“Wimbledon is a magical place … it smells of tennis already two or three kilometers away”, says Adriano Panatta in the beautiful series A team (Sky documentaries), recalling the victory of the Azzurri in the Davis Cup against Great Britain (1976). Along Church Road, after the years of Covid, the line of enthusiasts who are waiting impatiently for what is again this year il tournament, starting from Monday 27 June in a particular edition for many reasons. First of all because the repercussions of the Russian invasion of Ukraine have reached this point, with the sensational decision of the All England Club to exclude Russian and Belarusian players from the competition.
The repercussions of the war in Ukraine
Fortunately, we are far from the Berlin of ’37 and from the events of Gottfried von Cramm, the German tennis player “forced” to win against Donald Budge, under penalty of the consequences that we can imagine by Hitler (a story told in the book by Marshall Jon Fisher, Terrible splendor. The best game of all time, 66thand2nd), but certainly no one could foresee that issues unrelated to sport would affect the tournament. The choice was contested by the other athletes, to the point of inducing the ATP to take an equally drastic measure: not to recognize the valid points for the classification to those who participate, in fact disavowing the noblest of the Slams.
Without the number 1 Medvedev
We will therefore not see the world number one, Daniil Medvedev, nor Andrey Rublev, nor Aryna Sabalenka nor other non-Russian tennis players who have preferred not to play. This means that, thanks to the ankle injury of the number two of the ranking Alexander Zverev, the domination of Nole Djokovic and Rafa Nadal (respectively one and two of the seeding). Considering Andy Murray’s recent return to the courts, we’re three-quarters of the way through the epics Fab fours in competition (missing, to complete the quartet of the homonymous volume by Stefano Semeraro published by Sonzogno, the king of grass, Roger Federer, but the love for him does not die out as can be seen also from the last books: after Roger Federer really existed by Emanuele Atturo, published by 66thand2nd, has just come out of Hoepli The last monkey. The evolution of tennis from the origins of man to Roger Federer by Marco Bucciantini and Federico Ferrero).
On the female front it seems difficult to be able to counter the number one seeded, Iga Swiatek, fresh from victories so clear as to evoke the success of Steffi Graf against a tearful Natasha Zvereva at Roland Garros in 1988 (6-0 / 6-0 in a short more than half an hour): an impressive rise, that of the 21-year-old Polish girl, who only four years ago won the junior title at Wimbledon.
The hundred years of Church Road
But there is more: in 2022 the Church Road temple turns 100 years old (it was in June 1922 that the current headquarters of the Center Court was inaugurated … that of Worple Road was no longer able to accommodate an increasing public numerous). An important birthday, which will be celebrated with the exhibition 100 years of change in the museum near the fields, towels showing the profile of the center, a collection of ten posters with players and unforgettable moments in the history of the tournament and much more.