Lulu Sun
Lulu Sun is the surprise of the year so far, advancing from qualifying through to the quarterfinals and still going. | @wta
Elena Rybakina emerges as a heavy favorite, the gentlemen's draw is still stacked, and collegiate tennis is delivering Sunny days.

Have the two roofs at Wimbledon been open at all this week? If so, not for very long. Rain has interrupted every day of the tournament, to the point that it almost feels like an indoor tournament, but somehow we’re still on schedule.

Luckily, there is some sun in the forecast. Lulu Sun, that is. The terrific lefty qualifier is shining bright at her first ever Wimbledon, leading the storylines as we look back on the first week of The Championships.

But first…

Fare thee well, Sir Andy Murray

It wasn’t the goodbye he hoped it would be, but Andy Murray’s Wimbledon career drew to a close with only one final match—a doubles contest with his brother Jamie.

Murray withdrew from singles at the absolute final second due to injury, and soon entered mixed doubles with Emma Radacanu, a development that delighted fans. It would never materialize, though, as Emma withdrew from that competition citing a stiff wrist that morning.

After the doubles loss, Wimbledon held a lovely ceremony for him, with retired announcer Sue Barker returning to emcee the conversation. A group of tennis greats past and present lined the court for the event, including Novak Djokovic, Iga Swiatek, John McEnroe, Martina Navratalova, Conchita Martinez, Lleyton Hewitt, Holger Rune, Tim Henman and current British torchbearers Cam Norrie, Jack Draper, and Dan Evans.

Barker drew emotions out of Murray, who had moments of difficulty but never lost his composure all the way. He managed to keep it lighthearted, telling two, yes two, tales of vomiting, one of which involved his early courtship with longtime wife Kim Sears.

What Murray did in his prime was remarkable. He brute-forced his way into the triumvirate of Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic, willing himself to three Grand Slam titles and a world No. 1 ranking while playing during the prime years of the three greatest players tennis has ever seen. His approach to climbing that mountain seemed to say “I refuse to not climb this mountain, dammit.” In doing so, he forced a name change from the Big Three to the Big Four.

Andy Murray bore the weight of the British world on his shoulders, all alone, and 77 years after Fred Perry before him, he got the Wimbledon job done … twice. There’s talk of creating a statue for him at The All England Club—it would be well deserved.

Rising Sun

Every Grand Slam has a breakout star. This year’s fortnight, poetically, has given rise to an actual star. A galactic centerpiece.

This year we say hello to Lulu Sun.

The New Zealander came through qualifiers, where she survived a match point, and has capitalized with fearless, winning tennis in her run to the quarterfinals.

She recorded one of the biggest upsets in the first round when she defeated eighth-seed Qinwen Zheng in three sets. Two more wins found her in a fourth-round showdown with hometown favorite Emma Radacanu, herself a wildcard entry.

Radacanu, you may recall, is the only player in history to come through qualifiers to win a Grand Slam, which she did in the U.S. Open in 2021. She has been beset by injuries ever since, and her deep run at Wimbledon this year has been a long time coming.

So of all people, Radacanu knows how dangerous a qualifier can be. “You don’t qualify and make the fourth round if you’re not extremely dangerous, beating the players she has,” Radacanu said pre-match.

She was right. Sun took it to her from the jump, claiming two breaks of serve to begin the match and take a 3-0 lead.

Sun won 6-2, 5-7, 6-2, and in doing so earned more money in this tournament alone than she has in her entire career. She will vault in the rankings from world No. 123 to at least No. 53.

Lulu comes from the college ranks, a theme we’ll revisit shortly. She played collegiate tennis at The University of Texas at Austin, helping lead the Longhorns to the national championship in 2021 when she clinched the winning point as a freshman. A teammate on that squad was current No. 52 Peyton Stearns.

After her first round win against Zheng, Sun was added to New Zealand’s roster for the upcoming Paris Olympics. She’ll pair with Erin Routliffe in the doubles competition.

Good luck to the Kiwis. May you follow the Sun.

Women’s Field is Wide Open

Guess how many Top 10 seeds are still in the tournament?


Guess how many previous champions are still in the tournament?


Fourth-seed and 2022 champion, Elena Rybakina is alive in the Round of 16, and seventh-seeded Jasmine Paulina barely survived twelfth-seeded Madison Keys to reach the quarters. Keys was leading 5-2 in the third set before having to retire due to injury at 5-5.

Actually, only three of the Top 10 seeds even made it to the Round of 16, but (2) Coco Gauff fell to compatriot Emma Navarro.

(3) Sabalenka withdrew before the tournament even started, defending champ (6) Marketa Vondrousova bowed out in round one, and (1) Iga Swiatek lost in the third round. (5) Jessica Pegula (Extra Topspin’s pre-tournament pick to win it) fell in round two.

All of this means the tournament is bursting with opportunities for someone new to find Wimbledon glory, however the tournament now has a clear favorite.

Elena Rybakina has Wimbledon on her Racket

Elena Rybakina won’t get a better opportunity than this to claim her second major. Everyone in the field that could cause her trouble is gone. She is a tremendous grass court player and has a previous title here to fill her with self-belief.

She just drubbed Caroline Wozniacki with bagels and breadsticks, 6-0, 6-1.

She faces a tricky opponent in the fourth round in (17) Anna Kalinskaya (our dark horse), but should be able to find her way through.

The biggest thing Rybakina will have to overcome is the pressure she’ll face as the heavy favorite now. She can lean on her past trophy here to quiet those voices.

This is her tournament to lose now, by a wide margin.

Reflex Volleys

Collegiate Tennis

Lulu Sun is the breakout star so far, but collegiate tennis deserves a nod all around.

Players coming through the collegiate ranks are becoming more and more formidable on the pro circuit, which wasn’t always the case. But now it is hard to ignore.

Lulu Sun (University of Texas at Austin) is in the quarterfinals, as a qualifier no less.

Emma Navarro (University of Virginia) is having her breakout major in the quarters.

Danielle Collins (University of Virgina) is still redlining her final lap in the round of 16.

Ben Shelton (University of Florida) gritted out three consecutive five-setters before losing to Sinner in the round of 16.

And 22-year-old Scotsman Jacob Fearnley (Texas Christian University / TCU) had the moment of his life when he faced Novak Djokovic in round two on Centre Court. He gave Novak all he wanted, forcing Djokovic to scrap out a tough four-set win.

Only a few weeks ago Fearnley was playing college tennis, leading his TCU Horned Frogs to a national title over the Texas Longhorns. This was his Grand Slam debut. What an introduction for the young Brit.

Guess who else played at TCU? Fellow Brit Cameron Norrie, who had a good run here of his own.

Sinner and Alcaraz on a Crash Course

Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz find themselves in the same half of the draw, currently one match away from a semifinal reunion after meeting at the same place in Paris.

Sinner has to get through Daniil Medvedev (not easy) and Carlos Alcaraz has to get through Tommy Paul (also not easy).

Odds are that they both advance, but do not be surprised if one or both of them don’t make it. Neither opponent is a gimme, though Alcaraz probably faces the tougher match. Tommy Paul is playing the best tennis of his career right now, absolutely brimming with confidence including a 2-2 head-to-head record against Alcaraz.

Novak’s Knee

Novak’s knee has been holding up, but it is not 100%. He has looked good, but not great, so far.

Grade: B+

All that matters for him is that he’s still advancing … and still walking.

A spicy quarterfinal matchup with Holger Rune awaits.

Rune is athletic and hungry enough to take Novak down. This will be an intriguing battle between a wily-while-hobbled all-timer against a spry future Grand Slam winner still trying to figure out how to win on the sport’s biggest stages. Rune would be more than happy to figure it out against the 24-time Slam winner on the hallowed Centre Court.

Federer in the House

He came to watch Andy, but that didn’t work out. 0-for-3. Always good to have him on site, though.

Italy Keeps Italying

Jannik Sinner, Jasmine Paulini, Lorenzo Musetti. The Italian renaissance in tennis continues to delight.

Props to Paulini for backing up her runner-up finish in Roland Garros with a quarterfinal or better showing here in Wimbledon. She’s wearing her Top 10 ranking well.

Stalwart Fabio Fognini even stayed in the mix for a while, taking down (8) Casper Ruud before losing a tough five-setter to Bautista Agut in the third round.

Gratuitous Carlos Alcaraz Highlight

Carlos Alcaraz Loves Extra Topspin