'What an athlete, what a role model, what a woman!' J.K. Rowling emphatically declared on Twitter, bestowing absolute congratulations on Serena Williams, the 2015 Wimbledon champion. Notching up her 21st grand slam triumph, and third of the year, Serena is unquestionably the story of this year's competition. Dominating in so many categories and achieving history by the handful, she etched her path to glory by battling nerves, expectation and form in typical supreme fashion.
So with the illustrious tournament now over, and the gleaming Venus Rosewater Dish firmly back in Serena's hands, let's take a look at some of the more rousing stories from Wimbledon 2015 on the women's side.
Most predictable moment- Serena defeats Sharapova 6-2 6-4
This matchup is hyped up every time Maria and Serena meet in a draw. Two of the most consistent performers on the WTA for over a decade now, with great credentials apiece and a fiery tenacity to compete, it should be a mouth-watering prospect but unfortunately never lives up to the billing. In terms of this particular match itself, you could see Sharapova almost trying too hard throughout; she has nothing else to give but her A-game but this is rarely allowed to shine against Serena. Pummelling returns, throwing down aces and battering Maria in every aspect of her game for the majority of the match- Serena was her usual merciless self. Unfortunately, there is nothing compelling here. On a technical front even, it seems their games no longer correspond competitively, with Sharapova's more awkwardly mechanical groundstrokes and serves capitulating under the continued power from Serena's organic strokes.
Most shocking moment- Heather Watson almost beating Serena
Ben Rothenberg and Courtney Nguyen, two of my favourite tennis commentators, once spoke of a phenomenon they called 'Serena vs. the field.' They argued that Serena, especially in early rounds, can potentially lose, not necessarily to a seed or form player, but an ethereal someone who they can never put their finger on. It happened in Wimbledon 2014 at the hands of Alize Cornet, in the 2012 French Open to Virginie Razzano, and almost here again, in the third round, to Great Britain's own Heather Watson. Buoyed by the Centre Court crowd and displaying apt defensive skill, the world number 59 managed to exasperate Serena and come close to the famous win. This is, however, where the story ended. While a few have indeed managed to pull off the victory, many others have merely come close. As was the case here, Serena found a way to win ugly. It does pretty much sum up this tournament though; as dominant as Williams was, the most shocking moment was someone almost beating her.
Best match- Muguruza defeats Radwanska 6-2 3-6 6-3
Merely personal preference here I think as there was no real signature match from the championship this year. Marking a return to form for Agnieszka after a fairly disappointing run in 2015, this semi-final was a wonderful display of both clout and guile. Muguruza started powerfully, quickly taking the advantage but Radwanska inevitably managed to work her way in with signature voodoo like skills, pulling the Spaniard to all corners. In the end, however, Garbine composed herself, stepped up her level and came through impressively in three sets. It was a match of shared high quality, but also had its moments of drama and spectacle too.
Biggest upset- None
A few seeds tumbled before the second week but there was nothing surprising about each of these losses. Last year's runner-up, Eugenie Bouchard almost inevitably went down to unheralded Duan Yingying 7-6 6-4 in round one, further signalling her descending spiral, having lost 10 of her last 12 matches. Though she cited injury, which may have been the case, I doubt many people pegged her to make the same run as 12 months previous. World number two Simona Halep was edged by former random Serena-conqueror Jana Cepelova 7-5 4-6 3-6 in round one also. Again the story was of Halep's recent lack of good form also. Personally, I think she still doesn't have the experience to win in these sorts of situations, when her form and confidence has dipped, but it will come with time. Finally, Jelena Jankovic's 3-6 7-5 6-4 win over defending champion Petra Kvitova in the third round caused little outcry. There were no conspiracy theories here; Jankovic has considerable pedigree to her name and Kvitova can lose or win to anyone on the tour on any given day.
Sub-plot of the championship- Garbine Muguruza
While Serena governed headlines, it was the charming run of Garbine Muguruza to the final that piqued further interest. Finding her feet both on grass and in the women's game, this utterly likeable Spaniard, who had been more at home on clay before this week, captivated the public in interviews and thrilled them on the court. Not only physically talented, boasting big groundstrokes and an aggressive mindset, she also possesses mental toughness and awareness that belies her 21 years. Her press conferences proved this, as she divulged how nervous she got in big moments and how conscious she was of her game, but never panicked, resolving to find ways to win and never give up. Garbine is an exciting prospect for the WTA and I look forward to seeing how she progresses.
It was a strange but similar Wimbledon, both transitory and immobile in equal measure. Rising players continued their solid years, with nods to Timea Bacsinszky, Madison Keys, Belinda Bencic and Muguruza, showing both panache and consistency, navigating the ups and downs quite efficiently. However, it was Serena who still reigned supreme, as she has done for so long now. I think it marks the strength of the tour however. Serena is the best and should be wining most of the time but seeing some rising stars find footholds is encouraging. Wimbledon 2015 belongs to Serena Williams though. It will be interesting to see how much longer the 33 year old can sustain this utter dominance but, if current form suggests anything, I think she's far from finished.