The opening week of Wimbledon has presented an array of fascinating storylines, ranging from captivating late-night duels beneath the Centre Court roof to the emergence of youthful prodigies stealing the limelight. Amidst the backdrop of quintessentially English weather forecasts, the tournament has witnessed no shortage of court upsets, further heightening the excitement and intrigue of the iconic grass tournament.
Here’s what you might have missed, and what you can look forward to as we head into week two of The Championships.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC’S BATTLE WITH WIMBLEDON CROWDS
Despite his illustrious record as a seven-time Wimbledon champion, the Centre Court crowd appears to maintain a lingering reluctance in fully embracing Novak Djokovic.
As Roger Federer, his former rival, was greeted with a resounding round of applause during his walkout to the Wimbledon Royal Box last Tuesday, Novak Djokovic, on the other hand, finds himself yet again subject to the unwelcome gaze of the crowd.
In each of his opening three matches this year, Djokovic has been aggravated by a frosty atmosphere trickling down through the stands, cuasing him to, at times, cup his hand to his ear.
Djokovic for many reasons may never win over the Wimbledon crowds, but it will take a lot more than the Wimbledon crowd to damage the Serb’s tennis legacy.
MIRRA ANDREEVA’S BREAKTHROUGH
2023 has been a year to remember for 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva.
The Russian teenager has been making waves on the ITF World Tennis Year by winning her first professional titles, backing that up by making it through to the third round of the Madrid Masters in May.
Andreeva’s remarkable journey to the last-32 at the French Open was surpassed by an impressive advance to the last-16 at Wimbledon. Although she narrowly missed seizing victory against Madison Keys on Monday, there is no doubt that she remains the player to watch.
In addition to her remarkable composure on court, she exhibits an exceptionally well-rounded game that surpasses expectations, particularly considering her age.
THE END FOR ANDY MURRAY?
Ten years to the day after his greatest moment on Wimbledon’s Centre Court, Andy Murray’s dream of a repeat triumph came to a crashing halt.
The decorated Wimbledon champion of 2013 and 2016 warmed up at lower-ranked ATP tournaments, aiming to prime himself for an extended campaign at the revered All England Club. However, he succumbed once more in the second round, in a defeat by Stefanos Tsitsipas, the tournament’s fifth seed.
Losing to the fifth seed in a highly competitive match was a strong effort for a 36-year-old playing with a metal hip, but is getting close to success and ultimately losing enough for former world No.1 Murray?
The Scot has admitted he doesn’t know if he will play at Wimbledon again, with the harsh truth being that perhaps his days at the top are over.
BATTLE OF THE MUMS DIVIDES OPINION
Sunday evening saw Belarus vs. Ukraine on Court One as mothers Victoria Azarenka and Elina Svitolina battled in an epic three-set contest.
Svitolina has made it clear that she would not shake hands with Russian or Belarusian opponents after matches at a time when her country is at war with the two nations, however Wimbledon fans seemed unaware that the young player would make such a stance.
A thrilling contest went the way of Svitolina and while it may have looked as if Azarenka refused to shake hands after the match, she was merely respecting the wishes of her opponent by leaving the court without the traditional pleasantries.
The crowd proceeded to boo Azarenka, leaving her stunned and voicing her frustration with ‘drunk’ fans.
Nonetheless, it is undoubtably the responsibility of tennis authorities to exercise due diligence and inform spectators of the political implications on court. This proactive approach serves to safeguard players from potential waves of negativity that may arise.
SHOT OF THE WEEK
Andrey Rublev left his Kazakhstani opponent Alexander Bublik stunned with a sensational squash shot that set up match point in a thrilling five-set clash on Centre Court on Sunday.
The point appeared to have been won by the enigmatic Bublik, but Rublev pulled off a miracle shot to save the day
WHAT’S TO COME IN THE SECOND WEEK?
The final few days of Wimbledon are set to throw up some mouth-watering clashes in the two singles’ draws.
Carlos Alcaraz and Holger Rune, both aged just 20, are through to the quarter-finals for the first time in their careers, with Russian Daniil Medvedev a dark horse to look out for as he is part of the final eight at the All England Club.
In the women’s draw, the repeat of last season’s final between Ons Jabeur and defending champion Elena Rybakina will be a highlight of the quarter-finals, with Aryna Sabalenka’s big ground shots a menacing threat in the final stages.
It is also worth looking out for the Junior finals that will be played at the All England Club.
Andreeva’s rapid progress confirms that teenage stars can make their mark in the senior draw. One to look out for is Mimi Xu from Wales, who was a double British Junior champion in 2022 and has a powerful all-round game.