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Wed, Aug. 21

Howard: A great Wimbledon final, but kind of sad too

Probably 90% of the people watching the men’s final of Wimbledon around the world were rooting for the great 37-year-old Roger Federer. The crowd at Wimbledon were definitely having a love fest for Roger, and No. 1 seed Novak Djkovic knew that would be the case.

7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(4), 4-6, 13-12(3) was the final score and even though both players are champions in this scenario, there’s still only one winner, and that was Novak Djkovic touting his 5th Wimbledon title.

Roger hit more winners: 94 to 54.

Roger won more points: 218 to 204.

Roger won more games: 36 to 32.

Roger served with two match points - but Novak hung on with nerves of steel.

Unfortunately for Roger and his crowd base, Novak won every tie break and the last point.

The match was the longest in Wimbledon history at 4 hours and 57 minutes, and that was even with the new fifth set format where at 12-12 in games a tie break is played. Neither player had a problem with the new format, but Djokovic willed this way through the points that were necessary.

Roger who was moved to the No. 2 seed, which by regular rankings should have gone to Rafa Nada,l said after the match, “It was an incredible opportunity missed.”

He was asked what this five setter had in common with the one in 2008 at Wimbledon when he played against Rafa Nadal and he stated, “The common part I remember is that I lost them both.”

There’s always the things you can look at and say, they should have done this or that, but the bottom line is that this match will go down as one of the greatest played at this hallowed site.

The TV panned out to Roger’s wife Mirka who was very up and down with her emotions - she could hardly watch at times. It seemed that just maybe Roger was a little shy on handling the nerves part and Novak maintained just enough. Novak currently holds a 25-22 win loss record against Federer.

Will Djokovic still be playing at the age of 37? He says Roger is certainly an inspiration and that he hopes to be. And if he is and he keeps pulling down a couple Slams a year there’s a very good chance he’ll be known as the greatest player ever.

As of today, Roger has 20 major singles titles, Rafa has 18 and now Novak 16.

And the women’s final?

It couldn’t have been any more opposite of the men’s.

Simona Halep of Romania dominated Serena Williams 6-2, 6-2. The 5-foot-6 speed demon finished the whole match in 57 minutes. Prior to this match Serena had a 9-1 record with Halep.

Simona said, “I played the best match of my life”, and Serena said, “She played out of her mind.”

Either way it’s the third slam final Serena has fallen short while trying to tie Margaret Smith Courts record of 24 titles.

Billie Jean King was quoted as saying, “Serena should concentrate on her tennis for the next 1-1/2 years,” (so she has no regrets after it’s all said and done.)

I’m not so sure Serena likes to be told what to do - but I’d give her the same advice.

Now, time to prepare for the March to the U.S. Open, after one more week of grass in the U.S. at the International Tennis Hall of Fame Championships and Inductions at Newport, Rhode Island.

Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 45 years in the racquet and fitness industry. He can be reached at 928-642-6775 or choward4541@gmail.com.

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