Yesterday, however, came a piece of history after a dramatic appearance by one new boy on the block, Wesley Moodie of South Africa, and the 29-year-old Stephen Huss of Australia, who has been round it a few times before finding the perfect partner. In becoming the first pair to go all the way from the qualifying competition to win the Wimbledon title, they thoroughly deserved victory over the Bryans in the final, by 7-6 6-3 6-7 6-3. It was a performance that prolonged their unbeaten record as a pair to 12 matches while extending the Americans' unhappy run of defeats in Grand Slam finals to no fewer than five, a hat-trick of them this year.
The rank outsiders appeared to have done the favourites a couple of significant favours on their long march, surprising the top seeds Jonas Bjorkman and Max Mirnyi in a four-set semi-final after putting out Woodbridge and Mahesh Bhupathi, bringing to an end the Woodies dynasty as Woodbridge announced that it would be his last Wimbledon.
But defeating four of the top 10 seeds should also have sent out a warning, notably about the power of their serving. It was particularly effective when the small Huss was on serve with the 6ft 5in Moodie volleying at the net. In four sets they were not broken, while twice making the breakthrough against Bob Bryan, to lead two-love in the second and fourth sets and hold on comfortably each time.
"I'm definitely surprised to be a Wimbledon champion," Huss admitted. "But I think we complement each other very well. Wes is obviosuly a big hitter of the ball and big server. That gives me opportunities round the net, which is my strength." He has now had a dozen different partners in 13 Grand Slam events and wants to stick with this one, despite Moodie's singles ambitions.
For ATP tournaments, although not Grand Slams, doubles matches will have sets played to five games rather than six, with a tie-break at four-four. It is also the intention that from 2008 they should be contested almost exclusively from players in the singles draw.