What we learned at Wimbledon

The players have wielded their rackets on the lawns of Wimbledon, but what stood out from the fortnight at SW19?

Simona Halep from behind with her trophy at Wimbledon 2019©Corinne Dubreuil/FFT
 - Alex Sharp

Simona Halep and Novak Djokovic have lifted the prestigious trophies at The All England Club but there were plenty of intriguing storylines across The Championships. Here is what we have taken away from the luscious green grass lawns of SW19…

Cori Gauff still not realizing at Wimbledon 2019©Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

Gauff where she belongs

There is only one place to start. 15-year-old Cori “Coco” Gauff was THE story of the first week. The teenager has shown promise for a couple of seasons, lifting the Roland-Garros 2018 girls’ title, but she truly lit up Wimbledon.

Three opponents were swept aside in straight sets in qualifying, before she defeated one of her idols Venus Williams in the first round. The milestones and records kept coming, with the American prodigy prevailing past former semi-finalist Magdalena Rybarikova and saving two match points to topple Polona Hercog.

Every screen across the grounds had fans absorbed to Coco’s progress, a captivating run eventually ended by champion Halep in the fourth round.

The never-ending interviews, dealing with the press, the pressure, the intensity, Coco took it all in her stride and with a beaming smile. It goes without stating, the American is destined for the top.

Novak Djokovic passing by Roger Federer with his trophy at Wimbledon 2019©Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

Djokovic building case as the greatest

Roger Federer has 20, Roland-Garros winner Rafael Nadal stands on 18, but Djokovic is closing in having clinched his 16th Grand Slam title. His defiant 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(4), 4-6, 13-12(3) triumph over Federer was an instant classic. The longest men’s singles final in history, whilst saving two match points, encapsulated all of Djokovic’s main qualities and relentless resistance.

To sink the Serbian’s resolve is the ultimate challenge.

Significantly it was the world No.1’s fifth victory in a row over Federer, who prevailed in the pulsating 2008 Wimbledon final rematch with Nadal. The Swiss maestro became the first Wimbledon match ‘centurion’ with a quarter-final win over Kei Nishikori.

With the ‘big three’ triumvirate still treating the sporting world to such gladiatorial performances, the hard courts and US Open stretch seem destined to be dictated by their powers.

Andy Murray and Serena Williams playning mixed doubles at Wimbledon 2019©Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

MurRena , SerAndy double act

This was another feel-good story. Andy Murray boosted his hopes of returning in the singles with an absorbing mixed doubles campaign with Serena Williams. The American attributed the sharp net exchanges and altering paces for benefiting her singles campaign. Well, it was also a lot of fun seeing two legends on the same side of the net, joking with each other, whilst producing some top-level tennis. With a bit more match practice, it was evident Murray can surge back up the rankings.

Serena Williams and Simona Halep smiling while exiting Centre Court at Wimbledon 2019©Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

Serena and Halep here to stay

Blighted by injuries, Williams had only competed in 14 matches in 2019 prior to Wimbledon. The 23-time Grand Slam champion demonstrated her perennial Major pedigree. The headlines centre around No.24, well Serena’s Wimbledon proved the 37-year-old will remain in contention, particularly on the grass.

If Williams can compete more regularly then surely another Grand Slam final in New York or in 2020 will be well within her reach. Serena is well and truly back on track.

However, Halep’s 6-2, 6-2 in the final was a demolition of perfection, which the Romanian declared as “the best match of my life”. The Roland-Garros 2018 champion only misfired with a measly and record low three unforced errors against Serena.

This was hailed as a “chill” year by Halep, who has recaptured the form, belief and guile which catapulted her to rule Paris. With such a relaxed persona, the rest of 2019 promises to be trophy-laden for Simona.

Stefanos Tsitsipas at Wimbledon 2019©Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

‘Next Gen’ relaunch?

For the 13th time in a Grand Slam the ‘big three’ all competed in the semi-finals. Their dedication, longevity and standard of play is simply mind-boggling. However, it also highlights the ‘Next Gen’ is struggling to make a sustained impact on the men’s major stage.

The likes of Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Frances Tiafoe all fell at the first hurdle. They’re competing in an era of some of the best players of all time, it’s not simple, but the established guard won’t give up their throne without a fight.

On the women’s side youth is prospering. Building on from Marketa Vondrousova and Amanda Anisimova’s Roland-Garros heroics, Karolina Muchova and Dayana Yastremska surged into the second week with spectacular shot making at Wimbledon.

Nick Kyrgios laughing at Wimbledon 2019©Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

Captivating Kyrgios

The Australian continues to split opinion and that is an understatement. However, there is no denying the 24-year-old is box office. His second-round encounter with Nadal was mesmerising, living up to the hype, giving us another glimpse of Kyrgios’ true potential if he applied himself to the dedication required for the top.

Scintillating shots, outbursts, crowd interactions and cunning creativity on court. If the world No.47 can rise back up the rankings, all generations would tune in.