Evgeniy Zukin says the only way to ensure tennis' future in Ukraine is by stopping the war started by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russia, with Belarus' assistance, invaded Ukraine in February 2022. 

The war still rages on, but in sport, Ukrainian athletes are carrying on, with Elina Svitolina becoming something of a figurehead with an exceptional run to the semi-finals at Wimbledon this month.

Zukin, the chief of the Ukraine Tennis Federation (UTF), is proud of the achievements of his compatriots, but warned that the "golden age" of Ukrainian tennis could ultimately lead to nothing down the line.

"This is the hard work of all the players themselves and the federation, the clubs, who put in those efforts in the last 10 years – the results are following just now," he told Stats Perform.

"We are truly happy, so many players in the top 50 and the way they play is inspirational and they have chances of beating the top players all the time. It's great.

"But could you imagine if this moment had come in a peaceful situation, in a good economical situation, because our main focus as the federation in the peaceful times was to promote our sports so that the parent would decide which sport their child would take up.

"They might go to tennis because it has tradition, good results, good coaches, so that’s why we need results on top, to grow the mass participation, to involve more people at grassroots. From those grassroots, there’d be more players, and from there more talents who become professionals if they work hard enough.

"Unfortunately now this is not the case and the problem is not many will be able to afford tennis for quite a big period of time.

"This is a golden age for [Ukrainian] women's tennis, for sure, but I'm really worried what's going to be there when this generation stops playing, and for the next generation."

Zukin says there is little the sporting community can do. Instead, the onus must be on the war coming to an end.

"We need to stop the war. This is the most important thing," he said.

"We cannot do anything in tennis when there are bombings in Kyiv, not even at the frontline, even in western Ukraine. We need to stop the war.

"Tennis is dependent on the economic situation of normal people, who can invest in their child until at least 13, 14, when we can understand if the kid can be a professional.

"Then we could support them, find an investor or a club. Those first five, six, seven years, it's the parents who are taking on most of the expenses.

"We need to stop the war, get back our normal economy and get it even better, with all the infrastructure that we lost already – it's not going to be easy, this is what we see as the biggest challenge, the economic resurrection.

"It's not about how many [tennis] courts were destroyed, the parents need to invest in their kids and be able to do this."

Ukraine Tennis Federation (UTF) chief executive Evgeniy Zukin sees no issue with Ukrainian players refusing to shake hands with Russian or Belarusian opponents.

The Wimbledon crowd booed Victoria Azarenka when she did not shake Elina Svitolina's hand on Centre Court earlier this month.

It left Belarusian Azarenka bemused, as she was respecting the wishes of Ukraine's Svitolina.

While Zukin was disappointed to see that reaction from the crowd, he also stressed there are more important matters at play than players not shaking hands after a match.

Zukin told Stats Perform: "It's really hard to explain to everyone in a 10,000-seater court what’s going on, what kind of conflict is happening and how everything is connected.

"I was at that match and I didn’t like how the crowd reacted but it clearly shows they don't understand. But if they would like to know, they would know.

"Any kind of statement from the tournament or the WTA, you cannot be sure everybody understands or everybody gets the message – it's just a strange situation.

"We were living in a strange time of COVID but it's nothing compared to this. I don't see it as a big problem that not everyone understands what's going on.

"Whatever the player's position – you cannot make exceptions in this case, because we’re in a war with Russia and Belarus.

"We didn't start it and simply it's not going to be comprehended by the Ukrainian society if our players shook hands with their opponents.

"Some spectators may not like it but this is how things are. We have so many worse things going on than this no-handshake thing. We are spending too much time on things that don't matter too much."

Zukin and the UTF do not believe Russian or Belarusian athletes should be allowed to compete amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Indeed, heading towards the Paris Olympics next gear, Zukin believes Ukraine will boycott the competition should Belarusian and Russians be allowed to feature, even under a neutral banner.

"We don't think it's fair that during the war, Russians or Belarusians are accepted in any way or any kind to the Olympics," he said.

"We know they are funded by their state, they are not neutral. Any success by a Russian or Belarusian athlete will be used by Russian propaganda to show their superiority and we're absolutely against them taking part until the war is over.

"Maybe if the war is over before the Olympics, this position changes. But when people are dying every day, it's not normal. When you attack one of the countries in Europe and you're playing sports, it's normal?

"We have the same position on this: they shouldn't play while the war goes on. It's going to be the IOC's [International Olympic Committee] decision whether to allow them to compete then the Ukrainian National Olympic Committee will have its decision about participating or not at the Paris Olympics."

Asked if he would be disappointed for Ukrainian tennis players should the nation choose to boycott the Games, Zukin added: "It's going to be taken out of our hands and their hands as it's the Olympic Committee who endorses all of the applications.

"In case it makes a decision not to send a team, then it's impossible to send just tennis players. We completely respect this. Russia and Belarus are banned from all tennis team events, their membership from the ITF is suspended.

"The Olympics is a team competition so it would not be normal to let them compete there. Of course it's the NOC's decision but the chances are really low that Ukraine would participate if Russia and Belarus participate."

Elina Svitolina is an inspiration to female tennis players and women around the globe, says Ukraine Tennis Federation (UTF) chief Evgeniy Zukin.

Svitolina reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon before going down to Marketa Vondrousova, beating world number one Iga Swiatek en route to matching her best performance at a grand slam.

The 28-year-old, who gave birth in October 2022, previously reached the last four at Wimbledon in 2019 and at the US Open in the same year.

Having progressed to the quarters at this year's French Open, Svitolina seems back to her best, and Zukin is thrilled to see it.

When asked if Svitolina was an inspiration to Ukrainian athletes as the country's war with Russia rages on, Zukin told Stats Perform: "Yes, of course.

"I think this is the biggest sporting result lately for Ukraine. Our Under-21 football team also did well, reached the semi-finals of the European Championships, but on the big stage, this is the biggest achievement of a Ukrainian athlete in my opinion – of course I'm a little biased on this.

"This is amazing – quarters in Paris, now semis in London, after giving birth, is an incredible achievement from any perspective."

Asked if Svitolina's return from her hiatus was proof women can come back from pregnancy and perform at a high level, Zukin said: "Exactly. Now we hear that [Caroline] Wozniacki is coming back, [Naomi] Osaka is coming back and this is good – just for women, not athletes.

"It shows that you should give birth, you should come back to your previous business and it’s achievable and doable – this is the main message.

"It's really great, there cannot be a better message."

Zukin does not believe Svitolina should feel the pressure to win a slam, adding: "Nobody knows what's around the corner. Every athlete just wakes up every day and tries to be better than yesterday – this is the main thing.

"If it happens, it happens, if it doesn’t happen, it's still an amazing career anyhow, an amazing achievement.

"One by one, day by day and then if it comes, it’s great. If it doesn't come, it's also great. There's no pressure at all in my opinion."

Zukin has known Svitolina since she was a child, and while he no longer has consistent contact with her, he says she is an inspirational figure off the court too.

"She's an independent professional, she has her own team and charity fund and agents and all her entourage is with her all the time," he said.

"I've known her since she was 11, when I was a tennis referee, refereeing tournaments where she played, and I know her older brother from when I was a player.

"She's a nice person and it's good that she tries to do something more than just tennis with her charity fund, with representing Ukraine on the world stage and delivering the messages that are really needed for Ukrainians right now.

"She's an incredible ambassador for Ukraine and Ukrainian tennis."

Marketa Vondrousova must follow the example of Elena Rybakina to ensure her shock Wimbledon success results in becoming a top-10 regular, according to Marion Bartoli.

The 24-year-old became the first unseeded player to win the women's singles at Wimbledon with a shock straight sets victory over favourite Ons Jabeur in the final.

Vondrousova had previously reached the French Open final four years ago but had endured a tumultuous period since due to injuries and inconsistent form, while grass was seen as her weakest surface.

Her victory is the latest in a long line of shock major wins in the women's game, with Bianca Andreescu and Emma Raducanu among the others to cause upsets in recent years.

But the lack of a dominant group of players in women's grand slams is not a big concern to Bartoli, who made two Wimbledon finals in her career, winning once.

She has urged the crop of recent major winners, including Vondrousova, to take up the challenge of proving their successes were not flukes.

Bartoli cites the example of 2022 Wimbledon champion Rybakina, who is now ranked three in the world and reached the last eight this year before losing out to Jabeur, as one to follow.

"I don't see it as an issue – there is nothing you can do about it," Bartoli, who won Wimbledon in 2013, said to Stats Perform when asked about the recent trend in grand slams.

"I mean, you just can't say to a player, 'Oh, but why don't you win every single grand slam like Serena Williams?' All those [top-ranked] girls are trying their hardest when they're on the court, sometimes they're losing when they should have won, like Ons losing that final. 

"But it's not like you can go and say to her 'Oh, yeah, but why don't you try harder?' She tried her heart out on the court and tried absolutely everything to win. It just didn't happen. 

"You have new names, some newcomers are coming and winning, it was the same when Raducanu won her first grand slam, it was the same when Andreescu won.

"Now it's Marketa winning her first. It was slightly more of a shocker when Raducanu won because she came from the qualification. That was an even bigger story and then to become this £20million girl that gets all those contracts in the UK. She was into US Open qualifying and then three weeks later she was a mega superstar.

"Was tennis different back then when I was playing? Of course. Then you had 15 or 20 names who were coming back all the time. 

"It was extremely difficult just to get yourself inside the top 20 or into the top 10 because you had Serena and Venus, Kim Clijsters and all the Russians, you just didn't have the space. 

"But I like those news stories. I like those fairytale stories. I just hope that those girls can now stay there. 

"For Marketa [I hope] that she can bring that level constantly so she can be a face in the top 10 and people can come back to Wimbledon next year and say ‘OK, I know her now, she's top five, she has done this, she has this result somewhere’, like Rybakina in some ways. 

"Rybakina won last year but she came back this year and she was top three, so it's not like she was a fluke. 

"So if those breakthrough girls can now say 'I'm still part of the conversation, I'm coming back and I'm top five or top 10' then we are in for a great WTA Tour."

Vondrousova is the sixth unseeded player to win a grand slam title in the last decade, after Jelena Ostapenko, Sloane Stephens, Iga Swiatek, Barbora Krejcikova and Raducanu.

Bartoli feels it will take a while for the magnitude of her win to sink in, particularly when it was so unexpected. Vondrousova had only won four matches on grass before the tournament.

She added: "It's difficult to actually soak it in that quickly – for me, it took several days, even several weeks to be able to really understand what I just achieved, especially when you win for the first time.

"For Novak [Djokovic] or Roger [Federer] or all those players who have won Wimbledon on multiple occasions, then it almost becomes normal for them. Of course there is the happiness of achieving winning another grand slam, but it's not as much as a big deal as when it's your first one or your first Wimbledon in the case of Carlos Alcaraz.

"Especially for Marketa Vondrousova, being unseeded, it was completely unexpected for her to have that sort of run and being the total outsider in the final and coming out, playing great tennis and winning in straight sets as well.

"At the beginning of the tournament, no one would have thought to put her into the top five or top 10 contenders to go and win the title, and it is even more of a surprise after all the injuries she suffered.

"But all credit to her. She had some really tough matches, when you really have to push yourself that much you absolutely deserve to win your first grand slam title." 

Novak Djokovic will remain a force at the top of men's tennis despite the disruption to his dominance that has been caused by Carlos Alcaraz.

That is the view of former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli after the Serbian missed out on a fifth consecutive title, which would have been a record-equalling eighth overall, at the All England Club on Sunday.

Roared on by the Centre Court crowd, Alcaraz produced a dynamic performance in the final to earn a spirited five-set victory, storming back to win having lost the first set 6-1.

Despite only just turning 20, the Spaniard now has two grand slam titles to his name, having won the US Open last year.

And it is in New York where Djokovic will look to respond to only his second loss in nine Wimbledon finals.

Despite Djokovic's setback, Bartoli is confident 23-time grand slam winner is primed to win multiple further majors and one day reach 25, saying the veteran remains the man to beat.

"As the champion it is never nice to lose for sure and it will sting for a few days," Bartoli said to Stats Perform.

"I don't think he's going to come out of this match like 'yeah, it's fine I just lost it', as you don't win 23 grand slams without being a fierce competitor and without hating to lose.

"But there is the US Open coming up this year, so there is a lot on the line for him.

"He has absolutely no points to defend [in the US Open] and then he has the year-end championship [ATP Finals] that he won at the end of last year. 

"On the other end Alcaraz has the US Open to defend so it's more than likely that Novak Djokovic will be able to regain that number one ranking spot at the end of the US summer swing.

"He's going to get himself ready for that. I'm not sure what kind of schedule he will play, whether he's going to play the two Masters events before or maybe just one and go to the US Open because he's 36 and you just can't have the same schedule as someone like Carlos Alcaraz has, that is obvious.

"But can he pass and go over Margaret Court [on 24 major titles]? Absolutely. He's going to be the favourite to win the US Open equally with Alcaraz and he will be the overall favourite to win the next Australian Open.

"So absolutely it is very much more than achievable for him [to pass Court] and obviously I think by the end of 2024 that's where he should stand — at least 25 Grand Slams and alone on top of the world."

Djokovic had not lost at Wimbledon since going down to Tomas Berdych in the 2017 quarter-finals and the final was his first loss on Centre Court for 10 years, since Andy Murray beat him in the famous 2013 final, the same year when Bartoli won on the women's side.

Bartoli added: "So for sure it's just going to sting for him when he looks back at those tapes and sees back those points that he missed – two backhands during the tie-break, the drop shot that he missed in the net at 3-2 for him in the breaker, sees the swing volley that he decided to actually take in the air – maybe just let it drop and see if the ball actually will stay in the court or not.

"It is just two or three crucial points here and there that made the whole result at the end of the match change. He had set point to go up two sets to love. I think if he covered there, it is completely different. 

"He had a break point at the beginning of the fifth to go 2-0 up after winning the fourth and was carrying the whole momentum with him, so he was extremely close."

Bartoli thinks the rise of Alcaraz epitomises the new style of modern players, but thinks Djokovic's complete game means he is still well-placed to mix it with rising stars.

Alcaraz is the youngest player in the Open Era to win the singles title at both the US Open and Wimbledon.

But asked if the win for Alcaraz was a changing of the guard, she replied: "No, but I felt it was a new tennis. 

"It was very much a sort of new complete tennis that we'll be able to witness from the new generation of players coming in. I include in that Holger Rune and Jannik Sinner as the same [style] as Alcaraz. 

"The defence is there, the court coverage is there, the speed is there, coming to the net is there, playing the dropshot is there, play aggressive and defensive, and they can last for whatever time is required on the court. And in some sort of way in the middle, there is Daniil Medvedev and Stefan Tsitsipas too.

"That's what the new tennis on the men's side is looking for. Maybe for the next 10 years or so. And I think very much Novak was up to the task [against Alcaraz].

"So I don't think it was a change of the guard. I just felt it was a new tennis and because Novak has that type of tennis obviously he can sustain that level." 

The epic Wimbledon final between Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic is among the best three tennis matches Marion Bartoli has ever seen.

Former Wimbledon champion Bartoli watched in awe as Alcaraz dethroned Djokovic at the All England Club on Sunday, coming from behind to win a classic contest 1-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-1 3-6 6-4.

Bartoli played in two Wimbledon finals herself and was commentating on the latest instalment of great showpiece battles on Centre Court as Djokovic was denied a record-equalling eighth title at the grand slam tournament.

"I definitely ranked it in the top three matches that I've ever seen," Bartoli told Stats Perform.

"Of course there are some finals I haven't seen especially from before [this era], but I think when you look at it as Roger [Federer] against Rafa [Nadal] at Wimbledon 2008, and then Rafa against Novak at Australian Open 2012 and then this one, you will very much have the top three matches ever played. That's my personal opinion. 

"Maybe some people will add two or three other matches, but it is 100 per cent in the top five without a doubt, and I think I could even put it top three." 

Djokovic was frustrated as the Centre Court crowd rooted for his younger opponent for much of a back-and-forth encounter.

But Bartoli thinks the 20-year-old Spaniard would command support against any player.

She stressed that Wimbledon great Djokovic still gets plenty of backing, and much of the crowd reaction in favour of Alcaraz would have been based on not wanting the match to end quickly as the sport's latest blockbuster rivalry begins.

Alcaraz became the first player not called Djokovic, Federer, Nadal or Andy Murray to triumph at Wimbledon since 2002 – before he was even born – and the British crowd were relishing his success.

"It seemed like there was such an affection for Carlos Alcaraz," Bartoli said.

"In terms of Carlos, I don't know if it's because he's won so many matches and he doesn't lose or maybe the crowd is naturally against Novak, but for me I think it's more of an admiration for Carlos.

"From what I'm seeing from the crowd it is more like when you have this new genius that comes around, everyone wants to be part of the journey. I very much feel that with him. 

"And it's around the world – the welcoming that he had at the US Open last year, look at the shouting from the crowd again in that incredible match against Jannik Sinner when he was really on the ropes and Sinner was leading all the way and just couldn't finish it out at the end. 

"I think it's more when you're recognising that there is someone that good, it's almost impossible not to be for him, unless he's playing a local player. 

"That will be interesting to see if he plays the Brits next year. What sort of Centre Court is it going to be then? But if it's against anyone else then for sure they are going to be on his side.

"But even then I feel Novak has been really getting some great support as well and I think very much the crowd wanted to have a five-set match or a long run. 

"They didn't want it [to end quickly] when Carlos lost the first set easily and when Carlos won the second set then they didn't want Carlos to run away with the match either. 

"They really wanted both players to go out for battle all out for four hours and 45 minutes just like they did, so I don't think it's going to be one-sided always for Carlos Alcaraz. 

"But everyone very much feels like he is really the new genius and everyone wants to see him." 

The loss for Djokovic was the first time he had been beaten in a five-set grand slam final since losing to Murray in the 2012 US Open.

Despite that, Djokovic overtook Chris Evert (34) as the player with the most appearances in major finals, among both men and women (35).

Novak Djokovic has been fined 8,000 US dollars after smashing his racket against a net post during Sunday’s men’s singles final at Wimbledon.

The All England Lawn Tennis Club has confirmed the 36-year-old has been hit with the penalty, which amounts to around £6,117, for “racket abuse” during his defeat by Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz.

Djokovic allowed his frustration to show after failing to break Alcaraz and then losing his own service game during the decisive fifth set of an enthralling contest on Centre Court.

Umpire Fergus Murphy, who had earlier pulled up the Serbian for a time violation, immediately issued a warning for a code violation.

Djokovic’s disappointment grew as the 20-year-old world number one took full advantage to seal a 1-6 7-6 (6) 6-1 3-6 6-4 victory after four hours and 42 minutes.

In the process, he denied his illustrious opponent a 24th grand slam title and an eighth at Wimbledon.

Wimbledon is over for another year.

The British grand slam brought with it plenty of twists and turns, not least in the men's singles final on Sunday, as Carlos Alcaraz overcame Novak Djokovic in a five-set thriller.

A day before Alcaraz sealed his second major title with that 1-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-1 3-6 6-4 success, Marketa Vondrousova won her first grand slam with a surprise 6-4 6-4 victory over Ons Jabeur.

Using Opta data, Stats Perform looks back at the best statistics from the last two weeks at the All England Club.

King Carlos

It looked like it might be a bad day at the office for Alcaraz when Djokovic cruised to a 6-1 win in the first set on Centre Court, but the Spaniard came back with a bang.

Alcaraz is an incredible talent that looks set to take up the mantle left by Rafael Nadal, and while Djokovic was at times at his dominant best, it still wasn't enough to down the world number one.

At 20, Alcaraz is the third-youngest player in the Open Era to win the men's singles title at Wimbledon, after Boris Becker and Bjorn Borg.

And he is now the youngest player in the Open Era to win the singles title at both the US Open and Wimbledon.

Nadal was the only previous Spaniard to win the coveted trophy, as Alcaraz became the first player not called Nadal, Djokovic, Roger Federer or Andy Murray to triumph at the All England Club since 2002 - before he was even born.

He became the first player to defeat three top-10 opponents en route to winning the Wimbledon title since Pete Sampras did so in 1994, while after claiming the title at Queen's, Alcaraz is the second-youngest player to win 12+ consecutive grass-court matches (Boris Becker was the youngest to achieve the feat, with 13 straight wins in 1985 between the Queen's Club and Wimbledon).

No Grand Slam for Novak

Djokovic became the second player in the Open Era to reach multiple men's singles grand slam finals in a single year after turning 36, after Ken Rosewall in 1974. He also overtook Chris Evert (34) as the player with the most appearances in major finals, among both men and women (35).

Only Federer, with 46, can match the Serbian's tally of grand slam semi-final appearances in the Open Era, meanwhile.

The 36-year-old also became just the third player in the Open Era, after Federer and Jimmy Connors, to play in 100 men's singles matches at Wimbledon.

Djokovic had not lost a five-set grand slam final since losing to Andy Murray in the 2012 US Open.

Indeed, Djokovic had not lost at Wimbledon since going down to Tomas Berdych in the 2017 quarter-finals and the final was his first loss on Centre Court for 10 years, since Murray beat him in the famous 2013 final.

Vondrousova victorious

Vondrousova is the first unseeded player to win the women's singles title at Wimbledon in the Open Era. It marked only her second career WTA Tour title, following her success at Biel in 2017.

She is the lowest-ranked player to win the singles title in Wimbledon since the WTA Rankings were introduced.

The Czech was playing in her second grand slam final, having previously lost to Ashleigh Barty at the 2019 French Open.

Vondrousova now holds a record of 3-2 head-to-head against Jabeur, with the latter winning their only previous meeting on grass, at Eastbourne in 2021. All the Tunisian's losses Vondrousova have come in 2023.

Vondrousova is the sixth unseeded player to win a grand slam title in the last decade, after Jelena Ostapenko, Sloane Stephens, Iga Swiatek, Barbora Krejcikova and Emma Raducanu.

The 24-year-old is the third Czech woman to win the singles title at Wimbledon, after Jana Novotna (1998) and Petra Kvitova (2011, 2014).

Meanwhile, Jabeur became the first player since Simona Halep to lose each of her first three singles finals at grand slams, while the 28-year-old is the third player in the 21st century to lose successive Wimbledon finals after Venus Williams (2002, 2003) and Serena Williams (2018, 2019).

Carlos Alcaraz won his second grand slam before turning 21 with Sunday’s Wimbledon triumph.

Alcaraz is outstripping the achievements of runner-up Novak Djokovic and the rest of the modern ‘big three’ at the same age and here, the PA news agency looks at the statistics behind the Spaniard’s rapid rise to prominence.

Double delight

After winning last year’s US Open to become the youngest ever men’s world number one, and the first teenager to top the rankings, Alcaraz defeated Djokovic in five hard-fought sets at SW19 to double his grand slam tally.

The win means he has matched compatriot Rafael Nadal’s two majors before turning 21, while Djokovic won only the 2008 Australian Open and Roger Federer had not opened his account by that age.

Alcaraz will have two more chances before his 21st birthday, his US Open defence starting next month and then January’s Australian Open. Winning both would see him equal Mats Wilander’s Open era record of four slams before turning 21, while one success would match Bjorn Borg for second place on that list.

He has also spent 29 weeks at number one in the rankings in four separate spells, including his current four-week run – something neither Djokovic, Federer nor Nadal achieved before turning 21.

Lleyton Hewitt and Marat Safin are the only other under-21s to top the men’s rankings – Safin for just two weeks in 2000. Hewitt spent 61 weeks at number one before turning 21, with Alcaraz able to overhaul that record if he can retain his status for 32 of the 41 weeks before his next birthday.

Should he hold top spot at the end of the season and through the off-season, that will account for six weeks. However, he would almost certainly need to win the US Open where he is defending last year’s points and Djokovic, who missed out last year due to being unvaccinated against Covid-19, will be gaining points all the way.

Lost generation

Outside of the US Open, Alcaraz is remarkably the first man born after Djokovic to win any of the other three grand slams.

Since Safin’s 2005 Australian Open title, that competition has been won 10 times by Djokovic – born in May 1987 – with five wins for Federer, born in 1981, two for Nadal (1986) and one for Stan Wawrinka (1985).

Nadal has dominated the French Open with 14 wins, with three for Djokovic and one each for Federer and Wawrinka, while the Wimbledon titles had until Sunday been shared by Djokovic, Federer, Nadal and Andy Murray – a week older than Djokovic.

Juan Martin Del Potro and Marin Cilic, both born in 1988, Dominic Thiem (1993) and Daniil Medvedev (1996) have all won the US Open in addition to Alcaraz himself, the last three in successive years.

Alcaraz’s two majors and 29 weeks at number one compare to the four US Open titles and 16 weeks with Medvedev at number one for all male players born between himself and Djokovic. By contrast on the women’s side, players born in this period have won 33 grand slams and spent 458 weeks at world number one.

The narrative surrounding men’s tennis changed in the split second it took for Novak Djokovic’s final forehand to hit the Centre Court net and fall to the grass.

A season that looked set to see the Serbian smash the records he has not yet claimed – a first calendar Grand Slam, an unprecedented 25th major singles title – instead has been turned on its head thanks to the brilliance of 20-year-old Carlos Alcaraz.

By handing Djokovic his first Wimbledon defeat since 2017, Alcaraz has answered the one question that had been lingering – could he match and surpass the great Serbian on the biggest stage of all?


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In nearly five hours of spell-binding sporting theatre, the momentum fluctuated several times but in the end it was Alcaraz who seized his chance in a final game that demonstrated everything that makes the Spaniard such a special talent.

Wimbledon had seemed the least likely venue for him to topple Djokovic, such was the 36-year-old’s dominance and his young rival’s inexperience on grass, and, with his position as world number one strengthened, the era of Alcaraz may well be upon us.

“After this epic match, I think different about Novak in the way that probably in other tournaments, in other grand slams, I will remember this moment,” he said.

“I will think that, well, I’m ready to play five sets against him, good rallies, good sets, really long, long match and stay there physically, mentally, in tennis, in general. Probably it changes my mind a little bit after this match.”

Next month it will be Alcaraz who heads to New York as the defending US Open champion, while Djokovic has triumphed at Flushing Meadows just once in the last eight years.

There was no doubt this was a painful and unexpected loss for the Serbian, but also one that is likely to add fuel to the fire that burns so fiercely within him.

Asked if this could be the start of another great rivalry, Djokovic said with a smile: “I would hope so, for my sake. He’s going to be on the tour for quite some time. I don’t know how long I’ll be around.

“Let’s see. It’s been only three matches that we played against each other. Three really close matches. Two already this year in later stages of grand slams.

“I hope we get to play in US Open. I think it’s good for the sport,  one and two in the world facing each other in almost a five-hours, five-set thriller. Couldn’t be better for our sport in general.”

The bumper TV audience and the stars from well beyond sport packed into Centre Court were testament to that fact and, health permitting, there appears no limit to what Alcaraz could go on to achieve.

One of the most staggering things about the 20-year-old is how quickly he learns under the guidance of former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero.

He had played just two tournaments on grass before arriving at Queen’s Club last month and almost lost his first match there to lucky loser Arthur Rinderknech.

He did not drop another set in taking the title and, only a few weeks after nerves caused him to cramp in the third set of his French Open semi-final against Djokovic, he proved superior over four hours and 42 minutes.

“I must say he surprised me,” said the Serbian. “He surprised everyone how quickly he adapted to grass this year. He hasn’t had too many wins on grass in the last two years that he played. Obviously him coming from clay, having the kind of style that he has.

“I think Queen’s helped him a lot. He was close to lose that first match in Queen’s. Then he started to gain momentum, more and more wins against really good players.

“I must say the slices, the chipping returns, the net play, it’s very impressive. I didn’t expect him to play so well this year on grass, but he’s proven that he’s the best player in the world, no doubt.

“He’s playing some fantastic tennis on different surfaces and he deserves to be where he is.”

Both men will now take a well-earned break before reconvening on the north American hard courts in August when Alcaraz, not Djokovic, will be the man to beat.

Henry Searle’s Wimbledon exploits will force his coaching team to “go back to the drawing board”.

The 17-year-old from Wolverhampton became the first British winner of the Wimbledon boys’ singles title since Stanley Matthews, the son of the great footballer, in 1962.

Searle – who hit an incredible 134mph serve on his way to the title – now has his eyes on the men’s game.

But Morgan Phillips, the head coach at the Lawn Tennis Association’s national academy in Loughborough who has worked with Searle since September, will not make any hasty decisions.

“This makes us go back to the drawing board a little bit,” he said.

“When you say that it’s normally not in a positive way, but this is a very unusual ‘back to the drawing board’ situation because we have to reassess the plan and strategy for him going forward.

“Junior tennis is a massive platform going into the men’s game and that’s what I’ve worked in for a good amount of years now, the transition from junior to men’s and making them understand the big journey that’s ahead.

“So there will be definitely an element of him going into the lower tier of professional tennis.

“But also there’s a new system with the junior ranking. If you get top-10 then you get fast tracked into some Challenger events. That’s a big incentive for us as well.”

Searle’s 6-4 6-4 victory over fifth seed Yaroslav Demin on Court One, cheered on by ‘Henry’s Barmy Army’ consisting of his friends and family, capped a hugely impressive tournament.

He downed world junior number one Juan Carlos Prado Angelo in the first round and did not drop a set on his way to the title while barely seeming fazed by the attention or playing on the show courts.

Searle has come a long way since the start of the year, when he was not ranked highly enough for direct entry into the Australian Open junior tournament and his team took the decision to not travel for the qualifiers.

Phillips said: “He could’ve played qualies but we looked at the schedule and thought there would be more benefit in preparing him to go to South America and do a really good physical training block as well.

“We were looking bigger picture all the time with him. At the moment it’s working and we’ve got to keep working in that way.”

He then went to the French Open where he lost to eventual champion Dino Prizmic in the quarter-finals.

But Phillips saw enough to believe Searle had a good chance of a long run at Wimbledon.

“I never had a doubt about his ability, especially after the French Open,” he added.

“What we saw out there was very, very strong. The guy he lost to in the quarter-finals is going to be top-100 pretty soon in my opinion.

“So for me Henry was the second best player in that tournament. I think that gave us a lot of confidence.

“But it was getting him to peak for this tournament and we seemed to have got it right. Full credit to him.”

The curtain has closed on Wimbledon for another year but it produced another outstanding fortnight of action.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at five stars who shone brightest.

Chris Eubanks

The American was a British headline writer’s dream given the likeness of his name to the famous boxer, but it was his tennis that delivered the knockout blows.

The 27-year-old arrived in SW19 with just two grand slam match wins to his name but left a superstar after a brilliant run to the quarter-finals.

He had been working as a pundit on the Tennis Channel, but his groundstrokes did the talking as his 321 winners set a new tournament record.

Big things could be about to happen after enjoying a new lease of life and he is sure to be a star attraction at the forthcoming US Open.

Mirra Andreeva

Russian teenager Mirra Andreeva proved her run to the third round of the French Open was no fluke after she went one better at Wimbledon.

The 16-year-old, who revealed she finds British hero Andy Murray “beautiful”, got to the fourth round and was a set up before eventually losing to Madison Keys.

A fine for two racket violations shows she still has some work to do on the mental side of things, but there is no doubting that her game is already there as her point-building and defence shone through.

This was a big step for a player who is undoubtedly going to become a big star in years to come.

Elina Svitolina

There has not been a more heartwarming story than Elina Svitolina’s run to the semi-finals.


The Ukrainian is playing just her second grand slam back after giving birth in October and she put on an inspired show as she beat Venus Williams, Elise Mertens, Sofia Kenin, Victoria Azarenka and Iga Swiatek on her way to the last four, where she was eventually beaten by champion Marketa Vondrousova.

The 28-year-old was not only playing with freedom following the birth of her daughter but also fighting for a much higher cause, knowing her compatriots back in war torn Ukraine were supporting her.

Marketa Vondrousova

Vondrousova created history when she became the first unseeded player to win the women’s title at Wimbledon after her 6-4 6-4 victory over Ons Jabeur.

The Czech’s victory marks an impressive comeback after injury stalled her career having made the French Open final as a 19-year-old and she was only at Wimbledon last year to support her best friend in qualifying while wearing a cast following wrist surgery.

But now her name is on the honours board and she has a place in history, becoming just the third Czech woman to lift the title following Martina Navratilova and Petra Kvitova.

Carlos Alcaraz

The 20-year-old was not supposed to be able to play so well on grass, having played just 11 matches on the surface before this tournament.

However, Alcaraz has proved that he has everything needed to prosper after a fine run that concluded with him ending Novak Djokovic’s 45-match unbeaten run on Centre Court and winning the title.

He is the first man in 21 years not called Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Andy Murray to win at Wimbledon and few can bet against him having a career similar to those four greats.

It is ominous for the rest of the world as, once Djokovic finally departs from the scene, Alcaraz is now surely going to dominate on all surfaces for years to come.

Britain’s leading players were sunning themselves on holiday as the Wimbledon finals took centre stage.

The tournament was not even at the half-way stage when Katie Boulter’s late-night demolition by Elena Rybakina ended home singles hopes in the third round.

There had been some good moments, notably a first victory on Centre Court for Liam Broady against fourth seed Casper Ruud to join Boulter in the third round.


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Boulter is now well inside the top 100 after building on her first WTA Tour title in Nottingham, with the player she beat in the final, Jodie Burrage, also set to hit two figures for the first time.

But there is no sugarcoating the fact that the only female British players in singles at Wimbledon needed wild cards and there were none at all at the French Open.

For a country that hosts a grand slam and receives more than £40million in no-strings-attached funding from the All England Club a year, that is clearly not good enough.

The incredible success of Andy Murray, followed by standout moments for Emma Raducanu, Kyle Edmund and Cameron Norrie, has masked what remain stubborn weaknesses, and now the mask has fallen, what lies behind is not a particularly pretty sight.

It is certainly not all doom and gloom – there remain four British men in the top 100, a number that would have been cause for champagne corks popping for much of the last 40 years, with Norrie and Dan Evans consistent top-30 players.

Boulter and Burrage have a great chance to establish themselves in the top 100 and become grand slam regulars, while Harriet Dart, Katie Swan, Heather Watson and Broady are also within striking distance.

But true strength in depth remains an elusive goal, and even that does not guarantee second-week interest at grand slams.

It was interesting to hear French tennis officials having to answer the same questions as their Lawn Tennis Association counterparts over a slew of early exits at Roland Garros despite France boasting 12 players in the men’s top 100.


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Of the grand slam nations, only the US, with its advantages in population, facilities and weather, has a good balance of numbers and high-ranked players, and even they are wondering where their next slam champion is coming from.

Eastern European nations with a fraction of the budget have been far more successful in creating winners, and that is a conundrum the wealthier federations continue to try to crack.

The LTA has puts its eggs in the basket of a national academy in Loughborough that heavily funds and supports a small group of teenage players.

The jury remains out on whether it is the best use of the governing body’s millions but there is at least evidence it is working for the players who are there.

Girls’ singles quarter-finalists Ranah Stoiber and Mika Stojsavljevic are both among the chosen few, as is 17-year-old Henry Searle, who brilliantly ended a 61-year wait for a boys’ singles champion at Wimbledon in maybe the best moment of the tournament for the home nation.

Translating junior success into a strong professional career is never a given but Searle is clearly a big talent and there is a group of promising girls including Stoiber, Stojsavljevic, Isabelle Lacy, Mingge Xu and 14-year-old Hannah Klugman, around whom there is a great deal of excitement.

Mark Ceban, meanwhile, cemented his status as the best 14-year-old boy in Europe by winning the under-14 title.

Patience will be needed with all of them, and the most encouraging sign in the short term would be if Raducanu and Jack Draper, who are still very early in their careers, can return to full fitness and avoid the consistent injury problems that have frustratingly held them back.

Credit should also be given to Neal Skupski, who ticked the one box missing from his CV with his first grand slam men’s doubles title, and Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid for their ongoing success in the wheelchair game.

The Russians returned, a Ukrainian charmed Centre Court, an American punched above his weight, there were protests, curfews, boos and even a spying controversy. But most unusually of all, Novak Djokovic did not win.

He came close, though. Wimbledon 2023 looked set to go the same way as the previous four in the men’s draw, Djokovic bidding to take his number of titles to eight – level with Roger Federer – and his total of grand slam wins to 24 to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record.

But along came Carlos Alcaraz, the swashbuckling 20-year-old bundle of Spanish energy, a smiling assassin, and suddenly the irresistible force had beaten the immovable object.

Djokovic was supposed to stroll to the title, a testament to his enduring greatness, but also a damning indictment of the rest of the field if a 36-year-old can knock them all over with ease.

But Alcaraz struck a blow for the young pretenders with a five-set victory over four-and-three-quarter dramatic hours, in what was only his 18th match on grass.

Alcaraz had earlier in the week shrugged off ‘spygate’ claims that his father had been seen filming Djokovic practising with all his wide-eyed, boyish charm, simply saying: “Oh, probably it is true. My father is a huge fan of tennis.”

The breakout star of the Championships was American Chris Eubanks, who landed some heavyweight shots on his run to the quarter-finals, knocking out British number one Cameron Norrie and fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas along the way.

Wild card Liam Broady flew the British flag the furthest in the men’s draw, accounting for fourth seed – and renowned grass-phobe – Casper Ruud before falling to Dennis Shapovalov in round three.

The women’s champion was not so easy to pick, as has been the case for the last few years, and although a ‘big three’ has started to emerge, both world number one Iga Swiatek and defending champion Elena Rybakina exited at the quarter-final stage, and second seed Aryna Sabalenka in the semis.

Unseeded Ukrainian Elina Svitolina became the darling of Centre Court, reaching the semi-finals just nine months after her daughter Skai was born.

Svitolina’s stance in not shaking hands with players from Russia or Belarus, who were banned last year due to the conflict in her homeland, led to fourth-round opponent Victoria Azarenka being booed off Centre Court, with spectators assuming it was her who had snubbed the handshake.

The Wimbledon crowd evidently know more about Pimm’s and strawberries than they do about the world political landscape.

Sabalenka’s loss to Ons Jabeur – and Daniil Medvedev’s defeat by Alcaraz in the men’s semi – did at least spare the All England Club from the awkward optic of the Princess of Wales handing over the trophy to a Belarusian or Russian player.

Svitolina beat Swiatek in the last eight but her run was ended by Czech Marketa Vondrousova, the world number 42, who went on to become the first unseeded woman to win the title after a straight-sets demolition of Jabeur.

British number one Katie Boulter, unfazed by Just Stop Oil’s bizarre orange confetti/jigsaw puzzle interruption – the second such protest on day three – made the third round but was brutally taken down by Rybakina, 6-1 6-1.

The rain, frustratingly a feature throughout the fortnight, meant only an hour’s play was possible on the outside courts on day two, causing a backlog of matches and a headache for the schedulers.

That did not affect the show courts, but Wimbledon’s stubborn insistence that play should not start before 1.30pm on Centre meant too many late finishes and, on two occasions, matches being unable to finish due to the strict 11pm curfew.

Djokovic disposed of Stan Wawrinka with 14 minutes to spare, but not even he could beat Hubert Hurkacz inside their allotted two hours after two lengthy matches beforehand, and the Serbian had to come back in on his day off to finish the job.

The same happened to Andy Murray, the latest leg of his extended farewell tour ending in the second round when he was outlasted over five sets and two days by Tsitsipas.

Djokovic suggested play should start at 12pm, but that is another contest at Wimbledon that he probably will not win.

Wimbledon is over for another year and as usual it was an eventful fortnight.

There is a new king of Centre Court after Carlos Alcaraz dethroned Novak Djokovic while history was made in the women’s final as unseeded Marketa Vondrousova won.

Here, the PA news agency picks out five things we learned at the championships.

Djokovic proves mortal as Alcaraz reigns

There was a men’s final for the ages as long-time ruler Novak Djokovic, who had gone 10 years unbeaten on Centre Court, came up against the heir to the throne in the shape of Carlos Alcaraz.

Well, the Spaniard proved that he is ready to take the crown now as he won a near-five-hour final in five sets to claim a first Wimbledon title and deny his opponent a record-equalling eighth.

This is the start of a rivalry that will last as long as Djokovic carries on playing and it is fascinating to see how the 36-year-old reacts to his first SW19 defeat since 2017.

Wimbledon welcomes back Russian and Belarusian players

Russian and Belarusian players returned to Wimbledon following last year’s ban due to the invasion of Ukraine and were generally well received.

Men’s world number three Daniil Medvedev and women’s world number two Aryna Sabalenka made up for lost time by each reaching the semi-finals.

While political tensions remained relatively muted, there was a flash point when Victoria Azarenka of Belarus was jeered off court following her fourth-round defeat by Ukrainian Elina Svitolina.

Azarenka, who put up her hand to acknowledge Svitolina knowing her opponent did not wish to shake hands with a player from the aggressor countries, branded fans “drunk” and unfair.

Curfew causes issues

The All England Club’s insistence on beginning Centre Court matches at 1.30pm remains a source of frustration for some.

Djokovic led calls to overhaul the scheduling after his match with Hubert Hurkacz had to be suspended overnight due to the council-imposed 11pm curfew, while Andy Murray’s clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas was also impacted.

Despite objections, Wimbledon chief executive Sally Bolton offered no guarantees that earlier starts will be considered for next year’s tournament.

Beginning matches later makes the final contest of the day a prime-time occasion on BBC television and it appears that is now the goal, with Bolton reporting record viewing figures.

Britons fail to shine on big stage

Question marks hang over the state of British tennis after home interest in the adult singles draws was wiped out before the end of week one.

Women’s number one Katie Boulter was the last Briton standing but her hopes were emphatically ended by a thumping third-round defeat to defending champion Elena Rybakina on day six.

Two-time winner Murray, men’s number one Cameron Norrie and Liam Broady had all crashed out the previous day, while the raft of wild cards failed to produce a surprise package.

On a more positive note, 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu and potential star Jack Draper should soon return after missing the Championships through injury while 17-year-old Henry Searle became the first British boys’ singles champion at Wimbledon since 1962 and 14-year-old Mark Ceban won the boys’ under-14 event.

‘Big three’ dominance broken

For the first time since Ashleigh Barty won the 2022 Australian Open and subsequently retired, there was a grand slam champion from outside the so-called ‘big three’ of the women’s game.

Three-time major winner Iga Swiatek has been the dominant force post-Barty, while Sabalenka and Rybakina have each won one of the leading tournaments in that time.

But Sabalenka’s semi-final exit to Ons Jabeur, which prevented her from replacing Swiatek as world number one, signalled an end to the trio’s stranglehold on the slams.

World number 42 Vondrousova was the surprise new name on the trophy, becoming the first unseeded player to win the women’s tournament in her first significant grand slam run since she lost the 2019 French Open to Barty as a teenager.

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