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10 takeaways from Wimbledon, tennis' gold standard

From ESPN - July 17, 2017

After two weeks of incredible tennis, Wimbledon is over. Before attention turns to the hard-court season and the year's final Grand Slam at the US Open, let's look at 10 big things we can take away from London.

1. Wimbledon remains the gold standard of tournaments

Each of the four Grand Slams is an enormous, profitable success, and each is renowned for having its unique character. But Wimbledon still manages to remain the tournament that matters most. There are three reasons the All England Club keeps its pre-eminent position. One, the mystique and well-maintained quality of the grass courts. Two, the All England Club's "Committee of Management" manages to keep Wimbledon current without sacrificing its Camelot-like appeal.

And finally, but perhaps most important of all, the best players love and dominate the event. Champion Roger Federer acknowledged that in his victory speech, noting a potent reason that has nothing the do with ivy, strawberries and cream or rye-grass courts.

2. The US Open also wins at Wimbledon

Federer's Wimbledon win and Venus Williams' impressive run to the women's final have injected a bolt of energy into the second half of the year, particularly the hard-court segment culminating at the US Open. There's a very real chance that Federer and No. 2-ranked Rafael Nadal will reprise their rivalry in major finals. And in New York, the year-end No. 1 ranking might be the bonus prize. For her part, Williams has been in two Grand Slam finals this year (0-2), one on hard court and one on grass. Those are the surfaces on which she's won all seven of her major titles (five Wimbledons, two US Opens). She, too, has a shot not just to become No. 1 but to inspire and thrill as only an icon can.

3. The WTA's new wave is cresting -- and breaking

Somehow, it seemed symbolic. Garbine Muguruza galloped away in the Wimbledon women's final, reeling off nine straight games to defeat the remarkable 37-year-old Venus in two sets. Williams did a marvelous job advancing the WTA's recent "30 is the new 20" theme, but 23-year-old Muguruza's win feels very much like a passing-of-the-torch moment. She and new French Open champ Jelena Ostapenko are just part of the 25-and-under generation, led by hard-luck Simona Halep, that is taking over the game.

4. Bulletin: Two of our Big Four are missing

Nobody, but nobody, could have predicted that No. 1 Andy Murray and No. 4 Novak Djokovic might not even last for half the year as contenders for the US Open or No. 1 ranking. Djokovic's mysterious suite of woes was compounded at Wimbledon by the elbow injury that forced him to retire during his quarterfinal clash with Tomas Berdych.

Murray's hopes of ironing out his game with a successful defense of his Wimbledon final collapsed, partly because of a hip injury that may require surgery. But things started going sideways long before the physical injuries manifested, and that's something no one expected.

5. 'Ozmaggedon'

The Australian Open renaissance that was heralded by the early success of Bernard Tomic (he made the Wimbledon quarterfinals at age 18) and the emergence of Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis has been a great big bust. Tomic disgraced himself -- and incurred a $15,000 fine -- when he admitted he was "bored" during his listless first-round loss to Mischa Zverev.

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