In 2013, Andy Murray made history by becoming the first British male tennis player to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936, ending a 77-year wait for a British male champion. Ever since then, he has grown stronger and better – producing fantastic performances in Grand Slams – but, in an era containing Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer (arguably the greatest tennis player of all time), it hasn’t been easy going for him. However, eventually class shows through…
Murray produced another brilliant performance in Wimbledon 2016, beating Canadian Milos Raonic in straight sets in an entertaining clash. Another of his main ambitions was subsequently fulfilled at the end of the year at the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London, when he beat Djokovic in the final to become the world number 1 for the first time – no mean feat when he had lost to the Serbian in three Grand Slam finals since that first Wimbledon victory. However, during this period of prominent, British male success, another British player – then ranked just outside the top 100 – was slowly but surely advancing up the rankings…
Johanna Konta, who was born in Australia, moved to the UK when she was 14, and subsequently qualified to play for Britain through citizenship rules. As little as three years ago, she was ranked outside the top 100 players in the rankings, but was seeded sixth at Wimbledon this year, where she advanced to the semi-finals! Eventual champion Garbine Muguruza of Spain was a worthy winner in a much more open draw due to the absence of Serena Williams. Konta subsequently moved up the rankings to world number 4, but is now ranked seventh.
Andy Murray – defending champion – entered the competition as the first seed. Having been struggling with a hip injury, he managed to advance to the quarter finals without much difficulty but, against big-serving American Sam Querrey, found the pain a massive hindrance after the third set. He finally succumbed in 5 sets 4-6, 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 6-1, 6-1 but he never stopped fighting until the end. Roger Federer made history in becoming the only male player to have won Wimbledon 8 times! Domination!
So, based on the recent Grand Slam event, is British Tennis enjoying a period of success in multiple categories which it has not simultaneously experienced before? Well, Jamie Murray won the mixed doubles with Martina Hingis – beating fellow Brit Heather Watson and Finland’s Henri Kontinen in the final, we had a women’s semi-finalist and Andy Murray is still the world number 1 in the men’s draw.
And those mentioned players still believe there is room for improvement. Jo Konta has targeted a Grand Slam victory – definitely within the realms of possibility – and it is clear to see that, if he hadn’t been hampered by injury, Andy Murray could have contested for the title.
In conclusion, British tennis is currently delighting the citizens of the UK, with success and achievement at the highest level, and we would indeed expect and hope for more success to come in the future.