Wimbledon Cancelled Due To Coronavirus – Organisers

Victoria Azarenka, Wimbledon, serena williams

 

Wimbledon chiefs on Wednesday cancelled the Grand Slam tournament for the first time since World War II as the coronavirus wreaks further havoc on the global sporting calendar.

“It is with great regret that the main board of the All England Club (AELTC) and the committee of management of the Championships have today decided that The Championships 2020 will be cancelled due to public health concerns linked to the coronavirus epidemic,” the organisers said in a statement.

The cancellation of the only grasscourt Grand Slam tournament leaves the tennis season in disarray.

All England Club chairman Ian Hewitt said the decision had not been taken lightly.

“It has weighed heavily on our minds that the staging of The Championships has only been interrupted previously by world wars but, following thorough and extensive consideration of all scenarios, we believe that it is a measure of this global crisis that it is ultimately the right decision to cancel this year’s Championships.”

READ ALSO: COVID-19: UEFA Postpones All International Matches Scheduled For June

The decision also prompted the ATP and WTA to cancel the grass court swing in the build-up to Wimbledon meaning the tennis season will not now recommence until July 13 at the earliest.

AFP

Djokovic Beats Federer To Win Fifth Wimbledon Title

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates beating Switzerland’s Roger Federer during their men’s singles final on day thirteen of the 2019 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 14, 2019.
Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

Defending champion Novak Djokovic claimed his fifth Wimbledon title on Sunday beating eight-time champion Roger Federer 7-6 (7/5), 1-6, 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 13-12 (7/3) in the longest ever final and settled by a historic tie-break.

The 32-year-old Serbian saved two match points as he took his Grand Slam tally to 16, four off Federer’s overall record.

Djokovic’s victory extends to 11 successive Grand Slams won by the big three, himself, Federer and Rafael Nadal.

READ ALSO: Wimbledon Men’s Final – Five Facts

At 4 hours and 57 minutes, it was the longest final at Wimbledon.

Stan Wawrinka was the last player outside the trio to win a Grand Slam, the 2016 US Open beating Djokovic.

The last player to win a Grand Slam aged under 30 was Andy Murray, who won the 2016 Wimbledon title aged 29.

AFP

Wimbledon Men’s Final – Five Facts

 

 

Five facts on Sunday’s Wimbledon men’s singles final between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer:

‘Big Three’ dominate

— With Djokovic and Federer in the final, the winner of Sunday’s match will extend the streak of Grand Slam titles won by the ‘Big Three’ of the pair plus Rafael Nadal to 11 straight major titles. Since Federer won his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2003, just five Grand Slam finals have been contested by pairs of players outside the ‘Big Three’.

Golden oldie Federer

— At 37 years 340 days, Federer is bidding to become the oldest player in the Open era to win a Grand Slam men’s singles title.

Ken Rosewall is the only 37-year-old to have won a major singles title in that time – he won the 1972 Australian Open aged 37 years 62 days.

30-somethings still special

— The champion will extend the streak of Grand Slam titles won by players aged 30 or older. The last 12 Grand Slam titles – including at Wimbledon this year – will have been shared between players aged 30 or older.

Djokovic chases fifth Wimbledon title
— Defending champion Djokovic is bidding to win his fifth Wimbledon title and equal Bjorn Borg and Laurie Doherty in fourth place on the all-time list. He is also chasing a 16th career major.

Federer to level Navratilova with nine?

— Federer is bidding to become the second player in history to win nine Wimbledon singles titles after Martina Navratilova who won nine women’s singles. Federer is also after 21st career Grand Slam title.

AFP

Mochizuki Makes Grand Slam History For Japan At Wimbledon

Japan’s Shintaro Mochizuki celebrates win. Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

Shintaro Mochizuki made history on Sunday becoming the first Japanese player to win a boy’s Grand Slam title, beating Carlos Gimeno Valero of Spain 6-3, 6-2 in the Wimbledon final.

The 16-year-old, who was playing just his third grass court tournament, follows 1969 girls singles title winner Kazuko Sawamatsu in triumphing at the grass court Grand Slam.

Mochizuki said he had learned a lot from his compatriot, 2014 US Open finalist Kei Nishikori.

“He’s really nice,” said Mochizuki. “He gives me a lot of advice.

“Like sometimes I practice with him. I learn from him a lot. Yeah, he’s smart.”

Nishikori, nine times a Grand Slam quarter-finalist, took to Twitter almost immediately to fete his compatriot.

READ ALSO: Hamilton Wins Record Sixth British GP, Extends F1 Lead

“Huge congrats to @ShintaroMOCHIZU! Such an amazing tournament,” tweeted the Japanese star, adding a thumbs up icon, a flexed bicep icon and several Japanese flags.

However, it is not 29-year-old Nishikori who is his idol.

“Roger Federer, I love watching him on TV, yeah,” he said.

“I don’t want to copy him, but I love watching him.”

Mochizuki said he had been mindful of his implosion at the French Open when he led 5-2 in his semi-final only to lose.

He said the pivotal moment had been when he was a set up but break points down early in the second set and managed to hold.

“In the first set, I got broken twice,” he said.

“I wanted to hold my service game a lot. It was good. I played really tough.

“He had some break points, but I just tried my best to hold my service game.

“Yes, it was really important game for me.”

Mochizuki admitted not being used to playing in front of so many people on Court One had made him reluctant to perform in front of them.

“I’m shy, so I was like, Why do I have to do that?” he said.

“But it was fun. It’s so many people were there. I was a little bit nervous.”

However, once out there he rather enjoyed playing to his audience, with one jump smash being a special crowd pleaser.

“It was a big chance to do that, so I just did it for fun,” he said.

“It was easy ball. I just wanted to make people have fun watching me.”

AFP

Miss Congeniality: Halep Proves Nice Girls Do Win

Romania’s Simona Halep celebrates beating US player Serena Williams during their women’s singles final on day twelve of the 2019 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 13, 2019.
GLYN KIRK / AFP

 

Simona Halep handed Serena Williams her most lopsided Grand Slam final loss to clinch the Wimbledon title on Saturday and there will be few more popular champions.

Humble and grounded, Halep had already showed incredible resolve to win the 2018 Roland Garros title having lost all three of her previous Slam finals.

She further endeared herself by announcing before that Paris final that she “would be okay” if she lost again, as “no-one would have died”.

Halep, 27, is only the second Romanian woman to win a major after Virginia Ruzici claimed the 1978 French Open. Ruzici is now her manager.

Before her 2018 Roland Garros breakthrough, Halep had suffered three agonising defeats when one set from glory at the majors.

She lost the 2014 Roland Garros final to Maria Sharapova and the 2017 championship match in Paris after leading Jelena Ostapenko by a set and 3-0.

Her third came earlier in 2018 against another perennial underachiever on the biggest stage, Caroline Wozniacki, in a marathon match in sweltering conditions at Melbourne Park.

Halep became world number one in August 2017 and her 2018 French Open win over Sloane Stephens made her the first player to win her first Grand Slam title while holding the top ranking.

A huge star in her home country — Halep has appeared on the front cover of Romania’s ‘Elle’ magazine and opened a restaurant called ‘SH’ in her hometown of Constanta, which lies on the Black Sea.

“The fact that I am able to win maybe will give an inspiration also to Romanians, the kids, that it’s possible, even if you come from a little country, it’s possible if you work and if you believe.”

One of the main reasons why Halep had to wait so long to lift a major title was her relative lack of power when compared to the game’s other big stars.

But she has found compensation. “I’m fast, though, no?”

Halep, who Sports Illustrated once described as an ‘anti-diva’, now has $33 million banked from her career.

But she has not been seduced by the glitter of the sports world.

On Saturday, she made a point of thanking her mother for inspiration while light-heartedly winning the hearts of the All England Club.

“My mom said when I was 10 that if I want to do something in tennis I have to play in the final at Wimbledon,” she told Centre Court.

“I had lots of nerves, my stomach wasn’t very well.

She added: “I said at the start of the tournament that one of my motivations was to win and become a lifetime member of the club!”

Her folksy charm has also seduced hardened reporters.

She only follows two people on Twitter — one is former coach Darren Cahill and the other, bizarrely, is three-time world snooker champion Mark Selby.

“I have no idea how you play snooker. But I appreciate him,” said Halep.

“He’s been in Romania a few times. I met him. Also I have a snooker ball signed from him. That’s why I follow him.”

Halep has also expressed a childlike delight in the British royal family, confessing she’s a particular fan of the Duchess of Cambridge.

“Kate’s my favourite,” said Halep as the object of her regal affection looked down from the Royal Box.

But there still remains a steely streak, illustrated by the decision she made 10 years ago to undergo breast reduction surgery.

“It’s the weight that troubles me. My ability to react quickly, my breasts make me uncomfortable when I play,” she once said.

“I didn’t like them in my everyday life, either. I would have gone for surgery even if I hadn’t been a sportswoman.”

[UPDATED] Halep Shocks Serena To Win Wimbledon Title

Romania’s Simona Halep poses with the Venus Rosewater Dish trophy after beating Serena Williams during their women’s singles final clash at Wimbledon, on July 13, 2019.
GLYN KIRK / AFP

 

Simona Halep torpedoed Serena Williams’s latest bid to capture a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam on Saturday when she stormed to a sensational victory in a 56-minute Wimbledon final.

The 27-year-old Romanian captured her second career major with a 6-2, 6-2 victory adding a maiden Wimbledon — the first for her country in both men’s and women’s singles — to her 2018 Roland Garros triumph.

Defeat for 37-year-old Williams, a seven-time Wimbledon champion who won the last of her 23 Slam titles at the 2017 Australian Open, meant her attempt to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record for major wins was put back on ice until at least the US Open.

“My mom said when I was 10 that if I want to do something in tennis I have to play in the final at Wimbledon,” said Halep.

“I had lots of nerves, my stomach wasn’t very well. I have never played a better match.

“I said at the start of the tournament that one of my motivations was to win and become a lifetime member of the club.”

Williams bluntly admitted she had not been at the races against a superior opponent.

“She played out of her mind. I was like a deer in the headlights,” said Williams.

Williams was undone by 26 unforced errors to Halep’s two.

Williams may have kept Halep waiting to go on the court but if she hoped that would upset her opponent it did quite the opposite.

Indeed the Halep fan who burst into song — waving a Romanian scarf from the 2015 Rugby World Cup — singing “We love you Simona, we do!” served to give her the boost to rattle Williams from the start.

A flashing forehand crosscourt set the tone and she broke her in the first game.

She broke again to lead 3-0 — things clearly not going Williams’s way when a Halep shot clipped the net and went over but the American’s shot also clipped the net but failed to go over.

Already 3-0 down after eight minutes, Williams was completely at sea and by the time Halep served to lead 4-0 Williams had won just six points.

She finally got on the board with her next service game but Halep had little trouble in sealing the set which included another remarkable point from the Romanian.

The 27-year-old raced to retrieve an incredible get which sneaked over the net and Williams was only able to put her shot into the net.

Williams — who has let slip opportunities to equal Court’s record in last year’s Wimbledon and US Open finals — appeared to at last get fired up in the first game of the second set.

She let out a long yell at the ground when she won a point on her serve and another on the next point.

However, that was a rare show of her fiery side as Halep broke her to lead 3-2.

Halep rubbed in her superiority to break her again for 5-2 — two powerful serves earlier in the game had Williams saying why was I not able to do this earlier — and took the match and the title with aplomb with the first of her three match points.

She sank to her knees a broad smile on her face before rising to hug Williams.

Her victory also gave Halep’s favoured royal Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, bragging rights over sister-in-law Meghan, Duchess of Sussex — they were sitting beside each other in the Royal Box.

Meghan is a close friend of Williams.

AFP

Federer, Nadal Braced For Wimbledon Epic

 

 

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal battle for a place in the Wimbledon final on Friday, 11 years after they mesmerised Centre Court in a Grand Slam championship match widely regarded as the greatest ever played.

Nadal emerged triumphant that day, winning in five sets in a four-hour 48-minute epic of fluctuating fortunes that stretched out over seven hours because of constant, momentum-shifting rain interruptions.

The Spaniard won 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-7 (8/10), 9-7 as the clock ticked past 9pm and with the famous stadium in near-darkness.

Over a decade later, the sport’s two most successful players now have 38 Grand Slam titles between them and more than $100 million in prize money each.

Nadal, the 2008 and 2010 champion at Wimbledon, has the edge overall, leading his great rival and friend 24-15 and 10-3 at the Slams.

However, it is eight-time champion Federer who just edges their Wimbledon head-to-head 2-1 after winning the 2006 and 2007 finals before Nadal famously broke the spell in 2008.

Nadal, who demolished Federer in straight sets in the semi-finals at Roland Garros last month on his way to a 12th title in Paris, admits his game has developed since 2008.

Mostly, that’s due to his age as well as the desperate need to protect his creaking knees which so often conspired against him on the low-bouncing lawns of the All England Club.

“I am running less so I need to serve better. I probably cannot play 20 weeks a year any more,’ said 33-year-old Nadal.

“I am serving better. I am hitting the backhand better. Maybe volleying better, slicing better.”

In terms of the bare statistics, there is little to choose between them.

Nadal has served up 47 aces so far and been broken just four times; Federer has 42 aces, dropping serve on only three occasions.

The Spanish third seed has yet to face a seeded player and has only been truly tested once, in his four-set second round victory over Nick Kyrgios in what was comfortably the tournament’s most bad-tempered match.

Federer, 37, is the oldest man in the semi-finals of a Slam since 39-year-old Jimmy Connors at the 1991 US Open.

He is in his 13th semi-final at the tournament and 45th at the majors.

In a career illuminated by landmarks, he became the first man to register 100 match wins at a single Slam when he came back from a set down to beat Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals.

‘Rafa can hurt you’

Federer is wary of the dangers presented by Nadal.

His loss in Paris, which took place in what he described as “insane” windy conditions, was his heaviest at the Slams in 11 years.

“Rafa really can hurt anybody on any surface,” said Federer.

“He’s serving way different. I remember back in the day how he used to serve, and now how much bigger he’s serving, how much faster he finishes points.”

The eager anticipation of their 40th clash has relegated defending champion Novak Djokovic’s push for a fifth title to second billing.

The top seed and world number one reached the semi-finals for the ninth time, racking up his 70th career win at the All England Club by sweeping past David Goffin in straight sets, reeling off 15 of the last 17 games.

In his 36th Grand Slam semi-final, the 15-time major winner faces Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut who is in his maiden last-four at the majors at the 27th attempt.

Djokovic leads the 31-year-old 7-3 in career meetings, including 3-0 at the majors.

However, the unheralded Spaniard, who had to cancel plans for his stag party in Ibiza as a consequence of his run to the semi-finals, has defeated Djokovic twice in 2019, in Doha and Miami.

‘Oldest semi-final’

“He’s got amazing consistency,” said Djokovic.

“Very flat from both forehand and backhand. He has improved his backhand. I think he’s got more depth on his backhand.

“The ball bounces lower on the grass, which is I think more suitable to his style of game.”

Should Djokovic win, it would be the 22nd occasion that a Grand Slam final has been contested by two of Djokovic, Federer and Nadal.

For the second straight year, all four of the men’s semi-finalists are aged 30 or over.

This year’s final four have also set the record for the oldest combined age of Grand Slam men’s singles semi-finalists in the Open era.

They have a combined age of 134 years 160 days -– 23 days older than the previous record, which was set at Roland Garros in 1968, when Pancho Gonzales (40), Ken Rosewall (33), Andres Gimeno (30) and Rod Laver (29) had a combined age of 134 years 137 days.

AFP

Calm Before The storm? Halep Stands Between Serena And Court Landmark

Romania’s Simona Halep celebrates beating Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina during their women’s singles semi-final match on day ten of the 2019 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 11, 2019.
Ben STANSALL / POOL / AFP

 

Serena Williams’s place among the legends of tennis is assured but her mission will not be accomplished unless she at least equals Margaret Court’s record haul of 24 Grand Slam singles titles.

The 37-year-old American gets a third chance in a year to go level with the controversial Australian when she plays another former world number one Simona Halep in the Wimbledon final on Saturday.

Aside from the one-on-one rivalry on court, both women have a member of the royal family rooting for them — Williams’s friend Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and Halep favouring Kate, Duchess of Cambridge.

Williams will hope for a happier ending than being out-played both by Angelique Kerber in last year’s Wimbledon final and Naomi Osaka in the US Open final where a spectacular meltdown torpedoed her cause, leading her to eventually consult a therapist.

Williams claimed after her semi-final romp over unseeded Czech Barbora Strycova that the Court landmark is not on her mind.

“I thought about it this morning,” she said.

“I actually didn’t think about it since because it’s really not about 24 or 23 or 25.

“It’s really just about going out there and giving my best effort no matter what.

“No matter what I do, I will always have a great career. I just kind of let it go this morning. I feel really calm about it.”

Her claiming to be calm — she attributes this to digging into her memory and recalling how she felt when she beat sister Venus in 2002 for her first Wimbledon title — will reassure her coach Patrick Mouratoglou.

The 49-year-old Frenchman is more forthright over the reason why Williams has returned to the tour after giving birth to her daughter Olympia.

It is chasing down 76-year-old Court’s landmark set between 1960 and 1973.

‘Stronger mentally’

“That’s why she came back to playing tennis after having a baby and so many medical complications,” he said.

“The effort she’s put in, I’ve never seen something like this.

“You have no idea how hard she worked to come back to that level, and she came back for that, so it will probably mean a lot if she makes it.”

Williams’s campaign has been something of a rollercoaster.

Sublime against Strycova — who had ousted four seeds on her way to the semi-finals — she wobbled badly against compatriot Alison Riske in the previous round.

Calmness was not the adjective to describe her emotions during the Riske match and even she admits her serenity on Thursday could be replaced by a contrasting demeanour come Saturday.

“It’s a day-to-day basis with me,” she said.

“We all know that. I’m far from perfect.”

Halep, the first Romanian woman to play in the Wimbledon final, has the weaponry to upset Williams.

However, she will want her serve to be more reliable than it was in the early stages of her ultimately easy semi-final win over Elina Svitolina.

The 27-year-old has won just one of the four Grand Slam finals in which she has appeared — last year’s French Open.

But she has shown already she can deal with a partisan crowd having beaten 15-year-old Coco Gauff on Monday.

The size of the challenge confronting her is reflected in having won just one of her 10 previous meetings with Williams, although she has regularly taken her to three sets.

“I believe that I have my chance to win against her,” said Halep.

“Of course, I respect a lot what she has done and what she’s doing. But now I feel stronger mentally facing her.

“We will see what is going to happen. It’s just a big challenge for me.”

However, for Halep it is not about being the latest player to deny Williams equalling Court’s landmark.

“I’m desperate to win Wimbledon more than to stop her.”

AFP

Serena Williams’s Seven Wimbledon Titles

 

On Saturday, Serena Williams will try to win an eighth Wimbledon title and record-equalling 24th Grand Slam.

Here is a look at her previous seven victories at the All England Club:

2002 bt Venus Williams (USA) 7-6 (7/4), 6-3

— Serena defeats two-time defending champion and sister Venus to win her first Wimbledon singles title. Serena also claims the world number one ranking for the first time, adding the All England Club crown to her win the previous month at the French Open.

2003 bt Venus Williams (USA) 4-6, 6-3, 6-2

— Serena clinches her second straight Wimbledon crown with victory coming in the wake of her defeat to Justine Henin in the Roland Garros semi-finals.

Venus struggled with an abdominal and thigh injury which affected her serve and movement as the final went on.

“She’s tougher than I ever thought she was,” said Serena.

“I knew she was tough but she’s gone on to a whole different level. To play today knowing she was injured, she’s definitely up there with the real fighters and champions.”

2009 bt Venus Williams 7-6 (7/3), 6-2

— Serena again defeats her sister, the two-time defending champion. It is her third Wimbledon singles title and 11th Grand Slam singles trophy overall. She takes victory after having saved a match point against Elena Dementieva in the semi-finals.

Venus was attempting to become the first player to win the women’s singles title for three consecutive years since Steffi Graf from 1991-1993.

2010 bt Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 6-3, 6-2

— World number one Serena powers past Vera Zvonareva in just 66 minutes to win a fourth Wimbledon, preserving her record of not having dropped a set in the process.

It is her 13th Grand Slam singles title.

2012 bt Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 6-1, 5-7, 6-2

— The 30-year-old American wins a fifth Wimbledon and 14th major, becoming the oldest winner since Martina Navratilova in 1990.

The younger Williams sister draws level with Venus on five titles at the tournament.

Radwanska is the first Polish woman in a Grand Slam final since 1939.

2015 bt Garbine Muguruza (ESP) 6-4, 6-4

— A 21st major for Serena as she adds Wimbledon to her Australian and French Open titles in 2015, completing the ‘Serena Slam’ having also won the US Open in the previous year.

“There was definitely pressure towards the end. Garbine started playing really well and I just had to think to stay out there and work really hard.”

Serena was unable to complete the calendar Grand Slam when she went on to lose in the semi-finals in New York to Roberta Vinci.

2016 bt Angelique Kerber (GER) 7-5, 6-3

— A seventh Wimbledon for the American and 22nd Grand Slam title, equalling Steffi Graf’s Open era record of major titles.

“It makes the victory even sweeter to know how hard I worked hard for it. This court definitely feels like home,” she said.

AFP

Djokovic Enters Ninth Wimbledon Semi-Final

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates beating Belgium’s David Goffin during their men’s singles quarter-final match on day nine of the 2019 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 10, 2019. Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

Four-time champion Novak Djokovic reached the Wimbledon semi-finals for the ninth time on Wednesday with a 6-4, 6-0, 6-2 win over David Goffin of Belgium.

The world number one secured his 70th match win at the tournament and will be playing in his 36th semi-final at the majors.

READ ALSO: FIFA Launches Child Safeguarding Programme

Defending champion Djokovic will face either Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut or Guido Pella of Argentina for a place in Sunday’s final.

AFP

Halep Advances Into Second Wimbledon Semi-Final

Romania’s Simona Halep returns against China’s Shuai Zhang during their women’s singles quarter-final match on day eight of the 2019 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 9, 2019. GLYN KIRK / AFP

 

Simona Halep reached her second Wimbledon semi-final on Tuesday with a 7-6 (7/4), 6-1 victory over China’s Zhang Shuai.

Halep, the seventh-seeded former world number one, will face either Elina Svitolina, the eighth seed from Ukraine, or Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic for a place in the final.

Zhang, bidding to become just the second Chinese woman to reach the semi-finals, led 4-1 in the first set and held four break points for a 5-1 lead.

READ ALSO: Serena Fined $10,000 For Wimbledon Court Damage

“I fought hard in the first set, even if I was down 4-1,” said 27-year-old Halep, a former French Open champion.

“I knew I had to be strong, play aggressive as much as possible and I did it great.

“I have energy, I feel fresh, I feel healthy, I feel confident when I step on the court.”

Romania’s Halep last made the last-four in 2014 when she was beaten by Eugenie Bouchard.

AFP

Serena Fined $10,000 For Wimbledon Court Damage

 

Seven-time champion Serena Williams has been fined $10,000 for damaging one of the All England Club courts with her racquet, officials said Tuesday.

The 37-year-old American was sanctioned for an incident which took place during a practice session before the tournament got underway.

READ ALSO: Tunisia Win On Penalties To End 54-Year Dominance By Ghana

“The code given is for unsportsmanlike behaviour. The reason is court damage,” a spokeswoman told AFP.

Williams is in action twice later Tuesday when she faces fellow American Alison Riske for a place in the semi-finals.

She then returns to Centre Court to partner Britain’s Andy Murray in the mixed doubles.

AFP