Wimbledon Day 13

It's over! the most memorable Wimbledon in so many years came to a close today. Sometimes it's such anti climax at the last day, but there was still a buzz when the Mixed doubles winners went to get their prizemoney, and British boys won the junior doubles, and Rafa did his final press interviews.

He was fantastic and made Bedych look really ordinary today. How hard it is to play your first Grand Slam final against someone who is tried and true and you probably believe is better than you. Tomas' serve was not the same and he was out-aced and out-returned by one totally determined champion. Nadal will surely be number one in the world for quite some time.

I'm sorry it's over, but I think I honestly enjoyed eevry minute this year and July 4th went out with a big bang!

 

Wimbledon Day 12

Well it finally happened.....there was a bit of an anticlimax today. Zvonereva just did not play up to her potential and Serena was excellent, so it was rather an easy match to give Serena her 4th Wimbledon crown. That is quite an achievement, now beating Billie Jean King with 13 Grand slam titles. She was serious and applied herself well. Poor Vera also lost in the doubles finals, but I guess she at least took home to Moscow a suitcase full of thousand pound bills.

The press was pretty kind to Andy Murray. He played well and Nadal was just supreme yesterday. I don't think we should really be surprised that Nadal won. He is such a warrior and exploited the few chinks in Murray's game. He played Andy's forehand to the breaking point and also benefited from his not so good second serve.

At least the sun shone and it was very special sitting in the Royal Box for the 2nd time this tournament, this time with so many Wimbledon Ladies Champions, and really fun to watch some great doubles, both men and women. Then IMG had a nice relaxed party at their house up the road and the evening was perfect. yet another beautiful summer day at SW19.

 

Wimbledon Day 11

As with so many fairytales, they don't come true. Murray came close to being the first male Wimbledon champion since Fred Perry, but he came across someonbe with such determination and tremendous skill, that in the end, he was outplayed. There was a brief moment when he had set point in the second set, but that was erased rather fast and before you knew it, Rafa had won. What a fighter Nadal is. How can anyone bet against him, even on a grass court. You would have to maintain such form for so long, and have such mental stamine that it would be superhuman.

In the other semi, Berdych was just too good and served so much better than Djokovic. He is so talented and finally it looks like his self doubts are slowly being washed away by his ability, that even he believs in himself now. Mind you I don't know what he has to do to beat Nadal. I don't know who is the most organised for the final.

So yesterday, I got my picture with Rafa, and today not only with Tomas Berdych but also with David Beckham, can you believe. He even took a photo with his own camera of us, but that will probably end up in the bottom of a deep drawer, unless it is erased before it even sees the light of day.

Tomorrow, let's hope for a good match. Zvonereva can cope with Serena, but in the Wimbledon final it is another story. It must have helped beating her in the doubles but when you are a novice at grand slam finals playing a 12 time winner, how do you think positively about it. I just hope it is good and the sun shines another day.

 

Wimbledon Day 10

Slightly easier day for everyone with the schedule going through so easily because of the good weather.

There were 2 of the best semi finals in the ladies singles. Zvonereva and Pironkova was so great and I think the better player won, Vera using all her experience to pull her through. But the points were superb and so many points ending with winners and applause. And then Serna showed just how good she is against the young Czech player Kvitova. She is someone who will really improve I am sure. She's athletic and tall with an awesome serve and big forehand.

Then there was some great mixed, Kim Clijsters and Malisse just losing but thrilling the number one court crowd. To finish of a little skill and flair from Kournikova and Hingis.

Maybe my big moment was to have a picture with Rafa and also one with my Placido Domingo, who I first met so many years ago. he is at Covent Garden this week. Pity I can't be here to accept the invitation to go.

Will Rafa's determination and steadiness prevail against Andy or will we have the thrill of a British player in the final? Can't wait till tomorrow.

 

Wimbledon Day 9

It got too late last night to check in. I guess there was a lot of emotion about the matches. There was mourning when Roger lost and celebration when Murray won. Funnily enough the other guys hardly registered. Djokovic has skimmed by under the radar. I doubt anyone has seriously considered him to be champion here, but sometimes when no-one is looking, you can reach the final post before anyone else. I'm not sure though what I really think about that. Berdych looks very good and when he said that his dream had always been to defeat Roger on the centre court at Wimbledon, maybe he's ready for more. Nadal, however, has been right on the radar all the time and dispelled my doubts about a win yesterday, handily. Murray has also been right on the radar and come through as expected with flying colours. No bets for tomorrow at all.

The other interesting result was the doubles that the Williams sisters lost. That was a shock, but hats off to Vera Zvonereva, who is in stunning form. She is a smart, very pleasant girl who might just have buried her demons and be brave enough to go the whole way.

It's hot again today. That is incredible. No rain. No roof. Maybe never at Wimbledon again!

 

Wimbledon Day 8

There was no way there was going to be a predictable day. Surprises all round in the ladies singles quarters. Talking with Lindsay Davenport in the opening with Sue Barker on centre court, the one thing we were pretty sure about was that both Williams sisters would win. Really strange how Venus has had a year when she has played consistently well, but then folded in a couple of important matches, like Miami, being trounced by Clijsters, Rome, being wiped out by JJ, and Paris going out tamely. She had benn playing well all tournament so to lose to Pironkova was a huge upset.

I wondered about Kim, whether she would have a bit of a let down after beating Henin yesterday, and I knew Zvonereva was playing really well. Somehow, I though Kim would find a way to win that match so, nothing against Vera, but I'm sorry Kim lost. Talk about sorry about someone losing, my heart bled for Kaia Kanepi, losing to Kvitova after leading all the way and having 5 match points. I have to say that Kvitova fought tooth and nail and looks like she has more room to improve, so that's encouraging. Can anyone beat Serena? I doubt it. She finds a way even when she is not great and struggling.

What do we think about Nadal, number 1 in the world, having to play his quarter on Court number 1? Rough, but not unexpected. Court 1 is pretty fiery so will that help Soderling? Andy Murray should win and Roger is beginning to play like he has a wand in his hand so I'd be really surprised if he lost to Berdych. Lots to look forward to!!

 

Wimbledon Day 7

I thought today might be a little bit of an anticlimax following all of last week's highs, but it was also a great day. It ended on a high with Andy Murray winning in 3 comfortable sets. I remember Andy from way back, when he was a small kid and he and Jamie were hitting on the courts of Gleneagles Hotel when I did clinics there every summer and Judy Murray helped me. The 2 boys could never get enough tennis and were good way back then, when they were knee high to a grasshopper. It was a long way from being 6'3"!

Then, of all things, the other Andy lost to Lu, from Taipei. When I had waited for hours to go down to complete the Mixed match with Marray and Smith at 3-3 in the 3rd, there was a ton of Chinese, I guess Taiwan-ese, coming out of the court, exuberant. I couldn't understand their chatter, but I know why. What a great effort: to withstand Roddick's serve and beat him in 5 long sets, was a fantastic effort. Martina Navratilova gave Roddick as her dark horse for the tournament, but, I have to say that I did not count him as a potential winner. He had lost form midway through the season and it's really hard to regain it in a Grand Slam. You not only have to have a good draw, but you'ver got to be feeling good too.

And as for the girls. There were so many good matches and upsets too. Would anyone have thought that Kvitova would be in the final 8, that is if you can even pronounce her name. But she was awesome against Azarenka, coming form 3-5 down to win 10 games in a row, and annihilated Wozniacki 2 and love today. Caroline needs an injection of new ideas. She is such a good player but a bit confused at the moment. But look out for Kvitova. She's left handed, just lost 10 lbs which has helped her speed and hits a mean forehand.

The sisters won, but that is hardly a surprise even though Sharapova had a big chance in the 1st set. The big match, and good it was, was with the Belgians. Clijsters and Henin did not disappoint! Maybe it was a pity it was not on Centre but that's the way the 2nd Monday is, great matches all over the place. Kim started off horribly, spraying balls, and I don't know whether she changed rackets or took a mini step back, but began to play really well. She better be ready again for the next few days!

Leaving the tennis, I had a big hug from Italian Raffi Reggi,coming to do TV, but she wasn't at the reunion yesterday of WTA players, So many faces from the past. How superb that hey all want to come back to visit Wimbledon, and they sure chose a good year!

 

Wimbledon Day 6

I was to be given the Carl Aarvold award by the LTA for services to the international game of tennis, at their annual dinner and ball, so it was a mad rush last night. Usually I am too tired to go to this party but it was such a super event, at the Hurlingham club. There was champagne outside on a spectacular summer evening, with a full moon rising, followed by a nice dinner and then the award. I even made a reasonable speech, or I should rather say, I talked to the 700 or so attendees. Nice.

So that made it a big hurry last night and a late evening, but at least today is a day off for everyone. It is such a treat to be able to recharge one's batteries and catch up before the 2nd week starts. Of course, there are always things going on today, and I have to go to a WTA Alumnae reception later this afternoon, where there will be at least 7 past Wimbledon winners and an award from the WTA to Tim Philips.

Day 6 at Wimbledon was yet another special day. How does W keep coming up with something memorable every day? Yesterday was Armed Forces day and done so movingly that people were choked up. Plus it had all the best known sports heroes from other sports sitting in the Royal Box, so that was special in itself. Plus the tennis was exciting and most of the right people won. There was scary time for Rafa, but he negotiated the bumps well, and Andy cruised. he hasn't had any problem at all but there are big servers lurking around the corners.

How great an effort was it for the British team of Chris Eaton and Dominic Inglot to beat the No 1 seeds. The party last night was so happy about that and I loved meeting Chris who was there.

The women moved along well too and there are some irresitable matches on Monday with Clijsters and Henin on No1 and Serena and Sharapova on Centre. So many great matched on the 2nd Monday. 8 men's and 8 women's, so the best day in store!!

 

Wimbledon Day 5

It might have been an anti climax after yesterday but Wimbledon was still stunning today. Unbelievable weather and good tennis. In fact the tennis was better than it's been. Djokovic played a super match against Montanes, Hewitt is playing like he's not just had a hip operation, but a whole injection of youth, and Roger was playing today as if he had a wand in his hand. His hands are so strong, and he can change ideas at the last moment. He was probably still inspired from his day at the right hand side of the Queen. He was funny too in his interview, making jokes and getting laughs from all the writers. Now he's watching Switzerland try to qualify in the world cup.

On the women's side, I did Venus' match on court 1 against Kleybanova. Venus was impressive. Much better concentration than she used to have and also seemed to have slightly lowered her toss which makes her serve go through faster. Alisa is dangerous but in the end everyone looks slower and not as accurate or powerful next to the sisters. J-J had a quick win but still managed to get a little attention from the trainer. Both Clijsters and Henin were excellent and they have 2 days to get themselves prepared for each other. Rotten that they have to play each other.

And then to finish, I had to commentate on a nice mixed on CC with Jamie Murray and Laura Robson against Sa and Zvonereva. Zv is still in all 3 events. Unfortunatel Jamie was horrible and not much help to Laura. she's played 3 matches, 2 on CC and one on no 1. Getting some practice for the big time. Apart from a quick drink at the LTA party, that was the day. They are all long but super when the weather is so good and about to get really hot!

 

Wimbledon Day 4

Thurs Day 4 at Wimbledon was NOT your routine every day 2nd round of the tournament! WOW what a day!

The scoreboards all said 'The 2010 Championships welcome Her Majesty to Wimbledon' How cool was that. And how cool that my name got mentioned in the same sentence as hers so many times because that was the last time she came when I won!

There was such a buzz around the grounds and the crowds and the cheering and clapping were something to experience. I was there early to do Breakfast TV and Radio Wimbledon and then the BBC when the Queen was coming in, and then lunch at her table. It was ultra special, sitting with Roger on her right, Venus Williams there and the 2 other British Wim champions, as well as me. She was fanatstic really, talking to all of us, interested in tennis, the Olympics, her upcoming trip to speak at the UN in NY in a few weeks...everything.

Then, as if there was any more need for anything spectacular, there was the phenomenal match between Isner and Mahut. 59-57 in 11 hours plus. I think Federer was almost a touch envious in a way that he was not part of that record, but not sorry either to go through that agonisingly long match. That will never be broken, ever.

The tennis was excellent today and no place better to watch from than the Royal Box. Andy played well and won convincingly, also Wozniacki and then a superb, exhilarating match with Nadal and Haase.. I had to hustle down to Court 2 to do the Serena match, which was the quickest probably of the tournament, but went on very late because Tsonga has taken forever as had Ferrer.

So for anyone at the tennis today, they must have had an unbelievable time, and leaving up Church Rd to cap it all off, there was an almost full moon hanging in the sky on a warm summer evening.

 

Wimbledon Day 3

This is ridiculous, this match on ct 18, They're still playing and it's 8.30, 54 all or something. How many records have they broken. It is fantastic. And all the other matches that just took place while this set has been in progress, They look so tired.

Federer played Ok, not great but fine. He's apparently also getting excited about tomorrow's lunch with the Queen, as am I. There has been tons of excitement about it, lots of interviews and historic other royal appearnces being talked about. The US media seems just as full of expectation, and the players who are going to be introduced like JJ all up for it and wanting to know protocol. Who would have thought it would make such a commotion.

Despite the football match which England won, there were so many people there. They were all sitting in the blazing sun lapping up Wimbledon. Henin won, the other Belgias all played, Clijsters won, Wickmayer beat Flipkins. Djoko won a bit more efficiently than his first match. Mostly the expected players won, except for Shahar Peer.

I'm even getting tired watching these players, What happens if it gets dark again......

 

Wimbledon Day 2

What a spectacular day at Wimbledon. The sun shining again, a light breeze and some more fabulous matches. I did Anne Keothovong and was so upset to have another British girl be in a winning position and lose. She was 4-0 up in the 3rd and got tight. Played a game that took 15 minutes at 4-3 which she finally lost and then just couldn't get it back. Too bad. And then the young Heather Watson put on an excellent show but lost to an Italian player who was pulling some tricks! At least Andy won convincingly.

No crazy late nights tonight. A super match to finish on the centre with Azarenka playing so well and beating the comeback kid, Marjana Lucic, who has been missing with injuries and other family problems for years.

Nadal looked good today and Robin Soderling looked better than good. The hill was jammed with people. There must have been record crowds today as well as yesterday. Looking out from the commentators lounge all you see is green courts and an abundance of white roses, and, oh, yes lots of people having a good time. Can't wait for another great day tomorrow.

 

Wimbledon Day 1

Wimbledon got off to a fabulous start, with plenty of predictable matches and quite a few total surprises. I had to go to an early BBC meeting with all the commentators and directors ( from Boris Becker, Lindsey Davenport, Tracy Austin to a ton more not quite so well known). It is fun because the BBC covers 6 courts all day, and if the matches aren't on the main channels, they are on BBC interactive.

So after a couple of interviews up on the television lawn by Court 18, mostly about the Queen coming on Thurs, and that the last time she came was when I won in 1977, I went off to do the Baltacha match on Court 12. She is the British number 1, ranked just outside the top 50 and having a good season. Today she played a really promising young 19 year old from Croatia, called Petra Martic, and had her totally under control at a set and 5-3, Then she served at 5-4, and lost the game and never looked like she thought she could win the match again. It was disappointing. All the time I could see the score on Centre Court and see that Roger was all over the place. What an escape for him against Falla. I would have been devastated if he'd lost.

I also did the Henin match against a another young player from Latvia, with a good serve and a good game, called Sevastova. Anyway, she proved to be a perfect opponent for Henin, playing well, but never threatening, and Justine is looking good.

I guess it was too much for Schiavone to get back into winning form after all the emotion of winning the French, but it would have been good to see more of her. Tomas Berdych looked super good, Laura Robson played OK against JJ, but was never expected to win, Venus looked in great form as did Roddick, and that was about all I could check out.

Wimbledon off to a terrific start and with weather to match.

Virginia Wade holding Wimbledon Championships Singles Trophy, winner 1977