Things We Learned on Day 10 of 2014 Wimbledon


1. Of all the things to complain about …

2. A piece of non-Wimbledon tennis news: Li Na and Carlos Rodriguez have split:

Carlos Rodriguez was the calming force and strategic mastermind behind Li Na’s late-career surge.

But Li is on her own again, after reports Thursday that the 50-year-old Argentine had ended a nearly two-year relationship to spend more time at the tennis academy he oversees in Beijing.

Li’s agent, Max Eisenbud of IMG, said Rodriguez was under contract for another 18 months and that the academy owners no longer wanted him on the road.

“Basically we were renting him from the academy,” Eisenbud said Thursday at Wimbledon.

Initially the owners believed it would be good for business to be associated with one of China’s highest-profile athletes. But over time they felt the arrangement was paying dividends.

“The academy just felt like he couldn’t travel anymore,” he said.

3. This happened:

4. I’m exhausted by the debate in the tennis community about Eugenie Bouchard. Yes, she’s been overhyped this year. No, she’s not warm and fuzzy. But I fail to see any reasonable complaint about her, aside from not enjoying the aesthetics of her game. It’s gotten awfully personal, and that’s unfortunate, especially since we’re talking about a 20-year-old girl. It feels like a Victoria Azarenka debate all over again, and those are always exhausting, too.

Nobody has to like her, but get used to seeing her making deep Slam runs. And when that happens, if the media talks about her, it’s not necessarily part of the hype anymore. If she’s in a Grand Slam final, she has earned her media coverage.

5. If it’s going to cut both ways, I’m assuming that Petra Kvitova’s great results are because she is no longer burdened by her relationship with Radek Stepanek.

On a serious note, it’s always great to see Kvitova playing her best again. For all the flack she’s gotten for being inconsistent, she’s kept her ranking in the top 10, and now she’s in a position to win another Grand Slam. And she’s only 24. She might never be able to dominate the women’s game, but she is capable of doing it for two weeks at a Slam.

6. Some interesting quotes from the transcripts:

Q. What effect does it have on you when you realize that Rafa lost and perhaps, if you heard, that Murray lost while you were on court?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Doesn’t matter. To be honest, if they lost, they lost to players who were better than them. To me, it doesn’t matter. I just look at my own matches.

Q. Roger will be basically in his home on Centre Court at Wimbledon. How easy is it going to be in your mind to play the 32‑year‑old man rather than the seven‑time Wimbledon champion?

MILOS RAONIC: I’m going to step out there and I’m not playing the seven‑time Wimbledon champion. I’m not playing a 32‑year‑old man. I’m not playing father of two sets of twins, which is a very low possibility I bet to do. I’m not playing the guy that’s won whatever he’s won, which I could probably list quite vividly.

I’m playing a guy that is standing in my way of what I want to achieve, and I’ve got to focus on everything that’s there, on the situation, how best to deal with it to give myself the best possibilities to achieve what I want.

Q. How would you feel about becoming English like Greg Rusedski?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I’m not sure about that one.

Q. In your reckoning so far ‑ I mean, you haven’t had time to analyze ‑ would you say you lost today and he won or he won outright?

ANDY MURRAY: He was the better player from start to finish.

Q. So in that case you lost the game today and why?

ANDY MURRAY: I certainly lost the match today, yeah. I don’t think I won it.


1. Petra Kvitova is back into the Wimbledon final. I am so happy.

Kvitova’s run to the title three years ago was incredibly underappreciated by the tennis community, partially because of how shy she was, partially because of what a surprise it was, and partially because she has struggled ever since 2011 and was unable to back up the result.

But Kvitova’s run in 2011 was absolutely phenomenal, and as she’s faltered over the past few years, it’s been great to see her commit to getting better. Now here she is back, even better than she was then.

This piece by Doug Robson does a great job talking about her evolution:

The way [David Kotyza, her coach] and the other Czechs tell it, the shy, small-town Kvitova was struggling to adjust to life on the women’s tour well before she won in London.

“I remember when she was 14 and she was coming to Prostejov,” said Safarova Thursday, referring to the city and club where they train at home. “She was very much like girl from a village basically.”

“In this zoo, it was very difficult for her anyway,” added Kotyza. “It wasn’t only pressure from outside. It was pressure from inside.”

Kvitova never stopped plugging away. And she never completely faded away, either.

2. Speaking of Robson, I also recommend that you read his piece on insincere apologies on the tennis court.

3. I agree with Amy above–the backlash against Bouchard is getting ridiculous. She’s confident, she’s conventionally attractive, and she doesn’t apologize for anything. She is all business, but she’s also all results–and in a couple of days she might just be a Wimbledon champion.

What’s that obnoxious phrase–don’t hate the player, hate the game? That’s how I feel about Genie. I hate that she gets so much more attention than Halep or Kvitova, and that she’s very clearly going to be pushed as the Next Maria Sharapova, but that’s not her fault. And truthfully, I find it a lot less annoying now than I did a year ago, because her results absolutely justify the hype.

Matt Zemek says it well, as he always does:

4. Okay, this is a bit nuts.

5. Here’s my piece on Genie for Bleacher Report. Guess what, everyone? Not to brag or anything, but it turns out it *is* possible to write an entire profile on Bouchard’s rising stardom without the words “blonde” or “marketability.”

6. Halep’s injury today was unfortunate, and we’ll never really know if she would have been able to push Bouchard more without the ankle roll–although I have a feeling she would have been able to.

However, in the last month Halep has certainly proved that she is a real deal. A final at the French Open and a semifinal at Wimbledon is pretty great, and as she continues to figure out when to be aggressive, she’ll just keep getting better. There is little doubt in my mind that the Romanian will win a major in the next couple of years.

7. Take a bow, Lucie Safarova. If a couple of more points went her way in that great first set, who knows what would have happened. It’s great to see her coming into her own and playing her best tennis after such a long career as an unpredictable floater, and while I don’t see her winning any majors, I don’t think this will be the last time she has a deep run at a major. She’ll be No. 17 on Monday, which will tie her career high.

She’s just so lovely.

8. This is cracking me up. Get it together, Sharapova!

9. Precious.

10. Other random tweets I favorited:

4 Responses

  1. Henk
    Henk July 3, 2014 at 6:34 pm |

    Every time an American finds out about the Daily Mail, an angel gets its wings.

  2. Master Ace
    Master Ace July 3, 2014 at 10:18 pm |

    Bouchard has made the big time as she is a lightning rod on comments from posters like Sharapova, S Williams and V Williams. Sharapova started her fame to stardom when she defeated S Williams at 2004 Wimbledon and a player(Bouchard) who plays somewhat similar to her is on the verge of doing it 10 years later. If Bouchard does it, the media will be really on overdrive and maybe more than Sharapova in 2004. Did Sharapova earn it in 2004? Yes. Will Bouchard have earned her fame in 2014? Yes.

    Remember when Stephens was the talk of 2013 making AO SF defeating S Williams in QF then was the “innocent” player during the MTO by Azarenka in SF. What did Stephens do to back that SF up? Nothing. Bouchard made the 2014 AO SF and what has she done since then, make FO SF, W F and won a title at Nurnberg, week prior to the French Open.

  3. kwando
    kwando July 4, 2014 at 1:23 am |

    As a Canadian, I’m so proud that Genie has made it to a GS Final like this. And it’s also great to see her actually backing up her results.

  4. Moo Tennis
    Moo Tennis July 4, 2014 at 5:10 am |

    The media coverage of the Murray loss in the UK has been embarrassing. Before the first women’s semi-final, Sue Barker was with Martina N. and Lindsay previewing Kvitova v Safarova when they randomly cut to an interview with Brad Gilbert, discussing where Murray goes next. Then they had several features on his body language and his frustration. It’s just really pathetic and no one seems to have mentioned that actually, Dimitrov played a GREAT match.

    I thought Lucie did the best she could have done yesterday. For someone who has suffered from nerves on a tennis court, she handled the occasion magnificently well. I’ve got my fingers crossed that this won’t be a flash in the pan. Her gradual improvement this year would indicate she can keep rising.

    Petra for the title.

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