Seven singles champions were crowned this week across six tournaments. Gael Monfils won his first ATP 500 event while Johanna Konta won the first WTA event of her career. Venus Williams made a deep run at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, falling one set shy of winning the 50th title of her career. Meanwhile, Ivo Karlovic came even closer to winning titles in back-to-back weeks on the ATP Tour.
As both tours head to Canada and players ready themselves for the Olympics in Rio, #ThisWeekInTennis, recaps all the tennis happenings from the last week: winners, player tweets, rankings, articles, and podcasts.
Gael Monfils improved on his 5-19 record in ATP finals when he beat Ivo Karlovic for the title in Washington, D.C. The Frenchman saved match point in the second set en route to the biggest win of his career.
Before the final ball was struck at Wimbledon, qualifying in five events on the ATP and WTA tours were already underway. The first week post-Wimbledon was even more frenetic with Davis Cup quarterfinals also being contested in the USA, Czech Republic, Italy, and Serbia. Off-court news by a host of players made big splashes too: a pregnancy, multiple weddings, withdrawals from the Olympics, Hall of Fame inductions, and the release of an autobiography.
Caught your breath yet? Let's take a closer look at #ThisWeekInTennis, recapping winners, player tweets, rankings, articles, and podcasts.
The International Tennis Hall of Fame inducted Justine Henin, Amelie Mauresmo, and Marat Safin over the weekend at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, Rhode Island.
Victoria Azarenka created the biggest news of the week when she announced her pregnancy, as well as her plans to return to the WTA tour.
This week saw a slew of withdrawals from the Rio Olympics: Simona Halep, Milos Raonic, Tomas Berdych, Karolina Pliskova. These most recent withdrawals add to an already depleted field in the upcoming Games.
Kiki Bertens won five singles matches in three days on her way to the final in Gstaad. Bad weather limited the event to just over three full days of play. Bertens eventually had to withdraw from the doubles semifinals because of the added work.
Patty Schnyder played her first tour level match since 2011 in Gstaad, Switzerland. The 37-year-old took the opening set from world #92 Katerina Siniakova before losing 6-2 5-7 4-6.
Pablo Cuevas lost in the Hamburg final to Martin Klizan, but cracks the ATP top 20 for the first time in his career.
Serena Williams' wait is over. The world number one finally captured that elusive 22nd Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon. Andy Murray, the favourite after Novak Djokovic lost in the third round, held his nerve and then some, to capture his third Slam singles title and second at Wimbledon. For Williams and Murray, winning Wimbledon was a redemption of sorts: both players were losing finalists at the year's first two Grand Slams.
Hours after her historic singles win, Serena returned to Centre Court alongside sister Venus to win their 14th Slam doubles title, while the French pair of Mahut/Herbert added a Wimbledon title to go along with their 2015 U.S. Open crown. The Williams sisters remain unbeaten in Grand Slam doubles finals, and Nicolas Mahut replaces Jamie Murray as the #1 ranked doubles player on the ATP Tour.
Volume 27 of #ThisWeekInTennis gives a rundown of the back end of the 2016 Wimbledon Championships, along with player tweets, press quote, articles, podcasts, and rankings changes.
Serena Williams overcame the ghosts of the last three Grand Slams past to ink her name alongside Steffi Graf for second on the all-time list of Slam winners. When she collapsed on her back at net after striking the winning volley, Williams shed (if only for a moment) the burden of expectation that accompanies her greatness.
Andy Murray caught a break with Novak Djokovic losing early at Wimbledon. The world #1 is the unquestioned best on the ATP Tour and victor over Murray in the year's first two Slams. With Djokovic out and home crowd pressure squarely on the Brit's shoulders, Murray summoned some of his best tennis to ensure the opportunity was not wasted. He lost only two sets all fortnight, both against Tsonga in the quarterfinals.
Angelique Kerber put her hand up as the official #2 on the WTA Tour when she booked her place in the final alongside Serena Williams, securing the tour's first Grand Slam final rematch in the same year since Mauresmo and Henin in 2006. Kerber fought gamely during a straight sets loss, but still cemented herself as a truly elite player and force to be reckoned with in women's tennis.
Milos Raonic survived a two set deficit to David Goffin in the fourth round, then authored a five-set comeback victory against Federer in the semifinals, before eventually losing in straight sets to Murray in the championship round. The first time Slam finalist, under the tutelage of a conflicted John McEnroe, had no answers for a well-rounded Murray. Still, he should take nothing but positives from the last fortnight.
Venus Williams scripted a turn-back-the-clock performance at the All England Club, reaching her first semifinal at a Grand Slam in six years. The mouth watering prospect of an all-Williams final was put to rest when Angelique Kerber beat her 6-4 6-4. Still, with her performance, the elder Williams rises to #7 in the latest WTA rankings, and she was also able to attend the Champions Ball as doubles champion alongside her sister.
Roger Federer entered Wimbledon short on match practice and consequently less of a threat for the title than at any other time in the last decade. But, when Djokovic exited SW19 in week one, the prospect of an 18th Slam title loomed large if he could somehow play himself into form. After coming back from a two-set hole against Cilic in the quarterfinals, his loss to Raonic in the semifinals might sting for a bit. Still, all things considered, a great two weeks for the Swiss maestro.
Tomas Berdych has made the quarterfinals of all three Slams in 2016. After losing 6-0 6-0 to David Goffin in Rome prior to the French Open and subsequently parting ways with his coach, a semifinal run at Wimbledon didn't seem likely. Yet, Berdych again found his way to week two of a Slam.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga can hang his hat on being the only player to push Andy Murray at Wimbledon, forcing a fifth set against the eventual champion in the quarterfinals. After having to retire with an injury during the third round of the French Open, his Wimbledon has to be considered a rousing success.
Episode 49 gives you a bit of everything we've been known to talk about on The Body Serve: Serena, Venus, Andy, Beyonce, Mariah, Lemonade. We're here to recap a brilliant fortnight for Serena and Venus at Wimbledon, congratulate Andy Murray, and welcome our guest Stephanie Neppl (@StephintheUS) to the show! You'll hear us revel in the Williams Sisters' singles and doubles success, go to bat for the depth of the WTA, and chat with Steph about her time at Wimbledon, including sitting beside Isha and very close to Oracene! Oh, and you won't want to miss our dramatic reading of some of Venus Williams' best quotes from Wimbledon!
2:45 Serena Williams gets 22 7:30 Kerber the clear no. 2 player right now 12:00 The Serena-Patrick coaching relationship 17:45 Building the Williams legacy with another doubles win 27:00 Taking a moment to praise Venus 30:00 A dramatic reading of Venus Williams wisdom 35:00 We talk about not talking about Marion Bartoli 38:30 Those infamous BBC tweets 42:00 Depth on the WTA - "No. 2 by committee" 47:10 Men's wrap-up: Andy Murray wins Wimbledon #2 57:45 Raonic's coach John McEnroe calling his matches for ESPN 1:04:40 Interview with @StephintheUS, Williams superfan and Wimbledon attendee 1:12:00 Steph sat next to Isha & Oracene at Venus' match!!!
Serena Williams is a Grand Slam singles champion for the 22nd time in her career. In a rematch of this year's Australian Open final, Williams avenged her loss to Angelique Kerber to lift the Venus Rosewater Dish for the seventh time. With the win, Williams ties Steffi Graf for second place all-time with 22 Grand Slam singles titles, leaving her just two shy of Margaret Court's 24. Serena Williams is now the holder of six Australian Open titles, three French Opens, seven at Wimbledon, and a further six at the U.S. Open.
Nearing 35, Venus' younger sister continues to defy expectations of what an athlete of her age should be able to achieve at the highest level of professional sport. After reaching the final of the year's first two Grand Slams, Williams finally scored #22, and followed hours later with her 14th Grand Slam doubles title alongside big sister. Her twin titles at Wimbledon felt like a deluge of glory, the floodgates opening after the disappointment of stalling at the three previous Slams. Her four tries at tying Steffi Graf ended up being the same number of attempts she took before tying Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova at 18. For the past ten months, Serena has been holding steady atop the women's game, clearly the game's best but unable to get to that next level. At Wimbledon today, her rise continued.
On three separate occasions in her career, Williams has won five of the previous nine Slams held. The first "Serena Slam," spread between the 2002 and 2003 seasons, saw Williams win five of six, and between the '08 U.S. Open and '10 Wimbledon, five of nine. In 2011, at age 29, Serena faced another long layoff due to injury and blood clots in both lungs. The idea that her most extended period of dominance was still on the horizon should have been the stuff of fairy tales. Yet, here we are: Williams has won five of the last eight Slams -- again -- and nine of the last seventeen, all after the age of 30. She is also in the midst of a streak of consecutive weeks at #1 that will reach 178 after Wimbledon.
Serena's late career success should not come as a surprise; she's been defying expectations from before she even won a tennis match. From the "broken down courts" in Compton, as she described them in her acceptance speech for Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year, Williams faced adversity from the get go. She waited in Venus' shadow as big sis made the family's first foray into the tennis world. Then, after becoming a champion in her own right, a spate of tragedy and misfortune tested her mettle: the shooting death of her sister Yetunde in 2003, serious injury and illness, the Indian Wells incident in 2001, and the constant judgement of how she should live her life and play tennis from pundits and fans. All this while maintaining a high profile as a successful black woman in a very white tennis world. Yet, at every turn, Williams found a way back from the abyss.
The rains that tormented players, fans, and organizers at Roland Garros were a similar nuisance during week one of Wimbledon. Venus Williams endured five rain delays in one match alone, including an untimely interruption while she held match point in the third round. Muguruza and Djokovic were unable to replicate their French Open success, losing in the second and third rounds respectively. In spite of those upsets, the tournament has delivered compelling story lines with championship weekend only a few days away. Serena Williams remains on course for a 22nd Grand Slam title, Venus Williams joins her in the semifinals for the first time since 2009, and Roger Federer is three wins away from an 18th Slam title of his own.
Let's take a look back at the action that has brought us to this point, with the final four decided in the women's draw and quarterfinal action set to take place in the men's draw tomorrow.
Serena Williams survived a three-set battle with Christina McHale in the second round, but hasn't lost a set at any point during her run to the semifinals. Elena Vesnina awaits her before a possible final against Venus, should big sis get past Kerber.
Venus Williams is into her first Grand Slam semifinal since '10 U.S. Open, and first at Wimbledon since 2009. Williams' semifinal is her ninth at Wimbledon, one shy of Serena's ten. This result ensures she'll rise to at least #7 in the rankings, #6 if she makes the final, and #5 if she wins it all.
Novak Djokovic's quest for a fifth consecutive Slam title and the third leg of the Calendar Slam fell short in the third round against Sam Querrey. It was Djokovic's first loss before the quarterfinals of a Slam since the '09 French Open, and first time he'll miss out on a Slam final since '14 U.S. Open.
Garbine Muguruza lost to Jana Cepelova in the second round. Last year's Wimbledon finalist was unable to translate her French Open form onto the grass courts. She'll also cede her #2 ranking to Kerber at tournament's end.
Andy Murray, beaten in the Australian and French Open finals by Novak Djokovic, is now the favourite for his second Wimbledon title and third overall Slam after the world #1's early exit. He's played 10 Slam finals, all against Djokovic and Federer.
We're back to chat about the first week of Wimbledon 2016, upsets and all. Later in the episode, Michael Lewis returns for his second appearance on the show to tell us about his first trip to the All England Club. We close the show by issuing a few thumbs up and thumbs down before getting into #SeeWhatHadHappenedWas.
2:00 Both French Open winners are out!
13:00 Looking at the women's draw: who's left, great match-ups, Serena-Sveta XIII
23:30 Shall we talk about court assignments?
27:45 Men's draw
36:45 Interview with Michael Lewis, who just came back from his first visit to Wimbledon - the quiet, the pomp, and poppin' bottles
44:30 A few players he saw: Federer on Centre, Venus, Dustin Brown, Vandeweghe, Vinci-Riske
59:00 Sneaking into good seats with the aid of Body Serve friend @stephintheus
1:06:30 Thumbs Up to Marcus Willis, Queen Venus
1:13:30 Thumbs Down to boys behaving badly
1:17:00 #SeeWhatHadHappenedWas Serena gets petty af; or, the "we all hate each other" fallout
Check out our guest Michael Lewis' Wimbledon blogging here.