Another year of Wimbledon is in the books after an entertaining two weeks full of storylines, drama, rain, scheduling issues and much more. It was a fascinating tournament with Grand Slam champions, top seeds and exciting talents all exiting the tournament.
On the women’s side Marketa Vondrousova was the first unseeded player in history to win the Women’s singles title at Wimbledon as Ons Jabeursuffered more Grand Slam heartbreak. Meanwhile on the Men’s side Carlos Alcaraz stunned Novak Djokovic in a five set epic to claim his second Grand Slam title as the Spaniard stopped the Serb’s impressive Wimbledon winning streak.
Aside from the champions who triumphed at the end of the tournament, there was lots of talking points so with that being said it’s time to look at the three main things that were learned from the 2023 edition of Wimbledon.
Tennis needs to learn previous lessons over scheduling and communication
Two main issues have dominated Wimbledon over this fortnight which is the rain and the return of players from Russia and Belarus. Both of these issues have exposed Tennis and Wimbledon’s weaknesses which include trying to change traditions and conventions of the past to poor communication to the regular audience.
Starting with the first topic, Wimbledon’s scheduling was ripped to shreds after rain dominated the majority of the opening week. This meant that the only action for a few days of week one was played on Centre Court and No.1 Court. However instead of starting play earlier than their usual 13:00/13:30 start time, Wimbledon decided to stick with tradition and please those who has debenture tickets.
This lead to not only ground pass ticket holders being frustrated but lead to players on the two main courts facing a race against time to beat the 11pm curfew. This not only happened on rainy days either because as the courts get slower and the modern day game gets more physical, it means that matches last longer and Wimbledon’s late start times prove more and more costly.
Despite Wimbledon being stubborn and sticking with their gut feeling, that may need to change next years as Djokovic pointed out earlier in the tournament.
“I think the matches could be pushed at least to start at 12:00. I think it would make a difference,” Djokovic said after his win against Hubert Hurkacz.
In regards to the second topic, this year welcomed the return of Russian and Belarusian players under strict rules having been banned last year due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Most of the tournament saw a successful return with not many issues however the match between Elina Svitolina and Victoria Azarenka exposed tennis’ lack of communication with fans.
Hardcore tennis fans would have already known that Ukrainian and Belarusian players will not shake hands after the match but to the casual viewer that only watches Wimbledon, they would have had no clue that was going to happen. So when Azarenka was booed out of No.1 Court for not shaking Svitolina’s hand, it should come as no surprise to the WTA or tennis that this reaction happens.
It makes everyone in the sport look bad and much better communication is needed as it took until after this incident for the WTA to make a statement. These two areas are something Wimbledon and tennis needs to learn from heading into the future or it could make the situation worse which means tennis from an internal and commercial point of view suffers a bad reputation.
Present state of British tennis needs to improve but the future looks bright
This year was not as fruitful for the Brits in singles as there was no representative in the second week. Cameron Norrie could not repeat his semi-final run from last year while Andy Murray and Dan Evans suffered disappointing results as opportunities were missed. However Katie Boulter and Liam Broady earned positive results in the first week as they were the last Brits standing in singles this time around.
There is cause for concern around British tennis’ current state as the women’s game goes through a transition period while Emma Raducanu heals up while the British men haven’t fulfilled their potential at the big tournaments. A new strategy will be needed over the next 12 months as British tennis fans will be hoping for a more successful Wimbledon next year.
Never fear though because the Juniors are here. It was a much positive tournament for the Juniors as 12 players won their opening match, the most since 2000. While three players reached the quarter-finals as the future of British tennis continues to grow. The tournament ended with Henry Searle becoming the first Brit to win the Boys Singles title for 62 years as Searle will now look to transition to the main tour in the next few years.
The final thing learned from Wimbledon was that the top players in the world are starting to adapt to grass courts. Despite there being shocks in the first week in the tournament which culminated in Vondrousova claiming her first Grand Slam title, there is proof that now the world’s best players are motivated to play their best at Wimbledon.
World number one’s Iga Swiatek and Alcaraz achieved career best results while Jessica Pegula reached her first Wimbledon quarter-final. There was also a change in form for Daniil Medvedev as he reached his maiden Wimbledon semi-final as the best players in the world are now starting to feel comfortable on the grass. This has made for an entertaining tournament with everyone now feeling they have to increase their level if they want to win one of the best tournaments in the world.
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