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Wimbledon half-time review

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Jonathan Overend | 12:06 UK time, Sunday, 26 June 2011

Five memories from the first week at Wimbledon, in customary reverse order:

5. Andy Murray's audacious trick shot against Ivan Ljubicic.

4. Qualifier Bernard Tomic's Wimbledon announcement: a 17-minute first-set demolition of fifth seed Robin Soderling.

3. Wild card Sabine Lisicki's look of disbelief, on her knees as she beat French Open champ Li Na, having saved match points.

2. Serena Williams' tears of joy at winning on her favourite stage after all her recent troubles.

1. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga leaping the net to haul his gallant victim Grigor Dimitrov up from the ground in an everlasting image of sportsmanship after battle.

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Murray looks in terrific form coming into the second week and his win over Ivan Ljubicic in four sets on Friday night was a mental triumph.

How many times has he been punished for a passive performance at recent major against big hitters? Verdasco, Gonzalez, Roddick and Cilic all blasted him off the court at the slams of 2009, as did Wawrinka at the US Open last year, and Ljubicic threatened to do the same.

Murray had to step in, dictate as much as he could and serve emphatically when the going got tough, such as in the fourth set tie-break. It was a significant victory, one of his best.

But I'm wary of Richard Gasquet on Monday. As a proven Wimbledon performer, with grass-court titles to his name, the Frenchman will be looking for revenge after squandering 2-0 leads against Murray twice in the past three years.

This could be Murray's hardest match of the tournament.

Des Lynam wrote in the Daily Telegraph on Saturday, arguing we' are less likely to see young talents storm through draws these days, in the way Boris Becker won Wimbledon as a 17-year-old in 1985.

He may be right - and the men's top four are certainly favourites to make the final four - but we've got Tomic and Lisicki into the second week and both have good chances of going further in the tournament.

Tomic, the great Australian hope (who insists on his name being pronounced with an "ick" rather than an "itch", presumably to disassociate himself from his eastern European roots) played one of the best sets in recent Wimbledon memory against Soderling.

Winning an almost faultless set in 17 minutes against the world number five hopefully made Mr Lynam salivate with newcomer-excitement in his living room. And to back that up with two more sets was undeniably impressive. What a fantastic win for the teenager.

Having spent some time chatting to Lisicki at a garden party on the Saturday before the tournament began, I know how grateful she was to receive a wild card. She is clearly determined to make the club proud of their choice and to grasp her chance with both hands. The sight of Nick Bollettieri celebrating in her box was an up-to-date reminder that his academy still does the business.

Serena Williams is back and women's tennis couldn't ask for better news. She appears more in touch with reality after her injury and illness and time on the emergency ward has clearly changed her outlook.

She's now less giggly, less robotic, less bored; more human, more interesting, more interested.

For that reason I wasn't totally surprised when she broke down after her first-round win over Aravene Rezai.

Wimbledon is the tournament she values most, Centre Court the stage she loves performing on the most, and she just wants to play tennis. The audience connected with her that day. They felt her understandable emotion.

Sadly, some of the goodwill she won on Tuesday was lost on Thursday with an ego-driven complaint about scheduling. What's there not to like about Court 2? There isn't room for everyone on the top two courts and Williams, 25 in the world, had to take one for the WTA team.

Can she win Wimbledon? Absolutely. It is great to have her back.

And so we come to Tsonga and Dimitrov, a match which happened late in the evening at the end of a rain disrupted Thursday, with Federer taking most of the limelight over on Centre.

While I admit to not seeing all of it, the exchanges I caught were among the best I've seen. The hitting was all-powerful but the class of Dimitrov was evident.

A terrific match point ended with brave Dimitrov diving to keep a ball in play, only to be denied by the net cord.

Tsonga vaulted the net, put his arms around the stricken Bulgarian who was lying face down on the grass, and helped him to his feet. They embraced. Dimitrov smiled. Tsonga applauded. Sport at its best.

I loved some of the more wacky sights and sounds from week one:

Bethanie Mattek-Sands taking on the cardigan-culture of her critics by wearing an extraordinary jacket made partly out of tennis balls.

Julia Goerges ending an argument with an umpire with the killer line: "... and learn how to pronounce my name properly".

An aggrieved Marion Bartoli, having failed with an attempt to eject her father from Court 12 during her match with Flavia Penetta, instructing stewards to remove him for her.

Decent efforts from British players with notable mentions to Elena Baltacha, Laura Robson, Emily Webley-Smith and - from what I'm told - Dan Evans.

Of course there were a few disappointments:

Milos Raonic having to retire from his second-round match with Gilles Muller after only five games. How he would have loved a crack at Nadal in the last 32. Expect him to recover from injury and cause untold damage at the US Open in August.

The sight of Andy Roddick failing to reproduce the form which took him to three Wimbledon finals. His shots lacked penetration against Murray at Queen's and then again against Feliciano Lopez at Wimbledon. Coach Larry Stefanki has taken him as far as he can and should consider offering his services to Murray, who tried to hire him way back in 2006.

And the ticketing arrangements on the new Court 3 need reviewing for next year. Ticket holders appear reluctant to take their seats, presumably preferring to wander the grounds. The place was virtually empty for the rematch between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut, apart from the corner of the court for ground-pass holders, which was packed with a queue snaking around the grounds outside. The whole stadium could be opened up to reward those ground-pass stalwarts.

As for ones to watch in the second week, I'd say, somewhat unadventurously, Tomas Berdych and Petra Kvitova. Berdych, last year's runner-up, hasn't come close to dropping a set so far and has a chance of a Nadal rematch in the quarters. And Kvitova, who made the semis 12 months ago, looks to have the strongest grass-court game of all the new contenders and if she can beat Venus Williams I think she'll be in the final.

As for champions, we'll just have to wait and see. I'm sticking with Federer as a marginal favourite for the men's title and I think the women's champion will come from the quartet of Caroline Wozniacki (yes, you read right, I've been impressed by her gradual improvement round by round), Serena Williams, Sharapova and Kvitova.

What about you?

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    The Tsonga-Dimitrov moment was great to see.
    Re Murray I'd be rather worried about Gasquet, but then again it's a good match up.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment 'Julia Georges ending an argument with an umpire with the killer line: "... and learn how to pronounce my name properly".' was rather ironic, since you managed not to spell her name properly! It's Goerges.

  • Comment number 3.

    It will be fascinating to see how things pan out during the second week. Here's my own review of how things are at this stage...

    http://samhopwood.blogspot.com/2011/06/halfway-there-but-no-closer-to-knowing.html

  • Comment number 4.

    Some lazy analysis of the Murray losses at slams. Firstly, Verdasco struggled to win in 5 against a sick opponent so clearly did not blast Murray off the court. Murray had to rest up for a few days before bein g allowed to get on a plane. Murray had a wrist injury vs Cilic and took several weeks off after that match so that does not count. Roddick only managed to win by serving absolutely unbelievably well and scraped two breakers 9-7 & 7-5 to win the match in 4 sets. Clearly Murray was very competitive in that match too. Only the Gonzalez match can be counted really and that was on clay so who cares? Warwinka match a total mystery - losing it from a set and a break up was more an indication of Murrays' mental frailty than Stan whacking him off the court.

    Why don't you comment on the finals and semi finals Murray has made since USO 2008? Instead you provide weak journalism that perpetuates a myth that I hear all the time from non tennis geeks which says "Murray has a terrible record in slams" which is patently not true but which when challenged will be defended by repeating your comments about the losses mentioned

    poor journalism

  • Comment number 5.

    Our country's been getting a lot stick Jonathan, but I can tell you from the Land of the Rising Sun, this is annually one of the most anticipated 2 weeks on the sporting calendar, along with the British Open. The early morning coverage a reminder of a lot of what's good about home. How pleasant to see some green! I almost have to put on grassglasses.

    A 40 year old part-time Kimiko Date-Krumm giving Venus Williams a run for her money was a good effort, and yesterday seeing Misaki Doi matter of factly play in the 3rd round leaves me scratching my head how the host can perennially struggle to have a representative beyond the first round. There must be something very fundamentally wrong with our coaching.

    The Goerges mispronunciation reminds me of an equally vexed young Martina at Wimbledon many years ago, where her name suddenly became something like 'Nappyratlova' for at least the early parts of one game!

    The second week should be good!

  • Comment number 6.

    How do you pronounce her name then (gorgeous would do it for me)?

  • Comment number 7.

    Murray trick shot is an embarrassment. Mocking your opponent like that shows a lack of class. You would not see Nadal do that, sure do a trick shot if it's convenient but it Murrays case there was no need, he had plenty of time to play a normal shot but because he was so close to finishing, he decided to rub some salt in. This is not football where humiliating your opponent is the aim.

  • Comment number 8.

    #7. Maybe you wouldn't see Nadal do it, but you would see Federer do it. Personally, I don't like it, and it's certainly less impressive every time you see it.

    I thought the aim in football was just to score more goals than the other team? I didn't realize humilation came into it!

  • Comment number 9.

    Roger for me looks the best of the top 4 the other three have looked OK at times not so good at others. Good shout about Kvitova I'll go with her.

  • Comment number 10.

    I tell what the most disappointing factor has been this week - the slow courts. Ivan Ljubicic called centre court under the roof "the slowest court in the world" and the sight of Baghdatis and Djokovic (two of the biggest hitters on tour) rallying from the baseline and virtually unable to hit a winner was really very disappointing.

    It is time to speed up the courts and the balls so that clean ball striking is rewarded with winners and scrabbling around on the baseline getting the ball into play is punished.

    I suspect that Nadal will benefit most from the slow conditions and defend his title

  • Comment number 11.

    @lalalabehind

    I just finished watching the Date-Krumm vs Williams match on iPlayer which was played under the roof and there was no shortage of clean winners, volleys, flat powerful shots, great angled shots, aces, serve and volley tactics and the court looked incredibly fast.

    I think that match put to bed the idea that the courts are too slow for all court tennis. The pace is perfect for any style.

  • Comment number 12.

    I watched the Williams/Date match and it was good

    However I will certainly take Ljubicics opinion over yours icecold!

    Watch the Djoko/Baggy match... they were playing almost clay court tennis on a grass court with many rallies reaching 16 to 18 strokes. Tomic-Soderling was the same

    Way too slow in my opinion

  • Comment number 13.

    #4 - very, very well said indeed. Overend i am afraid is really not very good at any of this. Fits in rather well these days with almost all of the by now hopelessly discredited bbc.

    With regard to Overends carping about serena complaining about being shunted out to court two i think he has rather missed her point. No one complained about court two. Court two is perfectly adequate. So adequate in fact that any of djokovic, murray, federer or nadal could be expected to play there from time to time but they are not. Not ever. Serena had to play on court two last year as well. If it's good enough for her as defending champion and multiple wimbledon winner then why not for any of the 'big 4' ? Overend also fails to mention that if serena (apparently) lost a lot of her goodwill with her 'ego-driven complaint' about court two then presumably that also applies to wozniacki who, when asked, agreed fully with serena as did the head of the WTA. Overend really is not very good at this as i say.

  • Comment number 14.

    I think the standard of tennis this year is the best in Wimbledon history and i do NOT see Andy Murray making inroads over Nadal and Federer.
    The media need to get real and come to terms that Murray is ranked 4th for a reason.
    Nadal and Federer have so much class that Murray will do well to defeat either of them in major tournaments.
    Djokovic has acted up again showing what a mental case he can be and probably ruin his chances of winning wimbledon this year.
    Those four players mentioned are without a doubt the top players, with poor young Murray up against it every time.

  • Comment number 15.

    "However I will certainly take Ljubicics opinion over yours icecold!"

    @lalalabehind

    I would definitely take Federer's opinion over Ljubicic's after all he has probably played more matches on centre court than any other current player.

    Q. How have the courts changed here from when you won first in 2003 until today?
    ROGER FEDERER: Nothing. I really don't think so. It's been the same pretty much through. People are talking this year is slower. I completely disagree with that.


    Watch the Djoko/Baggy match... they were playing almost clay court tennis on a grass court with many rallies reaching 16 to 18 strokes. Tomic-Soderling was the same

    @lalalabehind

    Because they chose to. Lopez and Roddick didn't choose to play tennis like that. Neither did Isner, Mahut, Muller or Raonic etc etc etc. Players can play aggressive tennis if they want to but only if they have the skill and confidence in their own net play. Most don't because to build that kind of confidence you need to serve and volley all year around.

    It was interesting reading Date-Krumm's post match interview where she says she despairs of practicing with younger players who only spend about three minutes working on their volleys in training! No wonder they can't play the kind of aggressive grass court tennis that Date-Krumm at 40 proved to be eminently possible even against one of the biggest hitting baseliners in tennis.

  • Comment number 16.

    @7
    I guess murray cant win then can he, he is criticed for not being charismantic and then he does something vaguely entertaining and you criticise him, its not disrespectful look at federer he does plently of trick shots, and nadal probably does not have the confidence to pull off such an outstanding shot.

    Also you clearly know nothing about football, the aim is to win not humililate the opponent.

  • Comment number 17.

    Also those people who are so pathetic that they read an article which is totally opinionated and then call it poor journalism, i bet u would be rubbish at journalism judging from the things you wrote.

  • Comment number 18.

    I'm still going to stick with Djokovic for the men's title, mainly because I would like see his fine efforts this year rewarded with another Grand Slam, and the most prestigious of all. He clearly has the game to beat anyone on hard courts and clay, and I think he can beat anyone on grass as well, but that remains to be seen.

    But, overall, I would prefer to see Murray win to get that first Grand Slam, and especially at Wimbledon. I would also like to see his game improve as a result of the mental effects of winning a Slam, but I don't see it making a huge difference to him as he already knows he is good enough to win one.

    And to see Tsonga do well is always great, but I don't think he's consistent enough to go all the way.

  • Comment number 19.

    I note that a number of folks are raising the issue of the slowness of the courts and whilst I have some sympathy with the view that maybe the All England Club have gone too far, the original intention was to stop Wimbledon becoming totally dominated by the serve and volley. Admittedly, this seemed to be a particular problem during the Sampras era but maybe it wasn't the courts speed but just that he was a great?

    I think in general the tennis served up is of a much higher quality and most, but obviously not all, would prefer to see competitive rallying rather than sets full of aces and 3 stroke rallies! We are in my view, truly blessed to have the Federer Nadal rivalry, undoubtedly the greatest in tennis (and I was around during the Borg/Mac/Connors era) and now with Djokovic and to a lesser degree Murray now challenging the rivalry, these are great times for tennis.

    I think this is Murray's best opportunity yet to win it but obviously it won't be easy. I would be happy with a Fed v Nadal final tho it must be said.

  • Comment number 20.

    I can't see past Nadal for the title. he is just too relentless.

  • Comment number 21.

    And Kvitova, who made the semis 12 months ago, looks to have the strongest grass-court game of all the new contenders and if she can beat Venus Williams I think she'll be in the final.

    I didn't realise Venus and Kvitova have won their respective matches already!! Pironkova and Wickmayer are no pushovers and 1 or both could win. I'm actually going to have a bet on Pironkova to beat Venus.

  • Comment number 22.

    Seeing Marcos and the support he got last night was both fascinating and uplifting

    The win for Laura Robson was a nice moment too...

    http://outspokenrabbit.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 23.

    Sunday 3rd July 2011:

    The Swiss master - for the purist, unquestionably the greatest to ever play the game, and going for his 7th All England title - takes on a young man from Dunblane with all the talent in the world and perhaps ready, this time, to show it when it really counts on the biggest stage of all.

  • Comment number 24.

    Regarding post number 7 - I am completely surprised by your attitude towards Murray's shot to be perfectly honest. All the British public do is complain about Murray's demeanor, calling him boring and lacking passion, and then suddenly, he shows a bit of exuberance and now people are moaning about it. The shot Murray pulled off was skillful, and delightful to watch. If Ljubicic felt embarrassed and annoyed by the shot, he shouldn't have given Murray the opportunity to pull it off. I play tennis and if that shot had been against me, I would be clapping my opponent for the sheer skill of the shot. Once again we have people casting views of tennis when Wimbledon's on, when they have no interest for the rest of the year. And if you do play tennis, then that previous statement didn't affect you, however it gives me more reason to wonder what planet you get your feelings from because you should know even better about the skill and craft involved in the shot. Lastly, no sport is about humiliation, the aim is to win!

  • Comment number 25.

    The heart says Fed - as above, he plays the game as it should be played and no one touches him in this respect, but the head says Nadal - who has devised a method of play that so far, only Djoko and DP (when fit) seem to be able to defy. Keep it in play, stay rock solid mentally, keep the errors to a bare minimum and gind down your opponent..tough to watch but effective and Federer just can't overcome it over 5 sets anymore. If only Murray could do it as well as Nadal.. But he can't.

    Murray will probably make the semis but will then go out...we shouldn't be suprised when it happens - he plays to his world ranking which is 4 and that is for a reason - The top three are still ahead of him. Getting through at leat 2 of them to win the whole thing will be beyond him. Not been impressed with Djok - he looks like he did last year, hanging on and waiting for someone better to knock him out and I think that loss to Fed in Paris has hurt more than we originally thought.

    DP may upset Nadal on Monday (match of the day for me) but its unlikely - he isn't quite where he was at the US Open in 09 where he annihilated Nadal in the Semis but you never know.

    Therefore - Nadal Vs Fed next Sunday with Nadal winning in 4. Fed to be majorless this year and sadly his time may have just gone to add to 16 as Nadal and Djoko will only get stronger.

  • Comment number 26.

    Week one would not nearly have been as complete without the fun loving and albeit raucas Irish contingent down at court 17. Bravo to Conor Niland and his gallant attempt in setting a date on centre court with King Federer. The noise was brilliant, the colour green was in keeping with wimbledons colour scheme and surely a wild card consideration by the AELTC for next year could strengthen the game across the pond, god knows enough Irish tennis fans make the annual trip to SW19 to support this wonderful event

  • Comment number 27.

    Enjoyed that Tsonga/Dimitrov moment. A lot more than the Murray trickshot, but I'd prefer to have an arrogant Brit in the frame that Timmy Tittlemouse!

    Afraid the Williams sisters don't appreciate one fact. They physically batter most opponents to rubble & that is NOT interesting to watch.

    Not their fault for being so much faster & stronger, I know, but would you want that everytime on Centre or number 1 court? They do try to keep more intriguing ties on those courts for the first week, and with good reason, because they are the SHOW courts, ergo you expect to see a match on them, not a mis-match.

  • Comment number 28.

    Why does Mark Petchey go out of his way to criticise British Tennis?! Whenever he has the opportunity he slates Roger Draper and the strategy that is now in place to identify and develop talent. Today the BBC From Wimbledon was showing a piece on the work that the LTA are doing in identifying young talent. Following the article the commentator asked MArk Petchey his opinion - his response was disgraceful and

  • Comment number 29.

    Mark Petchey just criticises everything the LTA are does and never provides any positive ideas. His comments today will have been heard by many young players who are part of the LTA future stars program who are dedicated to the sport and the last thing they or their parents want to hear is negative unhelpful comments. I have a message for Mark - get behind British tennis and don't feed off the past failing. At the same time he was providing his negative views several exciting under 11 British future stars were playing on court 5 at Wimbledon having the experience of their lives. I'm sure they would have appreciated seeing you giving them encouragement. Give something positive back Mr Petchey! Would love to hear your plans rather than just criticism

  • Comment number 30.

    I would love to see Federer win, if only for Oxfam to get this donation http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10360292

  • Comment number 31.

    A good review of the first week... its nice to finally see a mention for Petra Kvitova. All the talk on the BBC coverage has been about Serena, Venus and Sharapova while Kvitova has been totally forgotten about as she has eased through the draw. Petra has had a stunning year and I for one believe Petra can keep winning and knock out Venus in the Quarters.

    Its also good to see a worthwhile mention for the Tsonga Dimitrov match, which I was lucky enough to witness live. The first couple of sets weren't great but the 4th set was pure magic. I thought Tsonga had choked it away with some awful decision making on the match points but he did well to come through against a plucky Dimitrov who should continue to rise up the rankings based on this performance. It was great to see such sportsmanship between the two at the end, which got such an amazing applause from the crowd. I did find it surprising however that Dimitrov stayed to sign autographs meanwhile Tsonga raced off the court!

  • Comment number 32.

    @7 & 24. I side with 7 (& Johnny Mac), the Murray trick shot is taking the mick out of the opponent. Would be seething if that happened to me.

    re:Serena on court 2.The ladies matches that were scheduled for centre & no. 1 that day, were Li Na v Lisicki & Sharapova v Robson. The latter is probably the match with the biggest appeal to non-hardcore fans. The former was always likely to be a better contest than serne v the world no. 58. Serna will get on 1 & Centre in r4 & the QFs (if she gets past Bartoli)

  • Comment number 33.

    Saga@ 23

    There is an almost reverential respect for Federer this year - win or lose we are in a special era.

    The journalist Paul Hayward posed the question then answered it himself:

    The sportsmen you feel most grateful to have seen play live? Roger Federer takes some shifting. You're guaranteed some majesty

  • Comment number 34.

    I'd like to stick up for Mr Overend here, how seems to be getting a fair bit of criticism.

    This isn't meant to be journalism, which is (or used to be) an objective account of the facts. This is a blog post and these generally have two aims:

    1. To share thoughts, feelings and opinions
    2. To encourage debate and conversation.

    On both counts he succeded.

    Back to the tennis... I've found it to be an entertaining weekand week two should be fun as well. The Murray v Gasquet match, I'm not as nervous as many. I think Murray's overall game has progressed sufficiently to the point where he should be reasonably expected to win. As far as the title goes, any of the top four men can win it and I'd marginally favour Nadal.

    As far as the women's side of things goes I've seen a lot of hype this last week about Sharapova but can't buy in to that. She's mentally very tough and strong-willed but there's a lot of good players left in the draw. I think Serena, as she's recapturing some of her game and form after a long layoff is in with a real shout and would be my pick. Her injury and illness seem to have reignited her love for the game and the hunger is there.

    It's going to be fun!

  • Comment number 35.

    I find that this era of tennis esp at Wimbledon , to lack the exitement of previous eras now that Federer has lost his magic touch.
    Previous eras with Sampras, Agassi, Lendel, Becker, Mac and connors and Borg etc and as for womens tennis it is very drab and has not progressed with consistent stars anymore , the same tired repeaters , no real exitement.

  • Comment number 36.

    ONLY HALF-TIME ???
    . . .and yet most of our British entries are on their way home already. Will Murray win the trophy after all these years?? Virginia Wade was our last champion in '77, and has been nothing since. There had been false dawns in Men's tennis with our 'stars' not even threatening to reach the Final, but to be honest I can't even recall their names or what they look like...that bad, eh??
    But what baffles me is why....year after year we dish out hundreds of thousands of our dosh to these foreign players who are too bloody good at tennis for my liking??? Some of those money could be better spent attracting and developing younger players to take up the game. Send out Tennis Scouts to schools all over the country to identify athletic types, boys and girls, and get them to special schools to learn tennis. Imagine if the Scouts had spotted Gary Linnieker, Linford Christie, Sally Gunnell etc etc in their schooldays, we could possibly have had Wimbledon champions year after year, no doubt about that. Good luck Andy !!

  • Comment number 37.

    I'm 100% behind Andy Murray Jonathan, but without deluging the blog page with stats I'd like to point out something really significant in my opinion.

    That is, if you check back, for when most of the big stars of past and present won their VERY FIRST slam, you'll find it was mostly against lesser or fading opponents.

    Almost nobody has EVER won a first slam against a current champion, or someone who has won a slam when they never have - e.g. Murray vs Djokovic this year who already had a US Open to his name.

    The rare times it happens it is usually a 5 set cliffhanger, and the loser is usually on the decline anyway.

    So for Andy Murray to win his first slam, it's not likely it will happen against any of the 3 top players, because hardly any top player has ever won a first slam against superior opposition who had already won slams or were defending their title.

    Having said that, he's fully got the talent to do it, but all past tennis history says he probably won't, unless he gets to play someone in the final who is lower ranked or has never won a slam before, e.g. Tomic or Tsonga.

    (incidentally, Tomic's parents in my view made a serious blunder, in that he is called B (for Bernard Tomic) when just imagine he could have been called A (for Albert or Arthur etc. ) Tomic. Who could have beat him then if he was A Tomic!

    However, this fear that Murray can't even beat the likes of Gasquet tomorrow that various people have been expressing is pretty much ridiculous, and symptomatic of a British inferiority complex that we ought to get over.

    That Andy is at least one of the top 4 in the world is in itself something to be proud of, as apart from darts, snooker or Motor racing, which are not athletic sports, we don't as far as I know have anybody else who is that world beating.

    He's beaten the very top players - Nadal, Djokovic and Federer - several times.

    All he has to do, is realise he can do it also in a grand slam semi-final or final.

    Though I find his current form hard to work out, I think the key is he is expressing himself on the court and off it.

    If he keeps this relaxed attitude, he can win Wimbledon, or failing that, the US Open.

    And to those who criticise Andy's "hotdog" shot, according to Tim Henman, Roger Federer once did exactly the same thing to him, so it's no grounds for Murray to be either criticised or ashamed, and though surely cheeky, definitely great entertainment.

  • Comment number 38.

    And PS - glad to see the Williams sisters back who I hope stop Sharapova winning another Wimbledon.

    I think Sharapova is really big headed, she sometimes hardly acknowledges her opponent she has just beat, but can't wait to blow kisses at the crowd, "her fans", and probably makes more money from sponsorship than most of the top 50 non top 10 men's players put together, who are no doubt far more capable on the court than she.

    Don't think I'm being mean to her, because don't forget, the first time she won Wimbledon, she kept the entire crowd and officials waiting for the presentation, just so she could ring her mother on her mobile phone.

    That's one of the most self-centred acts in sport I've ever seen, and that's why I hope she never wins it again, because she ought to learn to acknowledge the talent of other players apart from herself, even if most of the women aren't as good, and not over 6ft tall and with the shoulders of an Olympic swimmer like herself.

    Was delighted to see Li Na win the French Open, and hope Sharapova likewise goes home with her tail between her legs this time also.

    Think Serena Williams was a bit out of order however, questioning why she wasn't on the Centre Court, when even Roger Federer got put on Court No 1 yesterday, as has been Nadal.

  • Comment number 39.

    Sharapova, may never regain her form after her shoulder injury, but as I was in center court when she played Serena and won her first slam, I noted that they kept her waiting for 15 minutes to walk out on court etc and at time she was 17 as I recall, she not only held her nerve but beat Serena surprisingly easily.
    It is easy to criticise her, but she and her parents sacrificed a lot living in tiny apt while being taught tennis . She was lucky to be born pretty and make more money than say Davenport who was a better player but not as pretty.
    She did bring more viewers to watch womens tennis which is not always exiting.
    If you want to comment on behaviour in tennis Wally , I could entertain with tales for a long time having attended center court finals for a very long time and met most all the greats on a personal level, trust me Sharapova's phone call was less annoying than the sheet placed on corner hut in center court , in the final between Venus and Lindsey !!

  • Comment number 40.

    #4 mr lalalabehind.
    He's trying to make a point in a certain number of words - he then has the other four of his top five moments to get through. As a result he obviously isn't going to write an essay on the major championship career of Andy Murray, specialist subject 2009. Bizarre and unnecessarily strong comment. If you don't agree with one view then it means you don't agree with one view, nothing more nothing less. Dismissing him as a lazy journalist as a result reeks of unnecessary hyperbole.
    It's an opinion, journalists in positions like this have earned the right to make their opinions. What's wrong with what he has said? He's basically said in 2009 he lost out to power hitters, and Warwinka in 2010 - correct. Why should he mention his good record in other slams? That's common knowledge and is completely irrelevant to the article. The article is about this tournament so far and Ljubucic rightly reminded him of a lower ranked power-hitter who Murray has fallen foul to in the past.
    For the record I'd never heard of the author of the article before today but I followed a link on the site, got here, read it and enjoyed it. A difference of opinion doesn't mean lazy journalism, just means a difference of opinion, one opinion of many a journalist makes in every single article binded together by facts and stats.
    You're basically wanting him to write in huge depth about something, something that he never stated this article would discuss (stated either in the title or intro) and therefore had no obligation to touch on. We know Murray got to several semi finals and a couple of grand slam finals because we haven't been in a coma for the last few few years. You really think someone who's been working for 5live for the last eight years is not aware of that or is unwilling to acknowledge it?
    "Clay doesn't count" yet "these courts are too slow now" So maybe it does count? Clay = slow as you know (this is me being an anal commenter and showing you how ridiculous it is if you critique absolutely everything looking for error, perceived error/laziness which usually comes from your own misunderstanding).
    I tell you what you write a blog about tennis and show these lazy journalists how it's done. In doing so you may discover why this man is writing the articles whilst you are anonymously commenting on them.

  • Comment number 41.

    I found the first week quite dull. No memorable matches to date, one surprise exit in Roddick who is a shadow of himself right now and of course the usual hand wringing over the pathetic and completely unnecessary 'grunting' from Sharapova and others which the authorities again 'tut-tut' at but fail to take any action. Pure gamesmanship.

    I found Jonathan's analysis straightforward given not much to work with from week one and thankfully he is not one of the fake Murray worshippers who pervade the media. Personally surprised at how many people are tipping Federer when Nadal still has number at the grand slams. Here's hoping for a much more interesting and exciting week two.

  • Comment number 42.

    coats @ 33

    I make him (Fed) a clear favourite: 29 but so what? Agassi played his best tennis at 29 (almost won the Grand Slam at 29, in fact). Also I sense the winning machine that is Rafael Nadal may have peaked pre-2011 (only just won that French and has already lost 4 finals, including 2 on clay, to the same player) and it appears that NoJo may have come just a little off his 'streak' form (which would have been enough for the super Serb to win). Murray can do it this year but he needs Federer to not quite bring his A game to the final. My bet - since I can't decide whether he'll get blown away again or not - is just that he will make the final: Murray vs Federer on Sunday.

  • Comment number 43.

    Surely Federer is the favourite in the men's draw?

    Federer has only been beaten by Nadal once at Wimbledon in 5 sets in arguably the greatest Wimbledon final ever. He will not be worried by Nadal. In regards to the Djoker Federer has beaten him numerous times in slams - 5-3. Also the Djoker has never beaten Federer at Wimbledon.Murray has never beaten Federer in a slam - 2-0 to Federer.

    Federer is in excellent form - cruised through the first 3 rounds without having to use up much energy.

    Who will be more nervous out of Djokovic and Federer?

    We all know Murray has the talent to win a slam but does he have the mental strength? Murray is always in the top 4 but he needs to up his game if he wants to gain a slam.

    In the women's draw I would actually say the dark horse is Sabine Lisicki. Have you seen her serve? When her serve is firing it's hard to stop!

    Beating Li Na is no mean feat. Didn't Li reach the Aussie final as well as winning Roland Garros?

  • Comment number 44.

    Saga@42

    Djok is decidedly rattled for some reason [his Basil Fawlty was hilarious] and tennis is very much a mental game - his serene highness [Fed] seems to rise above everything at the moment but those UFE's can still cost him dear against one of the big four.

    Nadal is certainly looking fallible so I guess it is all to play for.

    Very much hope your prediction is right- though Gasquet's a tough opponent on grass.

  • Comment number 45.

    Surprised it hasn't been mentioned but Robson's great start against Sharapova was a real highlight. OK she lost but the first set on tie-breaker was very close and when you consider the odds of her winning, a great prospect for the future!

    Re point 16 EAGLEYED, the critisism of Andy and lack of charisma has nothing to do with this, what exactly does it say about someone's character or personality if he is prepared to insult his opponent, it certainly doesn't prove that he has "charisma". Instead of trying to play to the crowd, he should spare some thought for the guy on the other side of the net.

  • Comment number 46.

    Overend - "Serena Williams is back and women's tennis couldn't ask for better news."

    Am I the only person who thinks that Williams is appalling! Totally lacking in class or humility, and awful to watch. I suppose if she reads this she will threaten to do me in like that poor Line Judge.

    Come on Bartoli!

  • Comment number 47.

    Cougar - Serena is the Tiger Woods of tennis - a bad winner and an even worse loser

    http://outspokenrabbit.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 48.

    Rabbit

    good comparison - I despise both of them for their superbeing antics.

    How I hope a real, humble person like Caroline Wozniacki wins her first major, and a good bloke like Lee Westwood wins The Open this summer following Rory's triumph.

    2011 the year for real sportspeople?

  • Comment number 49.

    @ Applebonkers

    No I'm not wanting him to go into detail, I want him to be ACCURATE in what he says which was the point of my post #4.

    As I say, Overend is perpetuating a myth that Murray gets blown off court by big hitters when in fact he has a tremendous record against the big hitters like Del Potro, Verdasco, Cilic, Soderling, Berdych and the like (check out the H2Hs if you want)

    THAT@S why it is lazy journalism:-

    1) he has a good record in slams
    2) he has a good record against the big hitters
    3) he had legitimate excuses for 2 of the losses mentioned (Cilic & Verdasco - both since avenged), was only narrowly beaten in a close match vs Roddick and the clay defeat is perfectly understandable (he has since made a RG semi-final).

    Lazy, cliched writing that doesn't really fit the facts by someone who is well paid and should do much better in my opinion.

  • Comment number 50.

    Cougar, it's nice to see us topping the golf world again, and even better now that both the Williams brothers have crashed out of Wimbledon...
    http://outspokenrabbit.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 51.

    1) he has a good record in slams
    2) he has a good record against the big hitters
    3) he had legitimate excuses for 2 of the losses mentioned (Cilic & Verdasco - both since avenged), was only narrowly beaten in a close match vs Roddick and the clay defeat is perfectly understandable (he has since made a RG semi-final).

    Lazy, cliched writing that doesn't really fit the facts by someone who is well paid and should do much better in my opinion.

    -------

    Good record in slams? Zero wins, yes amazing record!

    Good record against big hitters? Not in slams and they are not good excuses because most of the time he loses these games mentally, not physically. Sure he in not
    100% but while Fed will plough on, Murray will strop around the court, smacking the racket on his shoe or hand, blaming everyone in his team, scream aaannddyyy like am idiot.

  • Comment number 52.

    Cougar

    A tad ungenerous toward the Williams girls - for sure they ruffled some feathers and their power game was not to everyone's taste, however they must be credited with taking the women's game to a different level at their peak.

  • Comment number 53.

    Beschocked

    Too many UFEs from Federer today - perhaps it was a lack of concentration against a player he routinely beats but he would be punished for that by either of the top two.


    I know players obsess about their injuries but the trainer/doctors are called out to players who then go on to play 3/4 set matches. I wonder whether the rules ought to be tightened in this respect.

  • Comment number 54.

    cougar forest @ 48

    What on earth makes you say Lee Westwood is a 'good bloke'?

    Excellent golfer, sure, but I find he rather gets on my nerves.

  • Comment number 55.

    Good record in slams? Zero wins, yes amazing record!

    Good record against big hitters? Not in slams and they are not good excuses because most of the time he loses these games mentally, not physically. Sure he in not
    100% but while Fed will plough on, Murray will strop around the court, smacking the racket on his shoe or hand, blaming everyone in his team, scream aaannddyyy like am idiot.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    sorry but this is total garbage

    go and look on the ATP website and check out his record in slams since, and including, the USO 2008. Yes, he has failed to win one (YET) but he has achieved a tremendous portfolio (this is his 4th consecutive Wimbledon QF for instance).

    If you take out the French he has reached 3 out of the last 8 slam finals

    You clearly do not know much about Andy Murray and are probably a "Wimbledon fortnight" tennis fan - I suggest seriously you actually look at the records and his H2Hs vs all the players you think blow him away.

    The losses to Cilic and Verdasco were when he was compromised by injury/illness and Verdasco has never beaten him before or since (H2H 9-1 Murray).

    The Roddick semi-final came down to a handful of points in the breakers (9-7, 7-5) and Roddick served out of this world. Easily forgiven.

    So the only matches you can really suggest Murray underperformed in were:-

    the Stan Warwinka match (totally inexplicable meltdown) and the Gonzo match at the French Open.

    Yes, he has lost 3 finals. 2 were to the Greatest Slam winner ever and one was to a guy who went on to win 40+ matches straight and has only lost one match since November 2010.

    Give the guy a break, he is doing awesome

  • Comment number 56.

    coats @ 53

    Yes, got a bit tedious with all the medical stuff. Good match though; Rafa showing again how he's the toughest player out there. Come the semi with Murray - if it happens - I think Andy will win quite easily but I'm not sure why I think it.

  • Comment number 57.

    So he beats verdasco in all other events but loses to him in a slam and ATP finals I believe, shows he is a bottler! Has had close games v wawrinka in slams but might beat him in a masters comfortably, likewise against fed, nadal, djok. Winning in a masters and a slam are different things. Don't question my knowledge, you just sound like a Murray fanboy who talks about all the amazing events Andy won but forget the only thing that matters in tennis. Slams!!! Who the hell talks about if sampras won miami or borg won monte carlo? How many sets has Murray won in those 3 finals again? Wouldnt use YET, try MAYBE you muppet!

  • Comment number 58.

    Saga@56

    Well possibly but I wouldn't go down to Coral's until after the next round - there again my sporting predictions are notoriously bad.

    I'm really enjoying Wimbledon this year - if the next few rounds can match the standard of the French Open it will be a classic year.

  • Comment number 59.


    I'm sure the BBC must be fully paid up members of his Fan Club as well.
    I'm getting a bit fed up with the BBC commentators thinking everyone in Britain is supporting him.
    I'm sure when Tim Henman was at the top of his game, Scottish TV wasn't as bias towards him.
    What's happened to the BBC's impartiality.
    This latest bunch of BBC commentators should take a look at some of the late great Bill McLaren's commentaries.
    If he had been a stick of rock he would have had Scotland written all the way through the middle, and yet he always delivered an unbiased commentary.
    I wonder what people think about the standard of the linesmen and women.
    I personally think its been very bad, and because the players must have lost faith in them, is there an argument for them to receive more the 3 challenges per set.
    I even think there's an argument for it going back to the umpire and do away with challenges all together.
    But there's one thing you can always rely on being the highest quality, the Ball Boys and Girls.....GREAT JOB.

  • Comment number 60.

    @59

    Your nom de plume says it all - hard to take anything seriously after that.

    The BBC Wimbledon coverage goes out to viewers all over the Uk and it is natural that Andy Murray is promoted - I am not saying they don't go over the top at times but the fact remains he has been playing well and stands a realistic chance of progressing to the final given the apparent lethargy of the top three players who have just played too many matches coming into Wimbledon and are unable to produce their very best game.

    if Tsonga has a couple more good matches in him he is certainly a dark horse for the championship.

  • Comment number 61.

    Well the finals will be very interesting , Murray has great shot making ability but as Becker once said about 5 setters its no longer about tennis alone its about who you are as a person, Murray does not have the mind set of a Mac, Connors, Borg, Sampras etc and at his age probably never will have, his chance of winning a major slam will be the mistakes of his opponents. His game plan and his choice of shots is something he should watch in replays, I would like to see him win for good of Brtish tennis. but mens tennis right now has so many great players all capable of big wins in every tournament, womens tennis on other hand is fairly second rate and inconsistent with the occasional bright moments .

  • Comment number 62.

    @ Mr Ireland

    Delighted to see Kvitova winning Wimbledon today. What a modest, well behaved and pleasant lady, who unlike Ms Sharapova has no need to grunt every shot she plays.

    No doubt Sharapova can comfort herself with the fact she's still got an enormous bank account and will still get on far more magazine covers (for the moment at least) than her victorious opponent today.

    As to Andy Murray I'm in agreement with you. It is now looking very doubtful if he will ever win a slam, though he has the talent to do so of course, but just not the right mentality to be a real champion.

    Every time he gets near winning one or getting to a Wimbledon final he goes to pieces. I don't think there's any tennis coach who can help him with that particular problem.

    Because it's about his character and personality, not about his tennis ability.

    I did of course point out earlier that few tennis players ever won a slam against better opposition, but usually had to wait until they got some "luck" and got in a final against weaker opposition.

    I doubt personally that Murray could even have beat Tsonga like he did at Queens in a Wimbledon final, because it would have meant too much to him, whereas he had won Queens already, and it is only really a warm up event for Wimbledon, despite the other famous tennis names who have won it also.

    But I think that's the only way he'll ever win his FIRST slam, if he ever does win one, and even then he'll probably have to get past Nadal, Federer, or Djokovic at some stage, before a final against somebody lower ranked like Tsonga, so the competition being as intense as it now is, it is quite possible as Andrew Castle concluded yesterday, that he may have to accept he'll never be able to join the very top few players and win one.

    I really believed he would win one until this week, but now, I have serious doubts.

    I think part of the problem is that he has no competition in the UK, and is probably content that he is the British number one, and still the most successful British tennis player since Fred Perry.

    But I don't think he himself believes he can take that extra step up to be a world tennis legend, and so now I've seen him fail so often, neither do I.

    New stars are rising like Bernard Tomic, and he's probably only realistically got 2 or 3 years to win one, or like even Roger Federer perhaps now, he will see that time has passed him by, he won't be able to keep that oustanding level of fitness up, and younger players will come up and start beating him, like Nadal and Djokovic have been doing in the past 2 years to Roger Federer, and sometimes in ATP 1000s, even Murray also.

 

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