Unconventional Bartoli finally wins a Slam final

The Associated PressJuly 7, 2013 

LONDON — Ever since she was a kid, practicing until midnight with her father, Marion Bartoli went about playing tennis her own way.

The two-handed strokes for backhands, forehands, even volleys. The hopping in place and practice swings between points, which help her focus. The unusual setup for serves — no ball-bouncing, arms crossed, right wrist resting on her left thumb before the toss.

Whatever works, right? This unique Wimbledon, appropriately enough, produced a unique champion in the ambidextrous Bartoli, the 15th-seeded Frenchwoman who won her first Grand Slam title by beating 23rd-seeded Sabine Lisicki of Germany, 6-1, 6-4, Saturday in an error-filled, one-sided final that was far from a classic.

“It’s always been a part of my personality to be different. I think being just like the other one is kind of boring. I really embrace the fact of being a bit different and doing something that not everyone is,” said the 28-year-old Bartoli, who plays tennis right-handed but signs autographs with her left. “I actually love that part of my game, being able to have something different.”

She certainly stands alone.

This was Bartoli’s 47th Grand Slam tournament, the most ever played by a woman before earning a championship.

She is the only woman in the 45-year Open era to win Wimbledon playing two-fisted shots off both wings (Monica Seles, Bartoli’s inspiration for that unusual style, collected her nine major titles elsewhere).

Until Saturday, it had been more than 11/2 years since Bartoli won a tournament at any level.

Asked how to explain how she went from that sort of mediocre season to winning seven matches in a row at Wimbledon, never dropping a set, Bartoli briefly closed her eyes, then laughed heartily.

“Well,” Bartoli said, spreading her arms wide, “that’s me!”

Unlike Lisicki, a first-time major finalist who was admittedly overwhelmed by the occasion and teared up in the second set, Bartoli already had been on this stage, with the same stakes. Back in 2007, Bartoli won only five games during a two-set loss to Venus Williams in the Wimbledon championship.

The men’s final Sunday pits No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic against No. 2 Andy Murray. It will be their fourth meeting in a major final, third in less than a year.

BRYANS SAIL AFTER SLAM

The Bryan brothers got big air at Wimbledon on Saturday.

Yes, there was a little more room than usual between their feet and the ground for their latest version of the “Bryan Bump” — the famed chest bump they use to celebrate their victories — because of what that victory meant.

Their 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win over Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo wrapped up the Bryan Slam, making the 35-year-old identical twins from California the first men’s doubles team in the history of Open-era tennis to hold all four major titles at the same time.

In the women’s doubles final, Hsieh Su-wei and Peng Shuai of China won their first Grand Slam title with a 7-6 (1), 6-1 victory over Australian duo Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua.

The Olympian is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service