Wimbledon 2015: Winners and Losers from All England Club

Lindsay Gibbs@linzsports Featured ColumnistJuly 12, 2015

Wimbledon 2015: Winners and Losers from All England Club

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    Another phenomenal Wimbledon fortnight is in the books, and just like that we are three-fourths of the way through the major season.

    The winners are no surprise: Both No. 1s, Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic, will be dancing together at the Champions Ball Sunday night.

    There were many other remarkable feats over the last two weeks, though. The Aussies stole the stage in disturbing and inspiring ways, legends of the game turned back the clock and a few young Americans even made a positive impression.

    Before we turn to the summer hard-court season in the United States, take a look at all of the major winners and losers from the All England Club.

Winner: Novak Djokovic

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    Novak Djokovic, your legend just continues to grow.

    After suffering one of the most heartbreaking losses of his career at the French Open last month, the world No. 1 showed he was not one to wallow.

    He stormed through Wimbledon, taking out Roger Federer in the final 7-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-3 to win his ninth Grand Slam title and third Wimbledon.

    He is now ahead of Ivan Lendl, Andre Agassi and Jimmy Connors on the list of Slam winners in the Open Era.

    Djokovic was only really pushed twice in this Championships—he lost the first two sets to Kevin Anderson in the fourth round and then was rattled during the first two sets against Federer. But, as we've learned time and again, nothing keeps the Serb down for long.

    "More to come, I have a feeling," John McEnroe said on ESPN when discussing Djokovic's feat Sunday.

Loser: Roger Federer

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    Roger Federer can take a lot of positives from this competition. He made it to the final of a major for the first time since 2012 Wimbledon with a particularly dominating and vintage display against Andy Murray in the semifinals.

    But heartbreak will be the overwhelming takeaway from the 17-time major champion's tournament, particularly since, at the age of 33, he knows these chances are getting rarer and rarer.

    The grass courts in London bring out the best in his game, but for two years in a row, his best hasn't been enough against Djokovic in the final. That's a tough pill to swallow for a player whose best has been more than enough time and again.

    "He deserves it. Well done, Novak," Federer said during the trophy presentation Sunday on ESPN. 

    "I am still very hungry and motivated to keep playing."

Winners: Legends of Women's Tennis

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    It's pretty remarkable that 16 years after facing off in the final of the U.S. Open, Serena Williams and Martina Hingis are still out here winning Slams.

    Of course, Serena has had by far the more impressive career, and this Wimbledon was no exception. At the age of 33, the American mowed through some of her toughest competition to win her sixth Wimbledon title and her 21st Slam overall.

    This win gave her the second Serena Slam of her career, and she will now have a chance to tie Steffi Graf's 22 Slams and win her first Calendar Slam at the U.S. Open. There just truly aren't enough superlatives for Serena.

    But Hingis deserves some props as well. Although the 34-year-old's singles career has been over for some time, she has become a huge factor on the doubles tour, and she made it to the finals at Wimbledon in both women's doubles and mixed doubles.

    She won the women's doubles crown with her partner, Sania Mirza, 19 years after winning her first Wimbledon doubles crown at the age of 15. One day later, she won the mixed doubles title with Leander Paes in just 40 minutes, according to Jane McManus of espnW.com.

    We are certainly lucky to witness these two legends of the sport still out there giving it their all. 

Loser: Maria Sharapova

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    On the surface, it was a good week for Maria Sharapova, who made it back to the Wimbledon semifinals for the first time since her loss in the 2011 final.

    However, it was the way she went out, losing meekly to Serena Williams for the 17th time in a row, that really marred her fortnight. The Russian left London frustrated, as Jim White of the Telegraph reported:

    Asked if she was pleased at least to make a Wimbledon semi-final, she replied: “Maybe if I was British, a semi-final would be incredible. I’d be on the front page of the paper. But I expect myself to be a champion of these events, and it’s disappointing to come out as a loser because I know my level can be at the point of holding these championship trophies.”

    The Russian came out shaky at the start of her match against Williams, clearly not dialed in, and she wasn't able to make any meaningful adjustments to her game, which would seem to be a given after falling to an opponent 16 straight times.

    As great as Serena is, it's getting inexcusable for Sharapova to continue to come up so short. As she mentioned, she's just too good for that.

Winner: Garbine Muguruza

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    She might have lost in the final, but overall it was a breakout week for Garbine Muguruza.

    The 21-year-old Spaniard made it to her first major semifinal and final, before eventually falling to Serena Williams despite her spirited play on Saturday.

    Muguruza had previously been known as a player capable of scoring big-time upsets, as her win over Serena in the second round of the French Open last year proved, but she hadn't put together her talent for a two-week stretch yet.

    At the All England Club, a location where she'd struggled the past few years, she took out No. 10 Angelique Kerber in the third round, No. 5 Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth, No. 15 Timea Bacsinszky in the quarters and No. 13 Agnieszka Radwanska in the semis.

    Muguruza played so well in the final that Serena told her in the on-court trophy presentation televised by ESPN, "Don't be sad. You'll be holding this trophy very, very soon."

Loser: Last Year's Women's Semifinalists

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    There were a lot of high-profile women struggling coming into this year, and the only one who was able to turn things around was Agnieszka Radwanska, who made it to the semis.

    However, all four of last year's Wimbledon women's semifinalists, Petra Kvitova, Eugenie Bouchard, Simona Halep and Lucie Safarova, fell before the quarterfinals.

    Bouchard's slump has truly been a head-scratcher, and she continued to puzzle by losing in the first round at the All England Club. The woman she beat in the semifinals last year, Halep, fell in the first round as well.

    The Czechs didn't do much better. Kvitova, a two-time champion here, was upset in the third round by Jelena Jankovic, and Safarova fell in the fourth round in two tiebreakers to CoCo Vandeweghe.

    It's frustrating to see such talented players go home so early on such a big stage.

Winner: Richard Gasquet

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    Well hello there, Richard Gasquet.

    The enigmatic Frenchman crashed the party at Wimbledon, making it back to his first semifinal at the All England Club since 2007.

    He got there in spectacular fashion, taking out No. 11 Grigor Dimitrov in the third round, No. 26 Nick Kyrgios in the fourth and No. 4 Stan Wawrinka in the quarters in an epic five-set affair.

    “I think the biggest difference with Richard now, maybe comparing to the last couple years, is his fitness,” Djokovic told reporters following the quarterfinals. “I think he improved a lot.”

    Gasquet ended up losing rather meekly to Djokovic in the semis, but that win over Wawrinka is something he can certainly build on. He called it "my best victory," according to David Waldstein of the New York Times.

Loser: Rafael Nadal

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    Many had hope—myself included—that this was going to be the year Rafael Nadal could get back to his winning ways at Wimbledon. After all, he did win a grass-court tune-up event, and he had more time after the French Open to recover this year. 

    Unfortunately, it wasn't to be. Nadal's string of losing before the quarterfinals at Wimbledon to players ranked outside of the top 100 continued, as he fell to No. 102 Dustin Brown in the second round.

    He hasn't made it back to the final of Wimbledon, a place where he is a two-time champion, since losing to Djokovic in the 2011 final.

    "It's not the end," Nadal said, as Ravi Ubha of CNN relayed. "It's a sad moment for me...but life continues. My career, too.

    "I have to keep going and working more than ever to try to change that dynamic."

    Nadal hasn't won a Slam in over a year, the worst streak of his career.

Winners: Young Americans

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    If you're a fan of American tennis, you can leave this Wimbledon feeling hopeful about the future. Not only is Serena Williams continuing her winning ways, but the next generation of stars is coming along nicely.

    CoCo Vandeweghe, 23, was the breakout star of this event, making it to the quarters—her best run ever at a Slam—with upsets over No. 11 Karolina Pliskova, No. 22 Sam Stosur and No. 6 Lucie Safarova.

    She really rattled Maria Sharapova in the quarters as well. Vandeweghe's feisty personality and powerful game are both highly entertaining, and she should be a force to be reckoned with in the future.

    Madison Keys, the 20-year-old who made it to the Australian Open semifinals earlier this year, made it to the quarterfinals before falling to Agnieszka Radwanska. She didn't play her best tennis throughout the tournament, but she was very gritty, which is a good sign.

    There was even a glimmer of hope for the American men, with 22-year-old Denis Kudla, who has been a pro for so long that he's often overlooked, making it to the fourth round and taking a set from Marin Cilic once he got there.

    These stars might not be future Serenas or Pete Samprases, but they're certainly worth watching and believing in.  

Loser: Wimbledon Schedulers

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    It's Wimbledon, so of course that means it's time to talk about sexism. Unfortunately, the All England Club—the last major to offer equal pay back in 2007—just can't seem to help itself.

    This year, the focus was finally put on the Wimbledon schedulers, who have long been guilty of showing preference to men's matches over women's.

    According to Carl Bialik of FiveThirtyEight, women only got 38 percent of the assignments on Wimbledon's two biggest courts through Monday, which resulted in only 28 percent of the match time. 

    Caroline Wozniacki was the first to call them out. 

    "I would love to play on a big court," Wozniacki said, as the Press Association relayed (via the Guardian). "I think that's what it's all about. You work hard and practice to play on the big courts. The women really haven't gotten the opportunity here to play on the big courts."

    Wozniacki's friend Serena Williams backed her up. 

    “We’re still fighting on that,” Williams said, per the Press Association (via the Guardian). “We’ve made some progress but hopefully we’ll keep making more progress." 

Winner: Lleyton Hewitt's Goodbye

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    It's never easy to say goodbye to a Champion, and although we will get to have Lleyton Hewitt around the ATP Tour until next year's Australian Open, seeing the legend say goodbye to Wimbledon at the start of the tournament was tough.

    Hewitt, the 2002 winner at the All England Club, didn't make it past the first round in singles, but he did make an impact, pushing fellow swan-songer Jarkko Nieminen to 11-9 in the fifth set.

    He also made it to the third round in men's doubles with his countryman Thanasi Kokkinakis before falling to eventual champions Horia Tecau and Jean-Julien Rojer, and to the second round of mixed doubles with Casey Dellacqua.

    Overall, it wasn't about the wins—it was about the fight and the heart, and Hewitt showed he still has plenty of both. 

    Hewitt hasn't been a true Grand Slam contender in a decade, but his last 10 years on tour have been filled with plenty of highlights, and he will be missed here at Wimbledon especially.

Loser: Young Aussies

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    As one Aussie great says goodbye, the new generation of Aussie men continues to make its presence known, both on and off the court. One thing is for sure: These guys don't lack personality or opinions.

    After losing to Djokovic in straight sets in the third round, Bernard Tomic went on a huge rant against Tennis Australia, particularly Craig Tiley, the tournament director of the Australian Open.

    "There has been [a] lack of support towards me. There has been no respect I think towards me," Tomic said, as Courtney Nguyen of SI.com reported. The former Wimbledon quarterfinalist felt spurned by the association after his hip surgery last year.

    While Tomic said he was still making himself available for Davis Cup, Tennis Australia announced that they were not nominating him for the team due to his behavior. Australian tennis legend Pat Rafter was particularly outspoken.

    "It's about opportunity, not entitlement," Rafter said, as ABC in Australia reported. "It's a principle I believe in and feel really passionate about."

    Tomic's compatriot Nick Kyrgios, who made headlines during the fortnight for his over-the-top on-court behavior, tweeted and then deleted a criticism of Rafter's comments. 

    "Another negative comment out of Rafters mouth. Does this guy ever stop? #everyoneisaworkinprogress," he said.

    Kyrgios lost in the fourth round to Richard Gasquet.