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2023 Wimbledon: Two Groups Of Worthy Challengers Have Emerged

Sunday's final was a fitting end to a wildly entertaining Wimbledon, one that was not just full of twists and turns, but also was extremely important for tennis moving forward. At the end of the day, Alcaraz showed his talent and class to come out on top in a close five sets. Here are the biggest takeaways from the fortnight.

The Future Is Here

The tennis world has been waiting, patiently, for this next generation to finally arrive. Every year, especially at Wimbledon, we'd see a slew of early exits and disappointing finishes from the youngsters. This year not only did 20-year-old Alcaraz pick up his second major (first with Djokovic in the draw), but he was also followed by a powerful condition of promising younger players, a number of whom made personal breakthroughs during the fortnight.

Jannik Sinner made his first grand slam semifinal and made even more steps toward rounding out his game on all surfaces. Daniil Medvedev finally made a grand slam run on a non-hard surface. Holger Rune put together a second consecutive quarterfinal run, and is finally supplementing his immense talent with consistency. Not quite a youngster, but 27-year-old Chris Eubanks finally arrived on the scene and put himself on the verge of the top 30 with a Cinderella-like run.

Certain promising members of the group, including Tsitsipas, Zverev, and Auger-Aliassiame, continue to search for their best form, but overall, with some of the youngest top-eight and top-four groups that SW19 has seen in a while, this was a marvelous start for the advancement of the future of the sport.

There's no question, however, that Alcaraz will be the leader of the group, and by some margin. With almost no grass success coming into the year, he picked up the surface as he went, improving with every match at Queen's and then doing the same at Wimbledon. Culminating the tournament with a comeback win against arguably the second-best grass player ever - not to mention an all-time legend looking unbeatable - was an unreal feat that took some serious strategic adjustments.

Whether it's the completeness of his game, his mentality, his shot-making skills, or his pure excitement factor, the tennis world runs through Carlitos at the moment.

Stars Are Re-Announcing Themselves After Impressive Injury Returns

In a heartwarming turn of events, this Wimbledon may end up being seen as the "comeback slam". When looking to fill the void for balance in competitors to people like Djokovic, most of the attention goes to the younger generation. However, some players have given the best of the best big issues during their primes.

Andy Murray started out his campaign with a win over Ryan Peniston that, for him these days, was unusually straightforward. He then continued his campaign with an incredible effort against Tsitsipas in what ended up being a five-set loss. However, he showed his ability to play with the top guys and maintain a high level over five sets.

Matteo Berrettini was a nearly immovable force for three rounds, and it took some incredible tennis from Alcaraz to dispatch him in four sets. However, he showed some serious threats with his serve and forehand - he didn't get broken until midway through the second set of his fourth-round match. With more chances to take the court, we could be seeing the version of Berettini that made the 2021 Wimbledon Final very soon. Sascha Zverev, who Berrettini took out in the third round, also showed some good tennis before Matteo got the better of him.

Milos Raonic's road back is going to be a bit longer, as he hadn't played a match since July 2021 before this grass season. However, he did as well as he reasonably could on the grass. He started his campaign in S'Hertogenbosch with a straight sets win over Kecmanovic before losing to Jordan Thompson, then beat Denis Novak handily to start Wimbledon before staying with Tommy Paul for the better part of four sets in the second round. Raonic showed good use of his serve game and moved quite well, and the 12 sets he played will be a great building block for his return. Expect him to make an imprint on hard courts.

Stan Wawrinka was another nice story, he hasn't been out for an extended period but has been struggling to find form before his return. After a French Open during which he was on opposite ends of two five-set thrillers, he strung together some great form at Wimbledon. After a straight-sets win (which has been hard to come by for him) against Ruusovuori, he had an excellent match against the dynamic rising shotmaker Etcheverry. He was outmatched against Novak as expected but came up with some great tennis down the stretch to nearly take the third set.

It was a tournament to build on for a number of players making comebacks. It will be exciting to see which ones can come all the way to fruition.


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