Protests and Pimm’s: Wimbledon ends after a fortnight of drama on and off the pitch | Wimbledon 2023

Newcomers to Wimbledon over the past few weeks have been pelted with a huge banner as they exit the station en route to tennis. “Still like never before,” he thunders.

This was certainly the case with the 2023 edition, during which there were geopolitical protests and disputes, glittering stars and races, doily dresses and skyrocketing sales amid a cost crisis. of life.

On the final day of competition, tennis fans wait to see if Wimbledon veteran Novak Djokovic can claim an eighth title and equal the record held by Roger Federer by fending off a challenge from new contender, 20-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz .

Spectators queue for tickets inside the grounds during day seven of Wimbledon
Spectators line up for tickets inside the pitch during the seventh day of the tournament. Photography: Julian Finney/Getty Images

On Saturday, Czech Markéta Vondroušová became the first woman to win the competition unseeded, emulating Boris Becker in the men’s singles in 1985, after beating Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur. Neal Skupski became the second Briton to win Wimbledon men’s doubles in the open era, while British duo Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid won their fifth Wimbledon wheelchair doubles title.

Hewett will be hoping to add to his tally in the men’s wheelchair singles final on Sunday, while 17-year-old Henry Searle is just one win away from becoming the first British boys’ champion at Wimbledon in 61 years.

The matches cap off two eventful weeks that have not lacked drama, on and off the pitch. The tournament opened in glorious sunshine, but there was unprecedented chaos in the normally polite and orderly queue.

This year, organizers introduced tougher security measures, which included the use of plainclothes police officers in the courts, in a bid to arrest climate protesters who had already disrupted several events this year. year. Airport-style checks resulted in long waits to enter, with some people complaining they waited 10 a.m., with little communication from organizers about when they could expect to enter the grounds.

A Just Stop Oil protester sits on Court 18 on day three of the Wimbledon Championships
A Just Stop Oil protester sits on Court 18 on day three of the Championships Photo: Alastair Grant/AP

Wimbledon then apologized and conducted a 360 degree reassessment of their procedures. Full bag searches continued throughout the week. They ultimately proved unsuccessful, with Just Stop Oil protesters disrupting play twice on day three by running onto Court 18 and throwing puzzles purchased from the on-site shop.

It was time to focus on the tennis, but unfortunately for the British fans there was not much to celebrate after the opening stages. Former two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray exited in the second round hinting he may have played his last match at Wimbledon, while Liam Broady and Cameron Norrie were eliminated on shaky Friday. Britain’s No. 1 Katie Boulter was the last of the Brits to leave the competition on Saturday.

Murray’s departure has sparked more debate over the schedule at Wimbledon and its 11pm curfew, following his loss to Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas after taking the lead before their match was postponed to 10.40pm. He also suggested live e-calling be used in the competition, after a crucial call went wrong against him – tournament organizers said they were considering the move.

Fans have found themselves embroiled in an ongoing geopolitical row that has boiled under the surface of this Wimbledon, as Russian and Belarus players were sent back to the competition as neutrals, after being banned from playing last year .

Belarusian Victoria Azarenka faced boos as she walked off the pitch following her loss to Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, who had a baby less than nine months ago and carried a nation’s hopes to the semi-finals. final, earning his countrymen’s pride and disbelief. exhausted new parents.

Belarusian Victoria Azarenka leaves the court after losing to Ukrainian Elina Svitolina at Wimbledon
Belarusian Victoria Azarenka faced boos as she walked off the pitch after losing to Ukrainian Elina Svitolina. Photo: Alastair Grant/AP

Azarenka said the treatment was “not fair” as she respected Svitolina’s decision not to shake hands with any Russian or Belarusian players as long as Russian troops remained in Ukraine.

The Belarusian suggested Wimbledon fans drank “lots of Pimm’s” when asked about the seemingly out of place boos at the post-match press conference. “If people are going to focus only on handshakes or [the] pretty drunk crowd, booing at the end, that’s a shame,” she said.

According to the Guardian, there are no plans to limit the amount of Pimms for sale next year at SW19.

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