Week 27-28 (Wimbledon)
Players who were supposed to face each other in the semifinals a year before, Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios, withdrew from this year’s Wimbledon. Nadal’s absence was confirmed even before the French Open, while Kyrgios pulled out after the draw was made. If the ATP points had been given last year, Nadal would have been disappeared from the ranking now. Another potential quarterfinalist, Karen Khachanov, didn’t participate as he was expecting the birth of his second child. 36-year-old Jérémy Chardy (ranked 542nd, so not enough to even play main-level qualifying rounds), who did not play at all in 2022, used his protected ranking wisely this year. He chose only a few biggest events. In the first round in London, he found himself on Centre Court against the world’s top-ranked player, and he saw it as a good opportunity to ‘bid adieu’.
The first week of the event was quite challenging due to adverse weather conditions. Rain disrupted play on the second day, leading to a peculiar situation where two players advanced to the third round while several first-round matches didn’t even start.
Overall, it was a fascinating event showcasing a clash of three generations. The semifinals (both played indoors) featured the three distinctively best players of the season, each representing a different generation: Novak Đoković (born 1987), Daniil Medvedev (born 1996), and Carlos Alcaraz (born 2003). Jannik Sinner found himself in the best four at a major for the first time, benefiting from an easy draw. However, considering recent years, he deserved a favorable draw (four times had lost major quarterfinals, three times to the eventual champions). Đoković easily prevented what many believed could be the first chapter of a future rivalry on the biggest stages between Alcaraz and Sinner. Personally, I’m more skeptical about that and see Holger Rune (quarter-finalist this edition) as more gifted than Sinner, with a brighter future ahead for the Dane.
The final was an electrifying battle between two mental giants separated by 16 years, marking the second-largest age gap in the Open Era as far as the finals are concerned (Jimmy Connors destroyed 18 years older Ken Rosewall in two major finals in 1974). Alcaraz started the final in a worse fashion than anyone could have expected, but he then won all the crucial points, including a marathon game in the mid-3rd set, consisted of 13 deuces, which is the longest in Wimbledon finals. Alcaraz is a complete player, and I expect him to follow in the footsteps of Björn Borg, becoming the first man since the early ’80s to win Roland Garros and Wimbledon titles in the same season a few times.
The event was also notable for Russian players, who were unable to compete the previous year due to political reasons. Three Russians reached the quarterfinals, including Roman Safiullin , who hadn’t even played an ATP final yet. Andrey Rublev lost at this stage for the eighth time, securing him an infamous record in this regard.
Sergi Bruguera  played more clay-court matches than anyone else before Wimbledon ’93. After claiming his first major title, he made the decision to skip the grass-court season. As a result, he arrived in Swiss Alps feeling fresh and was not only the favorite to win the title, people expected him to do so without dropping a set. And that’s exactly what he did. His hunger for tennis and freshness were particularly evident on Sunday. Due to rain, his semifinal was suspended at 3-all in the first set. After the resumption, he won nine straight games and started the final an hour later with great energy. Similar to the previous year, he won the final in two sets (normally the finals of the event were in ‘best of five’ format until 2007). “I feel like I’m improving from year to year, and the win in Paris has significantly boosted my self-confidence,” said Bruguera. “The last five times we met, I beat him (Novacek) quite easily, so I guess he didn’t know how to handle me.” 8-0 in their H2H in the end.
In the Swedish summer resort of Båstad, players of lower rankings participated, compared to those who came to Switzerland that week. Despite having six Swedes seeded, none of them advanced to the final. The tournament concluded with the victory of Horst Skoff, ranked 82nd at the time, securing his fourth and final title. Although he was only 25 years old, Skoff was already past his prime, and two years later, he would lose his status of a main-level player. The runner-up, four years older Ronald Agénor, played eighth and last ATP final in his career, but he would enjoy a better year 1994 than Skoff. En route to the final Agénor scored a win over Lars Jönsson with the help of the longest deciding tie-break of the season (14/12).. Jan Gunnarsson [342, lucky loser], the Aussie Open ’89 semifinalist, decided to finish his career at age of 31 after losing in the second round.
In the last grass-court event of the season in Newport, where only three Top 100 players entered the draw, 19-year-old Greg Rusedski , lifted the trophy after a week of hard work. The left-handed Canadian showcased a lethal serve in his sixth main-level event, playing eight tie-breaks and registering a 5-3 record in them. His last two matches were closely contested, with both almost going the full distance in terms of the scoreline. In the semifinals, he won a no-break point match against Alex Antonitsch 7-6, 6-7, 7-6. In the second set of the all lefty final, he squandered two match points, and his opponent served for the match at 5:4 in the third set but failed to close it out. These dramatic matches became a recurring theme in Rusedski’s career, as he was regularly involved in similar encounters over the years (25-20 in deciding third-set tie-breaks towards the end of his career). This victory marked only the second time a Canadian won a main-level title, with the previous occurrence being Mike Belkin‘s triumph at St. Petersburg in 1971. Rusedski gained crucial confidence at Wimbledon ’93 where he faced one of the best grass-court specialists in history and narrowly lost in a tight four-set match. Top seeded, the double Newport defending champion Bryan Shelton was ousted in the first round.
WIMBLEDON (£44.7M; grass semi-outdoors)
(1)🇪🇸Carlos Alcaraz d. (2)🇷🇸Novak Đoković 1-6, 7-6(6), 6-1, 3-6, 6-4
Gstaad ($375K; clay outdoors) – Week 27
(1)🇪🇸Sergi Bruguera d. (3)🇨🇿Karel Nováček 6-3, 6-4
Bastad ($235K; clay outdoors)
🇦🇹Horst Skoff d. 🇭🇹Ronald Agénor 7-5, 1-6, 6-0
Newport ($175K; grass outdoors)
🇨🇦Greg Rusedski d. (3)🇦🇷Javier Frana 7-5, 6-7(7), 7-6(5)
Richard Fromberg  emerged as the standout player that Davis Cup quarterfinal weekend (16-18.07… Week 28), winning two vital matches – as the only one – he did it without dropping a set. In the decisive rubber against Stefano Pescosolido in Florence, Italy, Fromberg secured a victory of 7-5, 6-1, 6-4 for Australia. Meanwhile, there was a major upset in Fréjus (small city at Côte d’Azur), where Henri Leconte‘s poor performance due to back problems in the first two days, led the team captain to assign Rodolphe Gilbert (his lone Davis Cup appearance) to face the experienced Ramesh Krishnan  in the decisive rubber. The match was suspended due to darkness with a 4-all score on Sunday and resumed on Monday; in just 13 minutes, Krishnan sealed the victory with a scoreline of 2-6, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4. “When we arrived here, we didn’t expect to be in this position,” Krishnan remarked. “France was a much stronger team, but it was an excellent opportunity for us.” Gilbert had had a 4:2* lead on Sunday before the match was halted, and he wasted two mini-match points on the following day.
In the Hague, the absence of the injured Jacco Eltingh proved detrimental to the Dutch team. Without him, they were unable to secure the expected point in doubles. Richard Krajicek also disappointed by losing in straight sets to Magnus Larsson, resulting in the tie being decided on Saturday. On the same day, Germany secured their place in the semifinals in the only grass court tie of the weekend (the other three were on clay). The clash of neighbours in Halle was highly entertaining, featuring 13 out of a possible 15 sets in the first two days, with five of them going to tie-breaks. Michael Stich defeated Karel Nováček in a rain-interrupted battle that was suspended at 3-all in the second set. Nováček was close to defaulting, had a 30/0 lead on Stich’s serve at 5-all in the deciding set but failed to break; frustrated by some line calls in that crucial game, he expressed his anger by throwing a towel towards the umpire during the last change of ends. Ultimately only a point was deducted from him.
Quarterfinals (host first)
Italy – Australia 2-3, France – India 2-3, Netherlands – Sweden 1-4, Germany – Czechia 4-1
This entry was posted in Tournaments
. Bookmark the permalink