Cristiano Ronaldo, Andy Murray, Serena Williams, Lewis Hamilton: A weekend of champions
Amidst the turmoil of Brexit, sports took center stage in Europe over the weekend, with established champions in football, tennis and Formula One cementing their statuses
Sandeep Kumar Delhi
Cristiano Ronaldo being carried away on a stretcher with tears in his eyes in a final, Roger Federer slipping and falling face-first onto the lush grass of Centre Court Wimbledon, Serena collapsing on the pitch to celebrate her 22nd Grand Slam singles title, Eder’s stunner sealing the first major title for Portugal at the Euro 2016, Germany beating Italy for the first time in the knockout phase of a football tournament and Andy Murray being crowned as the Wimbledon men’s champion for the second time, Lewis Hamilton beat teammate Nico Rosberg for the fourth time in the last five races to narrow the latter’s championship lead to 4 points: certainly, a week of gala sporting action packed with moments that will stay fresh in the minds of fans for some time.
Ronaldo finally gets his hands on some international silverware
Cristiano Ronaldo played the first final of his career when he was 18. After ninety minutes, the wunderkind looked lost and alone, crying out of remorse for missed chances, the efforts which went over the bar and off the post, as host Portugal lost to Greece in the finals of Euro 2004. Twelve years later, after a journey of many emotions, twists and turns, he lifted the cup as the winning captain. The tears were of joy this time, but tinged with pain. A brutal tackle by Payet damaged Ronaldo’s knee, causing him to leave the field on a stretcher in the first half. The French midfield created massive chances in the first half and always looked in a position to score. But Portugal held on to their nerves and defended intelligently. They created three chances in extra time, culminating in Eder scoring a stunner in the 110th minute as Portugal had the last laugh in Paris.
17, not going on 18 (yet)
Roger Federer, the 17-time champion, suffered a great fall in the fifth set against Milos Raonic in the first semifinal of the Wimbledon and went on the loose the match in the fifth set. Federer was on course for a tie-break at two sets to one up, but lost a 40-0 lead with two double faults in a row. It was heart breaking to see Federer loose his first semifinal out of 11 at the Wimbledon. With Novak Djokovic already been knocked out, this was perhaps the best chance for the aging legend to add another Grand Slam to his name.
Serena catches up with Steffi
Serena Williams finally equaled Steffi Graf’s record of 22 Grand Slams in her fourth attempt at Center Court Wimbledon on Saturday. She beat Angelique Kerber 7-5, 6-3 convincingly to lift her seventh Wimbledon women’s singles title, in the process avenging her Australian Open final defeat to Kerber. A few hours later, she joined her older sister Venus Williams and the pair bagged their sixth women’s doubles title in front of a star-studded audience, who cheered the Williams sisters on every point.
Murray wows London and the world again
Andy Murray ran through Milos Raonic in straight sets, adding a third Grand Slam title to a career that has so far been tinged by the grand misfortune of being contemporaneous with the careers of Novak Djokovic, who has beaten him in 7 Grand Slam finals, and Roger Federer, who has beaten him in 3. In any other era, Murray, one of the very best baseline operators and returners ever to play the game, would have surely been well on his way to a record number of titles at this point. As things stand, he holds the distinction of having broken a 77-year British Wimbledon drought in 2013, when he became the first Briton to win the Championship since Fred Perry in 1936. A year before that, he beat Federer on Centre Court for a Gold at the 2012 London Olympics. With this third victory, he has made it clear that he is always a danger at SW19. While most people have gone on about how Federer was never going to have a better a shot at an 18th Grand Slam after Djokovic’s exit, the Swiss maestro, recovering from an injury, never looked like he could have matched Murray’s game in the tournament. And to see Murray make a mockery of Raonic’s much-touted service game, after having tamed Tsonga at his belligerent best in the semifinal, was to understand what Murray is capable of when his two main nemeses are out of the running. The Scotsman says his best tennis is ahead of him. The world of tennis should fervently hope he is right.
Hamilton wins 4th Silverstone title, closes in on Rosberg
Lewis Hamilton continued to hold his own on his home turf, winning the British Grand Prix after a rain-delayed start to the race. This is Hamilton’s fourth title at Silverstone and third consecutive one. With it, he has narrowed his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg’s Championship lead to a mere four points. It was a tricky race, with rain having made surface conditions difficult for drivers to master, which caused a number of interesting twists and minor mishaps. The Briton, however, was in the lead throughout, and looks set to pose a real challenge to Rosberg as the two also deal with flak arising from their self-sabotaging shenanigans in previous races.