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Wimbledon Has a New Doubles Event: Tennis and the World Cup

Wimbledon Has a New Doubles Event: Tennis and the World Cup

In the players’ lounge, dozens of competitors sat in seats clustered around a wall of three television sets that were tuned to the World Cup. Most appeared to be neutral observers, with the notable exception of Sweden’s Johanna Larsson, fresh off a women’s doubles victory and wearing the yellow jersey of her national team.

Nearby, a man napped on a couch facing two televisions that were tuned to matches taking place on the main Wimbledon show courts. One of those matches, the Centre Court clash between Angelique Kerber and Naomi Osaka, looked compelling on paper but was being played in front of a crowd that appeared to be one-third shy of capacity.

Kerber, a former world No. 1, secured the victory in 63 minutes. As she signed autographs on her way off the court, a loud cheer erupted, followed by shouts of “The Cup’s coming home,” the English fan base’s new rallying cry. England had just secured a 2-0 victory over Sweden to advance to the semifinals, and Wimbledon was celebrating.

All of that was hardly music to the ears of Kerber, a German whose revered national team stumbled out of the World Cup early.

The day went on. With England’s World Cup victory assured, with more tennis still to be played, fans filed back into Centre Court, filling it to capacity in hopes of capping the dizzying day with a rip-roaring nightcap.

Novak Djokovic, a three-time Wimbledon champion, was playing Edmund, who ripped forehands down the lines and in the corners to take the first set. The crowd was on its feet, whistling and shouting for the South African-born Edmund, Britain’s transplanted son.

By the time Djokovic put the finishing touches on his 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 victory, a sense of normalcy had returned. Tennis had the All England Club’s undivided attention again.

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