Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams stole the show in London this past weekend, winning their third and sixth Wimbledon championships, respectively. Djokovic beat Roger Federer in the final, while Williams beat first-time finalist Garbine Muguruza.
While Djokovic and Williams have both been phenomenal this year, who’s been more impressive in 2015?
“It’s hard to pick,” USA Today tennis writer Nick McCarvel said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “They’ve both been so impressive, but you have to go with Serena. She’s lost one match this entire year, and she completes the Serena Slam, which is four consecutive majors over the last 12 months. Now this year she’ll go for the Grand Slam, which will be played out in New York.”
No tennis player has won the Grand Slam since Steffi Graf in 1988.
“We’re done with superlatives (about) Serena,” McCarvel said. “How do you talk about her? And you can kind of see her as she went though press with us those couple hours after the win. She just doesn’t have words. She said it all before, but she just keeps winning these big tournaments. It’s incredible.”
She’s not simply beating up on weak competition, either.
“Women’s tennis is at a place where you’ve got so much talent,” McCarvel said. “Serena was a physical force for 10 years in her career and now she’s pieced in the mental part of it. So you’ve got these challengers, but Serena not only is at her physical peak – she’s in amazing health – but now she’s got this coach in Patrick Mouratoglou, and they’ve just created this player that no one can quite figure out. And that’s an ode to her, not a knock to the rest of the field.”
But why has Williams, 33, been so hard to figure out?
“She’s just playing relaxed,” McCarvel said. “Because what does she have to prove? She’s Serena. She’s like a Madonna; she’s a one-name star. For her to come out and play at such a high level all the time, there’s no pressure for her. And that’s when champions – as we know in nay sport – they’re always going to do their best when they’re playing relaxed.”
The top-ranked Djokovic, meanwhile, held off the second-seeded Federer 7-6 (1) 6-7 (10), 6-4, 6-3 to win his his second straight Wimbledon championship.
Just how close was this final?
“It was such an enjoyable match, especially those first two sets were super engaging,” McCarvel said. “But it kind of felt anti-climactic a little bit. Those third and fourth sets, Novak’s movement is so strong. You just don’t get anything past him. Even Roger Federer, who’s blasting balls – that forehand is beautiful – it felt like a little bit that Roger had used up all of his good tennis (in the semifinal) against (Andy) Murray. He played sublime against Murray.”
Djokovic’s serve and return game was masterful at Wimbledon. Federer had been broken just once in 90 service games entering the final; Djokovic broke him four times on Sunday.
And yet, Federer, who has won 17 Grand Slam singles titles, isn’t finished.
“He’s just hungry,” McCarvel said of the 33-year-old. “I think now for Roger, he’s right there. He’s so close to winning another Grand Slam. He’s the world No. 2. He’s won several titles this year. He’s been to the final of Wimbledon for the second consecutive year. He will win another Grand Slam. He wants to get to 18. I think he’d love to get an eighth Wimbledon. He’s been so close. I think it’s great. He said that he wants to play through Rio. Listen, I hope he plays through Tokyo in 2020.”