Wimbledon - What we learned from Wimbledon
Eurosport tennis commentator Simon Reed on Federer's win, Murray's tears and the 'greatest women's player of all-time' Serena Williams.
This year's Wimbledon was one of the most enjoyable ever with many different storylines coming out from it.
THE ROOF PLAYED A ROLE IN THE FINAL
If the final went to five sets I was pretty confident that Murray would be able to dig out the victory as I don't think Federer is the greatest when it comes to that type of situation. But the rain came and that changed the dynamic of the match.
To be fair, in some ways Murray had missed his chance before the rain came; he could have gone two sets up but instead it was 1-1, and at that stage you had to leaning a little bit towards Federer. However, I still had it as a 55-45 match to Federer but once it went indoors it immediately flipped to around an 80-20 advantage.
There is no doubt that Federer is the greatest indoor player of all-time. He just loves it: no wind, no sun, perfect conditions — he can hear the ball on the racket which just emphasises the crispness of his strokes.
FEDERER'S OLYMPIC AMBITIONS ALSO HELPED HIM
I was really impressed with how Federer closed out the match — it did not seem like nerves affected him at all. A reason for this might be that Federer has actually targeted Olympic gold as his number one goal this year. When the pressure started to mount for Federer in the third and fourth sets against Murray, I don't think he felt it as intensely as he might have done if he did not have the prospect of the Olympics back at Wimbledon three weeks later.
ROSOL'S WIN OVER NADAL ALMOST SEEMED LIKE A JOKE
I did not see Lukas Rosol's victory over Rafael Nadal live as I was commentating on another match at the time but I asked Tim Henman what had happened and he described it as a "joke". When I watched it back later, that is exactly what it seemed like. I literally could not believe what I was seeing, particularly in the third set, when Rosol just played ridiculous shot after ridiculous shot.
Rosol was ranked 100th in the world when he faced Rafa, but on that day he could have beaten any player in the history of tennis.
I picked Federer to win the tournament because I felt Rafa would be picked off by someone before the final by not playing particularly well, but this was not what happened at all. Nadal actually played quite well it was just that Rosol played unbelievable tennis; everything he touched turned to gold, it was winner after winner after winner. Rafa just had to shake his head and take it on the chin and, credit to him, he did just that in typical Rafa style, but it was a joke really; it was freaky.
THE ROOF, WHILE NOT PERFECT, IS A GOOD THING
The roof was used so much this tournament that it became a big story in itself. Wimbledon is an outdoor tournament but so many of the big matches seemed to finish under the roof. Obviously that's not ideal but the atmosphere is so good indoors on Centre Court — you could almost call it unique to the sport.
The All-England club certainly have some soul searching to do when it comes to how they should react to the rain. On the first Friday they overreacted and all the matches were played indoors when it hadn't rained at all and, after that, they went the other way and were not closing the roof when they should have done. Those are things that will get ironed out though and hopefully they won't have to use it as much in the future either.
THE WOMEN'S EVENT WAS ALL ABOUT SERENA
Serena was certainly the story of the women's event. She had amazing battles early in the tournament against Jie Zheng and Yaroslava Shvedova but then when things got tougher she just got better and better. Petra Kvitova in the quarter finals should have been a tough match but it wasn't. Serena just powered through, it was similar against Victoria Azarenka in the semi-final and while Agnieszka Radwanska gave a good account of herself in the final, you just can't handle Serena when she is performing like that.
SERENA IS THE BEST PLAYER OF ALL-TIME
For me, this tournament shows that Serena is the best player of all-time. That serve is unplayable and she has taken tennis to a completely different dimension. I know it is difficult to compare players from different eras, but if you watch Serena and then go back and look at the great players from the past, I'm afraid you are watching a different sport.
Is being the best player of all-time entirely about longevity? I don't think it is. We say Federer is the best men's player of all-time, not just because he has won 17 Grand Slam titles, but because of the way he has done it.
With Serena, if she had a bit more focus (admittedly a flaw), she could have easily won 20 Grand Slams, and if she keeps carrying on she may well do that anyway.
MURRAY WON OVER FANS JUST BY BEING HIMSELF
The way Murray handled himself at Wimbledon saw him win over a lot of critics both inside and outside of tennis. I was actually surprised at how much was made of his speech afterwards because he did something similar at the Australian Open two years ago, but I suppose the same size audience didn't see it. I think people understand him a little bit more now though and that should help.
IT IS HARD TO PREDICT WHAT SORT OF IMPACT THE EVENT WILL HAVE ON ANDY
Murray got to the final, he played well, his victory over Tsonga was very impressive but he did not have to play Rafa in the semi-finals and, if he did, he probably wouldn't have made the final. The event just reinforced what a good player he is and that he is at his highest ever level — although he played as well in Australia. He has just been born in the wrong era, really. One of the most impressive things about Murray is how well he has come back from defeats in Grand Slam finals. In the past though, he has often said 'I've to work harder,' but he has not said that on this occasion. It is not about work, I don't think he can do any more, he may just be slightly less gifted than these other guys.
WE HAVE TO ACCEPT ANDY MAY NEVER WIN A GRAND SLAM
Perhaps there is a small issue when it comes to belief with Andy, but I don't think it is a major issue. It may be that he goes through his career without a Grand Slam and, to be honest, everyone in the UK who has any sort of humanity would say that would be a real shame because if that happened he would go down clearly as the best player never to win a Grand Slam. We don't know how long he can keep going on with the same intensity when he keeps getting slugged in the stomach like this.
BUT HE CAN LEARN FROM HIS COACH
Andy's coach Ivan Lendl also had a 0-4 record in Grand Slam finals before going on to win eight. Lendl had a pretty vicious streak to him and, while Murray is a tough nut, another three per cent of nastiness around matches might help him finally make the breakthrough. I sincerely hope he gets that Slam, but with each successive defeat and each successive year, the big question will be how many knocks can his confidence take before it finally goes.