Variety can be a part of life. It is also, excuse the pun, the tennis court. As much as we care about foot power, strength, and speed, the key to tennis is often the gear. Players who can offer attack … and defense; players who can serve…. and return; players who can drift … and cut who can adjust the circumstances; players with a variety of options. It not only helps them respond to the styles and strengths (and weaknesses) of the opponent; it imbues the complete gamer with confidence knowing the battery of resources at his disposal.
That was highlighted today on Wimbledon center court when Australian Ashleigh Barty won her first Wimbledon individual trophy, defeating Karolina Plíšková of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3. This won’t be considered classic, but it was a nuanced match. And finally, the gamer prevailed with the great battery of options.
Initially, it seemed that Barty would not take the title, but would take it at full speed. She won the first 14 points of the game in about the time it will take her to read the sentence. Plíšková could be armed with the best serve in the women’s game, and she came into the match having maintained her serve in all but four games of this event. But twenty minutes into the game, Barty had broken it three times, effectively blocking returns on the court and then going into his business of racking up points.
Plíšková, a former No. 11, is not a player often associated with perseverance. But in this, the most important game of his career, he defended himself admirably. After improving her level to lose the first set “only” 6-3, she tied the match in the second set, stealing a tiebreaker. But then it was Barty’s turn to show poise. In the decisive third set, she scored an early break of serve and sold out the match 6-3 to become the champion. The stat sheet was a testament to its versatility. He had more aces than Plíšková, more service breaks, more winners and won some of his most critical points on the net.
With this title, Barty became the first Australian woman since her idol, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, won Wimbledon. She won the required second Major almost guaranteeing her entry into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. It consolidated its number one ranking which it has held for 86 weeks. He wins his fourth title, on three surfaces; again, versatility, in 2021.
Barty, a woman without a country with the strict travel rules for an Australian pandemic, will likely go to the Tokyo Olympics without returning home. Then it will be interesting to see how she does in the fourth Major, the US Open 2021. Naomi Osaka is the defending champion and has won two titles in New York since 2018. However, if Barty can win on clay and grass, there is no reason to That he can’t win a Major on hard courts. A third specialization, and the second in this roaming year, would only polish her credentials as a generational gamer. And polish the importance of variety and versatility in the modern game.
More from Jon Wertheim:
• Pete Sampras is doing well
• Will Roger Federer’s exit at Wimbledon be the last of his career?
• Serena Williams’ retirement from Wimbledon, a cruel reminder of time
• How a Hall of Fame Writer Found Salvation in High School Basketball
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.