1. The Wimbledon schedulers are idiots too
After having a go at the monkeys at typewriters setting the order of play in Paris on a regular basis it just wouldn’t be proper to let those at Wimbledon off the hook.
Last week we had the ridiculous scenario where Dimitry Tursunov was forced to play four days in a row.
On the second day his match against Ernests Gulbis didn’t finish until late evening because for some bizarre reason its resumption at the back end of the third set was scheduled for after a men’s singles match.
It was far from a one-off as late starts, rain delays and bad planning meant that several matches throughout the week were carried over for two days.
Oh well, surely after one chaotic week there was enough time to get things right and start afresh in the second?
Apparently not. The delayed singles matches sparked a chain of suspended doubles matches that meant that defending champions Jurgen Melzer and Philipp Petzschner didn’t play their first round match until today.
I’ll leave the final word on the organisers (for now) to Petzschner:
”125 years of Wimbledon and the people making the scedule are the same age then the tournament! its a fcking joke”
Incidentally, Team Melzschner recovered from a set and a break down to see off the young American pairing of Travis Rettenmaier and Ryan Harrison.
I can only imagine what Petzschner would have tweeted had they lost.
2. Stop the MTO madness
Or at least regulate it properly. Despite Del Potro’s hip problem presenting a strong argument against banning mid-set medical time-outs I’m going to stand firm.
I said it after the Fognini-Montañes debacle and the shambolic scenes in the first set of the Nadal Del Potro match today just reaffirmed it.
The match was stopped for a total of eight minutes before the first set tiebreak after Rafa appeared to tweak something in his ankle. Eight minutes.
Given that Del Potro had the momentum of holding serve from set-points down, such a ridiculous delay was grossly unfair on him.
I have no idea if Rafa was hurt badly or if there was some gamesmanship on his part, it’s not really the point.
The only way to prevent such scenes is to ban medical time-outs during a set. You can’t finish the set without treatment? Tough. You forfeit. Players need to man up.
As Federer put it: “I’m almost in favour of saying, you know what, if you’re not fit enough, just get out of here.”
3. Royal overload
Wimbledon wouldn’t be Wimbledon without the archaic fawning over the Royal family but with the Will and Kate in the crowd today it reached a new level.
The camera was never off the pair for more than five minutes and Murray was even asked afterwards (presumably by the cretinous Garry Richardson, I didn’t see it) what it was like to play in front of them.
I don’t mean to sound like a bitter Irishman but seriously what year is this?
As for the question of what it’s like to play in front of them, I can’t come up with a better smartass answer than Mark Carpenter did on twitter:
“Is there any possible reasonable answer to the question: ‘What was it like playing in front of the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge’.
‘I know Wills would have liked to see me come in a bit more, but I had to keep to my gameplan, hopefully Kate was happy with my 1st serve %’
If we’re going to have a Royal presence at Wimbledon then at least make it Prince Philip. In fact put him in the commentary box, sit back and let the comic old-fashioned racism commence.
It would beat listening to McEnroe, Castle, Rusedski et al, that’s for sure
4. Juan Martin All-Courto
Ok not exactly, but at times during his defeat to Nadal, the lanky Argentine showed a dose of subtlety and variety that I never knew he possessed.
He threw in some serve and volley, some chip and charge, and generally looked very comfortable in doing so.
It made a pleasant change from his usual ball-machine mode and he showed enough today to suggest that he can win the title in future.
He has a lot of work to do though and looked extremely vulnerable when forced to deal with short low balls. Nadal didn’t make him play very many of them but Federer or Murray for example, could torture him with that tactic.
He also threw in another audition for the lead role in the Bambi on Ice stage production but overall there were more positives than negatives for him to take from today’s defeat.
5. “A throw back to the good old days”
That’s how Jason Goodall described the five setter between Lukasz Kubot and Feliciano Lopez.
It was certainly a match-up that you don’t see too often these days with both players regularly playing serve volley behind first and second serves.
The variety from both was highly entertaining but my favourite blast from the past moment came when Kubot was stranded at the net and Lopez blasted it straight at him, Lendl style.
Kubot, no stranger to such tactics as a leading doubles player, didn’t bat an eyelid and just got on with it. It’s a valid tactic and an effective one at that.
Players are shit-scared of offending one and other these days, apologising profusely if they so much as hit within a foot either side of an opponent at the net.
Said opponent at the net often responds to this perceived slight in an insulted manner more suited to finding out the guy at the other side of the net has been sleeping with his sister.
Tennis is a contact sport. Bring it back.