Working for Live at Wimbledon is honestly a huge privilege every year. Like the majority of this country’s population, I always look forward to arguably the most prestigious of events in Britain’s sporting calendar and this year was no different.
Although there was no mid-way break this year, Wimbledon 2016 was most certainly one of two halves. Although it started off under the most horrendous weather conditions, the first week could have been described as a sporting circus as Britain’s Marcus Willis’ journey continued to unfold. What an incredible achievement, to have come through six qualifying rounds and make it to the two weeks of Wimbledon. Furthermore, to then win his first round, the Brit must have felt like he was living in Dreamland. As he faced Roger Federer in the second round, we saw a match that turned into a somewhat giant exhibition. Willis was well and truly defeated, but the Brit whose previous prize money totalled to £220, had achieved something incredible and lived a fairytale that was a pleasure to witness.
This year’s surprises did not stop there as World Number One Novak Djokovic was stunned by Sam Querrey. The match itself saw Querrey lead by two sets before rain forced play to be suspended. On return, Djokovic began the fight back by winning the third set, but it wasn’t enough as Querrey held his nerve to win the fourth on tie-break; history was made. As I watched the match, it was clear to me that something wasn’t right with Djokovic. For a man of his quality, this was more than a bad game of tennis, something else was going on in Djokovic’s head which inevitably spoiled his performance. His row with Becker only illuminates my doubts and it will be interesting to see how the Serb fights back from this.
However, it was a different story for Andy Murray. What an athlete this man has grown to be. The shock of Djokovic’s exit must have only energised the Brit, as he displayed some phenomenal tennis performances. For me, the decisive moment came in his quarter-final against Nick Kyrgios when he hit the ball right at the Aussie like an uppercut in boxing. He sent a message to the rest of the players that he will take no prisoners and most certainly continued to prove it in his next game. His semi-final was a tough game for Murray but his quality came through once again and eventually proved too much for Tsonga. His final against Raonic was as good as you will ever see, pure intensity and mastery of the occasion. You never felt like he was going to lose this match, he stepped up to produce a stunning performance that granted him the title of Wimbledon Champion 2016. We were a very proud nation once again!
More success came from Heather Watson, who’s tournament was also a rollercoaster of a journey. After a disaster of a first week, leaving in the first round of singles against Annika Beck, Watson’s hopes lay fully with her doubles competition, partnered with Henri Kontinen. Having never competed together before, the pair played as though they had years of experience. They played brilliantly together and it was fantastic to see another Brit achieve the Wimbledon title – well done Heather!
I think this year can be put down as a successful one for British Tennis, and once again it was an honour to witness it. The two weeks of Wimbledon never fail to produce excitement, drama and above all amazing displays of tennis; that is why they are the best two weeks of my year!
By Rupert Bell