Wimbledon 2023: Seven key takeaways

Wimbledon promised to be ‘always like never before’ in 2023 and while that was true to some extent, there was an air of predictability around some proceedings.

But it wasn’t entirely a case of ‘same old’ throughout, with some unexpected twists and turns making this a tournament that may have a significant impact in the long-run. 

With a frantic and dramatic two weeks now having drawn to a close, here are seven key takeaways after 14 days of action at the All England Club.

Has Alcaraz picked up the torch?

Many thought they would never see the day; a ‘passing of the torch’ moment in a Grand Slam final.

But if any moment comes to define that in modern tennis history, Sunday’s men’s final will be it. Carlos Alcaraz, despite a shocking start, battled past the best male player in history to win the title.

The Spaniard has now won two Majors in less than 12 months and though Novak Djokovic is not going anywhere any time soon, Alcaraz is here to stay and it is hard to see him not winning Wimbledon again.

Injury and fitness concerns have been his main barrier to constant success in his rise to the top and there will certainly be more bumps in the road – it won’t be all plain sailing.

But tennis has a new man that is clearly comfortable at the very top, and he will take some stopping. 

Vondrousova surprises herself as Jabeur falters

No one would have predicted Marketa Vondrousova to win Wimbledon – not even herself.

The 24-year-old had a dismal 2-10 career record on grass and a 1-4 record at SW19, though the former French Open and Olympic finalist shocked five seeded players on her way to a maiden Slam title.

By becoming the first unseeded female champion in Wimbledon history, she proved that the unpredictability of women’s tennis is not yet a thing of the past.

But while her triumph and return from injury have been rightly hailed, this will go down as a missed opportunity for Ons Jabeur.

The Tunisian was tight and nervous in a final she should have won, and you have to wonder whether she’ll ever have another opportunity this good to claim a Major title.

ATP ‘Next Gen’ risk becoming lost

‘Next Gen’ stars such as Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alex Zverev, Casper Ruud and Taylor Fritz all had disappointing campaigns, something that is surprising to very few.

Their talent cannot be questioned but ultimately not one has been able to win a Grand Slam as of yet.

The greatness of Djokovic and Rafael Nadal has been a factor but none have proven themselves as perennial contenders on tennis’ biggest stages, particularly on grass.

Djokovic is not slowing down and if they are unable to match him soon they will be swept up among the tides alongside the ‘Lost Gen’ of Dimitrov, Raonic, Nishikori et al.

And with Alcaraz soaring, and both Jannik Sinner and Holger Rune already making inroads, their time as contenders could be limited if they don’t improve rapidly.

WTA leading trio not dominant quite yet

Pre-tournament talk was dominated by Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka and defending champion Elena Rybakina – having been dubbed a new ‘Big Three.’

But Wimbledon proved that all three are still susceptible, with not one reaching the final, and only Sabalenka reaching the last four.

Rybakina and Sabalenka were outclassed by Jabeur while Swiatek’s grass-court malevolence was exploited by an inspired Elina Svitolina; the gap to some of the rest of the tour is evidently not as big as many thought.

The last time a women’s trio were conclusively clear at the top was in 2012, with Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova sweeping the Slams – this ‘Big Three’ still have a way to go yet.

Underdogs Svitolina and Eubanks spark joy

Brits loves an underdog and two unseeded players certainly captured attention this fortnight.

Playing for her country and new mums everywhere, Ukrainian Svitolina received huge fanfare following dramatic wins over Azarenka and Swiatek, reaching a third Grand Slam semi-final of her successful career.

If Svitolina won hearts and minds with grit and determination, Chris Eubanks won them with some of the most exciting tennis SW19 has seen in decades.

The American broke Andre Agassi’s 31-year-old record for the most winners hit in a single Wimbledon, producing stunning displays to knock out Cam Norrie and Tsitsipas in enthralling contests.

His run came to an end in five sets to Daniil Medvedev in the last eight, but the 27-year-old’s Wimbledon debut was a memorable one.

British silverware to celebrate

Few would begrudge Neal Skupski’s evident delight after claiming the men’s doubles crown alongside Wesley Koolhof on Saturday.

It was a first men’s doubles Slam for the Liverpudlian who, after mixed triumphs in 2021 and 2022, became the first Brit in 76 years to win a Wimbledon title three years on the spin.

But this was not the only home-grown success to celebrate across finals weekend, with Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid claiming the wheelchair doubles crown inside a packed Court 1.

And with Henry Searle storming to the boys’ singles title – becoming the first Brit to win that event in 61 years – it was certainly a tournament to remember. 

Boulter ready to push on

Katie Boulter’s Wimbledon came to a disappointing end at the hands of Rybakina but across the summer she has shown she is ready to step and embrace being British No.1.

The Leicester ace came into SW19 with more pressure than ever before, becoming the nation’s leading female player after winning her maiden WTA title at the LTA’s Rothesay Open Nottingham, and looking to back up her Centre Court win over Karolina Pliskova a year ago.

And, though outclassed in the third round, two battling wins in her first and second round matches proved she certainly has something to give.

Boulter will sit just outside the top 70 on Monday, and the challenge for her now is to continue making further inroads.

For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA website

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