At this point I just want Serena Williams to hit Flushing Meadows later in the year and walk away with the crown again there. Serena Slam done. Calendar year slam done. As a tennis fan I get hugely frustrated with how incredibly unbeatable she is, just because everything looks so routine and predictable and it takes away the excitement of the WTA. At 33 years old now, she looks evergreen, seems to shake off those knocks and bangs and just motors along doing her thing. If she does manage to crown a remarkable year by winning all four Slams, then next season things should all be so different. Hopefully.
There’ll be less pressure on her, less intensity because what is there to achieve after what would be 22 Grand Slam titles and winning all four slams in a calendar year? You imagine that if she pulls it out of her hat then she will start winding down her career in 2016. That’s not to say that she wouldn’t be knocking around titles still, but there would probably be less of a need to win because there’s nothing left to prove. Unless of course she wanted to try and win eight or ten Grand Slams on the bounce. You never know with her. No-one would welcome an easing off the gas by Serena more than Maria Sharapova probably.
I was thinking back to find the highlights and the lowlights from Wimbledon 2015 on such a quiet week where only tracking the progress of Anna Karolina Schmiedlova at the Bucharest Open has piqued my interest. I’m not sure if Heather Watson’s loss against Serena Williams at SW19 was a highlight or a lowlight. The performance that the young Brit rolled out was amazing but she should have won the match and the fact that she didn’t was a huge disappointment.
Garbine Muguruza was a huge positive of course. She really came of age and keen eyes will have seen similarities between herself and Williams. I sort of look at Muguruza as a Williams / Sharapova hybrid. The young Spaniard has the height and reach of Sharapova, but with some of that Williams build and power inherent in her. Physical form is a huge positive for Muguruza which can take her far as she matures. A definite highlight.
Another one who initiated mixed feelings was Agnieszka Radwanska. She put together a form-defying run of a semifinal appearance. That was a much needed boost for the Pole back on grass, however her limp service game was destroyed by Muguruza in the final four and confirmed that Radwanska won’t be touching on the heights of winning a Grand Slam in the foreseeable future.
I had had my eyes out on a couple of young rising stars who didn’t quite make the impact that I had hoped at Wimbledon. Karolina Pliskova crashed in the second round against Coco Vandeweghe, who had seen off Schmiedlova in the first round. Forunately Timea Bacsinszky righted all the wrongs of Pliskova and Schmiedlova for me with her quarter final run. Great run from the Swiss player who added to her semi at the French Open, her quarter final effort at Indian Wells and her two titles from three appearances in finals this year. Yes, she’s been that good.
So what was my biggest Wimbledon low from the women’s draw? Well, we come back full circle to Serena Williams. Well, actually, not her -- but she’s involved. Maria Sharapova’s semifinal loss against Williams was infuriating and painful to watch. There’s an old saying that repeating the same behavior over and over again but expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. How Sharapova hasn’t figured out how to change her game plan up against Williams by this point is a mystery. Seventeen defeats in a row now for Sharapova at the hands of Williams. It’s become a dead rubber. My faith in Sharapova probably won’t be restored until Williams departs the scene.