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The Championships Wimbledon in 2022 have undoubtedly been different from anything that has come before.
Bans and the stripping of rankings points have ensured the tournament is an outlier even in a decade that started with unprecedented disruption.
Here, Tim Ellis takes a closer look at five things we have all missed this Wimbledon.
He turned up seven days late.
It was great to see the eight-time champion at the celebration of champions during the Centre Court 100th anniversary, but this is the first time the Swiss has missed the Championships since making his professional debut.
“It feels awkward to be here in a different type of role.” It felt a little bit awkward watching the king of Centre Court talking to John McEnroe and Sue Barker. The 40-year-old is going to be back one more time and it won’t be to make up the numbers.
The crowds are up but down
“Proper” Wimbledon is back for the first time in three years. The queue is back. Tents are up. The true community and global spirit that animates the village, the hill and the actual courts is present again. Yes, there was a tournament in 2021 but it felt neutered, like an annual festival with half of its capacity knocked out by the computations of clinical risk management.
Even so, crowds were down eleven per cent from Monday to Thursday in the first week compared to 2019 as Heather Watson urged the fans to support her. It was noticeable during an evening Murray-ime first-rounder, there were quite a few empty seats. Perhaps organisers can remember that not everyone can afford to see the best players in the world.
During the tournament in Surbiton on the BBC, Andrew Castle gave a shout-out to the German six-time major champion.
Novak Djokovic was pained enough to call his former coach part of the family.
The commentary box has certainly missed Becker’s maverick voice, most noticeably during the Kyrgios and Tsitsipas encounter on Saturday evening when we were treated to the rather conservative comments of the Cash/Cotter and Lloyd triumvirate.
Feliciano Lopez made a languid and easy on the ear entry during Rafa Nadal’s last 16 match, but it’s just not the same without the unpredictable eye and ear of Becker. Next year will be a challenge too without the magnificent professionalism of Sue Barker.
Where art thou Russians and Belarusians?
We wonder what Cameron Norrie thinks about his pre- Wimbledon comments when he said: ““You know, having a home Slam and not gaining any ranking points from that, and the tradition of it, you’re not really playing for anything. You’re playing this almost like an exhibition, so for me it was tough to see that.”
Yikes. Not a problem now, Cam. However, the lack of ranking points was overshadowed by the loss of top men’s players like Andrey Rublev and world number one Daniil Medvedev.
Sally Bolton, the chief executive of the All England Club, confirmed That Wimbledon has begun appeal proceedings against its fine, of $750,000 for banning the participation of Russian and Belarusian players, while the LTA is probably taking that lead after being billed for a third of that amount for its similar exclusion in Nottingham, Birmingham and Eastbourne in the build-up to the Championships.
“We have appealed. It is the subject of a legal process,” Bolton told a briefing at Wimbledon at the beginning of the week. Medvedev and Rublev would have fancied theor chances. A lot.
“I could have had a good run here,” the 35-year-old said in his post-match press conference after defeat to the functional but inspired John Isner.
“It’s one of those matches that, had I got through, who knows what would have happened.”
We know how you feel, Andy.
The Scot was in good form coming in to SW19.
With all due respect to Norrie, he’s not going to win the tournament or raise the blood pressure in the same way.
Murray went out too soon although disappointment was neutered by the success of Liam Broady and Jack Draper. It deflated the British balloon just as the tournament was accelerating
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