Winnipeg Free Press Newspaper Archives Jul 13 2015, Page 22

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Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - July 13, 2015, Winnipeg, Manitoba C M Y K PAGE C4 C 4 WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, MONDAY, JULY 13, 2015 WIMBLEDON winnipegfreepress. com LONDON — Before Serena Williams moves on from completing a second “ Serena Slam” to pursuing tennis’s first true Grand Slam in more than a quarter- century, it’s worth pausing to appreciate what she’s done. First of all, there are the statistics. And what statistics they are: . She’s won 21 Grand Slam titles; only Steffi Graf, with 22, has more in the Open era of professional tennis ( the alltime record is Margaret Court’s 24). . Her 6- 4, 6- 4 victory over Garbine Muguruza in Saturday’s final gave Williams six Wimbledon titles; only Martina Navratilova ( with nine) and Graf ( with seven) have more. Williams also has a half- dozen trophies each from the U. S. Open and Australian Open, along with three from the French Open. . She’s won 28 Grand Slam matches in a row and four consecutive major titles over two seasons, something last done by — guess who? — Williams in 2002- 03, when she coined the term “ Serena Slam.” . At 33, she is the oldest woman to win a major title in the Open era, nearly a month older than Navratilova was at Wimbledon in 1990. It’s all impressive. And it all helps Williams believe she can continue this remarkable run at the U. S. Open, which begins in late August in New York. A trophy there would give Williams a calendar- year Grand Slam, which no one — not even Roger Federer — has accomplished in tennis since Graf did it in 1988. Only two other women ( Maureen Connolly in 1953, and Court in 1970) and two men ( Don Budge in 1938, and Rod Laver in 1962 and 1969) have pulled off the feat, and none of them had to deal with the intense media scrutiny of this day and age. “ I feel like I’ll be OK. I feel like if I can do the ‘ Serena Slam,’ I will be OK heading into the Grand Slam. Like I always say, ‘ There’s 127 other people that don’t want to see me win.’ Nothing personal, they just want to win,” Williams said, referring to the size of the field at a major tournament. “ I had a really tough draw ( at Wimbledon). This gives me confidence that if I had this draw, I can do it again. I’ll just do the best I can.” Her best is the best there is, and might ever have been. But her story is about so much more than the numbers associated with her greatness. There’s the resilience she’s shown away from the court, too, dealing with various injuries, none more worrisome than what happened in the aftermath of her 2010 Wimbledon championship. A few days following that final, Williams cut both feet on broken glass while leaving a restaurant in Germany. She needed two operations on her right foot. Then she got blood clots in her lungs, and needed to inject herself with a blood thinner. Those shots led to a pool of blood gathering under her stomach’s skin, requiring another procedure in the hospital. She would be off the tour for 10 months, and go two years between major titles. Since then, though, she has won eight of the past 13 Grand Slam tournaments. On Saturday evening, hours after admiring the gold letters of her name on the board in a hallway of the Centre Court building listing Wimbledon’s champions, Williams sat with a small group of reporters for one final interview. As she picked at the remnants of ankle tape near a jagged scar on her lower right leg, Williams was asked whether, as she looks back on her career, she divides it into phases. She began to answer, then paused and said: “ Or there was that stage where I was in the hospital. Like, that wasn’t so fun. I was doing really well, and then I ended up in the hospital. So that was kind of devastating. But ultimately, I think that stage set up this stage, you know? And... yeah, I think it worked out for me.” Certainly did. — The Associated Press LONDON — Martina Hingis keeps adding to her collection of Wimbledon trophies. The 34- year- old Swiss paired with Leander Paes of India on Sunday to win the mixed doubles title, beating Alexander Peya and Timea Babos 6- 1, 6- 1 under the roof on Centre Court. The 40- minute win gave Hingis her 11th Grand Slam doubles title and second in two days, after she combined with India’s Sania Mirza to win the women’s doubles on Saturday, coming from 5- 2 down in the final set to beat Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina 5- 7, 7- 6 ( 4), 7- 5. Hingis became the first player to win both the women’s and mixed doubles titles at the All England Club since Cara Black in 2004. These are the first titles at Wimbledon for Hingis since she won the women’s doubles in 1998. She also won the singles championship in 1997 and the women’s doubles in 1996. “ It feels like it’s a lifetime away,” Hingis said. “ The one yesterday, obviously after 17 years last time here, the match, also the way we won it, was so much drama, coming back from 5- 2 down. “ Today, I think the confidence that it gave me yesterday, to come out today with Leander, he was striking the ball, winners right and left. It was incredible, the chemistry we had today.” Hingis, who reached No. 1 in the rankings and won five Grand Slam singles titles in the 1990s, initially quit tennis in 2002 because of foot and leg injuries, then rejoined the circuit full time in 2006. She announced her retirement again in 2007, when she was given a two- year suspension for testing positive for cocaine at Wimbledon. At the time, she denied taking the drug but did not appeal the ruling. Hingis and Paes also won the mixed doubles title at the Australian Open this year. Sunday’s win gave Paes 16 Grand Slam doubles titles, eight of them in mixed. “ It’s hard to really say which one is the best one out of all of them,” he said. “ But coming out and playing like that on one of the most prestigious courts that we’ve grown up with, and winning a title like that, again for the second time in a Grand Slam without losing a set, that is really special.” In 2003, Paes won the mixed doubles at Wimbledon with another Martina — Navratilova. Hingis was named after Navratilova. “ You can’t compare the two,” Paes said. “ They’re just two great legends of the game. In 2003, with Navratilova, and 2015 with Martina Hingis, to be able to be on the court with great champions like this, it’s something really special.” It was a truly special weekend for India, with Mirza and Paes securing Grand Slam titles on consecutive days on the biggest stage in the game. “ That’s the beautiful thing about India,” Paes said. “ We’re a big country with so many different cultures, religions, community, people from all different walks of life. To me that’s what India stands for.” — The Associated Press L ONDON — A game away from a third Wimbledon championship and ninth Grand Slam title, Novak Djokovic sized up a 174- km/ h serve from none other than Roger Federer and stretched to smack a cross- court forehand return winner. Two points later, Djokovic again took the measure of a serve from Federer, this one at 198 km/ h, and delivered a down- the- line backhand for another return winner. After this one, Djokovic bellowed. “ I roared because I felt like that’s the moment,” Djokovic would say later. “ Now is the time for me to close this match out.” One forehand winner later, he did. For the second year in a row, Djokovic solved Federer’s superb serve in the final at the All England Club. And for the second year in a row, Federer’s bid for a record eighth championship at the grass- court tournament ended with a defeat against Djokovic. This time, the match was even as can be through two sets, before the No. 1- seeded Djokovic grabbed ahold of it and wouldn’t let go, beating No. 2 Federer 7- 6 ( 1), 6- 7 ( 10), 6- 4, 6- 3 Sunday thanks to some brilliant returning. “ It feels, obviously, good when you make a return winner out of Roger’s serve on the grass,” Djokovic said, “ but it doesn’t happen too often.” Over the past three seasons, Federer has reached two Grand Slam finals — both at Wimbledon, both against Djokovic, both losses. “ You sort of walk away empty- handed. For me, a finalist trophy is not the same,” a grim- faced Federer said. “ Everybody knows that.” At Wimbledon in 2014, Federer won 88 of 89 service games through the semifinals, then was broken four times by Djokovic during the five- set final. This fortnight, Federer won 89 of 90 service games entering the final, then again was broken four times. “ It takes a little bit of everything: recognizing the moment, having the good intuition, following your instincts of where the serve is going to go, being in the right balance,” Djokovic said. “ I mean, it’s not that easy, especially with Roger’s precision and accuracy.” Djokovic’s serve was stout, too: He saved six of seven break points. On a windy afternoon, Federer was simply not the same height- of- his- powers player who defeated Andy Murray in the semifinals. Pressured by Djokovic’s body- twisting ability to extend points, Federer committed 35 unforced errors; Djokovic made 16. Federer and Djokovic have played 40 times; each has won 20. “ Novak played not only great today,” said Federer, 33, the oldest Wimbledon finalist since 1974, “ but the whole two weeks, plus the whole year, plus last year, plus the year before that.” Federer might very well be the greatest of all time, as some say, but right now, the best in the men’s game is Djokovic. He won the Australian Open in January, then was the runner- up at the French Open last month, denying him a career Grand Slam. Go further back, and Djokovic has reached 15 of the past 20 major finals, winning eight. Still, most spectators were pulling for Federer. So quiet between points pre- serve ball bounces could be heard, the crowd voiced a collective “ awwwww” of lament after a fault by Federer or a mid- point “ ooooh” of excitement when he conjured up something exquisite. “ More or less, anywhere I play against Roger, it’s the same,” said Djokovic, who barked at some fans late in the fourth set. Federer rued letting the opening set get away. Twice, he held a set point and failed to convert. The tiebreaker ended flatly on Federer’s double fault, part of a run in which Djokovic took 14 of 15 points. “ For me to win this match,” Federer said, “ I probably had to win the first set.” He regrouped, staving off seven set points in the second and taking that tiebreaker. So 110 minutes in, they were tied. Here’s how close it was: in the first set, each man won 37 points; in the second set, each won 51. At the changeover, Djokovic yelled at himself. Maybe it helped, because his second break gave him a 2- 1 edge in the third, and he finished that set off quickly following a 20- minute rain delay. Federer failed to put up much resistance in the fourth, getting broken twice more. Soon enough, Djokovic was crouching down to pluck a few blades of Centre Court grass and slide them in his mouth. He equalled his coach, Boris Becker, with three trophies at Wimbledon. Add five Australian Opens and one U. S. Open, and his nine major titles push him ahead of folks such as Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl and put the 28- year- old Serb more than halfway to Federer’s record of 17. “ He’s clearly making a big name for himself,” Federer said, “ having won as many times now as he has in these different Slams.” — The Associated Press Djokovic handles Federer’s heat Overcomes mighty serves to claim third All England title By Howard Fendrich ABOVE: TOBY MELVILLE / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS / BELOW: ALASTAIR GRANT / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ABOVE: Novak Djokovic returns to Roger Federer during the men’s singles final at Wimbledon in London Sunday. BELOW: Djokovic embraces the trophy. Mixed- doubles victory adds to Hingis’s legend By Stephen Wilson ‘ Serena Slam’ merely tops list of triumphs By Howard Fendrich ALASTAIR GRANT / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Leander Paes and Martina Hingis hold up their hardware at Wimbledon Sunday. 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