Pursuing the pinnacle

By | Sport
Roger Federer, winner of the most Wimbledon Championships in the Open era. Credit @Tennis Now via Facebook.

With Wimbledon recently commencing, it seems the motivation levels for all players may be at its peak, in part perhaps due to the vast history of the tournament. One of the four Grand Slams, it may have already been held in high esteem, yet due to being established prior to its counterparts, it may boast a superior history, and as such seems to often be referred to as the most prestigious competition on the tour. Naturally amongst the favourites may be Andy Murray who, as world number one, may possess the necessary credentials to retain his crown yet, with his rivals perhaps in superior form throughout 2017, this side of the draw may prove challenging to predict. With the women’s contest similarly intriguing, it seems the sport possesses a vast array of players capable of attaining the trophy, and showcasing this strength in depth may be pivotal in enhancing tennis’ global status.

With the inaugural championships occurring in 1877, Wimbledon holds the status of oldest tennis championship in the world, and this may be the reasoning as to why it holds the most precedence. Yet, this longevity may have also been achieved due to the innovation showcased by its officials; in 1884, the tournament hosted its maiden ladies singles championship, thus providing both an equal platform for women to achieve whilst perhaps more pivotally extending the reach of the sport to all, making it more accessible. With a total crowd of over 493,000 attending the 2016 championships, vastly superior to the original 200 spectators for the 1877 final, it seems the consistent renovation of the tournament has solely served to increase its relevance, and may be pivotal in the amassment of vast crowds.

At the conclusion of the French Open, it seemed the focus shifted towards Wimbledon; whilst a contributing factor may have been due to the latter’s status as a Grand Slam, and thus the available incentives in the form of both prize money and ranking points, it may be more poignant to focus on the time in the year when it occurs. Commencing in the middle of the season, it seems to be part of the transitional phase between the French and US Open yet, with the grass court season brief, adapting to this surface may be the catalyst in an efficacious conclusion to the campaign. With the surface also assisting the players’ game rather than counteracting their strokes, Wimbledon may also act as an insight into how to sufficiently balance strategies.

The two reigning Wimbledon champions, Andy Murray and Serena Williams. Credit @Wimbledon via Facebook.

Whilst Andy Murray may be amongst the favourites due to being the top seed at his home nation tournament for the first time, being billed the underdog may motivate his rivals to return to the pinnacle; Roger Federer has won Wimbledon a record seven times, and with the Swiss also having reached the most finals, semi and quarter-finals in the Open era, his achievements may reiterate this suggestion. Conversely, Murray may also be able to utilise this position to his advantage as, whilst last season’s performances seemed superior, he may be relishing the challenge at Wimbledon of being deemed the best, and victory may act as the catalyst in a productive conclusion to the year. His achievements may spur his British counterparts to success, and with Aljaz Bedene showcasing a high level of stamina and tenacity in his five-set opening victory, it seems the competition may also assist the British Davis Cup team in providing experience at the pinnacle.

With the opening rounds ongoing, it may be challenging to predict the eventual victor, although with the previous five male Grand Slams won by different players, and with the women’s tournament possessing a new number one for the first time since 2012, it seems fair to suggest there may be multiple players capable of concluding the fortnight victorious. This competitiveness may be beneficial for all parties as, whilst for players it may result in vast ranking points, deemed increasingly pivotal as the necessity to elevate ranking positions increases, it may simultaneously contribute to a wider reach for the tournament, perhaps contributing to the overarching goal for the sport: increasing the magnitude to provide superior opportunities for all.

How may the British players ensure Wimbledon elevates their ranking positions?

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