The Wimbledon Buzz – “My Motto is Wing It” and Other “Only at Wimbledon” Observations

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WTA
Bill Simons

Wimbledon

ONLY AT WIMBLEDON: An English lady in a salmon and lavender frock turns to her friend and says, “Let’s go get our gins and sit on the hill.”…As a band of hearty French fans in section 212 called out for Lucas Pouille, a chorus of scolding “Sush!” broke out from the rest of the English crowd eager for the decorum at Centre Court order to be properly restored…Not far from Henman Hill, you hear a young woman with an American accent saying, “This is so different from the US Open, where the cops are hassling all day.”…Thoughtful, well-dress attendants in blue jackets and ties hold the door for reporters as they enter the interview room…The Chairman of the All-England Club makes a public address announcement heard around the grounds about Wimbledon’s unique and exhaustive “to-do” list that covers everything from the shades of color of the petunias, the blends of teas at the club, the spacing of benches and cracks in railings.

COCO COMMENTARIES:

“She’s been walking up the ladder one rung at a time. Now she’s on an elevator.” – Martina Navratilova

“My motto is just, like, wing it.” – Coco

“Coco’s a complete package already, She’s like a sponge, taking it all into her computer brain.” – Navratilova

“It’s been a dream. How long will the dream continue? It’s the future of women’s tennis.” – The BBC

PLAYING HIS CURREN CARD: Years ago Kevin Curren said he wished a bomb would be dropped on Flushing Meadows, the home of the US Open. Today Italian Fabio Fognini was assigned to a distant outer court and played his Curren card. “Damn English – I wish a bomb would drop on this club.” He then apologized.

MESSIEST QUOTE OF THE FORTNIGHT: While reflecting on the politics of the ATP, Council member Kevin Anderson said,  “Everything is falling apart. It is kind of a mess.”

A DUO DEPARTS: For the second time in three months a beloved figure has left the game. In Madrid, David Ferrer stepped away. Here, Marcos Baghdatis retired. Both players got hearty sendoffs. “I like Marcos, on and off the courts,” said Roger Federer. “He’s always been a joy to watch…we’ll miss him. He had a winner’s mentality…and was always a lovely guy, always very funny, easy-going, good to be around.”

QUOTEBOOK:

“I played you two when I was itty bitty.” – Tracy Austin recalling that as a teen she played against her fellow BBC broadcasters Martina Navratilova and  Sue Barker.

“Tennis has to be more than a sport. It has to be a show. Tennis is very conservative. It has to do a better job to reach the young.” – Patrick Mouratoglou

”If there is someone in sports that should have a chance to come back, it is Andy Murray. He is the most professional athlete there is.” – BBC

COCO AND ROGER: Super agent Tony Godsick and his Team8 agency represent both Roger Federer and Coco Gauff, so we talked about Roger and Coco’s relationship. He said, “They’ve spoken a lot. He gives her advice and stuff. They’re at completely different stages of their careers so [Roger tells her] anything that [he] remembers that he could have done better when he was young. But what Coco has done, she did on her own.

TALL ORDER: Coco Gauff’s first three opponents averaged six feet in height. Monday she’ll play the relatively diminutive 5’6″ Simona Halep.

NOBLE SHOUTOUT: During possibly the most celebrated mixed doubles match in history, when Serena and Murray played on Centre Court, a voice from section 309 called out, “C’mon, Sir Andy!”

 

GO FIGURE: Coco Gauff, 15, is the youngest woman to win a Wimbledon match since Jennifer Capriati…We noted that Nadal and Kyrgios both like to bite things. After winning titles, Rafa chomps down on his trophy. During changeovers, Kyrgios chews on his towel.

SAY IT ISN’T SO: Naomi Osaka said she prefers to be Number 2…In this world of order at the All-England Club, a rogue water sprinkler went wild on Court 12, and imposed a brief “rain of terror” before it was subdued.

IT ONLY MAKES SENSE: Andy Murray said he’d never thought of playing mixed doubles. Then again, he’s by far the ATP’s foremost feminist, so it makes sense that he’s playing with Serena.

A NOTE ON NICK: Perhaps our favorite all-time commentary on Nick Kyrgios came from Allyson Rudd a few years ago. The British writer suggested, “Nick’s all moody and misunderstood…his eyes glinting in distaste that his behavior was being analyzed…[After all, he] was able to turn the removal of a pair of socks into an angst-ridden one-man show worthy of a fringe theatre specializing in Bertolt Brecht. His behavior screamed, ‘I’m bored.’”

MOST “IFFY” OBSERVATION OF THE WEEK: When asked what would happen if, like himself, Kyrgios would try hard on every point, Rafa quipped, “if, if, if – doesn’t exist…He’s a top talent player. But there are a lot of important things you need to become a champion, no? He has a lot of good ingredients.”

TOUGH LOVE: Aussie Bernie Tomic was fined his entire first round prize money, $56,000, for not trying hard enough. Most players said that was far too much. He lost to Jo-Willie Tsonga 6-2, 6-1, 6-4.

A WONDERFUL MIX: Never before have we had a mixed doubles draw with such star power as this year’s Wimbledon, which includes Andy Murray and Serena Williams, Nick Kyrgios and Palm Desert’s Desirae Krawczyk, and Francis Tiafoe and Venus Williams.

WISH YOU WERE THERE: Free spirits and strokemeisters Nick Kyrgios and Gael Monfils practiced together.

TENNIS PRAYERS: Coco Gauff said that before matches she and her dad pray for the safety of her and her opponent…Mary Carillo once noted, “These days in the player’s box you see a coaching team and physio. With Nick Kyrgios you look up there and it’s not a team, it’s more like a prayer circle.”

FROM LONG BEACH TO LAWN HEAVEN: Over the years, no American has made more combined appearances on court and in the Royal Box than Billie Jean King, who today was in the second row.

MADISON ON THE COUNCIL: When told that the men’s player council meeting last week lasted seven hours, and three players quit after it, Madison Keys asked, “You want me to be on the player council, right?”

NOT A ROBOT: Mats Wilander noted that Ash Barty “is an athlete. She plays cricket, she plays golf. She knows when to come over the ball and when to hit a slice. So many young athletes go to academies. You can become robotic, a machine. When you play well, that’s great, but when you are off, it’s tough.”

JUST WONDERING: What’s more distinctive, Jo Kontas’ quirky, balletic bounce preparation before she serves or Pierre-Hugues Herbert’s herky-jerky yet rather graceful service motion?

Also reporting – Lucia Hoffman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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