June 29, 2010
by: Tom Cochrane
After a feast of tennis yesterday on what was Wimbledon’s Magnificent Middle Monday, Day 8 represents ladies’ quarter-final day at the All England Club. And it’s an intriguing line-up of matches in the final 8, with the big names of Venus Williams, Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters joined by the lesser-known names of Tsvetana Pironkova, Petra Kvitova and Kaia Kanepi.
Day 7 Recap
In true Wimbledon style (and except in the case of bad weather), the middle Sunday of the championships continues to be retained as the tournament’s traditional rest day. While the rest allowed the players remaining in the tournament a well-deserved break from the courts, it also created an epic collection of matches on Day 7.
The trio of leading contenders in the men’s tournament underlined their respective credentials, with Messrs. Federer, Nadal and Murray all registering straight sets wins over quality opponents. Defending champion Federer continues to improve with each match he plays at this year’s tournament, the Swiss star reaching the quarter-finals with a clinical dismissal of Austria’s Jurgen Melzer. World number one Rafael Nadal bounced back from consecutive 5 set marathons and put aside a fine he collected for receiving coaching from uncle Toni in his last match, steam-rolling his way past Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu. And local favourite Andy Murray kept British hopes alive, looking impressive as he snapped Sam Querrey’s 8 match winning streak on grass.
After getting so close to claiming the title last year, Andy Roddick’s 2010 hopes were dashed in more routine fashion, the American suffering a disappointing 5 set loss to Taiwan’s Yen-Hsun Lu. Roddick will never admit it, but I suspect the American was already looking past his match with Lu (whom he had beaten in straight sets in each of their 4 previous meetings). In any event, Roddick paid the price for a sloppy performance and his name can be added to the long list of casualties over the years on Wimbledon’s Court 2 (aka “The Graveyard”).
Other players to advance in the men’s tournament were Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who beat countryman Julien Benneteau to set up a mouth-watering clash against Andy Murray, and Novak Djokovic, who survived a torrid 4 set tussle against Lleyton Hewitt. Robin Soderling dropped his first sets of the tournament against the tenacious David Ferrer, but hung on to defeat the Spaniard in 5 sets, while Tomas Berdych continues to step up in the majors, progressing to the quarter-finals with a 4 set win over Germany’s Daniel Brands.
In the women’s tournament, Kim Clijsters won the battle of Belgium, coming from behind to overpower Justine Henin in 3 sets. In the day’s other blockbuster, Maria Sharapova squandered multiple set points against Serena Williams, eventually falling to the defending champion 7-6(9) 6-4. Serena’s sister Venus endured an equally tough affair with Australian Jarmila Groth. Groth came out swinging and took the fight right up to Williams, twice serving for the second set. Alas, a lack of composure in the key moments cost Groth, who nonetheless won plenty of new fans with her aggressive play, and Williams squeezed out a 6-4 7-6(5) triumph.
In the most surprising result of the day, Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki couldn’t get going against Petra Kvitova. The third seed looked completely out of sorts and managed to claim just 2 games against her Czech opponent. Also upset was eleventh seed and former finalist Marion Bartoli, who went down to the feisty Bulgarian, Tsvetana Pironkova, in straight sets.
Matches of the Day – Day 8
1. Kim Clijsters vs. Vera Zvonareva
Vera Zvonareva might not be a household name outside hardcore tennis circles but make no mistake: the Russian has the talent and the abilities to match it with the very best. Zvonareva has been ranked as high as number 5 in the world, yet throughout her career one problem has continued to plague her. Zvonareva is an emotional player who sometimes struggles to maintain her composure at the critical moments in big matches. It is this problem, perhaps best illustrated in her 2009 Australian Open semi-final loss to Dinara Safina, as opposed to any technical shortcomings, which has prevented her from more fully realising her potential.
When Kim Clijsters retired from the WTA Tour to enjoy married life and start a family, many observers considered that she too had underperformed relative to her potential. With just one Grand Slam to her name alongside so many near misses, Clijsters could have been excused for having some bitterness. But Clijsters’ return to the circuit last year showcased a young woman at ease with herself and her life, and that contentedness allowed Clijsters to add another US Open title to her collection in extraordinary fashion. Both of these players love to hit the ball hard and go for their shots, but I think that Clijsters’ greater levels of maturity and composure will give her the edge. Clijsters in 2.
2. Serena Williams vs. Na Li
Na Li has truly come of age as a grass-court tennis player, collecting the title in the Wimbledon warm-up event in Birmingham and now reaching the quarter-finals at the All England Club. While Williams leads 4-1 in clashes between the pair, the Chinese player can take comfort in the form of that solitary victory in 2008. She can also draw inspiration from the last encounter between the players, at the Australian Open earlier this year, where Williams narrowly prevailed after winning 2 tiebreakers.
Unfortunately for Li, while she is a good player on grass who keeps on improving, Serena Williams is an outstanding player on grass who shows no signs of slowing down. Williams overcame a dangerous foe in Maria Sharapova in the round of 16 and the younger Williams sister has looked sharp throughout the tournament. Li will make Williams earn the victory, but I have little doubt as to the result. Williams in 2.
3. Tsvetana Pironkova vs. Venus Williams
After world number 82 Yen-Hsun Lu knocked out one of the favourites in the men’s field in Andy Roddick, can fellow world number 82 Tsvetana Pironkova do likewise and take out Venus Williams, a leading contender in the women’s tournament? Probably not, one might suggest, but Pironkova has already beaten the elder Williams sister in a Grand Slam. You might have forgotten about it, but I guarantee that Venus has not. I’m speaking of the 2006 Australian Open, when Pironkova held her nerve to defeat Williams 9-7 in the deciding set.
After a somewhat subdued performance against the valiant Jarmila Groth, where she only upped her game when (and to the extent) that she needed to, I’m expecting a far more energetic Venus Williams to step onto court against Pironkova. Venus will want to avenge that 2006 loss, and there’s no doubt that Pironkova faces a far tougher time of it on grass, where Venus can utilise her serve and her volleying abilities to maximum effect. Pironkova had a good win over Bartoli, but I don’t think she will be able to emulate her 2006 Australian Open triumph over Williams. Williams in 2.
4. Petra Kvitova vs. Kaia Kanepi
Petra who, you ask? Kaia Kane-what? It’s one of the lovely things about tennis and the draw concept: the ability for a couple of outsiders to reach the quarter-finals and play off for a spot in the final 4 in the world’s most prestigious tennis tournament. They’ve had to earn their spot in the round of 8, mind you, with Kvitova backing up her win over Victoria Azarenka by thrashing Caroline Wozniacki. Kanepi, on the other hand, had to win her way through qualifying to earn her spot in the main draw, and then had to defeat sixth seed Sam Stosur in her first round match.
This pair has clashed on 3 previous occasions, and each time it has gone the distance. Kanepi leads 2-1 overall, but Kvitova won the most recent match, on hard-courts in February. Both players look to be in great touch, and it may simply be a question of which player can handle her nerves better. It’s not often that one has the opportunity to make the semi-finals at Wimbledon, so each player will be very eager to win. It’s a toss of the coin, but I’ll take Kanepi in this one. Kanepi in 3.
That’s it for today. Enjoy the tennis and I’ll be back with another serve tomorrow.
June 29, 2010
John Isner’s fame and fortune from his his 11 hour and five minute match against Nicolas Mahut is beginning to pay off. Returning to the States after his record-setting Wimbledon, Isner was a recent guest on the Daivd Letterman Show on CBS.
Presenting the famous “Top Ten” in person, Isner matched his on-court serving with his caddy humor.
June 29, 2010
There’s no doubt that John Isner’s epic win over Nicolas Mahut will resonate in the memory banks of the avid and even recreational fan for quite sometime, but the question that remains on the table—after the 128-man draw has been whittled down to eight—is who will advance to Friday’s final four.
The top four seeds certainly have a great chance at honoring their seedings, but four upset-minded underdogs will be more than adamant on placing their names on this weekend’s roster.
We have quite a quarterfinal list on our hands; a list that could very well contain an unheralded result.
Roger Federer vs. Tomas Berdych
Federer leads the pair’s head-to-head meetings, 8-2.
Is it time to take Berdych seriously yet? The blindsiding Czech has delivered a handful of respectable results this year, none more impressive than reaching the semifinals at Roland Garros. Reaching two straight Slam quarterfinals will do a world of good for Berdych’s confidence, and it won’t hurt his chances that he defeated Federer in March.
Playing a looser, more cheery brand of tennis these days, Berdych could push Federer to four or five sets, but something tells me that after Federer’s resounding straight-set victory over Jurgen Melzer on Monday, the six-time champion is eagerly anticipating the business end of the tournament. Federer’s first serve is popping and hoping off Center Court once again, and that asset in his game should leave him with two or three windows of opportunity to avenge his most recent loss to the Czech.
One would like to think that Berdych has more game than Ilija Bozoljac and Alejandro Falla—players that took Federer to four and five sets, respectively. But the missing variable for Berdych remains that the defending champ has captured two straight-set wins in the previous two rounds. Furthermore, Federer has regained his confidence, and his reserve of grass-court experience should be enough to shine through and over Berdych in the quarterfinals.
Pick: Federer in straight sets
Novak Djokovic vs. Yen-Hsun Lu
First time meeting.
The Djokovic of old meets a fresh-faced quarterfinal newcomer. Lu surprised the fortnight by handing Andy Roddick another devastating loss. The loss though, wasn’t that surprising if anyone cared to look at Lu’s stats coming into his match against the American. Holding a clever array of flat and penetrating groundstrokes, Lu could give Djokovic a run for his money, provided that his slight frame isn’t worn out from his recent five-set tussle.
This encounter clearly remains Djokovic’s to win or lose, but one must keep a close eye on the Serb’s recent Slam shortcomings. He lost while playing ill against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the Australian Open. Djokovic also led Melzer, two sets to love, before collapsing in Paris. Could it happen again? Would we be surprised?
Here’s hoping that an uninterrupted, non-injured quarterfinal takes place between these two.
May the best man win.
Pick: Djokovic in straight sets
Andy Murray vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Murray leads the pair’s head-to-head meetings, 2-1.
The home-country favorite faces a slap-happy power player—again. Murray just can’t seem to steer clear from the power of today’s game, and it seems that at some point he’ll have to step up and counter the sonic strokes of the modern era. Tsonga has snuck himself into the quarterfinals without any fanfare. In three of his four Wimbledon matches, he has lost at least one set.
It appears that Tsonga loves to play the role of the spoiler, and he isn’t drastically affected by the pressure of a Centre Court crowd. Tsonga defeated Murray—and later Rafael Nadal—at the 2008 Australian Open. Since then he has also added Federer and Djokovic to his list of career victories.
The question isn’t whether Tsonga can win this match; the variable which needs to be addressed is whether Murray will step up and neutralize Tsonga’s serve-volley game with his own aggressiveness. I just don’t think he will.
Until proven otherwise, Murray has shown little in the way of going outside of the box and playing with reckless abandonment. Tsonga has however, shown that he lives and dies by taking it to his opponents, and he’ll have no trouble stealing a victory on Murray’s turf.
With England losing in the World Cup, Murray’s potential exit from The Championships won’t make the local pubs in London anymore of a hot spot come this weekend.
Pick: Tsonga in four sets
Rafael Nadal vs. Robin Soderling
Nadal leads the pair’s head-to-head meetings, 4-2.
Another heated rivalry in tennis is beginning to take shape. Nadal vs. Soderling is on the tip of everyone’s tongue, and the dynamic pair will once again lock horns in the most heated battle on Wednesday’s docket. Nadal clipped Soderling effortlessly in their recent match up at the French Open. Before that, Soderling defeated the Spaniard in two lopsided meetings.
Considering that the pair met once on grass at Wimbledon in 2007, let’s use that match as a measuring stick of what may lie ahead.
Soderling will certainly hold the serving advantage on grass while Nadal’s movement undoubtedly flows better on the lawns. Considering the bruised and battered surface is even slower now than it was when the fortnight began, Soderling’s venomous strokes will not affect Nadal as much.
Nadal’s return game has not been as precise during this event, and that could spell trouble for the Mallorcan considering the ease with which Soderling can hold serve.
I picked against Nadal heading into the French final—even though I had chosen the Spaniard to win the event prior to its commencement. This time around, though, I’m going to stand my ground and take Nadal’s grass-court expertise over the still growing game of Soderling.
Expect a great fist fight between these two for a place in the semifinals. Is it to greedy to begin a petition for a mandatory US Open meeting between them as well?
Pick: Nadal in four sets
June 28, 2010
Tuesday’s order of play at Wimbledon will be highlighted by ladies quarterfinal action. Featured players will include: Serena, Venus, and Kim Clijsters.
For the full order of play for Tuesday, click the link below:
June 28, 2010
Q. Are you a fan of this Monday at Wimbledon where all the singles players are on show?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, yeah. I mean, it’s great to be part of it when you make it to the second week, first of all. Secondly, I think it’s wonderful for the fans. I always say for fans the best days are like quarterfinal day or last 16s, because then you usually have the big names but you still have enough matches to go look at, not only just on the big courts but also on the grounds. The juniors are also playing.
I mean, I think this is a wonderful day for the fans.
Q. How do you feel you played today?
ROGER FEDERER: I thought I played great. Aggressive right from the start, which I think was key today because I knew Melzer was going to try ?? every chance he was going to get, he was going to hit the ball and come forward as well. You want to counter that and play aggressive yourself. I was able to do that very well today.
Q. Do you feel you can intimidate opponents on this Centre Court because you know it so well?
ROGER FEDERER: I don’t play that trick. Honestly, I don’t even know how it works. So I just try to play a good match, you know.
I know Jurgen too well to play tricks with him. I always say, you know, if you’re not good enough and you have to use stuff like that, then you have issues. So I always say, Try to play your best, and if it’s enough, that’s great; otherwise you have to go to the practice courts and work harder and get better.
Crowds are wonderful here. Obviously I know every corner of this Centre Court. It helps. I’ve got the experience from playing so many big matches here. I don’t obviously get too overexcited about a match like this. But I also have nerves going into a match like this. It’s a guy I never played before. He’s a good friend of mine. You don’t want to lose.
Q. Any concerns about fitness at all? There was a photograph with some strapping on your thigh the other day. Is that just precaution?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it was after my first?round match. MY thigh was hurting a little bit, which already was the case in Halle. In the finals it was hurting me as well.
But honestly now I have no more problems, no more strapping. I’m happy I recovered that.
Q. How does the hot and dry weather change the conditions of the courts?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, this is not hot. This is normal to me anyway. Maybe for England, I don’t know. For Switzerland, as well. But we’re used to playing in 35, 40 degrees sometimes. This is moderate. Very comfortable to play in. This is kind of a one?shirt?change kind of match. That’s rather easy.
But, no, obviously when it’s nice and warm like this, it travels through the air a little bit. Also maybe glides through the grass a bit more. Then again, I think the difference is more from opening Monday to, you know, second week Monday, the court plays different. You can move better, I have the feeling, because it’s not as slippery because the grass almost is gone.
It becomes a bit more of a hard court kind of a feel under your shoes. You get more grip, in my opinion. I think that’s a bigger change than actually the weather.
Q. How have slower courts and the heavier tennis balls contributed to the decline of the serve?and?volley game in your estimation?
ROGER FEDERER: It’s tough to say. I obviously came here in the year when I played Sampras, let’s say, I was serve and volleying 80% of the first serve, 50% on the second serve.
I remember once speaking to Wayne Ferreira who I was playing doubles with that year actually. He said he used to serve and volley always first serve, 50% of the second serve. And towards the end of his career at Wimbledon, he used to serve and volley 50% of his first serve and not anymore on his second serve.
You wonder, how in the world has that happened? Have we become such incredible return players or can we not volley anymore or is it just a combination of slower balls, slower courts?
I think it’s definitely a bit of a combination of many things. If I look back, I think we definitely had many more great volley players in the game back then. When you do have that, you are forced to move in, as well, because you don’t want to hit passing shots against a great volleyer over and over again. But because we don’t have that as much anymore, everybody’s content staying at the baseline.
A bit unfortunate, I think, because I love guys moving in, like a Melzer match today who throws in the occasional serve and volley. You have to throw in great passing shots. It’s unfortunate for the games. Unfortunately, they’ve slowed down everything, indoors, grass. Everything has become so slow, I think that is a bit of a pity.
Q. What have you missed by having that contrast like Sampras and Agassi?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I used to, thank God, still play in that era where I played against serve?and?volley players, chip?and?charge guys. It was a completely different game plan. Mindset you felt pressure the whole match because you knew it doesn’t matter what surface on a couple of shots here and there. You don’t get that feeling anymore as much.
Q. Yesterday this country and the sports world were shocked by some problematic officiating, and there were very loud calls for electronic officiating. Could you talk about how electronic officiating has evolved in our sport and would you call for it in soccer, especially at the goal line?
ROGER FEDERER: Have to be careful. Who is the head of the FIFA? I don’t remember. Is he a Swiss guy by any chance (smiling)?
We have, what is it, electronic line calling even though we don’t need it. We all know we don’t, but we do have it. They should have it, and they don’t. So it’s a choice the guys have to make at the top, you know.
I do struggle a little bit with soccer at the time because there’s so many mistakes from umpires. Don’t blame them. They’re so far away sometimes from what’s happening, and then also so many goals are disallowed that are goals and others are not counted that would be goals. It’s frustrating as a fan.
You just hope that all those things go for you when you’re like in this kind of a stage of a tournament. They could have been sent home just because of that single mistake, and it’s incredible.
I think it’s rough, you know. To me it seems like it’s just crying for a change, a bit.
Q. In our sport you feel it is best just to leave it in the hands of the linesmen and the chair umpire?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, you have to understand, one forehand down the line doesn’t change the outcome of the match; whereas one goal changes the entire mindset of a team, of a strategy. You know, you can play defense after that.
Tennis, we don’t have that. Guys are sitting there, not moving. They’re only staring at the line. It’s so much more simple. It’s going to even out throughout a career or a season, the good and bad calls.
Whereas goals, I mean, it’s such a huge impact in those 90 minutes. It changes everything. That’s why they have it in American football, right? They have challenges you can do. I mean, there’s so many ways of trying to adjust the system.
Q. You came out missing a few first serves. How do you work on that as the match goes on?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, you look for your rhythm, try to make sure you get the right rhythm going. Well, then maybe you start finding the T serves; then you look for the wide serves. But everything happens very quickly. That’s why I’m very happy I can rely on a good second serve. I think I won 70% on my second serve today. That was another key on winning the match in straight.
Q. Did it hurt at all to dismantle Melzer so easily and give him quite a beating since he’s your friend?
ROGER FEDERER: No, that’s just tennis. That’s a tennis match. It’s no more than that. He even said right after, the match was over at the end, he hopes he doesn’t have to wait another 10 years to play me. He was not frustrated.
He was hoping for a second match right after the match was over. That’s the kind of guy is. It’s wonderful playing on Centre Court. He knows wherever he plays me around the world, it’s most likely going to be Centre Court.
I think our games match up well. He probably likes my style of playing, moving forward, not giving him too much chances. I feel the same from his game as well. I think we would match up well if we play together more often.
June 28, 2010
RAFAEL NADAL: I didn’t understand.
Q. Was it your best performance in the tournament so far?
RAFAEL NADAL: Today? No, not in my opinion. No, I think I played really well. But I was playing well the last matches too. But the opponent was different characteristics, so for my game, probably was a little bit easier to play, no?
Because I have more rallies from the baseline. The serve was a little bit easier to return than the last two matches. I was playing well from the baseline the last days, but I didn’t have the chance to play.
Q. You will play Soderling in the quarterfinal. What’s the key to beat him on grass?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, sure, gonna be a really tough match. I think probably is one of the more difficult opponents that you can play on all surfaces today, but especially here. I think he’s playing with big confidence, big serve, perfect flat shots and long from the baseline.
So he’s playing great. Gonna be very difficult match for me I think. Hopefully for him, too. (Smiling.)
Q. Did you notice the police escorting a fan out at like the end of second set. I think you were waiting to serve when they were taking him out. Did you notice it at all?
RAFAEL NADAL: I didn’t know. I didn’t know. Sorry. I know nothing.
Q. Did you have any problems from your knee? If not, what did you do after the last game to make sure it was good for today?
RAFAEL NADAL: I tried my best, no? I take antiinflammatories. I did a lot of treatment with the physio, with the doctor.
Today it was better. I didn’t feel pain today, but, you know, you never know. It’s there, but wasn’t the problem today. Hopefully gonna be fine for the next day, too.
Q. Prior to the match, it was announced that you were fined $2,000. What is your reaction to that?
RAFAEL NADAL: What’s that?
Q. After the coaching accusation with your uncle from the last match, you were fined $2,000.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah.
Q. What are your thoughts about that penalty?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, that’s the rules are the rules. I gonna speak with the person that I ?? well, I already spoke with the person that I had to spoke. Nothing to say here.
Q. You’ve watched the World Cup you mentioned before during the week. What are your thoughts about whether there should be a replay rule video used in the World Cup?
RAFAEL NADAL: I completely agree with that. Yeah, was unbelievable the match of ?? both matches of yesterday, especially the first one. England against Germany was ?? well, first thing is the referee must see that, for sure, because it’s half meter inside.
Second thing, if the referee don’t see, have to do it, I don’t know, you have to put Hawk?Eye on something to see that. All the sports of world have technology, so football must have something soon, especially in this kind of competitions. World Cup is one time every four years, and the second goal of England must ?? the goal was fair. After that, the match change completely. Maybe England can be in quarterfinals if that doesn’t happen.
So change everything. I think that FIFA must change that, is my opinion.
Q. You did win against Robin Soderling a couple of weeks ago in France. What do you think will be the difference playing here on grass?
RAFAEL NADAL: I said before, I think the match is completely different. Nothing similar to play on grass than on clay. I think his game is good in every surface.
Probably is even more difficult stop him here, because the ball go faster and gonna be very difficult to return and difficult to stop him from the baseline.
But I gonna try.
Q. Yesterday was Sunday. Did you have a chance to relax? What did you do? Did you go into London?
RAFAEL NADAL: No.
Q. Just practiced?
RAFAEL NADAL: I only practiced 20 minutes, but I watched England, England/Germany. I did treatment in the afternoon with the doctor and with the physio. I watched Argentina/Mexico in the evening. I played a little bit video games and watch a film in bed and that’s it.
Q. Those biscuits, are they the Mallorcan biscuits?
RAFAEL NADAL: That is the most important biscuit in Mallorca. That’s my favorite. In every tournament I have 100 of these bags. Tomorrow I gonna give you one. You have to try. (Laughter.) Very good.
Q. Are you at all concerned about your knees for tomorrow’s match, given you had to play back?to?back days, today and tomorrow?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t gonna play tomorrow.
Q. Excuse me. But are you concerned going forward that they’re just gonna continue to get sore or sorer?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t have the control of my knees. I don’t know what’s gonna happen, no? I try my best to be ready. I tried my best after the last match to be fit for today. I did well.
Gonna be the same for after tomorrow. We will see what’s happen. I am here to try my best even with pain on the knees or without pain of the knees. I gonna try my best in all the conditions.
Q. How has your relationship with Robin changed through the years?
RAFAEL NADAL: Every time I play against him you gonna ask me the same question. But I don’t have any problem with Soderling. I had a little bit problem in this tournament few year ago. After that I never had any problem with him.
June 28, 2010
Q. Always the fifth set in Grand Slams. Do you dread the fifth set in a slam these days?
ANDY RODDICK: No.
Q. Obviously a tough one. Anything he did towards the end? Is it just one of those things the ball bounced certain ways, shots went certain ways?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, yeah. The ball bounces and shots land.
You know, I thought he did a good job of controlling the middle of the court all day. You know, his ball was coming in with a lot more behind it than mine. He was switching directions, you know, keeping me off balance, not letting me get set. You know, he was able to execute that for a whole day.
You know, I thought he served better than he has against me before.
That being said, you know, I had shots. I didn’t take advantage of ‘em.
Q. Did you play as aggressively as you wanted to?
ANDY RODDICK: Well, no. But, I mean, through three sets I was playing horrendously, I mean really, really badly. I mean, to the point where I was trying to think of how to put balls in the court.
Actually, I mean, I think the fifth set was probably the best set that I played as far as hitting the ball, you know, making him struggle to actually get through service games sometimes.
But when you dig yourself a hole, it’s tough to get out, when you’ve given someone confidence, when they have their feet under them a little bit more.
Q. You’ve played him before. Was he a new guy this time?
ANDY RODDICK: He’s not a new guy. He’s very good on surfaces that bounce low. He’s very good inside of his slot. You know, unfortunately here it’s tough to get it out of there. You know, you play high, you run the risk of leaving it short and hanging.
You know, like I said, I think the thing that he did very well ? better than times that we played in the past ? was serve. I thought he served a lot better than normal.
Q. Are you a bit stunned after something like this or just down?
ANDY RODDICK: I don’t think ’stunned’ is the right word. You know, I don’t view what happens today as an impossibility. I take every match very seriously.
You know, I don’t know. I always struggle with how to describe my mood. I mean, there’s only so many ways you can say it. So, you know, I’m sure you can use your intuition and reach out and come up with something.
Q. After the fourth?set breaker, where he got a little bit nervous, you had a couple big serves, thought that maybe in the fifth he’d tighten up a bit. He hasn’t been in that position. What were you expecting going into the fifth?
ANDY RODDICK: Uhm, you know, honestly if you would have told me I hit the ball like I did in the fifth, I would have liked my chances at the end of the fourth.
Credit to him, because I got into some games. I make him hit a good pass on breakpoint. He stuck a volley. He hadn’t taken a first ball and came in all day and he did it down breakpoint. He played high?risk, but he executed very well. You know, he had a game plan, he stuck to it, and he deserved to win more than I did. That’s for sure.
Q. Any reason why you felt you were down in the first three sets in terms of quality?
ANDY RODDICK: What’s the question?
Q. Any reason why you were not hitting the ball that well in the first three sets?
ANDY RODDICK: If I would have had a reason, I probably would have figured it out, right? It didn’t feel clean. It didn’t feel good.
Q. Was he controlling too much real estate where you couldn’t get into net as many times as you wanted to?
ANDY RODDICK: It’s tough to come in against a ball that stays low and flat like that. You need some time to set and go. You know, you get him on a surface that is conducive to his swings, he can keep the ball down. It’s tough charging off of a ball that’s not coming off the ground too much.
So, yeah, I mean, he did a good job of, like I said, controlling the middle of the court. You know, if I was through the middle, he was getting length and driving the ball.
Q. There were patches in the match where you felt like he was reading your serve pretty well? You hit a lot of aces.
ANDY RODDICK: I didn’t get broken for five sets. It wasn’t my serve. It wasn’t my service games. It was my returning. That was crap. It was really bad.
I haven’t been broken since the first set against Llodra. So I don’t think it was my serve.
Q. Reasonably new court. Does it play different to the other show courts here?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, I think it’s different. I don’t know how much is the court or just the surroundings and stuff. It’s definitely a different feel. You know, but we played the same court. It’s the same lines. It’s the same deal.
If I want to consider myself a contender for this tournament, I’ve got to get through that match.
Q. Back to the returning. Were you not reading him the way you wanted to or the ball wasn’t coming off the racquet?
ANDY RODDICK: It wasn’t coming off the right way. I was fighting it all day. You know, seemed like games where I got good swings on it, he was playing from ahead. He did a good job, as well. I don’t know.
I had I think one second serve on a breakpoint. That was there in the fifth when I hit a decent return. He cold?cocked one, came in, hit an inside?out stick volley. That was a pretty impressive volley at that point.
You know, I just wasn’t doing a good job of converting.
Q. So tomorrow when you wake up, you think you’re going to be pissed off, disappointed?
ANDY RODDICK: I’m going to be thrilled. I mean, c’mon.
Q. You’ve been through these slams before.
ANDY RODDICK: And it never gets easier. Of course I’m going to be pissed off when I wake up tomorrow. I mean, if you got fired from your job, you probably wouldn’t wake up the next day in a great mood. I mean, c’mon, let’s go. We’re better than those questions.
All right, thank you.
June 28, 2010
Q. Thoughts on that one?
ANDY MURRAY: I thought it was good. It was different to the first few matches. Uhm, I served great the first three matches. Didn’t serve so well today. I was good from the back of the court. Didn’t make as many mistakes. A few long rallies and had to defend well today. And I did.
Went through a bad patch at the end of the first set where I lost my focus a little bit. I did really well to win the set in the end because he had some chances.
Q. You haven’t been having those wobbles. What happened when you were serving for the set?
ANDY MURRAY: It happens sometimes. You can play, you know, bad games. Not going to play my best, you know, for every minute of the tournament. And I’m not going to serve my best in every match. You know, some matches I’m not going to hit my groundstrokes as well.
You have to deal with the situations when they arise. You know, today I did a good job of getting that set ’cause, you know, if I’d won the first set comfortably 6?3, you know, mentally for him that could have been quite difficult after having the chances and getting back into that set. So to not take it would have been tough for him.
Q. Is that part of the maturity you realized of accepting the fact you’re not always going to be hitting what you want?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, well, I think the more matches you play, you understand that, you know, some days things aren’t going to be going well. You just have to learn how to deal with it. You know, today I did a lot more running today than I did in my first few matches, but I had to. Sometimes you have to accept that.
On other days you can be dictating a lot of the match. You don’t have to do much running.
You need to be prepared to change your tactics or change, yeah, the way you’re playing when you’re out there if you want to win the big tournaments.
Q. How do you feel now that England is out of the World Cup and all the attention is swinging back to you as the sole British sporting hope at the moment?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I don’t really pay much attention to it. I mean, you know, once the tournament starts, you just kind of get into a routine, you know, that’s definitely, as I said many times since I started here, the buildup was a lot quieter, less journalists around, less photographers. You know, that was it.
Once the tournament starts, I don’t really pay any attention to the press and what’s going on ’cause it’s just not worth it. It can only be a distraction. So better just to stay away from it.
Q. You were pretty much better on every stat today, especially your second serve, winning 63%. It’s a lot harder than last year. Is that something you worked on?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, it’s probably seven, eight miles an hour quicker. Yeah, I mean, like I say, I served well the first few matches.
Today, you know, I changed the second?serve run pretty well, served a few aces on my second serve towards the end of the match. Yeah, I mean, obviously I’m going to need to serve better if I want to win the tournament.
But, yeah, the stats in all of the matches so far have been good. That one in particular today, it shows how well I was hitting the ball from the back of the court because normally on second serve, he’s going to put the ball back in, there’s going to be a lot of rallies. I won a lot of long rallies today.
Q. You’re the only guy not to drop a set in the tournament, which must be quite pleasing.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, obviously nice for me. Conserves quite a lot of energy. I haven’t had any long matches. It’s kind of an irrelevant stat, because come the end of the tournament, you know, the guys like Federer and Nadal are going to be playing their best tennis. Whether they dropped sets early on is not going to make a difference to how they play the quarterfinal, semifinal stage.
Q. Do you feel you’re in the same groove as you were at the Australian Open?
ANDY MURRAY: I don’t know. I’ve been asked the last three matches. I have no idea. I’m playing well. You know, a lot easier to assess that once the tournament’s done. But it’s been a good start. Not lost a set yet.
Yeah, I mean, I’ve got to be happy with the way that I’m playing. It’s difficult just now to compare it to the Australian Open.
Q. With all the sun that’s getting to the court, is it changing in your favor, do you think, the surface?
ANDY MURRAY: Uhm, well, I mean, it’s definitely quick. You know, I think it can depend totally on who you’re playing against, who your opponent is.
Yeah, I don’t really mind the slow grass or the faster grass. There’s just certain things ?? certain things change. It’s more important to serve well when it’s quick. It’s definitely harder. It’s a lot less slippy. The ball is bouncing up more than it normally does. A lot of it depends on who you’re playing against.
Q. Your third Wimbledon quarterfinal in a row.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, it’s been good. The last few years I played well here. Obviously coming in I hadn’t been on the best run. So it was nice to get off to a good start here. Yeah, last few years have been good.
But got to try to go further now, you know, than I did in previous years. You know, next round’s gonna be a tough one, but hope I can win.
Q. How much does it help you that you have been here before, third time in a row at this stage?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I mean, it’s not just here. I mean, more playing in Grand Slams, more major tournaments does make a difference experience?wise. Anybody will tell you that. In all sports, you just learn how to deal with the situations better.
Because you’ve been in that position before, it’s not something completely new. You understand how to prepare better. When you’re on the court, you’re not as uptight or nervous. You just play the match rather than, you know, everything else that’s going on.
Q. How tough will Jo?Wilfried Tsonga be?
ANDY MURRAY: Very difficult. Got a big game. Like Sam, he plays probably better around the net. Yeah, he’s a very good athlete. It’s going to be a very, very tough match.
Q. Great reception from the Centre Court crowd. Can you say something about that, how important that relationship is, how it’s developed?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, it’s so important. I mean, you know, I said pretty much every time I came here that it’s playing, you know, at home in all sports is just a huge, huge advantage. People talk a lot about the pressure and the expectation of playing at Wimbledon, but, you know, you have that home support, which does ? for me anyway ? it’s made a huge difference to the way that I played. It makes you feel comfortable on the court.
No, I really, really enjoy it. This year the support’s been great. Hopefully it will be the same in the next round.
Q. The noise, did that have an effect?
ANDY MURRAY: It just kind of sometimes happens. It’s not like you’re asking the crowd to do anything. It’s just that at the end of that set, some long games, some long rallies, I managed to pick up a few really tough shots.
Yeah, you get into the moment. The crowd here responds very well. It’s not necessarily encouragement. If you’re showing positive energy towards them, they respond really, really well. Definitely there’s a lot of long rallies and long games.
Q. When are you planning to shave?
ANDY MURRAY: I have no idea. I haven’t really thought about it, to be honest.
Q. Seems to be working for your tennis. Might you keep it on till the end of the tournament?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, maybe. Yeah, might keep it on till the end of the tournament. If I wake up tomorrow and feel like shaving, then I’ll do it, just like I’m sure you do (smiling).
Q. What does it mean to have the two ladies in your box?
ANDY MURRAY: The two ladies?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I mean, yeah, I like having obviously my mum around. Both my parents are here, my grandparents, my aunt and uncle are here, obviously my girlfriend. I mean, I love having my family around. I love having friends around.
Yeah, it just makes you feel more at home, more comfortable. When you’re on the court, it doesn’t make as much of a difference. It’s more off it, just having your friends and family around. It’s really nice. The rest of the year you don’t really get that.
Q. Was it important to get back together with Kim?
ANDY MURRAY: I don’t really want to go into that. It’s been a lot longer than everybody thinks we’ve been back together. But I like having my girlfriend around. I like having my, yeah, family around. That’s it.
Q. Tsonga likes to work the crowd. That atmosphere which could be created by the both of you, is that something you were looking forward to at this point of the tournament? You’ve had some great reactions in various matches.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, he’s very exciting to watch. You know, I’m sure there will be some great shots played in the match.
No, I like ?? I mean, all the time when you play on Centre Court, obviously it does change a bit depending on what round, but the support’s always great. The crowd’s always into it when the British guys are playing.
I’m sure the match against Tsonga won’t be any different. Hopefully I can perform well.
Q. I remember you saying before the tournament that you thought you weren’t too far away from rediscovering your best tennis. Four matches in, not a set dropped, have you found it?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, yeah, I’m playing really well. You know, but you got to wait until the end of the tournament really to see how well you’ve been playing. You know, I need to make sure that I up my game, you know, when the matches get tougher, you know, in the tight situations. It’s important that I continue to play well and not slip up.
So, you know, in the next round, I’m sure there’s going to be some tough moments and important stages of the match. I have to keep going for my shots, keep serving well, and keep running. You know, if I do that, then I’ve got a good chance.
But, yeah, you never know how well you’re playing until you’re sort of done in the tournament because in an individual sport, from one day to the next, can be a huge, huge difference.
June 28, 2010
Q. You played him twice before. What was the difference?
YEN?HSUN LU: I think for me I know he’s very tough on grass because he has big serve. And I don’t think I’m doing different than last time. But I just show my serve when I was in trouble or when I in tough situation, I don’t overplay.
So I have to stay with him because last two match, sometimes in the pressure, I overplay because I want to make a winner.
But today I just take a time, serve regular, and stay with him, try to find a chance and to win the set, set by set, set by set, until end, I shaking hand and I win. Yeah, I just don’t think.
Q. When it was leveled at two sets each, was it psychologically tougher for you then?
YEN?HSUN LU: I mean, yes. This question, for me, the fourth set I have a chance. I have 3?1. The dropshot, I come in. I still thinking when I was going to the final set. I just tell myself, I have to fight. Because I know in the fifth set, there is no tiebreak, and he has better serve.
So I just tell myself, If I can stay longer, longer, longer, then probably something happens. And finally then I waited last chance to close the match.
But I tell you, fifth set, I don’t believe I can win because he’s better server than me.
Q. You didn’t believe?
YEN?HSUN LU: No, I mean, for chance, I don’t believe. But I just tell myself, Even I don’t believe, I have to fight, yeah.
Q. What were the emotions like for you after the match? You won, sat down in your chair. What was going through your mind after the victory?
YEN?HSUN LU: Yeah, I mean, for me, because I really thankful for my family. Also because I’m really upset because my father’s already pass away. I make this result. I’m really proud myself to share this victory with him in the sky. I hope he see this match.
So in that moment, I just sit and tell myself, I done it. I done for my father. I done for myself also. I done for all the people support me, yeah.
Q. May we ask when your father passed away?
YEN?HSUN LU: Is 2000, when I turned professional, that year.
Q. So now having achieved the best result of your career, how far do you think you can go here?
YEN?HSUN LU: Right now, I just want to say I want to have good sleep tonight. I know the next opponent is Djokovic. Also is very great players. I don’t know how far I can play. I cannot tell you. But I can tell you if I have a chance to step on the court, I will fight in the end, yeah.
Q. Is it true you call yourself Randy because your English teacher could not pronounce your name?
YEN?HSUN LU: Yeah, you know, because in Taiwan is difficult. Is not difficult, my name, to pronounce. But the English teacher, they want us to get American style, have the English name, to go into the English class feeling. So that’s why they ask us to pick out the name from English.
So that’s why I pick. But I don’t know the meaning, actually (smiling).
Q. Do you want to know?
YEN?HSUN LU: No. Better not, yeah (smiling).
Q. How long have you been working with Mark Woodforde and how much has he helped your game?
YEN?HSUN LU: I mean, had very good experience with him last year. I mean, last year I have really bad virus with me for one?and?a?half months, and also my immune system, even after I recover, I still really not in the good shape.
So when I work with him, my body’s not really ready for it. But he give me a lot, you know, come to the net, and also some strategy, slice, approach. I mean, also he tell me some experience what he done before, when you play in a match, what you think. So is really help for when I work with him for two months, yeah.
Q. What was his advice? Did you speak to him today?
YEN?HSUN LU: Actually, I meet him, like we went to the practice court, he is also practicing for this week. I was just say hi. He tell me, Well done. But we didn’t really spoke about the tournament match.
Q. Did your father teach you to play tennis? Was he involved in tennis?
YEN?HSUN LU: He start to learn together. We learn tennis together. When I was going to high school, also he spending a lot of time, too. He’s not real coach, but he spend a lot of time to drive me to the coach, to the tennis coach, to the school. He’s take care everything.
And also when I was ?? before he was always planning which direction I should go, I should go to school or keep going professional. In the moment, he pass away.
So I’m just upset that I done, and he didn’t with me. That’s why I’m just very sad about this. But today I think he’s here and he also very happy for me, yeah.
Q. When you beat Andy Murray at the Beijing Olympics, he said later that he was jetlagged and did not prepare properly. Does that make this win the best of your career?
YEN?HSUN LU: I think every win is different in my career. I mean, of course, Andy’s ?? they’re both Andy. Andy Murray’s good players. But probably he has some problem. I knew I play good tennis against him, and I beat him.
I cannot tell you next time I play him, I have to win, I have to beat him, because he’s very good players. I just find the chance to beat him.
And today the match, also in the match, I tell my coach, I say, I don’t care about if win or lose, but I just want to fight in the end. Then things happened.
Q. How difficult is it to play tennis in Taipei? Did you have economic support only from the family?
YEN?HSUN LU: The beginning, family supporting. After, when I play till now, there’s some sponsor to support us. But when I kid, family support.
Q. What was your family doing, your family business?
YEN?HSUN LU: My father doing, he’s selling the chicken, not the meat, but the live chicken. So they sell the chicken, send it to the farm or something. After, they kill and become the meat. So I can catch a chicken. I can show you. Yeah, serious. I can catch a chicken (smiling).
Q. Can you elaborate on that? Was this like a chicken farm where your dad worked? Did you work with him there?
YEN?HSUN LU: I tried few times. But I don’t really like because smell really bad. But I know is very tough work. They always working between 1:00 in the morning to 6:00 in the morning, like very early. That time the chicken cannot run away because they cannot see.
Q. They were wild?
YEN?HSUN LU: Yeah. No, but still they can run. They just put in the box or something. You have to catch them into the box. If the people want some kind of chicken, you need to separate.
Q. Roddick talked about how your serve seemed a lot tougher for him today than when you’ve played him in the past. Is that a part of your game you’ve worked on specifically? How might you be a different player today?
YEN?HSUN LU: I mean, I think these tournaments improve my serve, especially like in the tough situation I make more first serve in. And also doing good serve is also physical?wise because, like before the tournaments, I hire Argentina condition coach.
We training really hard for three?and?a?half weeks to prepare these tournaments. And also he used the new system, it is different training program, that make me for my leg a little bit stronger.
So I can jump higher, I can serve better. That I think is better than last few times I play him, yeah.
June 28, 2010
It was without question a day of intense action. The second Monday at Wimbledon has historically been the best day all year for tennis fans to tune in at home, or hop over to the All England Club and quench their appetites. The 2010 edition of Super Monday was no exception to the rule of tennis enthrallment, with most of the top seeds doing their part in advancing.
Let’s now take a look at the winners and losers from Monday’s action, while providing an overview of each participants’ performance.
Roger Federer: R-Fed showed up on Center Court today in a big way. There was a lot of buzz flying around the locker room that Jurgen Melzer was going to push the defending champ to the limit, and maybe cause an upset. Melzer had afterall recently made the semifinals of the French Open, while Federer had struggled in his first two rounds.
However, Federer’s desire to make good on his eighth straight final was kept alive by swatting away Melzer’s microwave magic. Holding immaculate form throughout the 84-minute steamroll, Federer clocked 11 aces, and won 85 percent of his first serve points.
The Fed express has been steadied.
Rafael Nadal: No French flair in this one—Nicolas Mahut wouldn’t have it any other way. Rafa was simply ruthless in carving up another one of the flamboyant Frenchmen, Paul-Henri Mathieu. Getting just what he needed in the way of an easy win, Nadal’s knees and forearm were more-than-pleased. I will say this about Nadal however: He didn’t look up at his box for a better part of today’s match, and I’m not suggesting that his $2000 fine for alleged coaching against Philipp Petzschner was valid, but he sure didn’t look too happy being forced into tunnel vision mode.
Novak Djokovic: Faced a tough fighter in Lleyton Hewitt and came up aces. Again, it should be noted that Djokovic was on par with his ace to double fault ratio with nine in each category, but his return game did step up substantially to capture a crucial break in the fourth set. Djokovic still hasn’t displayed the kind of form that will win him the title, but he certainly looks a lot better than he did during the clay season.
Andy Murray: Plowing through the rugged game of Sam Querrey was a bit of a surprise. I had picked Querrey to upset Murray in four sets, based on his serving prowess and his ability to smack forehand winners at ease. However, Murray was quick to shut me up, while putting an end to Querrey’s eight match winning streak. Putting an immense amount of pressure on Querrey’s second serve, Murray smothered the American’s second delivery while grabbing first dibs on 25 0f 40 points. That stat alone, was the match in a nutshell.
Yen-Hsun Lu: I kid you not, this guy really is the quarterfinals. Taking out Andy Roddick in five mouth-watering sets, Lu saved his best for last by breaking Roddick for the first and last time during the final game of the match. Dialing in as Chinese Taipei’s best player to date, Lu’s blend of flat-hit and aggressive approach shots were enough to keep Roddick pinned to the baseline. Adding Roddick’s scalp to his impressive list of career defeats, Lu has also mastered Murray and David Nalbandian in previous matches.
Robin Soderling: Sod ain’t giving up just yet. Just when we thought David Ferrer was ready to make the final eight at Wimbledon, Soderling showed the diminutive Spaniard that grass-court tennis usually rewards the player’s with the biggest strokes. Smoking round-house forehands that started with an elaborate backswing, Soderling struck 61 winners, while picking up an elusive break of serve towards the tail-end of the final set. It says here that the Sod is ready for another Spaniard.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: Quietly molding himself a competent career. How does reaching the fourth-round or better at ever Major sound, with the peak of his career still on the horizon? Tsonga was tested today against Julien Benneteau, but his all-court game was better than his countryman’s all-court game. Tsonga is nearly impossible to stop when he’s on, and if anything, I’m surprised that it took him this long to land in the final eight of Wimbledon. The Frenchman gets Murray next, and he certainly won’t be shy when it comes disappointing a Nation’s expectations.
Tomas Berdych: Back-to-back quarterfinal appearances in Majors sounds very un-Berdych-like. Here’s a player who’s held some pretty weak loses in his career, highlighted by six career Grand Slam first-round exits. Well, those days of unfulfilled promise—at least for the time being—seem to be a thing of the past for good old Tomas. Reaching the final eight for the second time at Wimbledon, Berdych punked off Daniel Brands from Germany in four tight sets. Registering a monster delivery at 137 MPH, Berdych’s date with Federer in the quarterfinals could be a close encounter.
Andy Roddick: You gotta feel for A-Rod when it comes to the big dance. He’s given everything he’s got (time and time again) and for one reason or another—in this case a single break of serve—he’s come up short in Major events. We’re used to Roddick losing to the likes of Federer, Nadal, or even Djokovic, but when the three-time finalist is ousted by a fourth-round newcomer, one has to think that the loss will sting that much more. Roddick will be back—he’ll never quit—but let’s just hope that two devastating five set losses in back-to-back Wimbledons won’t take too much of a toll on the twilight of his career.
Jurgen Melzer: Nice event for the Austrian. He came up short on his chip backhand today against Federer. I’m sure playing Federer had something to do with it.
Daniel Brands: Show me the Brands. I’m still not quite sure how this 23-year-old hits open-stanced backhands with his 6′5″ frame?
Lleyton Hewitt: If this wasn’t Hewitt’s last (and best) chance at capturing another Big W, then my name is Bec Carwright.
Julien Benneteau: Proving that he’s not a dime a dozen player, the latter stages of the Frenchman’s career have been littered with worthy results.
Sam Querrey: Querrey sure got out of that French Open funk by putting his best foot forward at Wimbledon. Recording an 8-1 record on the grass thus far, don’t be surprised if Querrey takes home the Newport title next week in R.I. Small steps people, be patient.
David Ferrer: Hats off to the man who gets the most out of his inventory of shots. Ferrer is by no means proficient on grass, but he did prove that he can challenge some serious hitters on the lawns of England.
Paul-Henri Mathieu: What would a wrap-up article be without a shout out to PHM? Never making it past the last 16 of any Major, Mathieu’s junior results remain the highlight of his career. I’m not quite sure if he’ll ever enter the final eight of a Slam, but it was sure nice to see him clench his fist in victory on three occasions in London.