Wimbledon 2021- RETURN OF THE TENNIS "BALL"
After a year’s absence it is great to see the hallowed lawns of SW19 in action again. The championships were permitted to run as a test event with 50% capacity in the first week and it has now been confirmed there will be 100% capacity from the quarter finals onwards on the show courts. Somewhat mixed feelings about this, though proof of double vaccinations or negative lateral flow test is required.
Anyway whilst I have a guaranteed ticket for 2022 I decided it was too soon to be in crowds this time and did not try for tickets which were al being sold online. All tickets had to be purchased in advance, the Wimbledon queue not in operation this time. Anyone who has been watching on Tv may have thought it looked pretty full but seats towards the back have been empty which I thought was a bit pointless. However at these test events they are seeing how things go without social distancing.
How Ticketing works this year: https://www.wimbledon.com/en_GB/tickets/2021_tickets_faqs.html
Anyway on to the Tennis! The initial story was of some absent players, noteably Rafael Nadal who failed this time to retain his French title(losing to Djokovic in the semis) decided to skip both the grass season and the Tokyo Olympics. He felt the clay season has been exerting and after discussions with his team took this decision in order to extend his career. Naomi Osaka after pulling out of The French after 1 round due to mental health reasons and her wish not to do press conferences (which created some controversy though many including myself felt she had sufficient support or understanding ) also decided she would not participate at Wimbledon but would be back for the Olympics. Later on Dominic Thiem the current Us champion and Simona Halep the Wimbledon holder pulled out due to injury. https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/jun/17/rafael-nadal-decides-against-playing-wimbledon-tokyo-o... On the eve of the Championships Johanna Konta was forced to pull out as one of her team tested positive for covid.
Usually quite a few players will rent houses rather than staying in a hotel but this time are having to remain in a bubble and all are required to stay in a Westminster hotel, even if they live in London. Some information reported here https://www.standard.co.uk/sport/tennis/wimbledon-tennis-players-strict-coronavirus-bubble-park-plaz...
Certainly in the early rounds there were quite a few upsets. Stefanos Tsitsipas the 3rd seed had lead Novak Djokovic 2 sets to love in the French final before the Serb recovered and maintained his dominance in the 5th, though that one was closer. Tsitsipas originally intended to play Halle in preparation but pulled out and thus had not played a grass court match in 2 years whilst he appeared to have quite a tough draw in the shape of the American Frances Tiafoe. However how that match unfolded did come as a surprise, Tiafoe dominated with his serve and fierce groundstrokes whilst Stefanos did not have his usual rhythm ,fluency and flair. Though has to be said he did just not look too comfortable on the surface.
Britain's Jack Draper gave a good account of himself in the opening set against defending champion Djokovic but the Serb soon found his timing and range, thereafter it was not much of a contest.
However Draper considered to be a propspect, at Queen's he beat Italian Jack Sinner a top 25 player who has been ranked as high as 17 though does not have much experience on grass. They are actually both still teenagers at 19. https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/jun/28/jack-draper-gives-novak-djokovic-brief-wimbledon-scare...
Serena Williams’ quest for a record equalling 24th slam did not last long after she injured her ankle after slipping on court in the 1st round v Aliaksandra Sasnovich., had treatment but on resumption it was clear she was not in a position to continue. Happened just after Adrian Mannarino injured his knee in another slip and was forced to retire not long after with movement very much curtailed. Roger had been 2 sets to 1 down but seemed to be turning the tide before the incident. https://www.sportingnews.com/us/tennis/news/serena-williams-injury-wimbledon-courts/pp5jegn2eep41j9e...
In that article you will also notice a link to Onn Jaebeur’s 3rd round victory over the 11 th seed and former champion Gabrine Muguruza where her her varied game overcame the spaniard’s mainly hard hitting display. She threw up just before victory but would not be denied. only 4 top 10 seeds remain in women's Draw with the 3rd,4th and 5th seeds departing. 3rd seeds Elena Svitoliina put in a lacklustre performance in losing to Madgda Linette 6-3,6-4 in 2nd Round whilst 5th seed Bianca Andrescu was thrased 6-2,6-1 in the 1st by Alize Cornet even if the Canadian has limited experience on grass. 4th seed Sofia Kenin the Australian champion in 2020 also went down in straights to Madison Brengle. https://www.espn.co.uk/tennis/story/_/id/31737235/bianca-andreescu-wimbledon-first-round-losing-aliz... https://tennisthreads.net/linette-stuns-svitolina-at-wimbledon/
The only other top 10 seed to fall in the Men's Event thus far was the 9th seed Diego Schwartzman who fell in 4 to Marton Fucsovics in the 3rd Round who now faces 5th seed Andrey Rublev for a place in the quarter finals. https://www.essentiallysports.com/diego-schwartzman-atp-tennis-news-marton-fucsovics-creates-history...
However 2nd seed Daniil Medvedev ( who has twice been a slam finalist) had to fight back from 2 sets down in the last 32 to beat former finalist and the 2014 Us Open winner Marian Cilic . In a match of ebbs and flows Cilic was dominating with his serve and ground strokes and putting the Russian who is usually more of a counter puncher on the defensive. However as the Croatian's level dropped Medvedev was able to gradually gain the upper hand and was able to make telling returns with some attacking play. attacks of his own. https://www.wimbledon.com/en_GB/news/articles/2021-07-03/medvedev_survives_giant_scare.html
Andy Murray played singles at the event for the 1st time in 4 years and gave us two dramatic matches. In the 1st round he put out the 24th seed Nikoloz Basilashivili where his variety got the better of the at times explosive Georgian but he did not make it easy for himself and those of a nervous disposition would not have had the stomach for it. After taking two relatively close sets Andy went up 5-0 in the 3rd and looked like his passage into Round 2 was a formality. When he dropped serve once a minor hiccup but panic set in when suddenly it was 5 all, chance of a breaker but he decided to give us another set! Thankfully Murray regrouped and without too much tension took the 4th 6-3. The 2nd Round was against a qualifier Oscar Otte who admittedly performed really well at times but after a strong start handed back the initiative and was looking subdued as he went 2 sets to 1 done. However a chance to regroup as the roof was shut and it was almost like a different player. Andy was more aggressive and energised as he fed on the support of the crowd as he turned things round into a 5th set and took the decider 6-2. BBC TENNIS
However these matches had taken their toll and whilst Andy fought valiantly in the first from 1-5 down and had break points for 5 all against the 10th seeded Canadian Denis Shapovalov once he lost the set the resistance faded as Denis got stronger and Murray was out of the Championships in straight sets.
Earlier Dan Evans had underperformed even if he had a strong opponent in Seb Korda (son of Petr Korda the 1990 Australian Open Champion) who prevailed in 4 sets. https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/jul/02/dan-evans-crashes-out-of-wimbledon-to-big-american-hop...
Last Brit in the Men’s Singles was Cameron Norrie though he had a challenging draw in meeting Roger Federer in the 3rd Round and an uncertain start did not help. However he raised in the level with some great shotmaking in the 3rd and 4th sets but ultimately it was not enough and Federer made crucial winner at 4-3 and 15-30 down. https://www.atptour.com/en/news/federer-norrie-wimbledon-2021-saturday
However there is a British player in the last 16 in the Women’s Singles with 18 year old Emma Raducanu making her debut in only her 2nd Tour event. In the 2nd Round she beat Marketa Vondrusova ranked 42nd (finalist at the 2019 French Open) 6-2,6-4 and got the better of 45th ranked Sorana Cristea (who had put out the 12th seed and former Australian champion Vika Azarenka) 6-3,7-5. Some tremendous rallies in this match and Emma for the most part was able to counter the Romanian’s game effectively and come up with some great winners, footwork is impressive and just seems a mature match player. Got some benefit from the draw and up against 75th ranked Ajla Tomljanovic next but has earned that right. Perhaps a bit more pressure now but would seem to have chance of progressing further. Whatever happens one to look out for.
Nick kygrios another one who had to retire due to an abdominal strain when one set all with the 16th seed Felix Auger Aliassime in Round 3. Not wishing to travel before now the Australian had not played since February. He was also playing Mixed Doubles with Venus Williams and they won a round but Kygrios has now had to withdraw from that too. https://www.atptour.com/en/news/kyrgios-reaction-wimbledon-2021-saturdayVenus now 41 had to rely on a wild card for the singles and won a 3 setter before going down to Ons Jaebeur 7-5,6-0. Nick had a good win over 21st seed Ugo Humbert who took the title in Halle with wins over top 10 players Alex (Sascha) Zverev and Andrey Rublev. Whilst Zverev was broight up in Germany parents moved from Russia and Sascha is a common nickname for Alexander there. Anyway the match with Humbert played over 2 days had quite a bit of entertaining tennis,whilst Humbert seemed to be in control after set 3 Kygrios found a way back and won 9-7 in the 5th.
Meanwhile the highest ranked of the next gen still in the draw Alex Zverev (2020 US Open Finalist) had a hard fought battle with American Taylor Fritz in the 3rd Round having to come from behind but ultimately his power game prevailed. He took the match in 4 sets, avoiding going into a 5th taking the breaker 7-4. https://www.atptour.com/en/news/zverev-fritz-wimbledon-2021-saturday
Zverev was unable to withstand the challenge of Felis Auger Aliassime in the last 16 , big weapons on display but a someone but a somewhat inconsistent and erratic performance from the German with the Canadian who has impressive power hitting himself was ab le to take advantage. Zverev lost the first two despite being up a break in both and whilst took it to 5 could not sustain his advantage. 20 Double faults were his undoing. https://www.wimbledon.com/en_GB/news/articles/2021-07-05/augeraliassime_puts_out_zverev.html
2nd seed Medvedev who survived going the distance earlier could not repeat in battle over 2 days with the Hungarian Hubert Hurkcacz. Seemingly in a relatively good position overnight the Russian’s game was lacklustre and somewhat error prone on Tuesday. https://www.atptour.com/en/news/medvedev-hurkacz-wimbledon-2021-wednesday Hurkacz’s reward in a quarter final meeting with Roger Federer after the Switz star can past the Italian Lorenzo Sonego in straights after a test in the 1st set. Roger has after a testing opener generally made pretty smooth progress even if game has not been quite as impressive as previous years thus far. Key stats on serve and returns marginally down. https://tennishead.net/federer-not-reached-best-level-wimbledon/
Novak Djokovic still the one to beat and did not really have to break out of 2nd gear to end the challenge of Christian Garin to reach the quarter finals. Garin ranked 20th in the world but does not really excel on grass and an uncertain start make his task all the more challenging. Got going in the 2nd but could not put the Serb under sustained pressure. Did drop a set in 1st round to British prospect Jack Draper but that more due to a bit of rust.
As has been documented in the media unfortunately Emma Raducanu’s Wimbledon run came to an end in the last 16 after breathing difficulties. Toe to toe with Ajla Tomljanović in the first set there were some spellbounding and intense rallies and Emma had chance to take lead at 5-4 but the Australian responded and took the set .The Brit’s form seemed to dip,she held her stomach at times and appeared to be in difficulty when she went of the court for treatment, alas she could not finish match. Thankfully Emma has now recovered,seemed to think it was combination of all that has gone on and the excitement. Let’s just say some questionable comments,overall the championships should be positive experience but obviously on a learning curve. https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/jul/06/wimbledon-wish-emma-raducanu-well-and-defend-schedulin...
Facts and Figures from The Championships, will include some interesting ones directly, others can be found on the Wimbledon site. https://www.wimbledon.com/en_GB/atoz/faq_and_facts_and_figures.html
- Unique devices – 18.1m (+54%)
- Visits – 59.8m (+28%)
- Page views – 374m (+35%)
- Average time spent – 10.3 minutes per visit (+3%)
- App downloads – 1.3m
- Pre-event video views – 33m
- Championships video views – 380m
- Facebook – 4.75m likes
- Twitter – 3.7m followers
- Instagram – 2.2m likes
- YouTube – 553k subscribers
- Giphy – 750.7m views
- TikTok – 53k likes
- The Wimbledon Channel – 17m (global excluding Spain, Austria, Italy, Germany, China)
- The Wimbledon Radio Channel – 4m (awaiting further metrics)
Bespoke offerings for China, Japan, India, Korea, Thailand and Spanish language, including
- Weibo – 547k
- Wechat – 11k
- Douyin – 436k
- Weibo hashtag reach – 150m
Electronic line calling system introduced on Centre and No.1 Cts in 2006. In 2019 covered Centre Court, No.1 Court, No.2 Court, No.3 Ct and Courts 12-18.
Gentlemen: 148mph - Taylor Dent, USA (2010)
Ladies: 129mph - Venus Williams, USA (2008)
Ladies: 122mph – Serena Williams (USA)
Gentlemen: 143mph – Nick Kyrgios (AUS) - this broke the record for the fastest ever second serve at The Championships.
Wimbledon is the largest single annual sporting catering operation (3,000 staff) carried out in Europe. Some of the quantities of food and drink served at The Championships are below.
- 18,061 serves of fish and chips
- 6,147 serves of pasta for competitors
- 4,242 serves of sushi for competitors
- 276,291 glasses of Pimm's
- 64,703 ice cream portions / sticks
- 191,930 portions of strawberries
- 234,416 meals served throughout The Championships
Over 50,000 plants supplied each year.
Ivy on Centre Court is Boston Ivy, Parthenocissus Tricuspidaca Veitchii.
Championships playing height 8mm. Court grass composed of 100% rye grass.
Church Road site: 13.5 acres.
Plus car parks: 42 acres.
Rufus, a Harris Hawk, trained by Imogen Davis of Avian Control. Visits the Club most weeks in the year to provide a deterrent to local pigeons by making aware of a predator in the grounds to persuade them to roost elsewhere. Flies for one hour (9.00am) most mornings of The Championships before the gates open.
The screen is 40 sq metres in size.
- 2010, Court 18, played over 3 days
- John Isner (USA) bt Nicolas Mahut (FRA) 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 70-68
- 11 hours 05 minutes duration
- Final set lasted 491 minutes (8hrs 11mins), 1hr 38mins longer than the previous longest match in tennis history
- 980 points played in total – Mahut won 502 and Isner 478 of them (Serena Williams won 789 points over seven rounds to win the Ladies’ Singles)
- Isner served the most aces in a match – 113
- 123 balls used
679 during Fortnight.
3,250 media accredited (530+ press, 2,500 broadcast personnel, 200+ photographers and photographic support staff).
- Five categories: Full, Life, Honorary, Temporary and Junior Temporary
- Full and Life Membership limited to 375 (the number of seats in the old Worple Road stand). All enjoy full privileges.
- Honorary Members elected by the Committee and mostly past Singles Champions and other people who have rendered special service to the sport.
- Around 120 Temporary Members also elected by the Committee. Renewed annually.
- To become a Member, one must be proposed, seconded and supported by four existing Full Members, all of whom are required to write in support of the application.
- Waiting List of about 1000 dating back many years.
During The Championships, more than 156,286 retail transactions took place in the Wimbledon Shops and Kiosks, including:
- 450,272 products sold
- 58,271 baseball caps and panama hats
- 27,419 Championships’ towels
- 16,213 crossed rackets logo t-shirts
- 14,760 sweatbands
- 3,201 personalised embroideries on baseball caps and Championships’ towels totalling 2.9 million individual stitches
Play has taken place on Middle Sunday on four occasions: in 1991, 1997, 2004, 2016.
- Chairman: Ian Hewitt (2019)
- Chief Executive: Sally Bolton (2020)
- Referee: Gerry Armstrong (2020)
- Chief of Umpires: Adrian Wilson (2016)
- Head of Courts and Horticulture: Neil Stubley (2012)
- Slazenger Official Ball (began in 1902)
- Robinsons Official Still Soft Drink (began in 1935)
- Rolex Official Timekeeper (began in 1978)
- IBM Official Supplier of Information Technology (began in 1990)
- Lanson Official Champagne (began in 2001)
- Ralph Lauren Official Outfitter (began in 2006)
- HSBC Official Banking Partner (began in 2008)
- Evian Official Bottled Water (began in 2008)
- Lavazza Official Coffee (began in 2011)
- Stella Artois Official Beer (began in 2014)
- Jaguar Official Car (began in 2015)
- Pimm's (began in 2017)
- American Express Official Payment (began in 2019)
- Oppo Official Smartphone (began in 2019)
- Sipsmith Official Gin (began in 2020)
In one of the last 16 picks top seed Ash Barty was up against the French open champion Barbora Krejciova (won the event unseeded but only had to face one top 10 player no6 Svitolina on the way) seeded 15th who until recently was better known as a doubles player. Now 6 slams in Doubles and she won the 2 events in Rolland Garros. However this was the first time the 25 year old and was in the main draw of a grass court event in singles,had opted not to play any warm up events. Barty said it took her time to read the czech’s game and her variation, volleys caused problems but once Krejciova failed to get double break some tension crept in with the world no1 taking it 7-5,6-3. Ash’s returning and slice paid increasing dividends. https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/jul/05/ashleigh-barty-beats-barbora-krejcikova-to-set-up-firs...
Many tipping Coco Gauff (who beat Venus Williams here in 2019 debut) to go far but in the event she did not go further this time and still to get past the quarters of a slam. Former champ Angelique Kerber put her under pressure with returns and retrieving, whilst she had more winners a few too many errors on the crucial points.https://firstsportz.com/tennis-angelique-kerber-defeats-coco-gauff-in-the-fourth-round-of-wimbledon-...
The big news of the quarter finals was not just the exit of Roger Federer but the manner. Hubert Hurkacz in strong form but Roger not just not the same fluency , movement more suspect and the serve just not as effective. After losing first 6-3 got going as Hurkacz made a few errors but he did not press home the advantage and a slip in the breaker was perhaps a sign of his afternoon. Unfortunately really did not get much going as he was bagelled in the 3rd set. One wonders if he will play another match at Wimbledon, does not seem certain himself. Maybe better to have a different memory of his last match at SW19.