WIMBLEDON BUZZ – Crazy Stuff Happens, That’s For Sure

Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images

Bill Simons

RAFA NADAL, ENVIRONMENTALIST: The Mallorcan Rafa Nadal loves to venture out on Mediterranean fishing adventures. Today he was asked whether he supported Wimbledon’s effort to help the seas by cutting down on plastics. Not surprisingly, the Spaniard replied, “One-hundred percent support on this. I am an ocean lover. All the things that we do to protect our beautiful planet are more than welcome. Well done for Wimbledon. It’s something, if everybody helps, that will be a big help for the ocean, for the animals that live there, and for us. We eat what they eat. It’s something we need to fix.”

AMERICA’S GREAT HOPE: Can the young, athletic Frances Tiafoe, who’s just 20, be the first American man to win a Slam since Andy Roddick in 2003?

BEST PRE-SERVICE DELIVERY RITUAL SINCE ZINA GARRISON: Johanna Konta’s high-bounce pre-service bounces are deliberate – more exaggerated than Sharapova’s, and, in their own way, elegant.

HOW DO YOU DO, LOU AND LIU? Allow us to play with some words. There are now two “Lou’s” who are emerging. The US Open’s new “Lou” – the reconstructed Louis Armstrong Stadium and its roof – should have a dazzling debut in August. And may we note that one could say that there’s another “Lou” advancing in the game: Californian Claire Liu had a great English swing. To get into Wimbledon, she had to beat her training partner, the veteran Nicole Gibbs. Then, after beating Ana Konjuh in the first round, she got a set off the two-time Slam champion Angie Kerber before falling. The German said, “Liu is quite a good player. For sure she will have a great future.”

And Liu’s had a pretty good past. In 2017, the teen, who’s from Sam Querrey’s hometown of Thousand Oaks, CA, won Wimbledon’s junior championship. While most American teens relish going to the senior prom, Liu went to the Wimbledon ball.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: After Guido Pella beat last year’s finalist, the No. 3 seed Marin Cilic, the first question he was asked in his press conference was, “How did you do that?”







NO BALLS, PLEASE (after a player was distracted by the unzipped fly of a ballboy)

GARBINE BITTEN BY THE UPSET BUG: Not only were Wimbledon’s courts infested with bugs, this year’s upset bug, which has bitten the men’s and women’s draws, continued unabated today. Wimbledon lost its defending women’s champion, No. 3 seed Garbine Muguruza, who also won the French Open in 2016. The six-foot Spaniard suffered a shock defeat to Alison van Uytvanck, 24, who is ranked No. 47. The Belgian is now into Wimbledon’s third round for the first time in her career. Britain’s best woman player, the No. 20 seed, Johanna Konta also fell today, losing to former Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova. On the men’s side, No. 3 seed Marin Cilic and Stan Wawrinka fell.

WHAT’S UP, WOZ? There was a lot that bugged Aussie Open champ Caroline Wozniacki after she fell in the second round to Ekaterina Makarova. She said the Russian was “hitting crazy shots.” Well she had 47 winners – that is pretty crazy. Then the Dane complained about the many on-court bugs: “There are bugs in my mouth and in my hair and everywhere – we need to do something. Is there a spray? I wanted to be here focusing on tennis, not eating bugs.”

KLAHN YOU BELIEVE IT? Bradley Klahn’s take-away from his great English adventure was simple. “Crazy stuff happens, that’s for sure,” he told Inside Tennis. The Stanford grad won three matches in the qualifiers, plus his first-round match – sweet. Not so sweet, however, was Kyle Edmund. Playing on home soil, the pride of Yorkshire showed why he is Britain’s No. 1. Right away he pounced on the nervous Californian. Kyle, who is an Andy Murray protégé, is No. 17 in the world and has a killer forehand, used his early advantage to gain the first set 6-4. He then punished Klahn in the second set tie-break before cruising to a 6-4, 7-6 (0), 6-2 win, which propelled him to Wimbledon’s third round for the first time.

Still, afterwards, the thoughtful Klahn seemed to be a happy man. Yes, he admitted, it wasn’t great to double fault twice in the first game – he was trying to dictate with his second serve. And he couldn’t convert an opening he had in the second game. Plus, he admitted, “I ran out of gas towards the end of the match.” But Klahn put things in perspective. He had a serious back surgery in 2015. The next year he told his parents he would probably quit tennis. He came into Wimbledon ranked No.168.

“I got to play on Centre Court at Wimbledon,” he said with a hint of glee. “I held my own, I competed well. It was so special to play on Centre. I was lucky enough to walk out there a bit before the match to get my bearings, so it wasn’t a shock when I got out there. The court wasn’t too big for me. Certain things were different, like depth perception. But in terms of nerves, I felt relaxed. I felt I belonged. And I think that’s the positive going forward. I was emotional being out there. But at the same time, I was there to win a match, I tried to stay focused. But certainly, when you walk out, you try to soak it all in. There is nothing like Centre Court. Moments like this are what I had in mind when my rehab from my herniated disc wasn’t going so well. But I just kept believing in myself.”

McDONALD’S LOVING IT: We won’t say that Mackie McDonald was the happiest man on Wimbledon’s lawns today. But the 23-year-old American with the triple-digit ranking had to be pleased that his two potential foes – Marin Cilic and Guido Pella – went five sets over two days, while he rested after his Wednesday win. And you have to think the UCLA grad is a smart lad who would certainly rather play against the Argentinian, who is ranked No. 82 and has never gotten beyond the second round of any Slam, than Cilic, who has won a Slam – the US Open – reached last year’s Wimbledon final, and was widely considered to be, after Federer, the biggest threat to prevail this year. Having said that, there’s little doubt that Pella, a veteran 28-year-old battler and Davis Cup hero who came back to beat Cilic in five sets, will be a stern test for the still-emerging Mackie.

FEDERER’S SOCCER SORROW: After the Swiss World Cup team was bounced out by Sweden, 1-0, Roger Federer voiced some disdain. He said, “I expected more.” He noted that in the knock-out rounds of the World Cup, “you have to bring it like it was the finals every match, it’s 11 guys at the same time. It can’t just be three guys, eight guys…That’s what’s hard in a collective like that.

“I felt it’s an opportunity missed. We had our chance…They were maybe a little bit better. We didn’t create enough chances…In the end the taste is not sour. We deserved what we got. Maybe we’re not part of the best eight in the world…[It’s] important they understand you’ve got to bring the energy every single day. It’s throughout the year…When you step out on the pitch, or on the court, in practice, in the match, you have to always try…to [play] as high as possible. Then it’s actually not a big deal to bring it also in a match like yesterday…You can’t afford to come in lethargic, [where] you just think it’s going to happen by itself, just because you played one good match the day before. You’re only as good as your next performance.”


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