Barty parties as dominant Djokovic draws level with Federer & Nadal
Updated: Jun 6, 2022
Ashleigh Barty and Novak Djokovic both flawlessly justified their positions as the top-ranked seeds on their respective tours. Djokovic bagged a 20th Grand Slam victory to tie Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for most Slam titles, while Barty became the first Australian winner of the Venus Rosewater Dish since 1980.
The 134th Wimbledon Championships commenced 716 days after the last taste of SW19 action at the All England Club, following 2020's abandonment of the most prestigious Grand Slam on tour. The first week of this year's tournament allowed for only 50% capacity crowds albeit the second week hosted full capacity following the easing of restrictions in the UK.
Simona Halep won the last Ladies' Singles title in 2019 but the reigning champion withdrew from this year's Championships after she had also skipped Roland Garros last month. The only other significant absentee in the Ladies' draw was Naomi Osaka, the Japanese star pulled out to focus on chasing gold as her home country hosts the Olympic Games starting later this month.
A considerably high-profile encounter in the opening round saw Sloane Stephens share a court with 10th seed Petra Kvitova, Wimbledon champion in 2011 & 2014; Stephens overcame Kvitova in straight sets.
Six out of the top 10 seeds were eliminated inside the opening two rounds. In addition to Kvitova, Bianca Andreescu and Belinda Bencic also lost in the 1st Round before Elina Svitolina and Sofia Kenin – seeded 3rd & 4th – crashed out in the 2nd Round, both at the hands of unseeded opponents.
23-time major winner Serena Williams retired hurt in the opening set of her 1st Round clash with unseeded Aliaksandra Sasnovich. Serena's sister Venus reached the 2nd Round in Singles and also partnered with Nick Kyrgios in the Mixed Doubles tournament but the pair were forced to withdraw when the Aussie retired injured during Singles action of his own.
Turning heads were youngsters Coco Gauff and Emma Raducanu, who both reached the Round of 16 at this year’s Championships. Gauff, 17, lost to 2018 Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber meanwhile Raducanu, the 18-year-old Canadian-born Briton, retired after feeling unwell in the second set against Ajla Tomljanovic.
Gauff clocked the fastest serving speed amongst the Ladies, with a swift service of 200km/h.
Newly-crowned Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova faced top seed Ash Barty in the Round of 16 and it was the Australian who emerged with a straight sets win.
Barty dropped just one set in her six match-ups en route to the Final on Saturday, albeit the same can be said of fellow finalist Karolina Pliskova. The eighth seed faced five unseeded opponents and prevailed in straight sets each and every time before she overcame no.2 seed Aryna Sabalenka in three sets in the semi-finals.
In the other semi, world no.1 Barty saw off 2018 champion Kerber with a 6-3, 7-6 victory on Centre Court.
Barty and Pliskova met on Saturday in what was a maiden Final appearance at SW19 for both competitors. Barty won the first set 6-3 before the Czech bounced back to claim the second set, 7-3 in a tiebreaker. It was the Australian who prevailed in the third and deciding set which she won 6-4 to win Wimbledon for a first time, her second Slam title after her success at the 2019 French Open.
Barty becomes the first Australian winner of the Venus Rosewater Dish for 41 years.
This year's finalists were also the leading duo for serving aces throughout the tournament. Pliskova served 60 aces in her seven matches and Barty served 53 aces in just as many encounters.
The Mens' draw featured a couple of absentees, most notably world no.3 Rafael Nadal who announced after Roland Garros that he would not enter Wimbledon nor participate in the Olympics.
World no.5 and reigning US Open champion Dominic Thiem also sat out the latest SW19 due to a wrist injury. The 27-year-old Austrian will be seeking to return to action in time to defend his crown at Flushing Meadows.
Still soaking in the euphoria of reaching his first Slam Final at the French Open, no.3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas crashed back down to Earth as he exited Wimbledon in the 1st round to unseeded Frances Tiafoe; the 23-year-old American is coached by South African tennis legend Wayne Ferreira.
Home favourite Sir Andy Murray was dumped out of the tournament at the earliest stage since his debut 16 years ago as he lost out to Denis Shapovalov in the 3rd Round.
Unseeded Marton Fucsovics defeated Jannik Sinner in the opening round before going on to also eliminate 9th seed Diego Schwartzman and 5th seed Andrey Rublev.
Fucsovics met, and lost to, top seed Djokovic in the quarters in what was the Serbian's 50th Slam quarter-final appearance and 12th at the All England Club.
Felix Auger Aliassime, 20, was granted berth to the Round of 16 when Nick Kyrgios threw in the towel with an abdominal injury. The young Canadian then advanced to the quarters as he scored a huge upset on 4th seed Alexander Zverev in a 5-set thriller. Auger Aliassime became the youngest quarter-finalist at Wimbledon since Kyrgios reached the last 8 in 2014 at the age of 19 years & 2 months.
Auger Aliassime turns 21 next month, on the same day that Roger Federer turns 40.
In reaching the quarterfinals at this year's Championships, Federer won a 105th contest at SW19 to match Nadal's record of most wins at a single major. Federer is also the oldest Men's player in the Open Era to reach the quarters at Wimbledon. However a straight sets defeat to Hubert Hukacz may be a cause for concern for the Swiss maestro who was evidently battling against his deteriorating agility.
Hukacz, 24, served twice as many aces as Federer as he closed out the match with a 6-0 scoreline in the final set. Federer has only lost a set by that scoreline once prior at a major: to Nadal at the 2008 French Open.
Federer's victor Hukacz previously faced no.2 seed Daniil Medvedev in the Round of 16 and conquered the Russian in a magnificent 5-setter. Hurkacz later squared off with Matteo Berrettini in the semi-finals and it was the Italian who reigned supreme on Centre Court to advance to a maiden Slam Final. Berrettini beat out his Polish opponent by 3 sets to 1, and indirectly avenged Federer by claiming the second set by a 6-0 margin.
The other semi-final was contested by Djokovic and Shapovalov. In his 41st Grand Slam semi (a 10th at Wimbledon) Djokovic harnessed his decade plus of experience and claimed a straight sets win over the 20-year-old Canadian national.
Djokovic dropped just one set on his way to a 7th Final in London, the joint-2nd most appearances behind Federer (12). It was also the Serbian's 30th major Final overall.
Sunday was of huge significance for Italy in a sporting sense, what with Berrettini becoming the first Italian player to compete in a Wimbledon Final which preceded his country's participation in the UEFA Euro 2020 Final just 22km away at Wembley Stadium.
It was Berrettini who took the opening set in a tiebreaker after he had saved a set point at 2-5 down. The Italian put up a courageous fight however once again the vast experience of Djokovic paid dividends. The top seed reaffirmed the tennis community of his superiority as he geared into motion and pounced to claim all of the next three sets 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 and land a 6th championship at Wimbledon and a colossal 20th Grand Slam prize for the world no.1.
Djokovic now sits level with both Federer and Nadal for the most majors in tennis history and it was also a third consecutive triumph at SW19 for the Serbian following victories in 2018 & 2019.
Djokovic paid homage to his fellow icons Federer & Nadal by saying that where he is today is a result of the pair's influence on Djokovic.
Considering that Djokovic has 6 years on Federer, the 34-year-old will undoubtedly go on to surpass the Fed-Express' haul and re-write the history books for himself, given that he can withstand playing at the highest level for as long as Federer has.
Berrettini served a staggering 117 aces, including 16 in the Final vs Djokovic. Berrettini served 49 more aces than any of his fellow competitors, with more than a handful due to his blistering service speed which elapsed 220km/h during the course of this year's Championships.
Prize money this year amounted to a whopping total purse of £35million, with Barty & Djokovic each taking home £1,7million – 27% less than the Singles champions in 2019.
The pair also both keep hold of their rankings on their respective Tours. Barty begins her 84th week as the top-ranked player on the WTA while Djokovic enters his 329th week atop the ATP rankings.
There have been several changes to both sets of rankings as runner-up Berrettini leapfrogs Federer into 8th spot in the latest ATP rankings. Zverev now occupies the #4 ranking after swapping places with Thiem, while Shapovalov climbs into the top 10 with a career-best 10th spot. Losing semi-finalist Hurkacz rises seven seven positions to a career-best of 11th.
Ladies' runner-up Pliskova rose from 13th up to 7th while Halep plummeted in the latest WTA rankings, from 3rd down to 9th.
The fourth and final major of 2021, the US Open is scheduled to take place from Mon 30 August - Sunday 12 September and Djokovic will most certainly have eyes on completing a calendar Grand Slam of all four majors in the same year. The only occurrence of such a feat during the Open Era came when Rod Laver walked away with all four Slams in 1969.
Before the US Open, however, Djokovic is due to compete for Serbia at the Olympics.