An Epic Wimbledon Final Gives Way to Great Future
Editorials News | Jul-23-2019
On Sunday night, Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic was placed on the central court after beating Roger Federer and made it clear that his long-term plan was to continue improving and increasing his legacy.
On Monday afternoon, Richard Lewis, executive director of the tournament, stood in front of an aerial photograph and made it clear that Wimbledon had a similar long-term plan of his own.
The All England Club, which owns and operates the oldest Grand Slam tennis tournament, continues to expand. The most visible addition this year was the retractable roof in Court No. 1, which gives Wimbledon a weatherproof complement to the Central Court, which was equipped with a roof in 2009.
But those projects have been small compared to what comes next, while Wimbledon prepares to expand across Church Road.
In December, the club completed an early purchase of the Wimbledon Park Golf Club lease, which will almost triple the footprint of the All England Club to approximately 120 acres of 42.
"It's a great opportunity and it's wonderful to be able to talk about 'Will we have too much space?'" Lewis said.
The club will take possession of most of the new lands in December 2021, and the rest probably in 2022 or 2023. Detailed plans are still being formulated options are still being discussed. Will they dig tunnels under Church Road to join the two sections of Wimbledon? Will the road close during the tournament?
But what is clear is that a lot of grass courts will be built on the new site, which will allow the club to organize the qualifying tournament in Wimbledon instead of at its current site about four miles away in Roehampton. That could happen in time for the 2024 tournament.
Djokovic will be 37 then, the same age Federer was on Sunday when he pushed Djokovic to the brink of defeat but failed to convert two match points in the fifth set. The tiebreaker in the fifth set at 12, all new at Wimbledon this year, was instituted to avoid ultramarathon games that can wreak havoc on the calendar and on the players' resilience. Lewis said that when Wimbledon opted last fall to introduce the tiebreaker in the final set, there was a serious debate over whether the finals should be exceptions. But the tournament leadership chose to maintain consistency in all matches.
Lewis also said he was glad that Wimbledon had decided not to take the conventional path and go to a final tiebreaker in 6-6. "I must admit that I was standing there at 6, all next to the court, and I thought there were a lot of loads left in this game, and I am very happy that we are not doing it now," Lewis said. "I think 12-everything takes time to get used to, but I felt that the level of tennis was incredibly good, and one of the factors was that Roger and Novak didn't have to worry about walking on their own." They knew there was a finish line. "
It is remarkable that Djokovic could fight against a Federer inspired by 4 hours and 57 minutes, and also that Federer is still so inspired by this last stage of his career. "I hope to give other people the opportunity to believe that at 37 he has not finished yet," Federer said during the awards ceremony.
Djokovic was watching silently from the other side of the center court, with the champion's trophy in his hands, while Federer answered the BBC's Sue Barker questions. When it was Djokovic's turn, he sent a clear message.
"Roger said he hopes to give other people the chance to believe they can do it at 37," Djokovic said. "I am one of them."
It would be a turn of the golden era if Federer's ability to challenge the main trophies is what gives Djokovic the belief that he can eventually break Federer's records of 20 individual Grand Slam titles and 310 weeks total in number one.
But that scenario seems more and more likely with Djokovic re-establishing himself as the best player of great games of the sport after the fall of two years between winning his first French Open title in 2016 and his Wimbledon victory in 2018.
For now, he has 16 great singles titles and has spent 260 weeks in first place. It will remain No. 1 in the US Open, the next Grand Slam tournament, which will begin at the end of August.
"I am not really considering age as a restriction of any kind, at least for me," said Djokovic, the current US Open champion. “It depends not only on myself. It depends on the circumstances of life. I am not just a tennis player. I am father and husband. You have to balance things. Obviously, you need to have the right circumstances, the right support, for things to develop in the right way. "
By: Preeti Narula
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