The Spectacle of Wimbledon 2013

On a day of sunshine and soaring temperatures Britain saw its very own Andy Murray take the Wimbledon crown by force. It was a moment to savour in what proved a tournament otherwise littered with injuries, upsets, and rather bizarre punditry.

The first-time Wimbledon winner produced some of his finest tennis to dispatch current world number one Novak Djokovic in straight sets. It was an unconventional final in many ways – as it was an unconventional tournament.

Injuries and giant-killings during the first week gifted a strange host of characters an unlikely route into the second. Capybara-lookalike Rafael Nadal was the first major casualty. He was shortly followed by world’s greatest hairstyle, Roger Federer. In typical fashion, both giant-killers immediately fell flat.

Steve Darcis withdrew, due to a shoulder problem. And Sergiy Stakhovsky, the first man to suggest Federer enter the doubles competition partnering his own ego, was ousted in his third round match. What should have been a rather tasty Federer versus Nadal quarter final classic instead became Janowicz versus Kubot.

Other significant pullouts included men’s sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Marin Cilic and John Isner. The only logical explanation on offer was the quality of the courts; that a poor quality of grass led to the numerous comically-timed slipups.

Tsonga, on the other hand, threw logic out the window, suggesting the cold may have been a contributing factor. The cold, while a perfectly reasonable explanation, wouldn’t have been exclusive to Wimbledon 2013. Neither has it actually been that cold. I especially recount spending my Sunday afternoon making attempts not to melt, or even evaporate.

The women’s contest wasn’t short of surprises either. Those who also took an early holiday included Victoria Azarenka, and former champion Maria Sharapova. Most surprising was Serena Williams’ defeat at the hands of 23-year-old Sabine Lisicki – leaving the women’s tournament more open than usual.

The young German packed a punch, fighting off competition from such players as Agneiszka Radwanska and Australian Samantha Stosur to reach the final. France’s Marion Bartoli, however, tore through Lisicki, defeating her in straight sets to deservedly reach her first Wimbledon title.

Bartoli’s victory didn’t pass without controversy, as she gathered some bizarre attention from BBC commentators – specifically John Inverdale. Inverdale, who faintly resembles a frightened chinchilla, didn’t consider Bartoli ‘much of a looker’, springing the ever-active BBC damage control unit into action once again.

The Wimbledon winner responded by inviting Inverdale to the players’ ball – in which she planned to don a dress and high heels. ‘Perhaps that would change his mind’, she said. It has not since been confirmed whether or not he attended the event.

John McEnroe aside, the BBC commentary team proved as insightful on tennis as an Apprentice contestant on common sense. The dream team – comprised of Boris Becker, Tim Henman and Andrew Castle – extended their unique brand of ‘expert’ coverage to rounds of ‘spot-the-celeb’, and fitting as many Djokovic-related puns within the allocated broadcasting slot.

While Wimbledon 2013 was far from a classic, it was certainly a tournament to celebrate as Murray became the first British Wimbledon winner for 36 years – not 77 – unless you entirely discount Virginia Wade’s 1977 women’s Wimbledon victory.

Though the future’s looking good for British tennis, there doesn’t seem to be much of it on for a while.

So what next? I guess we can all revel in Murray’s glory for the next couple of months… or years… or at the very least until the Scottish demand independence again.

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