A returning alien, a crowned rookie, few other goodies... As summer gets into full swing, July has had some nice surprises in store. Here's a look back at the highlights of the last thirty years, including a scorching Wimbledon.

MVP of the month: Novak Djokovic

The whole world knew he was still alive and kicking, but he still had to prove it. No problem: on 10 July, Novak Djokovic won his 21st Grand Slam tournament, his seventh at Wimbledon, without too much trouble. After his success in the final against Nick Kyrgios, the Serb said: "I feel like I'm on the moon, with the joy and happiness of living this moment once again. I've said it many times, but this tournament is very special to me because it was the first tournament I watched as a child that made me want to play tennis. I don't take any victory for granted, especially not at Wimbledon. On the contrary, every time is a little different and special in its own way. Historically, Wimbledon has always been an important moment in my life and career. It's no coincidence that this place has such importance in my life and career. It's also a relief considering what I've been through this year. This of course adds more value, more meaning and more emotion." Enough to reignite the eternal debate on the GOAT? Of course.

 

Achievement of the month: Elena Rybakina

First, but probably not the last. With her winning in London, Elena Rybakina lifted her first Grand Slam tournament and changed dimensions by dominating Ons Jabeur. But sometimes, enjoying it is more complicated than winning. The proof: "I didn't know what to do, I was in shock. I knew in my heart that I could do it but at the same time it was too much emotion and I was just trying to stay calm. Maybe one day you will see a huge reaction from me, but unfortunately not today..."

 

Anger of the month: Ernests Gulbis

"I won, you lost. Learn to play tennis, man. Today, to be honest, I played like crap and still beat you." The years go by, but Ernests Gulbis remains the same: after dominating Matteo Martineau at the Trieste Challenger, the Latvian didn't keep his tongue in cheek and finally managed to make a comeback despite his 375th ATP ranking. Yes, 375th.

 

Tears of the month: Kirsten Flipkens

It was the end. The final meeting. The last, before retirement. During Wimbledon, Kirsten Flipkens bid farewell to the professional world in tears. "I want to say everything and nothing, the emotion got the better of me. It was the perfect match for me," she said after losing to Simon Halep in the second round. To be able to finish my singles career against Simona on a court like this, with a crowd like you, is a dream. When I first came here, Kim Clijsters was playing in the junior category. I thought I would play here one day, I won the juniors in 2003 and I went to the semi-finals in 2013. Wimbledon is at the top of my list. I'm happy to say goodbye here." Happy, but inevitably a little sad all the same...

 

Announcement of the month: Daria Kasatkina

The word is out and it feels good. An openly gay woman, Daria Kasatkina recently came out in an interview: "It's difficult, and there's no point in staying in the wardrobe for long. You'll have knots in your brain as long as you don't say it, but it's clear that everyone has to choose how they want to open up and to what extent. The most important thing is to feel good about yourself." A welcome show of courage, which we hope will become more and more democratic.

 

Polemic of the month: Francisco Cerundolo

But what happened to the match ball that crowned Francisco Cerundolo in Bastad for his first title? Seeing Sebastian Baez's ball fleeing the court lines, the Argentine dropped his racket in joy... without thinking that the little yellow ball could bounce off it. In reality, there was no contact, but a nice scare: game, set and match! 
 

The surprise of the month: Petra Martic

You can be ranked 85th in the world and win a tournament with your fingers (almost) in your nose. Just look at Petra Martic, who only lost one set in Lugano in the space of... five matches! The 31 year old Croatian has now won her second cup on the circuit!