Wimbledon 2016: Overachievers and underachievers
By James Dielhenn
Last Updated: 11/07/16 11:29pm
After Andy Murray's title triumph at Wimbledon, we assess the success stories and shock setbacks from another eventful tournament.
The British No 1 claimed the men's singles trophy for a second time after a straight sets win over Milos Raonic in Sunday's final, but Murray's success was not the only major talking point from two weeks at the All England Club.
Even in British tennis circles, 25-year-old Willis was not a known commodity a fortnight ago. Ranked No 772 in the world, the home player surprisingly strung six wins together to qualify for the main draw of Wimbledon. That was an achievement in itself.
Infamously, he had won just £258 prize money in 2016 but a first-round win over world No 54 Ricardas Berankis took Willis' fairytale to new heights. The luck of the draw enabled him to share Centre Court with Roger Federer.
The story, of course, ended at the hands of the mighty Swiss but Willis - forever with a smile adorning his face - brought a fresh feel-good factor to the early days of this year's tournament and when the rankings came out on Monday morning had climbed 354 places to No 418.
The Russian was a doubles specialist, and remains so, but a march to the Wimbledon semi-finals might leave Vesnina questioning if she needs a partner after all.
Earlier this year, as the world No 122, Vesnina had failed to qualify for the Australian Open main draw. The days of her No 21 ranking were long behind her, and Vesnina is approaching her 30th birthday so time isn't in abundance. That makes her Wimbledon showing even more respectable.
An eventual drubbing by Serena Williams, where Vesnina won just two games in a 49-minute elimination, did not dampen her spirits. She had entered Wimbledon as the world No 50 and it required the best player in the sport to show her the exit door.
Some of the most noteworthy up-and-comings in tennis include Dominic Thiem, Borna Coric and Alexander Zverev but Lucas Pouille has forced experts to reassess their predictions.
Aged 22, the Frenchman has not previously offered much evidence that he could threaten at a Grand Slam. Pouille had never previously been past a second round - shockingly, he had never won a professional match on a grass court before this tournament.
So the world No 30's win over No 8 Thiem was a sizeable accolade and earned him a quarter-final spot, before the run was ended by Tomas Berdych.
As the world No 5, there's little excuse for not advancing beyond the second round of a Grand Slam. Wawrinka, in his defence, was unfortunate to draw the returning Juan Martin del Potro (the former US Open champion and world No 4).
But Del Potro is far from the man who, in 2009, achieved such heights. Struggling on the comeback trail from injury, he should have been a sitting duck for Wawrinka. The emotion attached to Del Potro's best win in six years allowed Wawrinka to drift away quietly, but this was a deeply disappointing effort from the Swiss.
The reigning French Open champion was handed a shock second-round exit that stifled her reputation as a future world No 1.
The 22-year-old Spaniard made her name in London with a sensational run to last year's final until Serena Williams sent her packing with a runners-up medal. But in the 12 months since, Muguruza has proved she wasn't a flash in the pan by improving her ranking to No 2 and winning a maiden Grand Slam in France.
But her return to Wimbledon did not evoke any happy memories. Muguruza lost to world No 124 Jana Cepelova at the second hurdle.
It is perhaps harsh to include Nishikori, who was forced out of Wimbledon due largely to injury, but his failure to address physical problems have again cost him a chance to threaten the elite players.
Fifth seed Nishikori threw in the towel 6-1 5-1 down to Marin Cilic in the fourth round, citing a rib complaint. Last year, he also withdrew from Wimbledon after a calf injury. At 26-years-old, there is plenty of time for the Japanese player to make a charge for a Grand Slam but he's now missed two Wimbledon opportunities due to injuries.
Murray is still the standard bearer in a golden era for tennis in Britain, but the heroics of other homegrown players have raised the profile of the sport.
Heather Watson successfully paired up with Finn Henri Kontinen to win the mixed doubles, while Gordon Reid claimed the men's wheelchair singles title and Jordanne Whiley won the women's wheelchair doubles.
With the Rio Olympics still to come, British tennis could even enjoy further success this summer.
The 34-year-old American collected her seventh Wimbledon crown with a straight sets win over Angelique Kerber, sweeping aside any suggestions that her time at the top was nearing an end.
Williams had not won a Grand Slam since last year's tournament and lost to Kerber at this year's Australian Open, but she was back to her dominant best in south west London.
The American claimed her 22nd Grand Slam title to equal Steffi Graf's Open era record and will be expected to surpass this tally at the US Open.
Even in defeat, Raonic can look back proudly on his best grass court campaign, and was only beaten by world No 2 Murray in finals at Queen's club and at Wimbledon.
The 25-year-old Canadian, who has added John McEnroe to his coaching team, is no longer plagued by injury and also demonstrated his mental strength in a five-set win over Roger Federer.
Raonic had no answer to Murray's cat-like serve returns in his first ever Grand Slam final, but will surely challenge for more major titles in the years to come.