Hands up who saw this coming? No, me neither. I doubt even Sam Querry’s nearest and dearest would have imagined such an outcome in their wildest dreams. To anyone who has followed tennis for the last couple of years, it must have seemed like Novak would keep winning forever to the point where you were left wondering why anyone else bothered to turn up and play.
Novak’s shock third round defeat at Wimbledon (he hasn’t lost this early in a Grand Slam since 2009, would you believe) may be devastating for him and his fans, but it is a blessed relief for tennis. As I have stated before on this blog, sport needs rivalries. Or it needs to be dominated by big, crowd pleasing personalities. Djokovic elicits respect, but he is not adored. Not like Federer, Nadal or Murray. That grates on him. He has done everything this year to play to the crowd. Only the rain sodden Roland Garros crowd responded in kind. Perhaps they could see how hard he was trying to win them over and felt sorry for him. But elsewhere, Djokovic has found it hard to get the love. And he was certainly not going to get any at Wimbledon, Federer and Murray’s backyard!
With him gone, the draw opens up. Uncertainty may be bad in politics and finance, but in the sporting arena, it is the lifeblood on which sport thrives. Predictability in sport means boredom and stagnation. With the demise of the big four, and Andy Murray unable to challenge Djokovic’s supremacy in Grand Slams, tennis was turning into a procession, and for many tennis fans, it was turning them off (ok, it was turning me off).
It is fitting that it should be the biggest and best Grand Slam in the world, Wimbledon, that will crown a new champion for the first time since the French Open last year, when Stan Wawrinka shocked Djokovic in the final and made him wait another agonising year to complete his career Grand Slam.
No doubt, after some rest and recuperation, Novak Djokovic will be back fighting to reinstate himself as the supreme tennis champion. But in the meanwhile, Federer and Murray fans (yes, that would be me!) are rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of another coveted Wimbledon title for their man.