We discuss our memorable Wimbledon moments in this week’s episode of the Changeover Chat, a quick back-and-forth exchange between the writing staff at The Changeover.
Amy: It’s that time of year again. Because of the compressed schedule between clay and grass season, Wimbledon always feels like a shock. I love grass season, perhaps because it’s such a short and fleeting part of the season. Earlier this year, we talked about our most memorable Australian Open and French Open moments as tennis viewers. What are some of your most memorable Wimbledon moments?
Lindsay: It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Wimbledon is my favorite Grand Slam. It’s always been special to me because it’s the one slam that happened right after school let out, so in high school and college I could just sit in front of the TV for two straight weeks and watch everything.
Most of my favorite Wimbledon memories involve Andy Roddick, of course. As do most of my kill-me-now memories. *cue emo music*
Juan José: I have a weird relationship with Wimbledon. Growing up in Latin America, that was the slam that got routinely ignored. For us, Roland Garros is the main one, and since clay court players rarely did anything at Wimbledon, not much attention was paid to it. I’m not even sure it was televised all that broadly, to be honest. I do remember seeing highlights of the time Nalbandián made the final, and I remember Gaudio telling a TV talk show host in Argentina shortly after winning the French Open that he wouldn’t even bother to head over to the All England Club.
Really, more than watching Wimbledon in the past, I remember reading about it and watching highlights of the big matches on TV. Which is quite unlike my experiences with the other slams. Also, more than any other slam, Wimbledon always seemed to come at weird times in my life when I couldn’t really pay attention to it.
Lindsay: Hah, we’re the exact opposite, Juan José. The first Wimbledon I watched from start to finish (ish) was 2003, a full 10 years ago. Roddick lost to Federer in the semifinals that year, and they were both so young. There was so much hope for the future!
I had watched Breakfast at Wimbledon for the few years before that, though. Serena, Venus, and Lindsay were very much my introduction to tennis.
Speaking of the early years, you know what picture I came across recently? Nalby and Hewitt after the 2002 finals. LOOK AT HOW YOUNG THEY ARE. Precious. Life at Wimbledon PFD (Pre-Fed Domination).
Amy: Amazing. I think it’s interesting how Wimbledon has become unpredictable again in the last few years on the men’s side. For many years, it felt like Roland Garros does now: it was an inevitable Federer win. And although he did win it again last year, it felt different.
Lindsay: Definitely, Amy. Of course it was Nadal who beat him in the final in 2008, but it really wasn’t until the shocking Berdych match in 2010 that his domination really stopped. I think we forget what a huge deal that was at the time.
Amy: The 2011 Tsonga match was also crazy. It was one of the stranger Federer losses I’ve ever seen. Jo played an incredible match, but the way it played out was surreal. Federer was up two sets to love, Tsonga got an early break in the next three sets, and Federer never earned a single break point in any of those.
Juan José: Here’s my favorite bit of trivia of that famous Jo-Willy/Federer match from 2011: through five sets, Federer only had (and converted) a single break point. And it was in the first set. Jo was serving incredibly well that day – I do remember that.
Amy: Yes, I brought that up to Federer in Cincinnati later that year while talking about his return game against big hitters. He was not pleased by that particular stat.
Lindsay: I have such fond memories of that match. Talk about the most unexpected Jo win ever!
Juan José: It was nuts. And Jo’s win paved the way for Djokovic’s title run – I’m still not sure he would’ve beaten Federer in the semis after the French Open trauma.
Amy: Likely not on grass. Federer was playing well that Wimbledon, too. He just lost to an in-the-zone Jo.
Juan José: I’m still amazed that Djokovic has a Wimbledon title already, despite grass being his worst surface by far, whereas he’s only been to the French Open final once, and he’s such a great clay court player.
Lindsay: He was just on fire in 2011. I was writing a Wimbledon preview and thinking about how he can only be great on grass if he’s 100% in the zone, whereas on hard and clay courts he can fake it a bit better. 2011 was the definition of the zone for Djokovic.
Juan José: I remember the original (and crazier) domination: the Sampras years. I remember reading pre-Wimbledon stuff in the newspapers and getting exasperated (I was a huge Agassi fan) and yelling, “Just give Pete the damn trophy already – everyone knows he’s going to win it. Why bother playing the tournament?” Easy to forget that Sampras won seven out of eight Wimbledons at one point.
Amy: While we’re talking about dominance, the Williams sister have been dominant at Wimbledon over the last 13 years. Serena and Venus have combined to win 10 of the last 13 Wimbledon women’s singles titles, with five each.
Juan José: Just Kvitova, Mauresmo, and Sharapova have managed to get a title in between. That Mauresmo-Henin final was so spectacular, I do remember watching that match.
Juan José: There’s also that Dementieva-Serena match, no? Another instant classic.
Lindsay: Oh man, I still don’t think I’ve recovered from Serena/Dementieva. DEMMY WAS SO CLOSE.
Amy: And then there’s that mythical 2004 match where Maria demolished Serena in the final. That feels like another planet.
Lindsay: It did even then. Bizarre.
Amy: How about all the Serena-Venus finals? Four in total. If I’m being truthful, I still find it excruciatingly hard to watch family members play against each other. More recently, I’ve hated watching the Radwanska sisters play each other. It’s so awkward.
Juan José: It’s rough, particularly in tennis. I think team sports let siblings clash in a way that doesn’t hinder the quality of the contest, since the individual has an obligation to the team as an entity and to his/her teammates to compete as hard as possible. In tennis, those circumstances just don’t exist.
Amy: Agreed. It’s much worse in an individual sport.
Juan José: I mean, there’s a reason the Klitschko brothers won’t box against each other. And tennis is boxing with racquets, a ball and a court.
Amy: It’s always a great storyline, despite the inherent awkwardness. Sadly, I can’t see another competitive Williams sister match-up happening ever again.
Juan José: I agree. Venus would have to hang around for a few more years and wait for Serena to cool off.
Lindsay: My all-time favorite Wimbledon memory is Roddick beating Murray in the 2009 semifinals and then sobbing in the stairwell. I get chills just thinking about it. Best match I’ve ever seen him play.
Amy: Lost in all the Federer dominance is how fun it was to watch Roddick in his element on grass. And I know it’s painful for Roddick fans, but those two produced some incredible tennis matches at Wimbledon.
Lindsay: They did. And Roddick always handled it so well. To play the 2009 final as well as he did is still mind-boggling to me.
Juan José: I do remember that final. Cruel for Roddick fans: he should’ve walked away with the title, and the infamous “15” jacket should’ve stayed in Federer’s bag.
Amy: Let’s not start with that.
Juan José: I still remember that backhand volley in the second set tiebreaker.
Lindsay: Most heartbreaking tennis moment I’ve ever had for sure. But also in a way the most proud.
Juan José: And being exasperated at how Roddick botched second serve returns at the beginning of the fifth.
Lindsay: STOP WHILE YOU’RE AHEAD, JUAN JOSÉ.
Amy: I think although Roddick didn’t win the tournament, he will always be remembered for his accomplishments at Wimbledon: three memorable finals and a semi.
Juan José: Agreed, Amy. And A-Rod always had huge support from the fans there.
Lindsay: Wimbledon is the major reason the “one-slam wonder” thing will never be his title. He was such a factor there for so long. I mean, I hate “what ifs,” because I never believe them, but Roddick definitely would have won Wimbledon if not for Federer. He was the second best grass court player of that generation (if we consider Rafa the next generation).
Amy: I think that’s a fair statement.
Lindsay: I did always want a Roddick/Rafa Wimbledon meeting, and hate that it never happened. Rafa is so great on grass, but he is also a much better match-up for Roddick. In their primes it would have been a duel. Of course, they did meet in the 2008 Queen’s Club semifinals and Rafa won 7-5, 6-4, but Roddick was having shoulder issues in 2008 and Wimbledon would just be different.
Amy: Yes, that would’ve been really interesting to see. So, if you’ll indulge me, I’ll bring up one of my fondest Wimbledon memories. Of course I’m referring to Bernard Tomic’s 2011 Wimbledon run to the quarterfinals.
Lindsay: Oh man, he beat Malisse in the fourth round–KILLED Malisse is more like it–and I still think I’m mad at him for that.
Amy: He demolished Robin Soderling for his first win over a top 10 player. And he became the youngest player since Boris Becker in ’86 to make the quarters.
Lindsay: Yeah, but it was “Soderling.”
Amy: It’s true that Soderling got sick shortly after, but he didn’t play badly in that match, and remember that Soderling played at a very high level several weeks after that.
Juan José: I remember Bernie’s run – that’s when I got convinced that he was going to be a huge, huge deal. A sure thing, Big Four-style. And now I’m far from certain.
Amy: He also took a set off of Djokovic in the quarters, and was up 3-1 in the third before falling in four sets. For me, watching Bernie play on grass is as fun as it is painful to watch him on clay (i.e. VERY).
Lindsay: I feel the same way about Malisse, Amy. Seeing him make the fourth round the past two years has been fun. His game is so great on grass.
Amy: There are certain players who really thrive on that surface. There are a couple on the WTA as well, like Pironkova.
Juan José: Pironkova! Also known as Venus’ nemesis.
Lindsay: Pironkova’s Wimbledon runs have been nuts. Kvitova at Wimbledon is amazing too. She was such a shock in 2010 making the semis, then to win the tournament the next year was just amazing. She was on fire. Last year she played really well too. I still think she would have beaten anyone other than Serena, it was a shame they met in the quarterfinals.
Juan José: Agreed – I would’ve loved to see Kvitova play Serena in the final, not the quarters.
Lindsay: Zvonareva’s upset over Clijsters was huge at Wimbledon in 2010.
You know what women’s match from last year I actually think about a lot? Paszek/Wozniacki. Now that was a great first round match.
Amy: So, with Wimbledon comes the British media. And their Andy Murray-related insanity. And to a lesser extent, some Robson and Watson insanity too.
Lindsay: It’s hysterical. One of my favorite things is to read the long pressers they give the opponents who are about to play Murray. One year Tobias Kamke got like a half-hour interview transcript up on Wimbledon.com before his match vs. Murray.
Juan José: Oh, yes. The British Tennis Journo-ism is going to be flying in the air come Monday.
Lindsay: So, to wrap things up, what is your funniest Wimbledon memory? Mine might have to be the ridiculous Hantuchova/Serena match where Serena couldn’t move and Dani kept hitting the ball right back to her. You just had to laugh.
Juan José: Oh, man, that was one sad match to watch. It remains the worst performance by a fully healthy player against a visibly injured one.
Amy: Sorry Lindsay, I’m going to have to go with Benneteau predictably choking against Fed last year. You could see that coming from a trillion miles away.
Juan José: Appropriate to bring that up in a day when Benneteau loses a match [vs. Tomic in Eastbourne] in a third set breaker.
Juan José: I still think Bartoli’s run to the final was the funniest thing ever, with the Pierce Brosnan bits included.
Lindsay: Yes! That was wonderful too. Prime Bartoli.
Amy: Final thoughts?
Juan José: The best thing about this year’s Wimbledon is the coverage. All courts will be streamed on ESPN3 in the States! A tennis fan’s dream! I still can’t believe we’ll have that great coverage after all the nonsense during the French Open.
Lindsay: It’s going to be fun. Very excited for The Changeover’s first Wimbledon.