Wimbledon 2019: Finals review as two very different classics marred by disrespect

Illness has delayed this post, apologies.

Apologies too for that rather negative headline, but all will become clear amidst the waffle.

2019 has undoubtedly been a classic Wimbledon, encompassed in the vastly different finals and encapsulated further by that truly epic men’s doubles contest in between.

Yet, there was a continued theme of great champions failing to be recognised and given due respect against their more illustrious opponents.

Few were fancying Simona Halep’s chances before this one. Pundits from both side of pond were in sync with the swathe of American pundits who one can rely on to see only a Serena Williams victory.

Yes, Williams is so much more experienced at this stage and at this venue. But Simona – a former world number one and four time major finalist – is no journeywoman. Even given the diminutive Romanian’s awkward grass court game, much more respect should have been given pre-match.

As it turned out, Halep completely outplayed Williams in a match of high quality (from Simona’s racquet anyway). Serena simply wasn’t allowed to get anywhere near her best level, Halep player far too well. It was all over in under an hour.

Was it complacency or not respecting her opponent – as she is so prone to doing unfortunately – or was she just stunned into submission?

Movement was key throughout, Serena not nearly as agile as in years gone by and simply nowhere near the levels of her opponent.

But it was multi-faceted really, movement, UE’s, nerves you name it; Williams was struggling in all aspects. Quite shocking for someone so experienced, but not enough to justify the constant ‘Simona cannot keep this up’ mindset that repeatedly sounded from the booth.

Simona’s winning smile will be a lasting picture of these Championships. Can she now finally push on after this and fulfil her potential after failing to do since Paris last summer?

For Williams, does this mauling represent her last chance at breaking that elusive slam record? New York awaits, but if Halep can keep this up then she has Serena covered.

If the women’s final was a drubbing, then the men’s made up for it with a titanic contest, the longest final in the tournament’s glittering history and unbelievably tight throughout.

Let’s cut straight to the chase on this: Novak Djokovic, one of the greatest players of all time was a victim of the partisan Wimbledon crowd. Often (wrongly) the fans at Wimbledon are said to be the most knowledgeable.

Having visited Wimbledon for 13 years straight, Roland Garros four times and the US Open once (say and night sessions) I can confidently say that the fans at SW19 haven’t got a clue compared to in other majors.

This was exposed horribly on Sunday as the world number one and defending champion saw his UE’s cheered, his proclamations booed and his winners met with charitable applause mixed with disappointed groans.

I am a huge Federer fan and am still devastated by this loss – truly snatching defeat from the jaws of victory – but Novak deserves so much better.

Not much else to say reall that hasn’t already been covered better elsewhere, Roger should have won this match. Unlike in 2014 and 2015, the Swiss was the playmaker here and thus had superior stats across the board during nearly five hours of play.

It was Djokovic this time who would rely on tiebreaks to sneak a set or three, not breaking his opponents serve until very late on.

And yet, all the flair, grace and emotional heft his opponent wields (hence his greater support from the masses) meant little when faced with such extraordinary mental resilience, self belief and textbook-perfect technique that allowed Djokovic to weather many storms and ultimately prevail.

The two points at 40-15 will haunt me for a long long time, but I bow readily to Novak’ brilliance two days ago.

The only solace I can take as a Federer fanatic is how well he played at 38, his beating of Rafa holds much promise too.

But this is Novak’s era now – watch as he becomes the most successful player of all time.

Pics from Official Wimbledon site


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