Despite the hysteria and heroics of Murray's trip to the Wimbledon final, the tactical highlight of the tournament was without question, Lukas Rosol's defeat of Rafael Nadal in Round Two. While most discussion focused on the magnitude of the shock, it is must more interesting to look at the method and means which Rosol used to topple the best defensive player in the history of Tennis.
To put it in context, I have only seen Nadal tactically beaten so thoroughly twice - which I will outline below.
#1 2008 Australian Open, Semi Final vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
It wasn't one of Serena Williams' most consistent matches but after rain delays she outclassed a young opponent to win her 5th Wimbledon singles crown 6-1, 5-7, 6-2. Williams' win also made her the second player at age 30 to win a Wimbledon women's singles title other than Martina Navratilova in 1990 at 33. It was Navratilova's final Grand Slam Wimbledon singles title for a record-breaking ninth title over Zina Garrison. This won't be Serena's last, as she now becomes the No. 2 player in the world.
After winning so easily in the first set at 5-0, Serena started to lose concentration and Agnieszka Radwanska began playing better ending the first set at 6-1 on a good note by finally holding serve. Then came the rain and ground crews. Twenty minutes later the women's singles final was back on court again.
Starting the second set at 4-2, Radwanska came back mixing up pace, spin, and direction. Then the wind became a factor as well as nerves. Serena's high percentage serving waned and Agnieszka's picked up. With an opportunity to go to a second set tiebreaker on her serve, Serena was not able to deliver. Radwanska took the second set 7-5.
On Saturday, July 7, Serena Williams will likely win her fifth Wimbledon singles title, tying her with sister Venus Williams' Wimbledon total. The two sisters have met in eight Grand Slam finals, with Serena winning six times. The odds are definitely in Serena's favor to win her 14th Grand Slam title, which would rank her fourth all-time in the Open Era in women's singles behind Steffi Graf with 22 and Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova who have 18 titles each.
The oddsmakers at The Championship had Serena at the beginning of the tournament based on stages of elimination: to win at (11/10), to the Finals (4), and to get to the Semi Finals (11/8).
Roger Federer has been supremely dominant on the tennis court for years. There are the present rivals in top-two ranked Nadal and Djokovic but tennis' future powerhouses are just beginning to surface. One of them is a 21 year-old named Milos Raonic.
Milos Raonic has competed twice with Federer this season. Once was on the hard court at Indian Wells and once on clay in Madrid. Both were close in three-set matches. Now Raonic is set to clash again with Federer for the quarterfinals in Halle at the Gerry Weber Open. This time it will be on grass. This is definitely a season for Raonic to make his mark and test his skills.
Fewer than 2 years ago, Raonic was a somewhat gangly, very quiet player at the ATP Challenger event in Aptos, CA. He didn't even make an impression there other than he seemed to move around the court like it was small and he had a style that was very reminiscent of a more advanced player. It was like he was practicing for the top-20 on the ATP ranking. As they always say, how you practice is how you play. It didn't take him that long to play well and to get ready to crack the top 20. He currently is ranked 21st.
Normally the figures that sportsmen earn these days for their craft offend my left leaning sensibilities, but I make an exception for the hard working superstars of tennis. I begrudge Andy Murray not a dollar for his $20,376,752 career earnings, though this might in part be because his lifestyle isn't ostentatious or obnoxiously decadent, unlike the stars of other professional sports.
Tennis is played for nearly 11 months of the year, with a genuine off season of just 6 weeks, three of which are spent in conditioning training preparing for the start of the new season. It is one of the few truly global sports in terms of its calendar. Formula One may be the only sport that can claim to hold more premier events in wider flung destinations.