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Jun 27

The Championships, Wimbledon 2013: A tournament of upsets and injuries

London, England: The Wimbledon Championships had taken off well and things were going as expected, as per the prediction of tennis experts. But this period of correct predictions was short-lived, ending on the first day itself. The first upset was witnessed in the first round, in the form of Nadal’s loss to Darcis. From that point onward, the tournament took a completely new direction as round 2 saw many other upsets with several key players either losing or pulling out. The predicted draws have completely gone for a toss, and many fans will have to resort to supporting players other than their favorites.

THE INJURIES

The third day of Wimbledon has been dubbed the ‘wounded Wednesday’, thanks to many players having to pull out of the tournament because of injuries. Overall, 7 players had to withdraw in the second round owing to injuries.

Steve Darcis, who recently shot to fame after his first-round conquest over Rafael Nadal, became the victim of a shoulder injury and had to pull out of the second round. Czech player Radek Stepanek had to withdraw after playing one set against Jerzy Janowicz, owing to a thigh injury.

Frenchman Tsonga had to bow out due to injury

No.6 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who had won his first round match comfortably, seemed to be poised to win his second-round match with ease as he clinched the first set against E.Gulbis 6-3. But what he didn’t foresee is that he was susceptible to a knee injury, which struck him soon in the second set. Subsequently, he lost the 2nd and the 3rd set 3-6 3-6, before he couldn’t hold any longer and his injury forced him to call it quits, thus giving E.Gulbis an easy entry into the third round.

Victoria Azarenka, the second-seeded Belarusian, also pulled out in the second round as she was unable to recover from her knee injury which she suffered in her first-round victory over Maria Joao Koehler, thus giving Flavia Penetta a walkover into the third round.

Azarenka was not on the same page as the Wimbledon officials

“The court was not in a good condition,” Azarenka said. “My opponent fell twice and I fell badly on there. So did a lot of people after. I don’t know if it’s right or what. I can’t figure it out. It would be great if someone from the All England Club exams it and tries to find the issue, to see what happened. There’s nothing I’ve done wrong.” Tournament officials denied this speculation claiming that the courts were prepared the same way as they’re done every year.

Other players to exit the tournament with injuries being the reason include John Isner, who was suffering from a knee injury through the 15 minutes that he played before his withdrawal, Marin Cilic, who had knee problems, and Yaroslava Shvedova, suffering from an arm injury, thus giving their respective second-round opponents Adrian Mannarino, Kenny De Schepper and Petra Kvivtova an easy entry into the third round.

THE UPSETS

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Sharapova too was critical of the condition of the courts.

The injuries are just one side of the story of this year’s highly whimsical Wimbledon tournament. To add to the unpredictability, as if Nadal’s loss wasn’t enough, there’s more which was witnessed in the second round.

Maria Sharapova, the third-seeded Russian, went crashing down against Portuguese player Michelle Larcher de Brito 6-3 6-4. She wasn’t able to play her best game, and on losing, complained to the umpire that the court was ‘dangerous’, later being supported by Azarenka. Sharapova had earlier been involved in a verbal feud with Serena Williams, and it was certain that their face-to-face clash would have been one match to watch out for. But with Sharapova’s loss in the second round, fans have been left devastated.

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Roger Federer: End of an era?

But perhaps the biggest upset of this tournament has come in the form of 7-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer’s loss to World No. 116 Sergiy Stakhovsky in the second round. The match got over within 4 sets with Stakhovsky playing exceptionally well to defeat Federer 6-7 (5) 7-6 (5) 7-5 7-6 (5) in exactly 3 hours. Federer clearly seemed to be very frustrated during the course of the match, while Stakhovsky maintained his composure and played some exceptional shots to steer the match in his favor. This marked an end to the defending champion’s run of 36 consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final appearances and his earliest defeat at Wimbledon since 2002.

 

This year’s Wimbledon is way too much different than the previous few years’ editions, and with several high-ranked players having made an exit from the tournament, it is impossible to predict the outcome of future matches. Nonetheless, many new players have got a chance to prove their mettle and win the championship. Though formidable players like Djokovic, Murray, Williams and Radwanska still are a part of the tournament, nothing can be predicted going by what chanced in the first three days of play!

This edition of The Championships, Wimbledon is definitely something which cannot be missed. Watch out!

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Aniket Samant

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