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Ten things we learned from Wimbledon 2013

by Dan Imhoff
Monday 8 July 2013

From the very first Monday to the very last Sunday, The Championships 2013 were quite unlike any other. Here are 10 things that Wimbledon.com will remember...

1. Murray becomes the first British man to win Wimbledon in shorts
The long, long wait is over. There was collective disbelief, shock and awe as Great Britain toasted their first home champion since the long-trouser-wearing Fred Perry 77 years ago. “He’s someone I’ve never met, but he’s quite relevant to my career,” Murray said of Perry after ending the drought. On a day when the thermometer hovered around 30 and the pressure of playing another Wimbledon final before a raucous home crowd probably made it feel closer to 50 degrees, the Scot withstood a last-minute fightback to gets his hands on the golden cup.

2. It’s no longer a given Djokovic will win a set
It’s just over three years since Novak Djokovic last lost a Grand Slam match in straight sets. That was in the semi-finals at Wimbledon 2010 and his conqueror on that day was Czech Tomas Berdych. He had taken at least a set in his past 80 Grand Slam matches and his loss to Murray in the 2013 final marked the first time the Serbian No.1 had lost a slam final in straight sets.

3. Federer and Nadal no longer a shoe-in
The chances of ever seeing a Roger Federer v Rafael Nadal final at Wimbledon let alone at any of the other Slams now looks slim. The big four in the men’s game have reached the business end of the majors with such regularity in recent years there is an expectancy they will be there when it counts. When the Spaniard exited at the first hurdle to unheralded Belgian Steve Darcis and Federer was humbled one round later by Sergiy Stakhovsky, pundits rightly began to question whether the great Federer-Nadal era was over.

4. Del Potro a force to be reckoned with again at the Slams
The big Argentine won a new legion of fans after his semi-final heroics in pushing Djokovic to five sets in the longest Wimbledon semi-final ever played. As a talented big-swinging 20-year-old he stunned Nadal and Federer at the 2009 US Open final before wrist surgery derailed his rise. This was his first outing at the semi-final level since then and his first beyond the fourth round on the grass. "What I experienced in there (on Centre Court) was special, it had been a long time since I had played like that," he said.

5. Bryan brothers find a rare record they hadn’t broken
The Bryan twins’ third Wimbledon doubles crown took on extra significance as they became the first pair to complete a non-calendar-year Golden Grand Slam in the Open era (holding all four majors and Olympic gold simultaneously). "I didn't think anything could feel as sweet as the gold medal, but this one just feels like there's a cap, a lid, or a ribbon around our career,” Mike Bryan said.

6. Bernard Tomic’s loss was Marion Bartoli’s gain
Until five weeks ago, most people wouldn’t have known who Thomas Drouet was. But after the former hitting partner for Bernard Tomic was allegedly assaulted by Bernie’s dad, John, outside a Madrid hotel, the Frenchman made the improbable switch to Marion Bartoil’s camp. He is now part of a Wimbledon champion’s campaign, having helped Amelie Mauresmo guide Bartoli to her first Grand Slam title at 28. “Now I can say thankyou to John,” he tweeted after Bartoli’s breakthrough.

7. Lisicki’s a sweet smiling, sobbing assassin
After upending defending champion Serena Williams, it was the fourth time big-hitting Sabine Lisicki had triumphed over a reigning French Open champion. It marked her fourth stand in the last eight in as many appearances and the ever-smiling giant killer of this year’s Championships thumped her way through to become the first German since seven-time champion Steffi Graf in 1999 to reach the decider. Unfortunately she couldn’t hold back the tears during the match and sobbed during her runners-up speech as she gracefully acknowledged she was overwhelmed by the occasion.

8. Grass needs time to prepare for
On 'Wacky, Wild and Weird Wednesday', with players withdrawing left, right and centre after taking tumbles of aggravating existing injuries, it became even more clear that there is not enough time between the French Open and Wimbledon - not just to get over existing injuries, but also to adequately prepare for grass. And not just practice on it, compete on it too. 

9. Poland’s picking up where Russia left off
It was the first time in 13 years no Russian woman made it through to the fourth round of a Grand Slam. Eight started the fortnight, with five seeded ,but it was Poland who had cause to raise their vodka glasses as an emerging force in the second week, with women’s No.4 Agnieszka Radwanska reaching the semi-finals and their two unlikely quarter-finalists – Jerzy Janowicz and Lukasz Kubot – squaring off in Federer and Nadal’s absence. It was the 22-year-old firebrand Janowicz who signaled his intentions as a name for the future when he became Poland’s first men’s Grand Slam semi-finalist.

10. American men are floundering
Those under the star-spangled banner became so accustomed to seeing Andy Roddick making the second week at Wimbledon that it left a gaping void when he retired last year. This year’s Championships marked the first time no U.S. man reached the third round here since 1912, when none entered the draw. Their two towering seeds had it tough. John Isner, the 18th seed, was on court just 15 minutes before he had to call it quits with a right knee injury against Adrian Mannarino in the second round, while 21st seed Sam Querrey went down in five to Australian Bernard Tomic first up.

Catch up with everything that happened at Wimbledon 2013


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20:24...But boy, it was a barrow-load of fun. I hope you enjoyed it even half as much as we did. Thank you for all your messages throughout, you've been the glue holding us together as the edges frayed amid the madness. Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for us Brits to raise a toast to Andy Murray and Fred Perry. British sporting legends both.

20:19It was the wackiest of Wimbledons with the most unlikely of headline-makers: Sergiy Stakhovsky, Steve Darcis, Michelle Larcher de Brito, Kimiko-Date Krumm, Jerzy Janowicz, Sabine Lisicki, Marion Bartoli...

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