Archive for the 'Wimbledon' Category

14
Jul
11

Tennis…..It’s all just a load of balls anyway!

An insulting gift of tennis balls offered to King Henry V, according to William Shakespeare, was the final straw that led to the re-igniting of the 100 years war. This is the bard’s reference to the insult, “When we have match’d our rackets to these balls, we will, in France, by God’s grace, play a set.”

Obviously Henry needed to have the ‘set’ sanctioned by the ITF for it to have counted for anything, but it is doubtful if the rebellious French would have accepted the ITF rules.

Each year 300 million tennis balls are produced in factories in Southeast Asia, and except for those which find their way onto towing hitches on SUV’s, or on to the bottom of the legs of institutional chairs, they wind up as a part of the 14,700 tons of non biodegradable waste dumped into land fills around the world. With one important exception! The good folks at Wimbledon collect all the used tennis balls and use them as field houses for the near extinct harvest mouse. Maybe we can induce the equally good folks at the Australian Open to collect their used balls and to use them as homes for baby Koala bears. Somewhere in the world there must be millions of kids who would love to have a used tennis ball to kick along the gutter, or to dribble along the street. Learning to play soccer with an old tennis ball is a part of growing up.

Modern tennis balls are made in two colours, white and yellow, the yellow colour was adopted after intensive research was performed to determine which colour ball was the easiest to distinguish on TV. These colours are the only ones approved by the USTA and the ITF. The standards under which tennis balls are manufactured are set by the ITF, and they cover diameter, weight and bounce. A ball must bounce back to 56% of the height from which it has been dropped onto a concrete slab, to comply. All balls lose their bounce as soon as they are released from their pressurized containers. Have you often wondered why they change balls after a specific number of games? It’s because the balls lose their bounce, and have the effect of becoming heavier. In fact the weight of the ball does not change, unless one considers the slight negligible loss of the weight of the felt cover through abrasion with the court surface. Roger Federer now changes his racket to coincide with the change of balls. The numbers stencilled onto the balls have no meaning to the game’s participants, they are only there to identify the balls in use. If Rafael Nadal hits a ball out of court, he wants to be sure that the people on the adjacent court send him back his correct ball. It’s a as simple as that. I don’t know about you, but I love the smell of tennis balls!

04
Jul
11

Aussie teens capture both Wimbledon Junior titles!

 

Ashleigh Barty had every reason to be elated as she accepted the Wimbledon girls’ championship trophy after clinching a historic junior title double for Australia. But it was a post-match text message which seemed to bring the indigenous teenager most joy. Having beaten third seed Russian Irina Khromacheva 7-5 7-6 (7-3) on Sunday, the unassuming 15-year-old from Ipswich in Queensland was thrilled to receive congratulations from two-time Wimbledon champion and friend Evonne Goolagong-Cawley. “She sent me a text message after my match saying congratulations. I really like that. We’re close. I’m really pleased to be able to talk to her like that,” Barty said. “She’s a nice person to talk to. “She gives me good confidence, and I’m happy to be a part of her life.”

Barty’s win followed South Australian Luke Saville’s victory in the boys’ final on Saturday – the first time Australians have won both titles in the same year. She’s only the second Australian after Debbie Freeman in 1980 to win the girls’ trophy while five – John Alexander, Pat Cash, Mark Kratzmann, Todd Reid and Saville – have won the boys’ crown.

Junior Wimbledon titles far from guarantee future success in the senior ranks. However, there are some notable names on both trophies – Stefan Edberg, Ivan Lendl and Roger Federer for the boys and Tracy Austin, Amelie Mauresmo and Caroline Wozniacki for the girls. Saville said the dual junior Wimbledon titles are “great” for Australian tennis. “It has been a really successful tournament for Australian tennis and particularly junior tennis,” Saville said. “Bernard (Tomic) in the men’s making the quarter-finals and myself and Ash (Barty) in the boys’ and girls’ singles, and don’t forget (Australian teenager) Jason Kubler was also in the semis. It’s been all good.”

 

 

25
Jun
11

16 Women remain, all will play on Monday(weather permitting).

1.

Caroline Wozniacki DEN (1)vDominika Cibulkova SVK (24)

2.

Shuai Peng CHN (20)vMaria Sharapova RUS (5)

3.

Sabine Lisicki GERvPetra Cetkovska CZE

4.

Marion Bartoli FRA (9)vSerena Williams USA (7)

5.

Tamira Paszek AUTvKsenia Pervak RUS

6.

Nadia Petrova RUSvVictoria Azarenka BLR (4)

7.

Petra Kvitova CZE (8)vYanina Wickmayer BEL (19)

8.

Venus Williams USA (23)vTsvetana Pironkova BUL (32)

 

 

25
Jun
11

16 men remain, all will play on Monday(weather permitting).

1.

Rafael Nadal ESP (1)vJuan Martin Del Potro ARG (24)

2.

Mardy Fish USA (10)vTomas Berdych CZE (6)

3.

Andy Murray GBR (4)vRichard Gasquet FRA (17)

4.

Lukasz Kubot POLvFeliciano Lopez ESP

5.

David Ferrer ESP (7)vJo-Wilfried Tsonga FRA (12)

6.

Mikhail Youzhny RUS (18)vRoger Federer SUI (3)

7.

Bernard Tomic AUSvXavier Malisse BEL

8.

Michael Llodra FRA (19)vNovak Djokovic SRB (2)

 

19
Jun
11

Murray will need more than confidence, a change of diet, and extra preparation to win at Wimbledon!

Picture

The British number one remains confident he can break his major duck, and he is hoping changes to his diet and preparation can help him overhaul the likes of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. He said of his grand slam hopes on BBC Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek programme: “It’s a huge motivation for me to keep working hard, to keep working at it. I believe I’ll get there. “I’ve learned a lot, especially in the last few months, about my game, about my mindset and where I’m at and what I’m going to need to do to get past Roger, Rafa and Novak in the rankings. “It’s an exciting time for me and I’m much more professional than I ever was in the build-up to this Wimbledon. “I’m taking things like my diet very, very seriously, my training is more specific than it’s ever been. The on-court stuff, I feel just like I’m in a better place. “When I’m on the practice court I’m enjoying it a lot, having fun but working hard and I just feel I understand better now how to approach matches in big tournaments and taking a lot more responsibility.”

 

17
Jun
11

Serena Williams will return to Centre Court almost exactly 50 weeks after she won her fourth Wimbledon title, opening her 2011 campaign against France’s Aravane Rezai.

Williams, seeded seventh after the withdrawal of Kim Clijsters, won the opening match of her comeback in Eastbourne before losing out to Vera Zvonareva in a repeat of last year’s Championships’ final, and will be closely monitored when she plays her first match on Monday. The former world No.1 has faced the talented Frenchwoman just once in competition, rallying from a set down to defeat the world No.56 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 in the pre-Australian Open tournament in Sydney in 2010. And so Rezai will not be a cakewalk for the four-time Wimbledon Champion, especially given her lack of match fitness.

Sitting alongside Williams in the top half of the draw is current world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki, who will open her grass court season against Spain’s Arantxa Parra Santonja, the world No.107. Wozniacki, who comes into Wimbledon with 17 titles under her belt in what has still been a relatively short career, will once again be the focus of much attention on the lawns of SW19 as she attempts to win her first Grand Slam title. But in order to do so, she will have to contend with Maria Sharapova, her opposite number in the top quarter of the draw. Viewed by many as a favourite for this year’s title, Sharapova is deemed to have finally fully recovered from the shoulder injury that has blighted her for the past two years, and comes into Wimbledon fighting fit and full of confidence at what is one of her favourite Grand Slams. She opens against fellow Russian, world No.50 Anna Chakvetadze.

Should Sharapova triumph, she will face the winner of world No.77 Angelique Kerber against former junior Champion Laura Robson, awarded a wild card into The Championships this year. Fellow Brit Heather Watson, who broke into the top 100 last week, is also in the top half of the draw, meeting world No.64 Mathilde Johansson, as is British No.1 Elena Baltacha, who plays a qualifier. Emily Webley-Smith faces Klara Zakopalova. French Open Champion Li Na joked that she would be forgotten in China if she doesn’t do well at Wimbledon, and so she should be pleased at a first-round match up with world No.70 Alla Kudryavtseva. But danger lies in the prospect of a second round meeting with the in-form wild card Sabine Lisicki, quarter-finalist at The Championships in 2009, who won the warm-up event at Edgbaston Priory Club last week.

Ana Ivanovic, who plays American Melanie Oudin, Marion Bartoli, who meets a qualifier, and Agnieszka Radwanska, who will face Olga Govortsova, are other notable names in the top half of the draw.

 

15
Jun
11

Defending champion Serena Williams has been seeded number eight for this year’s Wimbledon Championships.

Serena Williams

Serena, who returned to action on Tuesday having not played since winning her 13th Grand Slam at Wimbledon last July, is world ranked 26th. Serena’s older sister Venus, a five-time winner, is seeded 24, despite being ranked 33rd in the world. Serena’s seeding will allow her to avoid playing the highest-ranked players until at least the quarter-finals.

She returned to competitive tennis on Tuesday at Eastbourne, coming back from a set down to beat Tsvetana Pironkova 1-6 6-3 6-4. “The seeding order follows the WTA ranking list, except where in the opinion of the committee, a change is necessary to produce a balanced draw,” a Wimbledon spokesperson said. “The only changes this year are Serena Williams and Venus Williams moving to eight and 24, respectively. “This reflects the balance between their proven records and also their lack of competitive play in the past 12 months.”

World number one Caroline Wozniacki is seeded first, followed by Australian Open champion Kim Clijsters at two, Vera Zvonareva at three and French Open champion Li Na at four. Another former winner, 2004 champion Maria Sharapova, was seeded six, one behind Victoria Azarenka.

 

10
Jun
11

A look ahead to the ladies at Wimbledon.There are only three former champions in the draw, and two of them are named Williams!

The 2011 Wimbledon tournament maybe one of the most intriguing of the past several seasons. To use an old cliche, and say that it is wide open, hardly does justice to the many scenarios that could play out. There really is no obvious favorite, but there is a long list of potential winners. Even without the Williams sisters the tournament was shaping up as a bookies nightmare, and now that they have announced that they both plan to compete it has added a dynamic which should make the 2011 event extremely entertaining.

Serena and Venus will play the roles of upset opponents in the early rounds, and depending on the draw they might eliminate a couple of top ten players who had their sights on week 2 and the trophy. Serena will be seeded, but Venus won’t be. It’s quite possible that Venus could meet Stosur or Azarenka in the first round. Serena, who will be somewhere in the top 25,could knock-off just about any player in the first week on her way to week 2 and the quarter finals.

Before the Williams sisters confirmed their entry, Maria Sharapova, Kim Clijsters, Li Na and Caroline Wozniacki were on most experts short list of potential winners. Some lists included big serving Julia Goerges, Petra Kvitova and Andrea Petkovic. Ana Ivanovic has also been mentioned.

There are only three former champions in the draw, and two of them are named Williams!

10
Jun
09

Does Andy have the power to finally win Wimbledon?

andy_roddick_fore_hand_2Andy Roddick needed just 55 minutes to swat away Kristof Vliegen at Queen’s Club on Wednesday and remind everyone what a class act he is on grass.

The American is a four-times champion at Queen’s and he took no time to make the adjustment from clay as he swept past his Belgian opponent 6-1 6-4 in the second round.

“Coming from clay to grass is one of the happiest days of my year,” Roddick told reporters.

“I don’t have to make a lot of adjustments to my game to play on this surface.”

Roddick comes into the grasscourt season on the back of his best performance at Roland Garros, having made it into the second week before losing to Gael Monfils in the fourth round.

The 26-year-old left Paris complaining about poor visibility and the conditions were scarcely any better on a drizzly, overcast day in London.

It must have been the bright green grass then that lifted Roddick’s mood as he swept past Vliegen, returning beautifully and passing the Belgian seemingly at will.

The second set was scrappier but Roddick’s serve was never troubled and he eventually broke for 5-4, thanks to a bad volley from Vliegen, before serving out for the win.

“I just wanted to get it done before it had a chance to rain,” smiled Roddick, the world number six.

He will next face either Australian Lleyton Hewitt, another four-times winner at Queen’s and Wimbledon champion in 2002, or the unseeded Portuguese Frederico Gil.

Roddick has never won Wimbledon, with two defeats in the final against Roger Federer the closest he has come.

“I’m playing a lot better now than in years past,” Roddick said. “I’ve been getting deeper into tournaments more consistently. And I do love this surface.”

10
Jun
09

Venus looking for #6 at Wimbledon.

venusTo have her name written on the roll of honour, that is what drives Venus and victory at the All England Club this year will bring her a sixth title – level with Suzanne Lenglen and Billie Jean King, one short of Steffi Graf and three short of leading lady Martina Navratilova.

If Venus is chasing glory, her record suggests it will be realised on grass. It has been eight years since Venus won a non-Wimbledon Grand Slam – the 2001 US Open – and her best performances otherwise were a semi-final in New York in 2007 and the final in Melbourne 2003. Her early exit at the French Open came as no surprise. Venus lost in third round at Roland Garros in each of the last three years – and ominously for her opponents – went on to win Wimbledon.

It also is no surprise that Venus has enjoyed such success here, on a one surface that rewards a massive serve like no other, because hers is a massive serve like no other. At Wimbledon last year Williams served 38 aces in seven matches, including one that equalled her record for the fastest serve on the women’s tour of 129mph. In five of those matches her average first serve speed was 110mph or faster. To put that in context, the average speed of Rafael Nadal’s first serve in the men’s final was 112mph. She won 73% of the points on her first serve.

That is not to suggest the Venus Williams’ game is one dimensional. She is powerful from the baseline and on the occasions she comes to the net she wins 75% of the points (85/113 in 2008).

After her victory last year, Venus was asked about overhauling Navratilova’s record of nine single’s titles. “That would be the ultimate,” she replied. “That’s not easy. Her career also spanned three decades, so I’m not sure if I have that much time. If I did, I think I would definitely dream of that. Tennis is so much different now, tennis is a big business. All the tournaments, the draws, and the players, it’s just so different that the pressures are different.”

On 17 June Venus will be 29. She turned professional in 1994; made her first appearance at Wimbledon in 1997 and won her first title here in 2000. Since then she has reached seven finals and won five. Navratilova was 33 when she won her final singles title. That gives Venus five years to win three titles, an achievement that would represent quality and quantity.




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