It's no secret that women's sports have been traditionally underfunded and undervalued compared to men's contests. Even tennis, a sport that got its start because of a woman, focuses more on men's events than women's. Which is really strange, considering the strides that the All-English Lawn Tennis Club has taken towards inclusivity.
Still, the Gentlemen's Singles match is the most highly-anticipated event of The Championship and, as though to prolong the agony of anticipation, it takes place on the last day of the Wimbledon fortnight.
That doesn't mean there wasn't plenty of action to witness. From Men's Doubles and wheelchair events to the Boy's Doubles and Singles', let's take a look at Wimbledon's Men's winners.
It seems that Novak Djokovic was born to play tennis. That's a rather limiting and possibly unfair assertion, considering that Mr Djokovic also loves studying languages; to date, he can communicate in no fewer than five tongues. Still, tennis is where he made his name and winning titles is what he's known for.
He can be pretty goofy at times, too, but let's get back to that 'born to play tennis' assertion...
When he was four years old, he was given a toy tennis racket and foam ball as a gift. According to his father, it became the boy's favourite toy. Two years later, with his love for racket sports apparently growing, he was sent to the Partizan Tennis Club, at that time overseen by legendary tennis coach Jelena Gencic.
Astounded by her new protege's on-court prowess, she compared his raw talent to Yugoslavian tennis great Monica Seles.
By the time he was 14 years old, he was already competing in international tennis events; as soon as the rules governing age allowed him to, he turned professional.
Mr Djokovic's early years on the pro circuit were not particularly noteworthy unless you look at them in the context of his entire tennis career. In those very early years, he racked up more losses than wins but soon hit his stride.
He now stands as the world's #1 tennis player with 20 Grand Slam titles to his name - on par with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. And he has a warning for future opponents: he's only getting better.
With a 6-7 6-4 6-4 6-3 win in the last face-off, other tennis players have reason to take that warning seriously.
It may have seemed that Mr Berrettini would have had youth and stamina on his side with Novak Djokovic on the other side of the net but, in this case, being nine years younger than his opponent did absolutely nothing for him. Indeed, his relative inexperience and fiery temperament may have harmed him, instead.
Matteo Berrettini is renowned for his wicked forehand and, while his backhand slice is nothing to laugh at, his playing style made his moves too predictable to his more experienced, more intuitive opponent.
Another of Mr Berrettini's weaknesses is his tendency to lose calm under pressure. Where another player might withdraw into purely strategic playing, Matteo's focus lapses, along with his tendency towards aggressive play causes many unforced errors.
Did Mr Djokovic study his opponent's playing style to capitalise on those weaknesses?
Still, making it to the final rounds at Wimbledon is nothing to shake a stick at. Matteo Berrettini deserves his accolades and we get to look forward to the player he'll become once he works out those unruly tendencies.
How did things play out in the Ladies' Singles contest?
In contrast to other Doubles' contests during this year's Championship, the gentlemen's was... more of everything.
First, it played out with Croatian team Nikola Mektic - Mate Pavic, who became the first from that country to stake their claim on a Wimbledon win. Mektic, a Doubles specialist rather led the charge, though no player of either team could be said to lag behind.
Mektic-Pavic banded together this year to become a powerhouse duo of Doubles' tennis:
- Miami Open 2021: Doubles' title
- Australian Open 2021: semi-finalists
- Dubai Championships 2021: defeated in the finals
- Monte Carlo Masters 2021: defeated in the finals
- Mutua Madrid Open 2021: defeated in the finals
- 2021 Italian Open: Double's title
Clinching the Wimbledon win brought Mektic-Pavic their first Grand Slam. Surely, it won't be their last.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the net, a series of unfortunate errors made things more difficult for Spaniard Marcel Granollers and his Argentinian partner, Horacio Zeballos. Six double faults and seven unforced errors made the contest more trying, for all that the players were well-partnered and well matched across the net.
Just how well they were matched up is reflected in the match's 6-4 7-6 2-6 7-5 outcome.
Now, it's your turn to chime in: do you think this Doubles' tennis match was one of Wimbledon 2021's highlights?
Gentlemen's Wheelchair Singles
Gordon Reid versus Joachim Gérard: here, again, we have to marvel at how well matched Wimbledon athletes are.
Mr Gérard was named Belgian Paralympic Athlete of the Year in 2013 (and 2019). That same year, Mr Reid had made it to the US Open semi-finals and won the Masters' Doubles. In 2016, Mr Reid took Olympic silver for his performance in the tennis Doubles' event; on the podium to claim bronze in the Singles' was Mr Gérard.
It's true that, as the old saying goes, familiarity can breed contempt but in the case of these two, it breeds equal measures of wariness and respect.
These two athletes have been crossing paths for long enough to know that each would be a redoubtable foe should they find themselves across the net from the other. Maybe it was a challenge both of them relished.
It seems that might have been the case during their face-off in this year's Championship.
Mr Reid faltered during the first set but came back into his own during the second. Unfortunately, that wasn't quite enough to avert the match's 2-6 6-7 outcome, with Joachim Gérard's confidence permeating the air.
It's all good as far as Gordon Reid is concerned, though. He picked up his win against Gérard in the Doubles' match.
Gentlemen's Wheelchair Doubles
Statistics show that Gordon Reid's forte is Singles, which makes his defeat in that contest all the more remarkable. Even stranger: Gérard's strength is in Doubles' tennis, the contest he lost to Reid.
Of course, it being the Doubles' match, there were more variables at play. For one, Mr Reid partnered with Alfie Hewitt. Their complementary playing styles have brought them to victory in no fewer than 11 contests in the past five years, with only three of their 14 matches played together ending as finalists.
By contrast, Joachim's pairing with Tom Egberink was nowhere near as fruitful. While both athletes played a great game, Mr Egberink's forehand got in the way - as it did in Wimbledon 2012, ultimately costing the pair the match.
Reid-Hewitt claimed a 7-5 6-2 victory as well as the trophy for the event.
Trivia time: what do you know about Wimbledon's prizes for wheelchair tennis contests?
Have you ever watched a film (or a tennis match) wherein a performer is so spot-on that you just know you're witnessing greatness in the making? That's what it felt like, watching American Junior tennis player Samir Banerjee. Even his opponent, Victor Lilov, also from the US, was looking nervous as he prowled the base line between serves.
Young Banerjee has a powerful, controlled double-handed backhand that should inspire fear in anyone who should find themselves on the receiving end of it. His forehand, however, needs a bit of work. Most of his misses in this final match were due to a weaker, less targeted stroke that sent the ball wide of the mark.
As for Victor Lilov? Once he gets a few more Singles' wins under his belt, he will surely find the confidence currently missing from his Singles' games. Confidence so evident in his Doubles' performance.
Granted, making it to Wimbledon is a feat in itself; one he dispatched handily and with energy to spare. And, having made it to the finals is nothing to sneer at, either.
All we can think of to cause the sudden reversal of tennis prowess is that, suddenly confronted with future tennis greatness - Banerjee, he knew he was in for a painful loss. Still, he fought hard; the 7-5 6-3 tally shows as much.
Let's keep our eye on Samir Banerjee, though. As new as he is to the sport and claiming such a title already... wow.
There was substantial tension surrounding the Boy's Doubles' finals. It might have been because they were playing on Court 18 while the Gentlemen's finals were taking place on Centre Court. Or it could just be that it had been a long Championship and the fellows were ready to see an end to the gruelling rounds of play.
While the winning pair - Edas Butvilas from Lithuania and Spaniard Alejandro Manzanera Pertusa seemed in the spirit of things and of partnering together, things were a bit gloomier on the other side of the net.
Daniel Rincon (Spain) and Abedallah Shelbayh (Jordan) didn't seem to have a coordinated strategy. They didn't seem keen to encourage one another and, at one point during the second set, there were even glaring glances shooting back and forth.
Contrast that with the back pats, words of encouragement and the monumental belly bump Butvilas and Manzanera Pertusa indulged in once they clinched the win with 6-3 6-4. Their irrepressible glee is what doing something you love is all about, isn't it?
Wimbledon 2021 was full of highs and lows, joyous discoveries and moments of reflection. You really need a summary of events to capture them all.
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