‘HELP ME, HELP ME, HELP ME’ – The Pain and Agony of a Bubbly, Brilliant Character

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A BRITISH INSIGHT ON AN AMERICAN ORIGINAL: The BBC said Bethanie Mattek-Sands “is such a bright, bubbly character.”

DARKNESS ON A SUNNY DAY: The day started out bright and hopeful for Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova. Not only was their “Team Bucie” on track for a possible fourth women’s doubles Slam title in a row, but both women were set to play second-round matches in singles, with Safarova even touted as a dark horse contender. But things changed quickly when Mattek-Sands slipped and fell violently to the grass early in the third set of her match against Romania’s Sorana Cirstea. Though Cirstea immediately climbed over the net to be by her side, Mattek-Sands’ screams of “Help me!” went unanswered an agonizingly long while in terms of medical help. By the time Mattek-Sands was carried off on a stretcher with a possible career-ending knee injury, Safarova was also on court, sobbing – hours later, her mental focus went south fast in a 6(4)-7, 6-4, 6-3 loss to Shelby Rogers. No word yet on the exact severity of Mattek-Sands’ injury.

WHAT A COMMENTARY: Somehow the sudden, out-of-nowhere and very horrific knee injury Bethanie Mattek-Sands suffered put Bernie Tomic’s dreary, “I just don’t care” attitude into perspective. In other words treasure what you have: your life, your health, your profession are all precious. Treat them with respect, care and honor: i.e. embrace and cultivate them.

‘HELP ME, HELP ME, HELP ME’: Sorana Cirstea – who was playing her friend Bethanie-Mattek Sands when the American suffered a horrific knee injury – offered some chilling and poignant comments after the mishap. The Romanian, who is ranked No. 63, said, “[It] was heartbreaking…she was on the [grass]…she started screaming. I went over – I saw her knee [was] out. I turned around and told them to bring a stretcher. Everyone froze. No one was having any reaction…She went into shock. [It] took a while until the medical team there. For [a] long time it was me, her husband and my physio.

“Bethanie went into shock. She kept staying, ‘Sorana, help me! Sorana, help me! Sorana, help me!’ I said, ‘I’m here, I’m here, I’m here’…She was stuck on this, ‘Sorana, help me! Sorana, help me!’

“I said, ‘You are strong, you can do this’…I felt useless. She was screaming so loud…I wish I could have done more…the knee was not in the right position…That’s why I freaked out, because I’ve never seen this.”

“At the end of the day it’s not about tennis. We’re like family…It doesn’t matter – you win, you lose – you want everyone to be okay.

“I’m very sad…Her knee was in a very weird position…[I] tried to comfort her as much as I could. But, you could feel the pain…It took a really long time for the stretcher to get there…I’d say 10, 15 minute…Bethanie is my friend. We get along so well. She’s an unbelievably good girl. You don’t want this to happen to your worst enemy…but to your friend…I screamed something to the umpire to bring help…I still remember the shock.”

When asked to put things in perspective, especially at a time when Bernie Tomic said he was bored with tennis, Cirstea said that almost all players “are so grateful to be here. This is the biggest event in the sports world…I do feel very grateful and lucky to be here. And three years ago I was injured and I remember…I was on the couch watching and crying. I really wanted to be here…Cases like this remind you you should be grateful for what you have…because you never know when it’s changing.”

Bethanie’s partner Lucie Safarova added, “It’s been a shocking few hours. She’s had so many injuries. I’m really hurt for her. Everyone who is close to Bethanie is sad and shocked.”

COME LET US NOW COMPARE MARIA AND BERNIE: Head Rackets stuck with Maria Sharapova after she was suspended for drug use, but announced today that they have fired their endorsee Bernie Tomic. One could say that Maria wanted to win too much and Tomic – who said he didn’t care if he reached the first round or the fourth round, was bored and just playing for money – didn’t want to win enough.

SLASH FLASH – THE FUNNIEST THING BORIS BECKER HAS EVER SAID ON AIR: When talking about Garbine Muguruza, the BBC’s Boris Becker said, “She has something to prove. She’s a proud Spaniard-slash-Venezuelan who doesn’t want to be a slash potato.”

THE BIBLE RE-LIVED – DAVID DOES SLAY GOLIATH: Many would say that John Isner is too tall for tennis and Israeli Dudi Sela is too short. And commentators joked that Sela would have to get a ladder out there on Court 18 to return Isner’s booming serve. But today David slew Goliath. The 5’9″ Israeli beat the 6’10” American 6-7, 7-6, 5-7, 7-6, 6-3 win on the same Court 18 where Isner scored his fabled marathon win over Nicolas Mahut.

GO FIGURE: Sorana Cirstea has been at the center of two of the most tumultuous events of the season. She was on court, playing against Brit Jo Konta in the Fed Cup, when – thanks to Ilie Nastase – all hell broke out, and she was across the court today when Bethanie Mattek-Sands severely injured her knee…Federer admitted he had nerves as he started his second-round match and that sometimes he’s more nervous for a second-round match then a final…Jelena Ostapenko has played eight straight three-set matches … Wimbledon is the biggest catering job in Europe…Almost one million cups of coffee will be served at Wimbledon this year.


“Every time Angie Kerber walks on court, she looks anguished and burdened. She’s very tentative and not brave at all.” – Clare Balding

“That second serve was just 63 mph and sat up and begged to be hit.” – David Mercer on Aga Radwanska

SAY IT ISN’T SO: American Christina McHale couldn’t convert two second-set match points against Aga Radwanska and lost in three sets…Along with John Isner, American Jack Sock was upset. He fell to a 21-year old Austrian, Sebastian Ofner.

SAY IT ISN’T ‘JO’: Some say Brit Jo Konta is now the fave to win Wimbledon.

AMERICANS STILL GOING AT WIMBLEDON: Venus Williams, Coco Vandeweghe, Shelby Rogers, Alison Riske, Madison Brengle, Steve Johnson, Sam Querrey and Jared Donaldson.

THE ONLY WOMAN LEFT IN WIMBLEDON WHO’S WON A SLAM: Venus Williams, who has won five Wimbledons and seven Slams.

SO MUCH FOR NET NEUTRALITY: The home perspective of British broadcasters continues. At a tight moment in yesterday’s match featuring Brit Jo Konta, the BBC said, “She really needs the support of everyone out on Henman Hill.” This morning Wimbledon Radio said, “We don’t like [American] Christina McHale because she put off Katie Boulter.”

BROTHER POWER: Alexander and Mischa Zverev became the first two brothers to reach the third round of the Wimbledon singles since the Gullikson – Tim and Tom – brothers did it in 1986.

VISUAL OF THE DAY: A jolly middle-aged woman with a front-row seat was giddy with delight when Federer changed his shirt about 15 yards in front of her. #WhataThrill


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