Serena Makes it 22 (and Counting…)
Brit Favorite Son Andy Murray Does His Country Proud, Again
Talk about making history!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock or just aren’t a fan of tennis, you should know that Serena Williams’ women’s singles victory on Centre Court was cause celebre. “Best women’s tennis I’ve ever watched!”, exclaimed six-time Wimbledon winner/ESPN commentator Chris Evert afterward. With all due respect for the performance exhibited by Serena’s 26-year-old opponent, German player and Steffi Graf protégé, Angelique Kerber, the No. 4th seed simply didn’t stand a chance against the world’s top-ranked player who dominated their two-set stunner.
Now that Serena has achieved her quest of matching Graf’s record of 22 major finals wins in the Open era (since 1968), Margaret Smith Court still holds the record of 24. Not showing any signs of slowing down at the not-so-tender age of nearly 35, don’t count Serena out to reach or exceed Court’s all-time record, too. Serena is now being touted as the best female athlete EVER–an amazing feat at any age!
On the men’s side, there was second-seeded Andy Murray, famous for finally ending the 77-year drought in British men’s Wimbledon title winners back in 2013. Three years hence, Murray prevailed over No. 6-ranked Milos Raonic, the big-serving, 6 foot 5 inch, Canadian Adonis with an equally lethal forehand. It didn’t hurt that the crowds at the All England Club were clearly behind the mercurial Scot, known for his McEnroe-esque on-court tirades. Under the gaze of a packed royal box looking on during play, he mercifully kept his temper in check. Overcoming his emotional, tearful reaction to his commanding three-set win, Murray was gracious in his acceptance speech. One particular shout-out he directed toward attending, soon-to-retire, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, however, was roundly booed–the sting of the Brexit debacle obviously still very fresh on their minds. So much for British civility… (For more on Brexit’s wide-ranging impact, go to Eater.com for Whitney Filloon’s July 7 story: “Tracking the Brexit Effect on Food and Drink”. (Warning: if you’re are Scotch or Stilton cheese lover, you may want to start hoarding…)
And now for a little personal family tennis history…
Back in the day (1939, to be exact) WM’s father competed at Wimbledon. Here’s an excerpt from the article she wrote on the subject that appeared in the New York Times on Father’s Day, June 17, 1979:
Following his French victory, he went to England where he was defeated in the main Wimbledon competition by a left-handed Yugoslav with a big serve and forehand. [Sound familiar?] During that match on a rainy day at Centre Court, Dad slid from his service line, under the net into his opponent’s court. A first, he said. All was not lost, however, as he did manage to win the Wimbledon Cup (in competition played among the losers in the first and second rounds).
The height of my father’s tennis career came during the [then] Nationals in September, 1940 with the upset victory over defending champion Bobby Riggs. The win cost Riggs a lucrative pro contract that year. But, as fate would have it, World War II curtailed my father’s playing career significantly. His last important victory came in 1950, defeating Frank Kovaleski in the National Indoor competition. Later, in 1952, married with a family to support, my father entered the Nationals at Forest Hills on a whim. After an upset defeat of a top-seeded Australian, and making it to the third round, he was finally put out by [tennis legend] Billy Talbert.
That WM’s story and she’s stickin’ to it. Tennis anyone?