Saturday 30 June 2012

Wimblemund 2012: day 6

Lukas Rosol (CZ) bt. Rafael Nadal (E) 6-7(9), 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4
Novak Djokovic (RS) bt. Radek Stepanek (CZ) 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-2
Roger Federer (CH) bt. Julien Benneteau 4-6, 6-7(3), 6-2, 7-6(6), 6-1

It's beginning to look like one of those years at Wimbledon. Top seeds and big names are tumbling out all over the place. Could it even prove to be Andy Murray's tournament in 2012? Well, let's hold our horses, here. It may be one of those years, but a Murray triumph would pretty much demand it being one of those years. Normally those years (and, indeed those years) come about because of inclement weather and the attendant delays and interruptions, but that's not really been the case at all so far this Wimbledon. So who knows? 

Perhaps it is due to the very absence of weather. I have a theory that the big names suffer when the Centre Court roof goes on. They're very used to that arena and the change in the atmospheric conditions, the noise and the echo is much more likely to be alien to them than to an opponent with less experience of show courts.

It's no real excuse, though, as the conditions are the same for everyone. Even if one side of the net were to be liberally peppered with dog turds and landmines, you'd still change ends (possibly whilst hopping) every two games. Nevertheless, I'd not be surprised to see Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer shinning up the side of Centre at midnight tonight with a toolbelt full of spanners. Even the increasingly imperturbable Novak Djokovic dropped a set under the old pie crust - the equivalent, in a normal standard professional tennis player, of having lost every set in the entire world.

But blaming technology and progress is all too easy to do. I believe that the root of Roger Federer's problems yesterday evening were writ large at the end of the second set tie break, when the great Swiss immediately left the court. Playing tennis whilst busting for a slash is always hugely inadvisable, especially at a tournament where all-white clothing is stipulated by the rules. It was a rookie mistake, and one which nearly cost him.

My solution is chamber pots under the players' chairs. Or the chairs to be replaced with commodes, if they're going to be precious about it.

And where was the Family Box gatekeeper in all of this? We must be told.

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