LONDON – When Novak Djokovic – certainly the first citizen of Serbia now – was but a 12-year old, he was more concerned about the bombing of his hometown than what happened on its few scruffy tennis courts.
Commemorative plaque on Centre Court
“But I had this dream about a place called Wimbledon. And hoped. The [NATO] planes usually bombed at the same times, and we went to cellars then. But it was still scary. I was lucky that my parents got enough money together to send me away, to a tennis academy in Germany.” He was homesick, so returned to Serbia as often as possible. continue reading »
July 04 2011 | Wimbledon | 5 Comments »
LONDON – Maria Sharopova, the Siberian Siren, has been giving the cold shoulder to those who would beat her during this 125th Wimbledon. For two weeks she was pitching shutouts, along with her warbling, shrieking, ungenerously refusing to give up even one set. Twelve sets played; 12 sets won.
Wimbledon Village doorway
Maria had a 7-year itch, and was itching to cash in on it. Seven years ago, as a 17-year-old, she astounded the gamesplaying world by winning Wimbledon over none other than Sister Serena. Despite numerous injuries and shoulder surgery, she also won the Australian and US Opens. continue reading »
July 02 2011 | Wimbledon | 3 Comments »
LONDON – The centuries old tale of St George and the Dragon is a popular item in this town. After all, the heroic George is the patron saint of England, and dragons keep their distance.
Bud and Bethanie Mattek-Sands with her Alex North Lady Gaga's designer designed Wimbledon jacket
Anyway, yesterday seemed perfect for an updated re-run. The local tennis Cathedral called Wimbledon was jammed with 14,979 parishioners, and the anti-dragon element were out in loud, enthusiastic force, rallying behind their man, but fearing the fire breathing dragon. Could they hope to cripple and discard the spiky-spined monster? Well, they would try, as the reward for success would be places in tomorrow’s Wimbledon men’s final. continue reading »
July 02 2011 | Wimbledon | No Comments »
LONDON – “Where are those Williams sisters?” a Wimbledon ticket-holder asked me yesterday.
Billie Jean, Anita and Bud celebrating her 1st "W" title, doubles with Karen Hantze in 1961
They lost in the fourth round, I replied.
“So what?” the guy, an American, persisted. “They’re as much a part of this place as strawberries, ivy and the Pimm’s Cups. It should be like our baseball with designated hitters. Just insert them automatically in the lineup, into the semifinals.”
Well, not quite. But a semifinals day without either Serena or Venus – or both of them – is like a Pimm’s No. 1 without the gin. Since 2000, when Venus won the first of her five titles, the “Sisters Sledgehammer” were principals in 10 finals out of 12 years, missing out on this year and 2006. continue reading »
June 30 2011 | Wimbledon | No Comments »
LONDON – May I cut in?
Bud doing his feature for Tennis Channel
That may be what Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was thinking when he went out to play the most celebrated guy in tennis, Roger Federer, at Wimbledon. Cut in on Roger, who has won the championship six times, plus 10 other majors?
Ridiculous, right? Especially if you are Jo Tsongas of France, ranked No. 19, 1-4 against the Lord of the Swings – Roger – showing off his brilliance on his favorite patch of grass. continue reading »
June 29 2011 | Wimbledon | No Comments »
LONDON – The Royals, Kate and Bill, turned up to watch a game of tennis yesterday at Wimbledon, and lend moral support to one of their wayward subjects. That would be Young Murray out of Scotland, who may suffer hernia from carrying the British Isles on his back.
Watering on the Middle Sunday
Will he ever dissolve that pressure by winning Wimbledon, a feat last accomplished by a homeboy 75 years ago. It merely seems like yesterday – if you’re Methuselah. But if you’re a Brit waiting for somebody to emulate Fred Perry’s last triumph in 1936, it gets a little tedious. (He also won in 1934, 35) continue reading »
June 28 2011 | Wimbledon | 1 Comment »
LONDON – They should call her “The Bouncer.” No, she doesn’t throw unruly patrons out of saloons. Although she did eject a dangerous character – Sister Serena — from the big playroom called Centre Court. That victory on Monday got her into the Wimbledon quarter-finals, and startled the usual gatherings of 14, 979 with her bouncing routine.
Statue of Fred Perry at the Centre Court Debentures entrance
It was Centre Court again yesterday, accompanied by thunder sounding like artillery and muscular rain rattling the court’s retractable, flexible and translucent fabric roof. continue reading »
June 27 2011 | Wimbledon | No Comments »
LONDON – Does every girl need a basketball player?
Bud on the rooftop of the Broadcast Center
Helps with the rebounds apparently, painting a ceiling or scoring on the old boardinghouse reach. Anything needing a necessary stretch. But get a good one. A professional.
That’s what Maria Sharapova did, and it seems to be working well for the ex-champ, who glided into Wimbledon’s fourth round yesterday over Czech Klara Zakopalova, 6-2, 6-3. continue reading »
June 26 2011 | Wimbledon | 1 Comment »
London – Wimbledon is all about TRADITION. One of their most civilized and best traditions is taking the MIDDLE SUNDAY off. No play, let the grass courts bounce back a bit from all the wear and tear. It offers all participants a chance to enjoy a free day, to see the city, go the the theatre, catch up with friends, have a picnic, visit museums, in short experience real life in London. continue reading »
The Andrews and their compound of two tents
June 26 2011 | Wimbledon | 2 Comments »
LONDON – This is a nice town for tourists – unless they are American guys trying to see the sights through the strings of a tennis racket. Looking for the Tower of London, they may crash against the Terror of London: AKA Wimbledon.
Lovely fountain installed in 2010
That’s no fun. Even though they don’t have to duck the official executioner of medieval times, they still get chopped and discarded.
Once again the men of the USA are a vanishing species at the world’s oldest tournament, and the first week hasn’t even been completed. Mardy Fish, who won Newport last year, is now lonely, the last of the Yanks at the Big W, but with little chance of pulling off a miracle in the final a week from tomorrow. Three guys remained when play began Friday, but the shocker was to unfold at midafternoon when the only American with a genuine shot – No. 10 Andy Roddick – was outmaneuvered by the clever, handsome Spanish left-hander, Feliciano Lopez, 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-2), 6-4. continue reading »
June 25 2011 | Wimbledon | No Comments »