Wimbledon 2009: Top 10 Moments
Before we begin looking ahead to the Davis Cup, the U.S. Hard Court swing, and the U.S. Open, let's take a moment to look back at the incredible tennis that occurred over the last fortnight at the All England Club.
There are probably too many great moments to mention all in one slide show, so I've done my best to whittle them down to a mere 10.
The tennis world's annual pilgrimage to SW 19 is always rewarding, as the oldest Grand-Slam, played on the exquisitely groomed lawns, features a style of play that is almost completely opposite to what we've witnessed over the last two months as the grueling clay court season has come to its conclusion.
The action is fast, the serving hot, and the prestige evident.
Federer, and many others, say that the Wimbledon title is the one they've dreamed of ever since picked up a racket and walloped their first ground stroke.
So, without any further adieu, let's take a look back, at this year's edition of the Championships.
10. Tommy Haas Playing with the Ball Girl
Michael Llodra, in a moment that Tommy Haas could certainly relate to, was forced to default after only seven games when a freak accident with a ball girl and the umpires chair caused knee damage.
Haas, crowd-pleaser that he is, picked up the slack and got the crowd jazzed when he handed the ball girl a racket and had a little knock with her.
This was an awesome moment, and it says a lot about the kind of player and person Haas is.
9. Cilic Over Querrey in a Five Setter
This second round match-up featured two young guns who were getting their first chance to strut their stuff on the hallowed grass of Wimbledon's Centre court.
Much to the delight of the crowd on hand, they did not disappoint.
The 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-4 victory by Cilic was thrilling throughout, and it was one of the early match-ups that set the tone for the great tennis that was about to take place all over the grounds.
8. Haas over Cilic in the Third Round
This third round thriller between the oldest player left in the draw and the youngest needed an extra day to be finished.
After Haas had taken each of the first two sets 7-5, the gutty Croatian hit his stride, dominating the third set and taking the fourth in a tiebreak (after saving two match points in the process).
After a wild and crazy fifth set, the match was suspended at 6-6 in the fifth due to darkness.
Haas took the match 10-8 on the next day, managing to avoid what would have been another devastating loss, and continued his fine play all the way into the semi-finals where he was derailed by the eventual champion Roger Federer in straight sets.
7. Lisicki to the Quarters
I don't think we've heard the last from 19-year-old German Sabine Lisicki. Serving phenomenally well, and playing like she belonged in the top-10, Lisicki found herself in the quarter finals after stunning upsets over Svetlana Kuznetsova and Caroline Wozniacki.
Second in the tournament with 41 aces, and hitting a high of 123 mph on the radar gun is a shot across the bow of the ladies in the top-10.
6. The Roof!
Monday, June 29 was the day they finally closed that roof.
The answer to the trivia question: Dinara Safina vs. Amelie Mauresmo was the first match ever played beneath the glorious roof on Centre Court.
And then Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka took the court and we got our first men's match under the roof. And just because they could, they played a five-setter that didn't end until 10:36 p.m.
5. Dr. Ivo
160 Aces in five matches. Do I need to say more?
Dr. Ivo, after losing his last four Wimbledon matches prior to '09, sprang to life and started mowing down top ranked opponents.
He shredded a confused Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in very convincing fashion, with Tsonga rolling his eyes and looking like he'd rather be getting his skin pulled off by an Armenian hit-man.
Next was Fernando Verdasco, the No. 7 seed, and he couldn't break him either.
Nobody, in fact, could break Dr. Ivo in his first four matches.
Finally, just when we thought he was going to spoil Roger Federer's party, the Swiss Maestro sent him tumbling back to earth.
It was a pretty loud thud as the 6'10" 235 pounder hit the grass.
4. Murray vs. Wawrinka
Make no mistake about it, this was a fantastic match. Wawrinka came to life against Murray, and these two suddenly found themselves putting on a baseline clinic for 15,000 of their closest friends.
Murray's 2-6, 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 victory over his friend and sometimes hitting partner sent the frenzied crowd home with a feeling of jubilation.
While Wawrinka was on the short side of this one, it could have easily gone the other way, as Stan the Man was dictating play for a good portion of this match with lasers from both wings.
It took everything Andy Murray had to get this win, and, sadly, it showed us that the target on his back was bigger than we thought.
What Wawrinka couldn't do, Roddick eventually would.
3. Murray Mania aka Andymonium
I'll admit, I was down with Murray Mania long before the Championships started. How could you not be?
The poor Brits, putting on such a brilliant show for the tennis world year after year, and they can't get one of their own a title since 1936? It just doesn't seem fair, and it seemed to me, that Andy Murray, unlike Tim Henman, might be the man to finally give the faithful what they wanted.
Murray handled the pressure like a mature veteran, and, at 22, he's bound to break through sooner or later.
But Mr. Andy Roddick aka the other Andy put the hopes and dreams of Murray and his people to rest in a hard fought semi-final match.
Stay tuned for more Murray Mania this time next year.
2. Serena Williams vs. Elena Dementieva Semi-final Match
Oh, Elena, you played so well. Well enough, in fact, to earn yourself a match point.
But we all know what happened then. That fierce and stubborn woman named Serena rushed the net and punched a volley that clipped the tape and rolled into the open court.
Sadly, that would be Elena's only look at a match point on this day.
On a day that could have been about her overcoming her demons and serving like a monster against Serena, things turned on the indomitable will of Serena.
Serena proved once again that when the pressure is on, she knows how to get it done. It's unreal, she is the only woman on tour that seems to be able to will herself to victory.
That being said, no one deserved to lose the match. It was well played, and was perhaps the best woman's match of the year.
Kudos to both for their tremendous play.
1. Federer's 15th Slam
I'll start by saying that Andy Roddick was absolutely brilliant in defeat.
But this day was about Federer, who now stands alone atop the tennis world with 15 Grand-Slam titles.
While this match could have, and maybe even should have been Roddick's, in the end it was Federer who found a way to get it done.
What was truly remarkable is the way Federer served. Sensing perhaps that his ground strokes were a tad off kilter, Federer turned up the heat on his serve and managed 22 aces in the fifth set alone.
The performance was extremely gutty, and it showed the tennis world yet again the kind of player Federer truly is. He's not just about beautiful effortless ball striking and tactical guile. The man has heart and soul, and a will to win like no other player in the world. He'll stop at nothing to get it done, remaining calm in almost unendurable pressure, and staying the course.
The 5-7, 7-6(6), 7-6(5), 3-6, 16-14 victory may not go down as the greatest match of all time, but it sure as heck was a classic.