Wednesday 22 June 2011

Wimblemund 2011, day 3

Venus Williams bt. Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-7(6), 6-4, 8-6
For the first time ever play began with the Centre Court roof closed and it served up a terrific match. Venus Williams, a five times Wimbledon champion, is returning from a persistent hip injury whilst her Japanese opponent will be 41 in the autumn - a remarkable athletic achievement. Williams' power was complimented by Date-Krumm's precision and consistency and it went all the way to the wire. Venus will be glad to progress, as losing would have been akin to being knocked out of Wimbledon by Methuselah. However, she may want to reconsider her current - presumably self-designed - playing attire. It looks like two pillow cases sewn together by an inmate of an institution for the criminally insane. The last time I have seen anything like it, someone was climbing down one in a daring jail break.

Mathilde Johansson bt. Heather Watson 2-6, 6-4, 6-4
On the revamped Court 3, one of the major prospects of British tennis made her senior tournament debut. Watson, 19 last month and the 2009 US Open Junior champion, made nothing but a good impression but was unfortunate to sustain an elbow injury during the second set. With her arm heavily strapped from that moment onwards, she lacked the weapons to beat an opponent whom, had she stayed fit, I suspect she would have beaten easily. Unlike so many other British women players of the past, Watson looks like she could be the real deal. Watching her match was certainly marked by the absence of the familiar white-knuckle terror of the patriot during each and every backswing, especially as she bossed the opening set from the baseline.

She has said that she doesn't particularly feel the pressure, or let it get to her. Let's hope this continues. The BBC commentators were full of admiration for her attitude, blithely unaware, it seems, that it's precisely this type of two-hour long eulogistic commentary performance that leads to the pressure being ramped up in the first place. Complimenting her attitude, her game, her family and coaching teams, her fingernails and even her politeness when asking for the trainer... it got to be a little wearing. Hopefully it will continue to roll by her as if she's a pebble in a stream, because Watson and her fellow Brit Laura Robson (two years her junior and through to the second round this evening) look to be the most genuinely promising British female tennis players in over 30 years.

So, no pressure there, ladies.

1 comment:

Chris O said...

Glad I wasn't the only one that's been reeling from the insanity of Venus Williams' outfit...


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