Patrick McEnroe @PatrickMcEnroe 19h
Grass playing so good now. Memo to @Wimbledon committee. Start tourney with more wear and tear on courts. Safer and better tennis
Soon after Patrick McEnroe tweeted the above, about noon Eastern time Saturday, fans who were watching saw Juan Martin del Potro go sliding after attempting to make a return that took him to the sidelines. Delpo had to throw himself awkwardly over his bags to avoid going knee first into the chairs there. Del Potro later said that he had pain in his knee and ankle and would consult a physician. Let's hope he's able to continue without further injury to himself.
The grass has rightly been the story of the first week of Wimbledon. The tournament, and many journalists floated several explanations for all the slipping. The first one was the one I blogged about earlier this week, that the players don't know how to play on grass. Yesterday brought the PMac tweet. It'll be interesting to see court conditions going into the second week.
For some reason the AELTC has only been assigning three matches on Centre Court. One day this week scheduled play finished early and while matches were being played in near darkness on the outer courts Centre Court was dark. When the court assignments came out for Saturday there was a lot of head shaking and expressions of surprise. Serena Williams was assigned to be last up on Court 1 after the match between David Ferrer, who was playing with an ankle so bad they had to infiltrate it so that he could play, and Alexandr Dolgopolov. Even on paper that match had five setter written all over it but the people who set up the schedule felt otherwise I guess.
There was an expression I used to keep on my desk that said never "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity". I kept that in mind as it became clear "early doors" as the Brits say that the fourth match of the day on Court 1 would not be completed if started there due to darkness. Look I get it. I understand that it's good for the top players to play on the outer courts so that other fans get a chance to see them but really what was the point? It took the committee an hour too long to announce that Serena's match would indeed be played on Centre Court where it should've been scheduled in the first place. Honestly it seems as if people are going out of their way to try and distract Serena from her mission. It didn't work, Serena won 6-1, 6-0 but why did there have to be drama in the first place? Was the intent to make Serena have to finish a match on Monday and play again while British darling Laura Robson rested? I don't know. They don't let people like me in on the gory details. I'm willing to bet Serena dug in her heels and refused to go on Court 2, the Court of Carnage. But why did she have to be put through that at all? Every year Wimbledon does something to insult Serena and/or Venus Williams if she's playing. Haters of course blame Serena for being high handed and difficult when all she is asking for is the respect due the World #1. Apparently having to give that respect is more than some folks can do.
The other ongoing problem is John McEnroe. He is becoming more of an embarrassment each year no matter the network he's working for because he clearly does not watch tennis. I've been watching ESPN3 and streaming it via AppleTV so I've been hearing more of the British comms than the ESPN crew. I decided to give them a shot Saturday and of course ended up streaming again. Chris Evert has actually gotten better making fewer pull it out of her ass statements. Mary Jo Fernandez has always been competent. It's always been a question of her conflict of interest. Most fans know that Dolgopolov suffers from Gilbert's Syndrome. Here is what Wiki says about his health:
Dolgopolov suffers from a hereditary disorder known as Gilbert's Syndrome, which affects his liver, blood and often causes fatigue. His condition worsens when he has to cross continents in extensive travel, requiring intravenous drug treatments and monitored diets to get himself back on track.
It also affects his skin. That's why assholes who drag him about it really piss me off but tennis and assholes seem to have an affinity of late.
This was revealed several years ago. It would be different if this was his only WTF moment but last year he was actually shocked to find out that Venus suffers with Sjogren's Syndrome, an autoimmune disease. This was after it had been widely reported in sports and main stream press outlets. I'll never forget that one. If he's unfamiliar with the modern game and it's players what is going on at his Academy that he fought so hard to get started? I'm guessing his instructors are more aware of what's going on than JMac. They'd better be.
And of course there was Cliff Drysdale stepping up to accept the Paula Deen Award. He's still in the "they all look alike" aisle. Anyone who would mistake Sloane Stephens for a Williams has probably been invited to one of Paula's affairs. I mean it took him years to tell Venus from Serena so I guess now he's having trouble telling Serena from Sloane. I mean this is what 2013? Come on man!
The New Jacks
There are a lot of names heading into the second week of Wimbledon that just don't usually make second weeks of Slams. Andreas Seppi. Lukasz Kubot. Adrian Mannarino.Kenny De Schepper (who?). Monica Puig. Karin Knapp. Kirsten Flipkens. And yes I'm leaving Bernard Tomic and Laura Robson out.
Someone from the pack is going to make the semi's. Some would say this is a good thing.