Plenty of upsets today (Saturday) at the Wimbledon Open Tennis Championships - the biggest surprise being the defeat of champion and odds-on favourite rod Laver by Britain's Roger Taylor.
Plenty of upsets today (Saturday) at the Wimbledon Open Tennis Championships - the biggest surprise being the defeat of champion and odds-on favourite rod Laver by Britain's Roger Taylor. One of America's top players, negro star Arthur Ashe, and three seeded women were also beaten in unexpected results.
The last time 31-year old Australian Laver lost a match at Wimbledon was in 1960, and today's result ended a decade of decade of supremacy for the left-handed ace. In that time he'd won the title four times and had an incredible run of 31 matches without defeat. The title-holder in 1961 and 1962, when Wimbledon was an all-amateur affair, Laver then turned professional and dominated the world. He returned when the championships were thrown open to all comers in 1968 to win again, and last summer confirmed his title without serious challenge.
But today Laver was hampered by a service which let him down too often and was subdued by confident attacking play. Taylor was urged on by the cheers of a 14,500 centre court crowd.
Laver took the first set after dropping his service but regaining it. But after that Taylor began to take control. Laver served a disastrous total of ten double faults in the match and with each one Taylor's confidence increased. The British player began to dominate the net - taking the second set and forcing a service break in the third. Another service break helped him to take the third set and the crowd were on the edge of their seats, sensing the fall of the champion.
In the fourth set Taylor pressed home his advantage, allowing Laver only one game as he powered his way to a convincing victory. Spectators all around the stadium had eyes only for the Centre Court's electric scoreboard as Taylor consolidated his lead.
Afterwards, Laver made no excuses, blaming his service for the upset and congratulating Taylor on his play. It was a great victory for Taylor, who had never beaten Laver before.