Half Way There

Written By: achangeofends - Jun• 25•10

We’re halfway through Wimbledon now and I’ve been terrible about updating. Believe me, I’ve had plenty of opinions this week, so I’m going to fill you in on some of what I think were this week’s most important tennis moments.

Have any of you noticed an abundance of five set matches? The Isner/Mahut match clearly comes to mind as it dominated the news from Wimbledon’s first week, but there have been several other five set matches this week, even if they weren’t quite so epic. I think it’s been a while since we’ve seen Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal tested so heavily in the first week of a Grand Slam. Federer started off his title defense with a five set match in both the first round and a four set match against a qualifier in the second round. In the first round, Federer somehow lost the first two sets of his match against Alejandro Falla (someone he’s beaten twice in the last month) and fought back to keep himself in the tournament. News outlets around the world seemed to be preparing articles about the impact of Federer’s first round loss, but he isn’t the Greatest of All Time for nothing. The true greats are the players that can fight their way back from a two set hole and win the match. Federer would live to fight another die, and I mean it when I say fight. It wasn’t quite the battle from the first round, but Federer did drop a set to Serbian qualifier Ilia Bozoljac. However, not to worry, Federer looked in top form during his third round match against Arnaud Clement. Nadal has been equally off balance, just squeaking by in his second and third round matches. In the second round Nadal faced off against Robin Haase of the Netherlands and was forced into five sets again in the third round against Philipp Petzschner of Germany. The lack of dominance of the top two seeds should make some others very hopeful. Andy Roddick, Andy Murray, and Robin Soderling have all had very strong starts in this tournament and it looks like any of them have as solid a chance at the title as Roger or Rafa do.

There’s been plenty of media attention, but I can’t skip the Queen’s visit. On Thursday, the Queen attended Wimbledon for the first time in over 30 years to watch Andy Murray play his second round match against Jarkko Nieminen. Murray won in straight sets. There was a lot of media speculation over who would get to play on Centre Court during the Queen’s visit (not that it mattered, as the Queen left directly after Murray’s match.) Once the official schedule was released, the talk of the day turned to who was jilted out of a chance to play for the Queen. First of all, the Queen met many players including the Williams sisters, Andy Roddick, and Roger Federer early in the day before taking in Murray’s match. Serena Williams did have a match on Thursday, and as the number one seed, probably should have been on Centre Court instead of Court 1. However, Roger Federer is the number one seed and has played some of his matches on Court 1 as well. Granted the Queen’s attendance wasn’t a question when it came to Federer, but I don’t believe that the Wimbledon coordinators were intentionally trying to jilt Serena. If anything, I would say that Serena’s outburst at the US Open is probably what kept her off Centre Court on Thursday, not her race or her attractiveness.

Speaking of outbursts, Victor Hanescu, the usually emotionless Romanian, was fined $7,500 for unsportsmanlike conduct and $7,500 for lack of effort in his third round match against Daniel Brands. The $7,500 fine for unsportsmanlike was well deserved. He spit at the crowd. I was very surprised to here this considering how steady he usually is on the court. Apparently everyone has a breaking point and the crowd found Hanescu’s. I tend to disagree with the lack of effort fine. I think this is kind of a silly rule anyway. Why would a player intentionally not try when they could just retire from the match? Hanescu’s match went to five sets before he retired, clearly the guy was trying. He won two sets. I know foot faults are uncommon and generally a player shouldn’t have that many double faults, but it’s possible that he really was injured or more likely that he was a little angry after the spitting incident and wasn’t playing at his best level.

Let’s check in with the women’s side for a moment. We saw early round exits from both French Open finalists Francesca Schiavone and Samantha Stosur. However, all of the major contenders for the title are still playing their best tennis. Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin look to be in pretty good shape. It’s a shame that one of them will be out after the fourth round, but that match up should be pretty exciting. Maria Sharapova, a former Wimbledon champ, is playing very well considering her recent form. I would consider her a possible second time champion, if she wasn’t playing Serena Williams tomorrow. Number three seed Caroline Wozniacki is also playing some great tennis and could give Serena some trouble down the line. Serena and Venus both look to be in tip top shape this year. I’m definitely predicting another all-Williams final.

I’m sure I could go on and on about the first week, but I think I’ll leave it at this. We’ve got another full week of tennis ahead and I think things are about to get very exciting.

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