“That wasn’t a great tournament, was it?” said Pat Cash, who won Wimbledon 30 years ago. “Well, not every tournament can be breathtaking. It was a strange year.”
At least Sunday’s result satisfied Federer’s legion of fans. Most spectators arrived at Centre Court hoping to see him win a record eighth Wimbledon men’s singles title and his 19th major championship. But it would have been nice if it had lasted at least two hours. Federer had no complaints, though.
“Of course it’s not a five-set thriller,” he conceded. “People want to see a tighter match. I totally get it. But you know, I’ve had those. I’m happy it was different today.”
At least Cilic did not retire from the match, as 10 other players did in the tournament, including Federer’s first-round opponent, Alexandr Dolgopolov. Had it been an earlier round, perhaps Cilic, too, would have retired. But withdrawing in a final would have scarred the tournament even more.
Cilic said he had developed a blister on the bottom of his left foot during his semifinal match with Sam Querrey on Friday, and it came back with a vengeance on Sunday.
When he realized he could not give his best, he broke down in tears in his chair. Bjorkman knew what it was all about, but it was a curious scene to so many because it was unclear at the time what was bothering him.
On the BBC telecast, the former champion Boris Becker wondered aloud if it was just the emotions of playing on Centre Court.
“It’s heartbreaking when you see someone you work for, and you know how dedicated they are, not being able to play the way he wanted,” Bjorkman said. “That was really tough to watch.”
Wimbledon began with great promise on the men’s side because the Big Four — Federer, Djokovic, Murray and Rafael Nadal — were all playing well. The potential for a semifinal round featuring all four, each a past Wimbledon champion, tantalized observers. But only Federer made it that far.
Nadal, who won the French Open last month, lost in the fourth round to Gilles Müller in what may have been the match of the tournament. Murray was hindered by a bad hip in a five-set quarterfinal loss to Sam Querrey, who won the final two sets, 6-1, 6-1. Djokovic could not make it out of the second set of his quarterfinal with Tomas Berdych, such was the pain in his right elbow (and perhaps his right shoulder, which received treatment on court).
The women’s draw fared better, but it lacked Serena Williams, the best player in the world, who was absent because of her pregnancy. Johanna Konta of Britain provided some excitement until she was blown out in the semifinals by Venus Williams. Sentiment turned emphatically to Williams, who at 37 was seeking her first Grand Slam title in nine years. But she did not give Muguruza a proper battle.
All across the grounds, everyone bemoaned the wretched grass, which wilted under the heat and sun of the first week. Some, like Alison Riske and Kristina Mladenovic in the women’s draw, hated it so much that they did not want to continue in their second-round match, but they were instructed to play on.
Martina Navratilova, who won the women’s invitational doubles alongside Cara Black, was shocked by the state of the turf.
“It’s terrible,” said Navratilova, who has won more Wimbledon singles titles (nine) than Federer. “There were chunks coming up. It is definitely not the same as years past. I think somebody is not telling everything that is going on. It doesn’t look the same. There was something amiss.”
That, in a sentence, could explain much of Wimbledon 2017.
HINGIS’S SLAM TITLE NO. 22 Martina Hingis and Jamie Murray won the Wimbledon mixed doubles title, beating Henri Kontinen and Heather Watson, 6-4, 6-4.
Hingis and Murray, playing their first Grand Slam tournament together, had both won the Wimbledon title playing with different partners, Murray with Jelena Jankovic in 2007, and Hingis with Leander Paes in 2015.
Hingis has won five Grand Slam singles titles, 11 in women’s doubles and six in mixed doubles.
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain won the boys’ title, beating Axel Geller of Argentina, 7-6 (2), 6-3. (AP)
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