My Wimbledon Reports - Day 1
Wimbledon Report J
Day 0 – Left Edinburgh (1st Class!!!) at 1.30, and was due to arrive in Kings Cross at 6.30. Well just outside York our train hit something, there was a huge bang, the train shook and tons of smoke starting pouring out the left hand side. An hour later we started to trot along into York. An announcement came over saying our driver wasn’t feeling well and we needed a replacement (so I guess we did actually hit something or someone, or maybe he just got a fright, I don’t know). So another 45 minutes later they decided not to get a replacement driver and just cancel the train. By now, 3 GNER trains from Aberdeen/Edinburgh to Kings Cross were sitting in a row, and there were a hell of a lot of people trying to get on at York. So there was a mad dash across to the other platform to get a seat on the other 2 trains. Well I paid for a first class ticket, so I was sitting in first class. Unfortunately pretty much anyway was sitting in first class, coz they weren’t checking tickets. Now I’m not a snob, but if you didn’t pay for 1st class, you shouldn’t of been allowed in, delayed train or not.
Anyhoo, finally arrived into King’s Cross 2 hours late, and then had to manage the London Underground for the first time. It’s quite fun actually, really easy to use, but I can imagine it’s a nightmare when it’s busy. Eventually arrived in Wimbledon around 9pm, and it was still scorching. At 10pm, it was 28oC outside, making getting to sleep rather difficult.
Day 1 – Got up at 5.25am, and had some breakfast. Wandered up the road past a lot posh houses and joined the queue on Church Road around 7. For any of you who haven’t done it, I would highly recommend it. It’s very easy and good fun. Everyone is very chatty, and as I’m sure you all know, us Brits love a good queue. Unlike in certain countries I could mention *cough* FRANCE *cough*, by queue we mean queue. There is no pushing, or skipping or trying anything funny. You just sit and wait. You get a queue card with your number on it, and that’s you place in the queue. For anybody who thinks you have to be in the queue by 5 to get a grounds pass, you mistaken. You could of arrived around 8.30 and gotten in by 12. There was a major thunderstorm around 9, but thankfully the queue had started moving at 7.30, and by now I was positioned under the shelter of a tree (not the best place to be when there’s lightning, but I didn’t get wet). Haha, the less fortunate and unorganised people had to grab bin liners that was stationed every couple of meters along the road and turn them into macs. Got into the grounds just before 11, paid my £16 (surely the best deal in sports ever?!) and headed up to Court 18 for Keothavong vs. Diaz-Oliva. By now it was absolutely scorching, very very hot. It got above 30 just in the shade, so as a ginger Scot, I was suffering. Factor 8 was not enough!!
Started to get a bit excited, saw Sue Barker rehearsing in the studio, Boris Becker, John Inverdale, that Rashid guy (my personal highlight), and Sam Smith climbing up into the commentary box. Right, onto the matches:
Keothavong vs. Diaz-Oliva: Anne was absolutely horrendous. I don’t know who her coach is, but he needs sacked if those were the tactics he suggested. The game plan was so ridiculously wrong and stupid it wasn’t even funny. I’m guessing the only possibility is neither her or her coach have ever seen Mariana play? Anyway, she came out all guns blazing and broke to love. Was looking good and I was thinking she was gonna win. Well she didn’t. Right I’m gonna list the things that I think were wrong with what Anne did today:
1. She came to the net about 4 times, and only one of them was on her own initiative, the rest were to chase drop shots
2. She does not have a sliced backhand. I lost count of the times that I’m sure almost all the other 127 girls would have slice to get the ball in court and give them time to recover, but Anne went for a double hander, was totally off balance, hit the bottom of the net and almost fell over
3. Diaz-Oliva has a very extreme forehand grip, so even when she’s in the ‘ready’ position, she already starting to prepare for it. So what does Anne do? Always play to the forehand, even though the backhand was breaking down every time she hit to it more than a few times
4. Mariana is a solid clay courter playing her first match of the year on grass. Yes Anne doesn’t like grass, but that’s no excuse to play to her (as in Mariana’s) comfort zone. She was trading forehand from the back and playing with a HUGE amount of topspin. And as these grass courts are turning into hardcourts, it sat up very nicely and the Argentine was happy to run around getting them back letting Anne making errors.
5. She just made a hash of it. Maybe she was nervous I don’t know. But she had no plan B. It was just hit the ball hard, then when it goes wrong, hit it harder.
The one thing that did look okay, was that her movement is still fine, no effects of the injury I could see, although I did wince when she had to chase back a lob.
Anne’s attitude on court was alright, she was trying and pumped up. And she saved 4 match points to get the 2nd set a bit closer, and had chances to level it up at 5-5. But the tactics were all wrong. She needs to get out on the practice court and work on coming in, taking short balls. There were too many times she would smack a mid court ball, then retreat, and ultimately lose the point because she didn’t put the ball away. She knew she coulda done better, and should’ve because that wasn’t Anne out there today.
From Court 18 you get a decent view of Court 19, and to be honest it was a far more interesting match. I’ve decided that in my next life I’m going to be an Aussie. They just group up together, watch an Ozzie I’m sure many of them don’t know much about, and just chant and sing and have a great time.
Stosur vs. Pastikova: despite endless chants of “Ozzie, Ozzie Ozzie, Oi, Oi, Oi” and the fact it was grass, Stosur was god-awful. Michaela was a real surprise, she was playing very well, made Sam’s serve look like it was powderpuff, and was passing her very easily. She served for the set at 5-4, and that’s when the crowd started to help. Sam came back and the crowd went wild, and Michaela gave them all a good long hard evil. Anyway, Sam’s serve let her down in the breaker and she lost it. After a tight game at 1-1, Sam fell away rather badly.
Wandered up Henman Hill, god Wimbledon is an amazing place, I can see why people love it, the atmosphere is just something else.
Went back to court 18 to watch a bit of Llewellyn vs. Kuznetsova: Becky was just way out of her depth. She didn’t play a bad match, and had 4 break points early on, and perhaps if she took them it coulda been different. The term “blown off the court” is often overused in tennis, but it has never been so apt. Becky just couldn’t cope with the weight of shot coming toward her. After 2 or three strokes from the back she just couldn’t time it and hit a wild error, or couldn’t chase down the ball. Her serve looked alright, movement a bit suspect at times, but a nice game, just not up to this level. She stayed positive though, there wasn’t really anything else she could do. Jo Durie and Alan Jones were watching her play, so maybe she is still involved with them?
It’s worth noting that you can hear the roars from Centre and Court 1, and a lot of the players’ ears seem to prick up, almost as if you can see them thinking “I wanna be there”.
Went for a wee wander, David Sherwood won easily, while Vadisova sneaked past Jankovic. Abi Spears had a shocker in the first set against Anne Kremer, losing it 60. Kremer was loving the grass, and the next time I checked out their match she had won it 60 26 62.
All the middle outside courts are bunched together, separated by a small pathway. Along each side of the courts are park benches for you to sit in, so you can sit VERY close to the players. Waited at court 4 for Sarah’s match. But first there was Dominikovic vs. Nakamura to finish. The Ozzies were out in force, cheering on Evie, but she missed a couple of break points at 4-4 and lost serve to go out. Nakamura had an inasane fan , and old Japanese guy who sat with a towel round his head. Every time Aiko won a point he was jump up and down screaming cheers. Very funny.
On Ct 3, Alan Mackin was putting up a good fight against Gonzalez (who hits the ball so hard it’s insane, it one thing watching him on TV, but in person it’s just OMG!!) but couldn’t do quite enough.
Borwell vs. Perry: Shenay is a wee bruiser. Stocky, well built, would be useful in a fight. Was sitting next to her coach and I think her dad, who looks quite like Richard Williams with his we beard. Was excited to see Sarah play, and she’s got a nice game. Big serve, and a very good attitude on court. The first set was very tight, they exchanged breaks, then it was a case of each player serving their way out of trouble. Both players were more than happy to come into the net, and were rewarded. Sarah saved a break point to get to the breaker, but quickly went 2-5 down as Shenay got her big left forehand going. Sarah announced she was “playing like pooh” which made me chuckle in my seat. Emily was sitting watching the match, as was Mr Felgate. Sarah pulled it back to 5-5 with some fantastic shots, unlike the other Brits today, she was really using her head to work out new ways of talking Perry, who was beatable. Perry had the advantage throughout the breaker, even though Sarah had 4 sp’s, only one was on her own serve. Perry had several chances to take the set, and came close a couple of times. Sarah never really stood a chance when Shenay was serving, as she would pull a big one out the bad to get back level. At 12-11, Sarah made a shocking attempt at a drop shot, which landed half way up the net. Was the only time she actually looked nervous or flustered in the 1st set, and it cost her the match. It was pretty clear whoever won the breaker would take the match, and Sarah lost serve with another poor drop shot attempt, and her confidence started to wane and she lost 76(11) 63. Shame, with a bit of luck coulda won it, but Shenay played really well when she was in trouble, and she’s a new favourite of mine. I don’t wanna say Sarah can be top 100, because I’m not sure she can, but she can certainly be top 250, and at the stage where she can win a few ITF’s and get into grand slam qualies on her own rank easily enough.
Sfar was on Court 8, so watched her take the opening set 62 with some lovely net play, then saw Washington upset Frazier 64 in the 3rd and let out a yelp of delight. Was too slow in the race to the top of court 3 (where you can look over into court 2) so didn’t see any of Katie.
Saw Bogdanovic lose to Kim, he was shocking.
Tanasugarn vs. Sprem: Tami was all over poor Karolina. Tammy was just playing excellent grass court tennis, and Sprem couldn’t cope with it. She was trying to out-hit Tammy from the back, but Tammy would just slice it and get back in the point. Karolina started to panic and rush her shots, and hit an error.
Headed back to Court 8 via Court 13 to have a quick look at Joachim Johansson. Man he hits the ball so hard! Strycova vs. Osterloh was rather boring, and watched Burgsmuller put out Puerta.
Sfar vs Loit: Match of the day? Yes. Best match ever? Maybe. Sel is a serve and volleyer, with fantastic speed, while Loit plays with a lot of touch and flair. When I arrived Sel had just dropped serve to lose the second set 64. A guy who was sitting with Anna Hawkins seemed to be ‘coaching’ Sel. But she also had a French camp featuring Steph Cohen-Aloro sitting at the other side of the court. It was interesting to see the French Camp split, Steph Foretz was cheering on Loit. At the start of the first set, the coach said “let’s go Sel”, and she turned to him and went “what’s the point? I’m not going to win. So close. As always. Every week so close by never winner.” My little heart broke a little. Anyway, despite pearls of wisdom such as “hit it Sel”, and “enjoy the point” she was down 0-5 0-30 in about 2 minutes. She basically tanked. Then, like a beacon, Lucie Ahl appeared through the crowds in a ray of sunlight, and Sel decided she did want to win it after all. Only by now she was 15-40 down. 2 match points saved with a lot of courage and risk taking, and then she broke. Slowly but surely her confidence started to come back, she was hitting her volleys clean and crisp from the centre of the racket, and pushing Loit around. With eah passing game a bigger and bigger crowd started to appear, and somehow, after another of couple of match points were saved, she pulled it back to 5-5. Sel then missed a break point, and had to save another match point to level at 6-6. Loit then had to ask the umpire if there was a tiebreak. Which I thought was a bit dumb. Sel broke with some superb volleys, and was 2 points from the match when Loit got her arse back in gear and got on terms again. It was a bit of a shame, everyone was rooting for Sel, and she turned to her camp and said “I cannot do this, it hurts too much in my heart.” But Lucie and about 200 people were cheering her on, and there were so many gruelling rallies and both players were covering the court and running about desperate to keep the ball in play. Sel served for it again at 8-7, and went 40-0 up. Loit saved the first 2, but sent a backhand long and Sel just screamed in joy. YAY!!!!
Anyway, Sel came out with a couple of crackers during the match, such as asking the umpire if “he had betted against me” after a rather dubious overrule. Oh, and Sel hit a between the legs shot that beat Loit at the net only to land millimetres wide.
Caught a little of Sequera vs. Vento, partially to here the umpire say “Mrs”. It’s dead weird!! Vento won it 76 46 64. Was very tight, Sequera can really thwack the ball for someone so tiny. Eventually Vento just had a little too much variety and she came through.
Domachowska vs. Sanchez-Lorenzo was played entirely from the back, was even-stevens for much of it, but Marta just played too many loose shots on big points.
Watched Baltacha vs. Klaschka on the big screen. God she was horrendous. She just couldn’t get going. Sabine played a very good match, hitting winners from everywhere and not giving Bally a rhythm. Bally was trying to hard, but the more effort she put in, the tighter she got, and her form just fell apart and she couldn’t hit a shot properly. She was so nervous, and maybe if she had relaxed she coulda done a bit better. Aaargh, it was a good draw as well.
Elsewhere, food isn’t overly expensive, strawberries and cream are £2, and things like water or coke are £1.50. It’s dear, but not excessively so for a sporting event. Ended the day totally fried, my face was all bright pink and my nose was blistered. Ouchee!!! But I had to grin and bear it because there was another day ahead!!!
Took plenty of photos, but am not entirely sure how to put them on here. But will try to get them up later in the week. As well as my reports from Tuesday and Wednesday.