What a shame that Jabeur wasn't able to sort out her emotional control to be able to perform on the biggest stage in tennis. As Billie Jean King said "she needed to focus on the process and anyone who can't do so will find tennis very difficult." I do hope that she recovers from this and uses this painful experience to come back stronger next time. She seems to be a lovely person and an important role model for women in Tunisia and Africa.
It really was a psychological car crash, but to be fair Vondrousova held her nerve and played well when she must have been aware of the meltdown on the other side of the net. Closing the roof was a definite advantage for her as she loves playing indoors as was demonstrated in previous rounds when it was closed for rain. Not sure about the all England club's decision to close the roof for wind as this is supposed to be an outdoor event and surely wind is a part of playing tennis? (Strangely enough they didn't ask my opinion but more importantly the players weren't consulted either!) This definitely wasn't in Jabeur's favour.
Men's Singles Final
It's difficult to know where to begin when trying to sum up this match and it's importance. Before I begin to eulogise over King Carlos I have to say that Novak handled himself extremely well in defeat and gave a lovely speech.
The match itself just grew in quality after the 1st set when Alcaraz had a bit of a nervous start and Novak made only 2 unforced errors. The 2nd set was the key to the match and Novak will be upset at missing the 2 backhands at the end of the set which he just never does. This allowed Carlos the chance to get into the match which he took full advantage of in the 3rd set when he also made some tactical changes by slicing more and changing the height and speed of his forehand. The use of the drop shot certainly worked better as the match went on and became crucial at the end. These 2 players showed why they are number 1 & 2 in the world and I only hope we have the pleasure of seeing them in a few more finals before the joker retires.
At the start of the 4th set Alcaraz took his foot off the pedal after an early break and Novak made him pay for that with a ruthless exhibition of consistent, hard hitting tennis. At the beginning of the 5th set it really was difficult to predict who was going to win as they were such gladiators, trading mental and physical blows like heavyweight boxers. The point Carlos won to break for 2-1 was quite incredible which was when Novak smashed his racket. The level of athleticism from both players at this late stage was amazing and I think that Alcaraz helped Novak to appreciate what all the other players have felt playing him over all these years in terms of his retrieval skills. Just how do you beat this guy?
And finally it came to King Carlos having to serve out the match at 5-4. It felt a bit like when Andy Murray had to serve out for his 1st Wimbledon title (just a little bit - did you see Andy Murray in the crowd?). Apart from the 1st point when he played a poor dropshot Carlos stayed so cool to finish off the match as Novak commented upon in his speech. The hardest part of any close tennis match is finishing it off and our new King did so in style.
As you may have gathered I am a huge Alcaraz fan and not only for his tennis playing ability and swashbuckling style. This guy is a fantastic role model for kids throughout the world and adults too. In fact anyone who competes at tennis at any level could learn so much from this young man's humility, ability to enjoy the tense moments and his wonderful smile when in the heat of the battle. If you watched him walk through the Wimbledon corridor after the match he said hello to everyone as apparently he always does! I have seen him up close when the cameras are not on and he is just so much fun, friendly and charming with everyone he comes across.
Yes, all hail the new King! He is still the world number 1 ranked player and the first player in 20 years to break the dominance of Djokovic, Federer, Nadal and Murray at Wimbledon! Looking forward to the US Open already.
Other Wimbledon news
Huge congrats also to Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski in winning the men's doubles, plus Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewitt winning their 5th Wimbledon crown which was their 18th grand slam title in total. What an amazing effort! The AELTC did get the scheduling right in the wheelchair event, especially in the semis when they put the match on court 1 at a time when it was jam packed. Well done Jamie Baker who I believe was instrumental in arranging this and helping to raise the profile of these great players.
And we also have the first boys under junior Wimbledon winner since 1962. Unseeded 17 year old Henry Searle with a 134mph serve beat the Russian Yaroslav Demin 6-4 6-4 on court number 1 in front of a buoyant crowd. Only four players who won the boys singles title have gone on to win the men's - Federer, Borg, Cash and Edberg.
In the boys' under-14 singles there was victory for Mark Ceban, who beat Slovenian Svit Suljic 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 before Britain's Hollie Smart missed out on the girls' under-14 title in a 6-3 6-1 defeat by Serb Luna Vujovic.
Later, Hannah Klugman and Isabelle Lacy missed out on the chance to become the first all-British pairing to win the girls' doubles title at Wimbledon, losing 6-4 7-5 to Czech pair Alena Kovackova and Laura Samsonova.
All comments welcome!
Photos courtesy of June Campbell & Fiona Fraser