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Child's play for Kvitova

Mark Hodgkinson
July 6, 2014

Wind (and rain) in The Wimbledon Willows

Petra Kvitova celebrates becoming Wimbledon champion for a second time after beating Eugenie Bouchard © Getty Images

Mole, Ratty, Mr Toad and Mr Badger played their part in this occasion on Centre Court. Petra Kvitova spoke well in the moments after she won her second Wimbledon title - her English is much more fluent now than it was in her victory speech three years ago, and some of that improvement is down to reading 'The Wind in The Willows'.

The book was a present from her management team, who thought that the Czech needed to work on her English; they also gave her a copy of another children's classic, 'The Secret Garden'.

The Princess Bridesmaid

Princess Eugenie of York watches the women's singles final © Getty Images

This wasn't the fault of the real Princess Eugenie, the blue blood seated in the Royal Box. So the seventh in line to the throne turned up at Wimbledon for the first time all fortnight, to watch the player named after her, and Eugenie Bouchard was pulverised inside an hour.

But let's not call this a royal curse; there was a clear reason for Bouchard's heavy defeat and that was a performance from Kvitova which bordered on grass-court perfection. There's nothing princessy about the way that Kvitova, who won in 55 minutes, strikes a tennis ball. In terms of games, this was the most one-sided Wimbledon final of Bouchard's lifetime; the last occasion a women's title-match was this lop-sided was when Steffi Graf thrashed Monica Seles for the 1992 title.

Who could have imagined that Kvitova would 'bagel' the Canadian? In all, Kvitova hit 28 winners, including 17 in the opening set of this 6-3, 6-0 victory; that was one zinger every couple of minutes that Bouchard couldn't put her racquet on. Just consider that Bouchard, who hadn't dropped a set in her first six matches of the tournament, only made four unforced errors in the final; she simply wasn't given the chance to play her game.

So Kvitova became the first singles champion to use the new gate that has been installed at the side of the guest-box; rather than climbing over a wall, she could walk straight in.

Closing time

While the match was played outdoors, the prize-giving ceremony was indoors; because of concern that there was rain on the way, the roof was closed over Centre Court. During the delay - it takes a few minutes to shut the roof - the players left the court, and Bouchard was asked to wait in the engraver's room. Maybe some thought that to be a little cruel, to ask Bouchard to sit there, of all places. But the 20-year-old didn't seem in the least bit offended.

Seeing doubles

It's going to be a curious time for Bouchard's identical twin sister, Beatrice (named after another British princess). Doubtless, there are going to be many occasions in the coming weeks, months and years when tennis enthusiasts are going to approach Beatrice Bouchard, thinking she is the Wimbledon finalist.

Eugenie Bouchard holds her Wimbledon runner's-up trophy © Getty Images

Mark Hodgkinson is the author of Lendl: The Man Who Made Murray. Hodgkinson is writing daily pieces for ESPN during Wimbledon.

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