I've already heralded Wimbledon, as an event, the greatest sporting tournament in the world, and Wimbledon 2012 has proven to be the best of its kind in my memory. It had it all; shocks, fairytales and plenty a headline story.
There seems to be no other place to start than Lukas Rosol's victory over Rafael Nadal, which, in itself, was the greatest sporting achievement of the past decade. To beat Nadal in any situation is quite brilliant, but to beat him over five sets at SW19 on the back of his record-breaking French Open triumph is remarkable. The manner in which Rosol claimed victory was incredible, the audacity of his shot-making was wonderful and his ability to sustain it over five sets made it all the more astonishing. He hit shots in excess of 90mph off both flanks with such regularity that it stunned Nadal, who was able to offer no answer to the Czech playing the match of his life. Rosol will be remembered as the man who beat Nadal at 2012's Wimbledon, but I highly doubt that he will have another noteworthy win in his career. Once in a blue moon.
In what would have, almost certainly, overtaken Rosol's achievement, Agnieszka Radwanska almost beat Serena Williams in the women's final from a set and a break down despite appearing not to be fully fit. Both players deserve immense praise for their feats on the grass in South-west London. Williams had recovered from career-threatening surgery earlier this year and after a first-round defeat to Virginie Razzano in Paris, she looked destined to fall the same way as her sister, Venus. However, it is for Radwanska that I reserve such special praise. Probably the least flaunted #3 in the history of the women's game, Radwanska glided through the draw with serenity akin to a ballet dancer. The analogy doesn't stop here, her movement around the court is so graceful whilst her shot-making is of a different order to the majority of the women currently residing in the top 100. Her ability to manufacture the most acute angles is something to behold and a skill that is desperately lacking among many of the women. She has been a joy to watch for the past fortnight and here is to hoping that she will not be bullied out of the world's elite by the bruisers which currently make it up.
Just as Serena reclaimed her hold on the women's game, the evergreen Roger Federer did likewise in the men's. Without a grand-slam title for two and a half years, 'Rog' had suffered a drought, many had written him off as a serious contender, yet he showed why he must be considered the best tennis player of all time. After seeing off Djokovic, everyone's choice as the eventual champion, in the semi-final, Federer laid waste to Andy Murray in the final to claim a record equalling seventh Wimbledon crown. Murray gave it an almighty go by playing undoubtedly the best grass-court tennis of his life, but it wasn't enough to beat the Swiss maestro who regained the #1 sport in the process. Take a bow, Roger, you are up there with the greatest athletes of all time. He must be mentioned in the same breath as the esteemed Ali, Pele and Bradman.
Andy Murray had an outstanding tournament by reaching his first final on the hallowed turf, yet for once, he wasn't the solitary Brit to reach the headlines for the right reasons, Jonathan Marray won the men's doubles title on Saturday evening, in the process becoming the first British winner since 1936. Partnered by the Dane, Frederick Nielsen, the pair pulled off the unlikeliest of victories despite only having gained entry through a wildcard. They endured four 5-set encounters and took out the Bryans on the way, as they claimed victory in front of the vociferous crowd. At last Andy Murray isn't the sole Brit giving the public a reason to be cheerful.
We must also send our condolences to Australian tennis federation who only managed a single player in the second round, either in the men's or the women's draw. Sam Stosur, who will happily confess that she loathes grass, was knocked out in round two as she fought to be the only Australian to progress.
So, raise a glass to the powers that be at SW19 and let's look forward to 2013 when, no doubt, Wimbledon shall produce its magic again. Surely there can be no greater shock than Rosol-Nadal or a match as record breaking as Isner-Mahut was in 2010? Maybe, just maybe, there can.
N.B - to any budding female star, no matter how good your physical appearance is, grunting is distinctly unattractive and must be swept out of the game.
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