We continue our off-diary look at Wimbledon – warts and all as week two doesn’t fail to deliver …
ALL fine and dandy (English for ‘all is well’) as week two began… Serena Williams was been fined $10,000 by the All England Club for damaging a court during practice before the Wimbledon tournament started.
Fabio Fognini was fined $3,000. The Italian said during his third-round loss that he wished a bomb would hit Wimbledon.
Nick Kyrgios was handed two fines, one for $3,000 from the first round and another for $5,000 from the second round — both for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Australian lost to Rafael Nadal in four sets in the second round.
MANIC Monday wasn’t good for Coco Gauff or Ash Barty.
The seventh-seeded Simona Halep Halep defeated the 15-year-old American 6-3, 6-3 to advance to the quarterfinals.
And Barty then slipped to American Alison Riske To end her push for consecutive Grand Slams.
Coco said she was unwell. She asked to see the doctor during the game and it was speculated that she might have been suffering from an upset stomach.
But, she wouldn’t let that be her excuse. She looked near to tears after her loss and was unable to crack a smile even when she shook hands with Halep. Her time will come.
Riske’s former coach Brandt Bowman said Alison’s grass style – hitting the ball hard and flat – worked for her against the Aussie.
“She has played 7-8 hours on court – compared to about 4 from Barty, so she’s tough.
“He best surface is grass, but if she can overcome the mental hurdle of facing Williams, she had a chance.”
AND … let’s not forget Czech Karolina Muchova’s career-best Grand Slam run with a shocking win over fellow countrywoman Karolina Pliskova.
“I never played such a long match, I think not even on clay. It was tough,” said the 22 year-old Muchova of the marathon match that lasted 3 hours and 17 minutes. 4-6, 7-5, 13-11, the final result.
The match came just two points from making Wimbledon history by being the first match at The Championships to play a tiebreak at 12-all in the decisive final set after John Isner and Kevin Anderson’s marathon semifinal here last year prompted a rule change at each of the majors.
WHILE the women’s event has been up and down, with new faces emerging, then falling away, the men’s tournament has stayed the course, with the big three largely unchallenged.
Rafael Nadal continued to look confident and in ominous form, taking Portugal’s Joao Sousa to task with a dominant 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 victory, but Nadal did question why Ash Barty was more important (centre court) than him. Egos, egos.
Roger Federer became the oldest man to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final in 28 years when he booked his place in the last-eight for the 17th time.
At 37, he is the oldest man to reach the last eight at the majors since 39-year-old Jimmy Connors at the 1991 US Open. It was also his 99th win at Wimbledon.
And Novak Djokovic reached his 11th Wimbledon quarter-final and 45th at the majors with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 win over France’s Ugo Humbert.
Between them, the ‘Big Three’ faced just one break point on Monday and dropped a combined 19 games.
ASH Barty was unwittingly drawn into a Wimbledon sexism debate after Rafael Nadal took offence at suggestions that the women’s world No. 1 had been shabbily treated by being assigned an outside court.
While Barty’s campaign shuddered to a halt on Court Two, Nadal was given centre court billing.
But he then tried to justify it – his centre court position – with: “I am the world No.2 and I have won 18 Grand Slams.”
In a PC world that now denies almost anyone a view, his comments went viral, sparking a sexism row.
Can we please just stick to the tennis.
ALWAYS expect the unexpected in the men’s invitational doubles at Wimbledon, we were told.
So when Henri Leconte and Patrick McEnroe decided to spice up their opening round match with Jacco Eltingh and Paul
Haarhuis by inviting the umpire to take part, Wimbledon fans made the video, below, go viral.
With the score locked at deuce at 5-5 in the second set, Leconte offered his racket to the umpire and take his place in the chair.
After an exchange of volleys he was lobbed and unable to chase back quickly enough in his blazer and tie, the pair returned to their proper places.
Talk about the umpire strikes back!
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I’m only 15. I’ve not nearly gotten or developed my game. I started tennis at six,” she said. “I’m so excited to see, if I continue to work hard, what other success I can have in the future.” – Coco Gauff
Meghan Markle dominated Day 8 – or her bodyguards did, after it was revealed tennis fans were warned not to take pictures of her at centre court.
Markle was branded ‘childish’ and a ‘control freak’ after it emerged her security team warned fans against taking pictures.
The former actress, 37, now married to Prince Harry, made a surprise appearance to Court 1 last week to watch Serena Williams play.
Sally Jones, 64, was seated in the same row as the Duchess and was ordered not to take photographs because the royal was there ‘in a private capacity’ – even though there were 12,000 people in Court 1 and millions watching on TV.
The shocked PR consultant from Warwickshire, who worked as a sports broadcaster for the BBC and ITV for decades, said Meghan’s bodyguard looked ’embarrassed’ when she told him she was actually taking a picture of Serena and revealed she hadn’t spotted Meghan until he pointed her out.
To add to the incident, Markle was also criticised for arriving at Wimbledon’s total box in jeans. An etiquette gaffe.
At a time when the British taxpayer is angry over paying for home renovations for the royal couple, this was a bad day for her PR machine.
SERENA Williams revealed she needed “therapy” after last year’s US Open final loss to Naomi Osaka, where she was involved in a much-criticised altercation with the umpire.
“I started seeing a therapist. I was searching for answers, and although I felt like I was making progress, I still wasn’t ready to pick up a racquet,” Williams wrote in Harper’s Bazaar.
Williams also admitted she had sent an apology letter to Osaka after the incident.
RAFA Nadal revealed he spent his Sunday off eating paella and watching TV. “We had a friend who cooked a very good paella at home. That’s all,” he said.
“I watched the PGA and European Tour. I watched some women, the World Cup, of football, Women’s World Cup. I watched some great matches”.
MATTEO Berrettini took his straight-set loss to Roger Federer in Wimbledon with a smile. We guess he had to, but the likeable Italian shared what he told Federer at the net. “I said, ‘Thanks for the tennis lesson, how much do I owe you’?”, said Berrettini.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: If you want to be private, go back to America and live privately. It’s pretty straightforward.” – British TV host and former CNN star Piers Morgan talking abut Meghan Markle’s ‘privacy’ request at Wimbledon.
BRITISH No. 1 Johanna Konta had a crack at the media after losing her quarterfinal match to Czech Barbora Strycova.
When asked questions of her performance, she snapped: “Is that in your professional tennis opinion?” she snapped during a post-match news conference.
“Okay. I mean, I don’t think you need to pick on me in a harsh way. I think I’m very open with you guys. I say how I feel out there. If you don’t want to accept that answer or you don’t agree with it, that’s fine.”
When pushed further, she snapped again: “Please don’t patronise me…
“No, no, you are. In the way you’re asking your question, you’re being quite disrespectful and you’re patronising me.
“I’m a professional competitor who did her best today, and that’s all there is to that.”
Konta has some history of poor relations with the media, so while not a surprise, her reactions were seen by some as unguarded and not her best.
ANDY Murray revealed he will almost certainly not play singles at the US Open, as he warned his return to solo action could take another year or more.
Although the three-time Grand Slam champion said his comeback performances over the last month have made him positive about his future, he is firm on the fact he will not rush back.
“I know some people might like it to have taken five months or six months, but it’s going to take more time than that, unfortunately. Whether that’s nine months or 12 months or 18 months, I don’t know. I’ll do my best to make it as soon as I can. I can’t give an exact timeframe on this. It’s tough,” he said.
SERENA Williams was fined £8,000 after smashing her racket into one of the Wimbledon championship courts and leaving divots in the surface.
The decision to sanction the seven-time champion was taken after video evidence was reviewed by the All England Club’s hierarchy and the referee’s office.
ONE particular moment in Roger Federer’s quarter-final win over Kei Nishikori at Wimbledon had the tennis world in awe this week.
The eight-time champion sealed his place in the semis for a 13th time with an historic 100th win at the All England Club, a 4-6 6-1 6-4 6-4 victory.
The Swiss legend had to battle back after losing the first set, eventually prevailing in four.
And an incredible winner in the fourth set had fans on their feet and commentators searching for superlatives.
Nishikori had Federer scrambling from one side of the court to the other and appeared to be destined to win the point.
The Japanese star pushed a nice backhand slice into Federer’s backhand side before moving in to the net.
However he was left completely stunned when Federer – on the run – rifled a crosscourt backhand straight past him to win the point.
Nishikori could only bow his head in defeat.
“Oh brilliant!” one commentator exclaimed. “That was outstanding.”
Boris Becker added: “I’m amazed by the speed and the footwork of the 37-year-old.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I’m amazed by the speed and the footwork of the 37-year-old.” – Boris Becker on Federer
THE Johanna Konta spat continued as she took exception to a male journalist’s line of questioning and hit back, saying he was “picking” on her and accusing him of being “patronising” and “disrespectful”.
Her comments have split the tennis world. Konta’s response has sparked debate about whether she was right to respond in the way she did or whether the questioning was justified. BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller suggested the questions Konta copped wouldn’t have been asked in the same way if Andy Murray was in her position while tennis reporter for The Telegraph Charlie Eccleshare said Konta’s rocky history with the British press played its part in the frosty exchange.
“This didn’t happen in isolation. It’s a consequence of simmering tension that’s been there for a long time because on one hand Konta feels the media is out to … poke at her and prod at her and I think the media feel that Konta gives the same answers after every defeat,” Eccleshare said on The Tennis Podcast.
Konta has never enjoyed a rosy relationship with the British media and last year likened them to “bastards” at the French Open.
SERENA Williams is no longer ‘obsessive about Grand Slam No. 24.
The 37-year-old is chasing an eighth All England Club singles crown which would see her match Australian Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 major singles titles.
And Halep bids to become the first Romanian to win a singles title at the spiritual home of grass court tennis.
“I will focus on myself. I’m not thinking about her record. Her records are huge already,” Halep said.
It’s nothing about that. It’s just a tennis match, a big challenge, a great match. So I will try just to give my best,” said Halep, who has lost just one set so far.
QUOTE of the day: Yeah, I feel really calm about it. I had to get to those finals, looking back, to even be in those two finals last year was unbelievable. Now I’m in a different place.” – Serena Williams on the possibility of breaking Margaret Court’s record.
MINUTES after losing his semi-final, Rafa Nadal tried to explain why he lost to Roger Federer.
“I think his return was better than my one this afternoon. I didn’t receive well today. When that happens, he’s in advantage, he’s in the control of the match generally because you feel a little bit more under pressure than him.
“I think today the backhand didn’t work as good as in the previous rounds.” He explained.
“I was a little bit too worried about my backhand, so I was not able to move with the freedom to the forehand.”
THE All England Club says it would like to honour former champion Andy Murray by commissioning a statue or a bust – but only after he has definitely retired.
The idea has already attracted criticism – surely a better idea would be to name a court, or a practise court after him?
Plenty of ‘stars’ in the royal box on semi-finals days. Manchester United legend sort Alex Ferguson was one of many soccer stars to grace the Wimbledon arena. along with david Beckham and of course Meghan Markle.
This year’s Royal Box has also seen Kate Middleton, Vogue editor Anna Wintour, Sir Richard Branson, and Twiggy among those in attendance.
It has been estimated that 166,055 portions of strawberries and cream have been consumed at the All England Club over Wimbledon fortnight at £2.50 a pop, About 303,277 glasses of Pimm’s and 21,917 bottles of champagne were sold. And about 17,170 portions of fish and chips bought.
A BIZARRE Poll in the UK saw one in eight British men reckon they could win a point in a tennis match against former world No.1 Serena Williams.
Asked by UK polling service YouGov, “Do you think if you were playing your very best tennis, you could win a point off Serena Williams?” 12 per cent of men said they reckoned they could.
Only 3 per cent of women had the same level of confidence in their abilities. 12 per cent of respondents weren’t sure.
QUOTE of the day: “Unless only eight men were surveyed and one of them was Nadal, these men are what’s known in tennis terms as ‘f**king deluded’,” – one person wrote on Twitter, about the poll.
SO much for all the royal gossip about two households at war … almost a year to the day after their first public outing as a duo, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle attended the Ladies’ Singles Final at The Championships at Wimbledon.
Kate and Meghan attended a match at Wimbledon together last summer, on July 14, 2018 to watch the men’s singles semi-final match between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
But Meghan didn’t applaud Halep’s victory – too closet her friend Serena?
IT’S not all about the big guns at Wimbledon. Out on court 12 Aussie Dylan Alcott became a Wimbledon singles champion thanks to a dominant display in the quad wheelchair final.
A day after combining with Andy Lapthorne to win the doubles title, Alcott overwhelmed his teammate 6-0 6-2.
With his ninth Grand Slam singles trophy, he now holds all four major singles titles, winning the US Open in 2018 before scooping the Australian, French and Wimbledon crowns this year. It’s a feat being referred to as the ‘Dylan Slam’.
BOTH Serena and Venus Williams have long been advocates for equal pay for women tennis players.
But in 2005 both Wimbledon and the French Open said it would offer equal pay to male and female players. 18 months later Wimbledon did and the French Open followed shortly after.
Williams continued to bang her equality drum after her loss to Halep on Saturday, although it may not have centred on tennis and more on her claim that black women in the US still suffer from pay inequality.
QUOTE of the day: “I wanted this badly. When I started the tournament, I talked to the people from the locker room that my dream is to become a member here. So today it’s real and I’m really happy.” – Simona Halep