The world’s oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament concluded its 2023 championship yesterday with some of the most record-breaking moments in tennis history.
Carlos Alcaraz, a 20-year-old Spanish player defeated tennis legend Novak Djokovic’s years-long reign at the grass-court by capturing a thrilling five-set win. Alcaraz claimed his maiden Wimbledon title in a thrilling five-set match, rallying back from losing the first set and saving a set point in the second. After four hours and 42 minutes on Centre Court, Alcaraz emerged victorious with a 1-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 triumph.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 16, 2023
Entering Sunday’s Wimbledon final, the 36-year-old Djokovic had not lost a match on Centre Court since 2013. With his Tour-leading 47th win of the season, he became just the fifth man in the Open Era (since 1968) to win multiple major titles before turning 21.
Earlier in June, Alcaraz and Djokovic faced off in the French Open semi-finals which ended in Djokovic’s win, when the Spaniard fell apart after suffering stress-related cramps.
This victory marks a significant milestone for Alcaraz, as he becomes the first player outside the famed “big four” of Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Andy Murray to clinch the men’s singles title since 2002. He also became the third-youngest player to win the Wimbledon title and the third from Spain, after Rafael Nadal and Manuel Santana (1966 – pre-Open era). Boris Becker holds the all-time record for being the youngest though, emerging champion at the All England’s Club at the age of 17 years, 7 months, and 15 days.
The result has also sparked speculation over the start of a generational shift, with 36-year-old Djokovic carrying the torch of the ‘Big Three’ now that Roger Federer has retired and Rafael Nadal suffers from a hip injury, perhaps permanent.
In the women’s championships, Markéta Vondroušová of the Czech Republic became the first unseeded player to win a Wimbledon women’s singles title in Open Era. In tennis and badminton competitions, an unseeded player is someone who has not been ranked among the top 16 players by the competition’s organizers. Vondroušová won the title in an unbranded kit with only the logos of her sponsors – Nike, her long-time sponsor brutally dropped her last year after she underwent wrist surgery and skipped last year’s Championships because she was in a cast.
It was another historic day for the UK, as 17-year-old Henry Searle ended Britain’s 61-year wait for a boys’ singles champion at Wimbledon with a dominant victory over Russian Yaroslav Demin.
The nail-biting Wimbledon championships have been a significant sports event since its inauguration in 1877, bringing together stars and fans from all around the world. Although tennis in general is not too popular in cricket-dominated India, The All-England Club, home to the annual championships at Wimbledon is coveting higher viewership for the championships and the sport in the country. Last weekend, Wimbledon hosted a two-day event at the St. Regis in Mumbai centred around the men’s and women’s finals, featuring stars such as doubles great Leander Paes and Ankita Raina, and actors from Bollywood and industry titans.