephens was the last American woman standing. She made it to her second quarterfinal of the year, and once again she beat all the players ranked below her—no small feat for a 20-year-old.
Though many will rue her missed opportunity against Marion Bartoli in the quarterfinals, there are a lot more positives than negatives for Stephens this fortnight. If she can bring her form from the majors to the U.S. Open series, she could be looking at the Top 10 soon.
Loser: BBC Commentator John Inverdale
Since the men and women play on the same stage in tennis Grand Slams, the sexist nature of the media is usually more apparent than it is in other sports. However, this year BBC presenter John Inverdale's comments really took the cake.
Speaking before the women's final between Marion Bartoli and Sabine Lisicki on Saturday, Inverdale remarked:
I just wonder if her dad, because he has obviously been the most influential person in her life, did say to her when she was 12, 13, 14 maybe, "listen, you are never going to be, you know, a looker."
"You are never going to be somebody like a Sharapova, you're never going to be 5ft 11, you're never going to be somebody with long legs, so you have to compensate for that."
Though he and the BBC both half-heartedly apologized, the damage was done and the point hammered home: Even on the biggest stages of sport, women are still judged more for their looks than their ability.
All credit to Bartoli, though, who took the comments in stride and offered the perfect response. "It doesn't matter, honestly. I am not blonde, yes. That is a fact," she told reporters in her press conference. "Have I dreamt about having a model contract? No. I'm sorry. But have I dreamed about winning Wimbledon? Absolutely, yes."
It was a great tournament to be an underdog. From the moment No. 135 Steve Darcis shocked Rafael Nadal to start the tournament, the floodgates were open for dreamers everywhere.
On one incredibly wild Wednesday, we saw No. 196 Petra Cetkovska take out Caroline Wozniacki, No. 131 Michelle Larcher de Brito take out Maria Sharapova and, most shockingly, No. 116 Sergiy Stakhovsky take out Roger Federer.
But the underdog who made the most of her chances was No. 23 seed Sabine Lisicki, who took out huge favorite Serena Williams in the fourth round and marched all the way to the final.
Anything can happen on any given day in tennis. This tournament was proof.
Loser: Former Champions
As the underdogs flourished, former Wimbledon champions fell like dominoes throughout the fortnight. In fact, Novak Djokovic was the only title holder left by the semifinals on the men's or women's side.
The biggest shocks came when Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Serena Williams all were booted. But Lleyton Hewitt, Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova all failed to last long as well.
Of course, the good news about this was that it paved the way for completely new champions to be crowned, which is always an emotional affair.
Winner: Polish Tennis
Who would have thought at the beginning of this tournament that Poland would emerge as one of the tennis capitals of the world?
That's why they play the game, I suppose.
It was a groundbreaking tournament for the Central European country, as Lukasz Kubot and Jerzy Janowicz played each other in a surprise quarterfinal match, thanks largely to the early exits of Nadal and Federer. Janowicz won the match to make it to his first Grand Slam semifinal.
He was joined in the semifinals on the women's side by Agnieszka Radwanska, the No. 4 seed who has been carrying the tennis torch for her country for years.
It was another reminder of the global impact of the wonderful sport.
It was not a good tournament to be a knee.
In a sport that creates a lot of wear and tear on the body, as the surfaces change and the months wear on and on, knees seem to be the biggest casualty.
We saw as Rafael Nadal's famous knees struggled to make the transition from clay to grass, and then saw as Victoria Azarenka and John Isner both had to withdraw with knee injuries as well.
Hopefully none of the knee injuries are too serious and all of the stars will be happy and healthy by the time the U.S. Open Series begins.