Wimbledon Buzz: Life is a Many-Splendored Jelena


LIFE IS A MANY-SPLENDORED JELENA: After upsetting defending champion Petra Kvitova, a beaming Jelena Jankovic was being interviewed by the BBC when she called out, “Okay, Mom, you can relax.” In her press conference she told writers, “I’m not old. I’m still young at heart. I look pretty good, so why not? I mean, give me a break, guys. What’s old?” Reporters asked the bubbly Serb if she had stopped smiling over the past two hours.

THE WEIRD PERCEPTION-ALTERING EFFECT OF PLAYING GRASS ON GRASS: The Daily Telegraph’s Jonathan Lieu wrote, “The All England Club is cherished and revered for many things: hosting one of the world’s greatest sporting events, serving as a nexus of the English social calendar, single-handedly keeping the Home Counties chinos industry afloat … And it has to be said that there is something intrinsically narcotic to the entire Wimbledon experience—the early starts and hours of queueing, the unspoiled acres of pure grass, the baking sun, the sheer giddy surrealness of watching Roger Federer playing perfect lobs between his legs—that approximates the weird perception-altering effect of really good marijuana.”

SELFIE STICKS AS THE WORST EXCESS OF MODERN CIVILIZATION: While reflecting on Wimbledon’s ban of selfie sticks, the Daily Telegraph’s Harry Wallop contended that the device is simply a “shorthand for all the worst excesses of a crass, modern civilization. In fact [selfie sticks] are rather clever: a telescopic monopod (as opposed to a tripod) … The stick can be held far enough away to get a decent bit of the background in frame … [But] we want to see the winged horses at the Trevi Fountain, not just the top of your head … The problem is not the $18 gizmo itself, of course. It is those using them. Only in the last decade has a completely self-obsessed generation started inserting itself into every single shot. As if a picture of the Colosseum or the Terracotta Army is somehow devoid of meaning without the owner of the phone being centre-frame.

“Before engaging your selfie stick, you need to ask … Will my picture be just as good without me pouting in the foreground? Search your corrupted soul before answering this.”

SLOBBERING ADULATION CAN BE A TAD MESSY: Reflecting on the crowd during her fright-match against Heather Watson, Serena Williams said, “I’ve never seen them so vocal. I’ve never heard boos here, so that was new for me.” The LA Times’s Bill Dwyre wrote that the American “was playing on Centre Court, in the most prestigious tennis event in the world, against a British player. If she felt like a Christian in the Roman Colosseum, you couldn’t fault her … This one had the feel of excessive rooting for the lions. … The Brits are so provincial in their slobbering adoration of their sports stars that it sometimes defies description.”

BALL PERSONS’ LIVES MATTER: Brian Christley of Abergele wrote the Telegraph with a fierce call for ball boys’ rights. He proclaimed, “Punish these [player] prima donnas. There should be no place at Wimbledon for prima donna tennis players who treat the ball boys and girls with such contempt, demanding more than two balls to hand when they are about to serve, then discarding those they don’t want, expecting the youngsters to grovel around so they don’t hold up play. Even if it is Andy Murray, the umpire should call foul.”

NICK KNOCKED, NICK PRAISED: After a dreary press conference by Aussie Nick Kyrgios, a British writer complained, “He talks more to the fans during the bloody match then he talks to the press.” But an American voice in the press room said, “He’s just magical. He smokes the ball.”

GO FIGURE: Kyrgios wore the official Wimbledon headband, but it was in violation of the tournament’s all-white policy. The Aussie had to turn it inside out.

UP AGAINST THE WALL: While reflecting on Maria Sharapova, Barry Cowan said, “I can’t stand when she goes about and talks to the wall. There are some on-court characteristics about her that  bother me.”







GO FIGURE: Martina Hingis, who won Wimbledon 18 years ago, is through to the third round in both the women’s and mixed doubles.

SAY IT ISN’T SO: If you are not in your tent on the Wimbledon queue by 10 pm, you lose your place.

A “DREAD-FULL” REALITY—THE CURSE OF WIMBLEDON: It’s said that if you beat Rafa Nadal at Wimbledon, you’ll lose in the next round. And Dustin Brown, who shocked the Spaniard on Thursday, today dutifully fell to Serb Victor Troicki. Still, we will remember his flamboyance, his serve-and-volley play and his proclamation, “I am who I am.”

DREADFUL QUESTION: When the Nadal vs. Dustin Brown match briefly evened out, Chris Fowler asked, “Would it be bad to say Rafa and Dustin Brown are ‘dreadlocked’ at one set all?”

CURIOUS QUESTION: “If grass court tennis was a person, if it was a human being, how would you describe your relationship with that person?”—a reporter, to Rafa Nadal.

THE BEST FRONT RUNNERS: Bjorn Borg and Novak Djokovic (after winning the first game).

AN INSURMOUNTABLE MYSTERY: Wimbledon Live Radio said Gilles Simon‘s “challenge today is the insurmountable mystery that is Gael Monfils.”