Roger Federer told Marin Cilic he was a “hero” during the Wimbledon final trophy ceremony on Sunday, and there were plenty of those at the All England Club this past fortnight.
From Federer’s record-breaking triumph, to Garbine Muguruza’s statement victory for Spain, to Claire Liu’s success in the first all-Asian-American girls’ singles final… the list of heroes at Wimbledon 2017 is a long one.
A full house watched Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid claim the men’s wheelchair doubles trophy on Court No. 3 in nearly three hours, while Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo survived a 4hr 39min marathon against Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic.
Here we give a shout-out to everyone who shone, in one way or another, at this year’s Wimbledon…
He came into the tournament as the favourite, skipped the clay season to maximise his chances of winning at Wimbledon, and walked away with an eighth title at SW19 (a record in men’s singles), and 19th Grand Slam trophy.
She lost 6-1, 6-0 to Barbora Strycova in Eastbourne a few days before the tournament started, and didn’t have her coach Sam Sumyk with her due to family reasons, but had an ultimate trump card in the form of 1994 champion Conchita Martinez. After leaving Paris in tears last month, it was impressive to see Muguruza storm back that way.
MARCELO MELO AND LUKASZ KUBOT
Battling for four hours and 39 minutes, the Brazilian/Polish duo claimed their first Wimbledon doubles title – both as a pair and individually – with a 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (2), 3-6, 13-11 win over Marach/Pavic. Completing the victory under the lights and roof of Wimbledon Centre Court, Melo and Kubot’s celebrations were a tournament highlight, particularly the latter’s Can Can dance.
With a double bagel in 55 minutes, Vesnina and Makarova claimed their first Wimbledon doubles crown – and third major in total – in stunning fashion. It was just the second double bagel in a women’s doubles final in history, and first since 1953.
JAMIE MURRAY AND MARTINA HINGIS
Twenty years after she won her Wimbledon singles title, Hingis claimed a 23rd Grand Slam trophy (across singles, doubles, mixed doubles), this time alongside Jamie Murray. They beat defending champions Heather Watson and Henri Kontinen 6-4, 6-4. It was Murray’s second mixed title at Wimbledon, 10 years after he won his first alongside Jelena Jankovic.
Liu became the first American to win a girls’ singles title at Wimbledon since Chanda Rubin in 1992 and her emotional reaction after defeating Ann Li 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 was incredibly moving. It was also the first All-American junior final at Wimbledon since 1979.
A Spaniard against an Argentine is not necessarily what you’d expect in a Wimbledon junior final. But Davidovich Fokina and Axel Geller produced some great tennis throughout the week before the former claimed a 7-6(2), 6-3 win in the final. Davidovich Fokina is the first Spanish boys’ singles champion in 50 years.
After exiting from the opening rounds at the Australian Open and Roland Garros this year, the 20-year-old Dutchwoman claimed her first Grand Slam title with a 6-0, 6-4 result over Germany’s Sabine Ellerbrock. She lost the doubles final alongside Marjolein Buis.
The 30-year-old Swede won his first Wimbledon wheelchair singles title with a 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 success over new world No1 Gustavo Fernandez. The 2012 Paralympic gold medalist was down by a break in each set but survived the big-hitting Argentine to claim his first Grand Slam trophy in his third final.
The British-Japanese duo claimed their fourth consecutive Wimbledon doubles title together with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 over Dutch pair Marjolein Buis and Diede de Groot. Whiley and Kamiji completed the Grand Slam by winning all four majors as a team in 2014 and are an unstoppable force in wheelchair doubles tennis.
ALFIE HEWETT AND GORDON REID
The British pair claimed the men’s wheelchair doubles title with a near three-hour 6-7(5), 7-5, 7-6(3) upset victory over French team Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer. It was their second Wimbledon title as a duo.
The Croatian played some sensational tennis en route to the final, backing what had been his most consistent clay season to date. He was undone by a foot blister in the end and wasn’t able to test Federer in a lacklustre final but we can’t forget what he did in the entire grass swing. It’s a heartbreaking end for him at Wimbledon, but if he handles the aftermath well, he’s a real contender at the US Open, where he won in 2014.
At 37 years old, Venus pretty much breaks a record every time she steps on the court. But her accomplishments are well beyond her age. Her victims at Wimbledon were: Elise Mertens, Wang Qiang, Naomi Osaka, Ana Konjuh, Jelena Ostapenko and Johanna Konta before she fell to Muguruza. That is one impressive list. She played her second Slam final in 2017 and is back in the world’s top-10. We’re not sure how much longer she’ll continue to spoil us but we’ll take what we can get.
IVAN LJUBICIC AND JONAS BJORKMAN
The respective coaches of Roger Federer and Marin Cilic deserve a shout-out. Since Ljubicic joined Team Federer – coaching him alongside Severin Luthi – the Swiss has gone on to win two Grand Slams and return to what looks to be his best form. Many believe Ljubicic had a lot to do with Federer’s improved backhand, which has been devastating opponents all season.
Meanwhile, Bjorkman has formed a successful partnership with Cilic, who is now knocking on the door of the top five and has found his way back to the Grand Slam finals.
He may not have defended his Wimbledon title but Murray still made headlines for standing up to casual sexism – he corrected a journalist’s stat that ignored the achievements of American women – and also stating that the All England Club’s scheduling is unfair to the ladies. Always a class act!
The Spaniard did a tremendous job helping guide Muguruza to the title, in the absence of Sam Sumyk, Muguruza’s full-time coach. Martinez was the only Spanish woman to ever win Wimbledon prior to this year’s tournament. She helped rebuild Muguruza’s confidence and introduced a sense of calm to the big-hitting Spaniard.
With Anabel Medina coaching Jelena Ostapenko to the French Open title last month, and now Martinez’s success with Muguruza, looks like whoever wants to win the US Open should get their hands on a Spanish female coach stat!
Roger Federer admitted Sunday that he never thought he'd be a record eight-time Wimbledon champion and would even have laughed if he was told he'd win two majors in 2017.
The Swiss star, who will turn 36 in three weeks' time, eased past the mark of seven All England Club titles he had shared with Pete Sampras since 2012 with a 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 win over injury-hit Marin Cilic in the final.
It was 16 years ago when Federer famously defeated Sampras at Wimbledon to announce himself as a star in the making.
However, it wasn't until 2003 that he captured his first All England Club title. Now he has 19 majors, four clear of closest rival Rafael Nadal on the all-time list.
"I didn't think I was going to be this successful after beating Pete here," said Federer who also won a fifth Australian Open in January.
"I hoped to have a chance maybe one day to be in a Wimbledon final and have a chance to win the tournament. Winning eight is not something you can ever aim for. If you do, you must have so much talent and parents and the coaches that push you from the age of three on, who think you're like a project. I was not that kid."
Federer had been written off as a faded force when he was knocked out of Wimbledon in the semi-finals by Milos Raonic last year.
He immediately shut down his season to rest a knee injury, a decision which meant that for the first time in his professional career he would go through an entire campaign without adding to his trophy haul. But his Australian Open triumph led to back-to-back Masters at Indian Wells and Miami before he skipped the clay court season.
A ninth Halle grass court title followed and on Sunday his record triumph in south-west London took his career trophy collection to a staggering 93.
Sunday's straight-sets cruise meant he was the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1976 to win the title without dropping a set.
He is also the oldest Wimbledon men's champion of the modern era.
"I'm incredibly surprised how well this year is going, how well I'm feeling, how I'm managing tougher situations, where my level of play is on a daily basis," added Federer.
"I am surprised that it's this good. I knew I could do great again maybe one day, but not at this level. So I guess you would have laughed, too, if I told you I was going to win two slams this year. People wouldn't believe me if I said that. I also didn't believe that I was going to win two this year."
Federer also insisted he fully intends to defend his Wimbledon title in 2018 despite delivering what many fans fear sounded like a farewell speech to Centre Court.
"We never know what happens," said the Swiss star, who had told the crowd in his victory speech: "I hope to be back, I hope this wasn't my last match".
He later clarified his remarks, telling reporters: "Honestly, ever since I had the year I had last year, I think a year ahead of time, you know, with my schedule, fitness schedule, tournaments I would like to play. So I totally see myself playing here this time next year.
"There's never a guarantee, especially not at 35, 36. But the goal is definitely to be here again next year to try and defend."