Wimbledon Buzz: We All Have to Be Grinders

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Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro shake hands after competing in the longest Wimbledon semifinal in history. Djokovic won, moving on to face Andy Murray in Sunday's Gentlemen's Singles final. Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images.

PUT SIMPLY: Today was a semis day for the ages.

HEROIC IN DEFEAT: The gentle giant, Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro, lost a match, but won the hearts of many, in a manner slightly reminiscent of a tearful Andy Murray after his loss to Roger Federer in last year’s final, or Andy Roddick after his heartbreaking defeat by Federer in the 2009 final.

JUDY MURRAY TALKS TO INSIDE TENNIS ABOUT THE DUNBLANE MASSACRE AND WHERE ANDY GOT HIS MOAN: In 1996, when Andy Murray was in 5th grade, a 43-year-old gunman walked into Murray’s school in Dunblane, Scotland and killed 16 people. The massacre effectively led to a ban on private ownership of handguns in Britain. “It was something that you never would have imagined you would experience in your life,” says Judy Murray. “But I think that the town has recovered well and has really moved on, and the success [of] Andy and [his brother] Jamie has really helped. It has helped pick up their spirits and make people think of Dunblane as something [with] happy thoughts attached to it. I think the community has stuck together and done an incredible job of rebuilding and recovering from it.”

Asked about the massacre in a recent television profile, a highly emotional Andy told the BBC, “You know, at the time you have no idea how tough something like that is, and the whole town recovered from it so well. It is just nice to do something that the town is proud of.”

On a lighter note, Judy Murray told IT, “Andy’s grandfather was a footballer, and he was also a county tennis player and a county badminton player. Very competitive and a very sore loser. I can’t watch tennis anywhere near him. If he watches on the telly he needs to be in a room by himself, because he swears at the TV. He moans, he criticizes everything. He’s an absolute nightmare to be around. I don’t watch Andy play on the telly—if I’m at home, I never watch him on the television. I just wait until someone texts me what the score was in the end. I was very competitive when I was younger, probably still am.”

NOVAK DJOKOVIC AND THE ART OF THE EPIC MATCH: In seven of his last eight Grand Slams, Novak Djokovic has had compelling five-set matches. There was his defeat of Rafael Nadal in the 2012 Australian Open final, a loss to Murray in the final of the same year’s US Open, his classic win over Stan Wawrinka at this year’s Aussie Open, and more recently, one of the great clay court matches in history: his loss to Nadal in the semis of this year’s French. Today, he delivered another five-set thriller—a dramatic 4:44 win over a heroic Juan Martin del Potro in the semis.

With this in mind, IT asked Djokovic to talk about the art of the epic match. He replied, “There are moments in the match when you have doubts, when you think, you know, maybe you’re hesitating a little bit. Then you have moments when you’re full of confidence. That’s what goes through a human mind. It’s normal. You have ups and downs. That’s the way the life cycle goes.

You can’t always be at the right line, even though it seems in a match like this that we are, you know, kind of steady. In our minds, it goes up and down. That’s why it’s a mental battle, I think, in the end.

It is always very important to believe in your abilities up to the very last moment—that, in most of the encounters, actually decides the winner.”

TO EACH HIS OWN: A reporter noted that Djokovic visits a Buddhist temple during Wimbledon to be calm and serene. Asked what he does, Murray responded that he watches TV comedies. “I don’t go to temple.”

A PERRY FUNNY ANSWER: Fred Perry was the last Englishman who won Wimbledon, 77 years ago. He went on to produce a famous line of tennis wear. When Andy Murray was quizzed what he thought Perry would ask him if they somehow had a chance to talk, he ventured, “How come you are not wearing my kit [apparel]?”

NOW HERE’S AN INVENTIVE FEAT THAT WILL NEVER BE MATCHED:  Djokovic and del Potro played the longest Wimbledon semifinal ever, previously held by Ivan Lendl and Boris Becker. Of course, Lendl is now the coach of Andy Murray, who had to wait for 4:44 to get on court. In other words, Lendl had to set a record for the longest time spent waiting in the wings in order to break his record for longest match.

FINANCIAL COMMENTARY OF THE DAY: After John McEnroe’s BBC broadcasting partner scanned the crowd and said, “That looks like the whole of the Polish Tennis Federeation in attendance,” McEnroe quipped, “There goes the budget.”

AMERICA STILL ROCKS: In the Wimbledon doubles final, the Bryan brothers will be going for the the “Bryan Golden Slam” (winning the Olympics and all four Slam titles) when they go up against against Croatia’s Ivan Dodig and Brazil’s Marcelo Melo in the men’s doubles finals. An The appealing charismatic Taylor Townsend came back from a set down a Conjuh and will face Switzerland’s Belinda Benic – who has given her fits in the past – in the final. And Lisa Raymond and her Brazilian partner Bruno Soares will be going for the mixed doubles championship against Canadian Daniel Nestor and France’s Kristina Midenovic.

VENUS VANISHES : Venus Williams lost in the first round of the French Open, then withdrew from Wimbledon, and has now pulled out of the entire World Team Tennis season.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “If this is the opening act, I want to see the main show.”—John McEnroe, after the Djokovic and del Potro match.

WE ARE ALL GRINDERS: Todd Martin said, “We all have to be grinders [in life.] It doesn’t have to do with strokes, it is about the heart and the mind.”

NO KIDDING: John McEnroe spoke of the passion of Billie Jean King and said, “She doesn’t take no for an answer.”

LET IT COUNT: After Jerzy Janowicz hit Andy Murray and the ball bounced off of Andy to go over the net, John McEnroe said, “Talk about good feel. They should let that count.”

BIG MAN, GREAT TOUCH: Jerzy Janowicz.

JUST WONDERING: In a year’s time, how high will Janowicz rise?

AND THE CROWD CHANTED “PLAY ON, PLAY ON”: After winning the third set of his semi, Andy Murray had finally wrested the momentum away from Jerzy Janowicz. Naturally, he was rather enraged when officials decided to close the roof, a process which would take at least 20 minutes and interrupt his momentum. The Scot protested, arguing, “You can’t close it now, it’s light [until] 9:30. I don’t understand these rules. There are no rules. The only reason we stopped is because of him [Janowicz] … How long has he been complaining? … It’s not even dark, it’s still light.” In the meantime, the crowd began to chant, “Play on, play on.”

HEADLINES:
JOCK AND THE BEAN POLE
WE DON’T KNOW HOW LUCKY WE ARE

A FUN ANSWER: When asked to summarize his run at Wimbledon this year, Jerzy Janowicz said, “Fun.”

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