Wimbledon 2013: Top 5 Takeaways from the Championships

Alex SandersonCorrespondent IIIJuly 7, 2013

Wimbledon 2013: Top 5 Takeaways from the Championships

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    The 2013 Wimbledon Championships were marked by craziness throughout the fortnight. A 77-year drought was ended and a new women's Grand Slam champion was crowned—not something you see every year in London.

    The title by Andy Murray was the first Wimbledon won by a British man since Fred Perry in 1936. After coming two sets short in 2012 against Roger Federer, this time the Scot was able to hoist the trophy after knocking off world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

    The women's titleholder is French veteran Marion Bartoli, who hadn't even reached the semifinals of a tournament this season. She was the runner-up to Venus Williams in 2007 at the All England Club, but was still a surprising winner this season.

    All in all, the greatest tennis tournament in the world was as good as ever, filled with great matches and stories throughout. Let's take a look at some of the top takeaways from the event.

The Current Version of Serena Williams Is Human

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    The new and improved version of Serena Williams, since losing in the first round of the French Open in 2012, has seemed just about invincible. Heading into Wimbledon 2013, she had lost just three matches since that shocker in Paris 13 months ago, winning just about everything in sight.

    Those three losses were all situations in which Williams either wasn't 100 percent healthy or 100 percent focused. Not to take anything away from the opponents who beat her (Sloane Stephens, Angelique Kerber, Victoria Azarenka), but none of the losses were when the world No. 1 was at her best.

    The loss to Sabine Lisicki at Wimbledon this year was one in which the big game of the German proved to be too much for Williams. It was one of the most shocking losses possible, considering the American has won five Wimbledon titles and was on a 34-match winning streak.

    In the past, Williams would beat herself in many matches, but her consistency has become incredible in the latter stages of her career. Lisicki really had to take that match away from Williams, and she did so with a power serve and huge forehands.

Roger Federer Wake-Up Call

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    After a resurgent 2012 season in which he won Wimbledon and got back to No. 1 in the world, Roger Federer has had an abysmal 2013 for his standards. 

    He will head into the U.S. Open without having reached at least one of the season's first three major finals for the first time since 2002. His consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal streak is now over as well, and he has just one title to his name.

    Does that mean the 31-year-old veteran is done? The tennis world might think so, but not Federer.

    After losing much earlier than expected in London, Federer entered two clay-court tournaments before the summer hard-court season, something he hasn't done since he was a teenager. He is going back to the drawing boards and will try to ratchet up for a strong run in New York.

    It remains to be seen how the shocking loss in the second round at Wimbledon will affect the great champion, but he has as good of an attitude as possible. He still loves the game and you can never count him out returning to being a legit contender at the Slams.

Murray Making All the Right Moves

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    After being in the shadow of the Big Three in men's tennis for so long, Andy Murray has officially made it a Big Four in the past 12 months.

    His strong run over the past year has seen him win two Grand Slams, finish as the runner-up in two others and win the Olympic gold medal. The only thing he hasn't done is reach world No. 1, but it could soon be coming if he keeps up his strong play.

    His resurgence started when he began working with former tennis great Ivan Lendl about 18 months ago.

    An attitude change on the court combined with a more aggressive playing style are the biggest differences in Murray's game since he started working with Lendl. He doesn't get as negative on the court as he used to, and he is taking more of his matches into his own hands rather than relying on counter-punching.

    Another move that really helped the British star win Wimbledon this year was pulling out of the French Open with back issues. 

    While Murray certainly wasn't 100 percent right before the French, he probably could have given the tournament a go. But he is not nearly the player on clay that he is on other surfaces (only one career semifinal in Paris).

    So, he made a savvy move in skipping the trip to Roland Garros to focus on the grass-court season, where he is at his best. Over the past two years, he has three grass-court tiles in four events, with the only loss being in the 2012 Wimbledon final to Roger Federer.

    Murray is now the No. 2 player in the world and has reached at least the finals in the last four Grand Slam events he's played. His confidence is at an all-time high heading into the summer hard-court season in the states.

Juan Martin Del Potro Sighting

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    In the 2009 U.S. Open, Juan Martin del Potro destroyed Rafael Nadal in the semis and won a classic final over Roger Federer, ending Federer's quest for a sixth consecutive championship in New York. He became the first man to defeat both of the all-time greats in the same Grand Slam tournament, and only Novak Djokovic has done it since (2011 U.S. Open).

    At that time, he seemed to be on a fast track to stardom, and maybe even all the way to the top of the men's game. Unfortunately for the Argentine and tennis alike, he has dealt with injury issues that have severely limited him over the last few seasons.

    Even though he hyperextended his knee twice this fortnight, we all got to see what del Potro is capable of on the big stage again. He made a run to the semifinals and played an epic match against Djokovic, losing in five tight sets.

    The big Argentine showed a lot of heart and will to stick around in this tournament and give such a battle in the semifinals. He was even a lot more outgoing than we have seen in the past, winning over a lot of fans in the process.

    The summer hard-court season has always been the best stretch for del Potro, and he should be a major factor for the U.S. Open, if he is healthy. His power game, combined with strong movement for a big guy, gives him a chance to defeat anyone on a given day.

Anything Can Happen

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    Besides Murray ending the long drought for Brits at Wimbledon, this tournament will be remembered mostly for the shocking upsets that took place.

    Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams all suffered early defeats. Federer and Nadal had combined for nine of the last 10 Wimbledon titles, but neither reached the second week in 2013.

    This tournament has the feel of the 2004 French Open, when Anastasia Myskina defeated Elena Dementieva and Gauston Gaudio defeated Guillermo Coria in the championship matches. 

    That tournament was the last time Federer didn't reach at least the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam event until this year's Wimbledon (36 straight, all-time record). 

    None of the Big Three in the men's game (Federer, Nadal, Novak Djokovic) nor Serena Williams won Wimbledon, as previously established. It's only the second time that has happened at a major since that 2004 French Open as well (2009 U.S. Open—Kim Clijsters, Juan Martin del Potro).

    It's also the first time this century that neither one of the Big Three nor a Williams sister won the Wimbledon Championships. Most of those years saw at least two of the five all-time greats playing on the final weekend, but only Djokovic made it this year.

    While we are accustomed to seeing things going to form at the big events in tennis, especially at Wimbledon, these two weeks really give us an appreciation of the need for the top players to go out and win their matches, and it's not all that easy.


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