Things We Learned on Day 11 of 2014 Wimbledon


1. Some sad news: 18-year-old Vicky Duval has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Per ESPN:

The diagnosis came after a biopsy taken in England before the tournament, and further tests in the U.S. have confirmed the results, her representatives from IMG said in a statement.

Duval’s big breakthrough came as a 17-year-old at last year’s US Open, when she defeated former champion Samantha Stosur.

Hodgkin’s is the most common form of cancer in adolescents and, the statement said, the cancer was caught in its very early stages.

“Vicky will undergo treatment right away and due to her overall good health and isolation of the cancer, the prognosis is a full recovery in a few months,” the spokesman said.

2. The old man’s still got it. I have to admit, I was raising an eyebrow at all the people who picked Roger Federer to win Wimbledon. I expected him to make the semis and perhaps lose to Rafael Nadal, but perhaps I underestimated the Fed.

The Big Four narrative may be tired, but one of the most compelling things to watch in the recent years is Federer trying to stay relevant among his younger peers. How incredible it would be to see him win an 18th Slam title.

I can’t say it any better than this:

3. As much as things appear to change on the ATP Tour, things stay the same — we’ve got another Big Four Grand Slam final. However, I’m pretty excited about seeing Federer and Djokovic battle it out, given their tight head-to-head, and the generally good quality of their recent matches.

On this surface, I’d give Federer the edge, but it could really go either way. Given Djokovic’s missed opportunities lately and Federer’s injury struggles from last year, both will want this title very badly. I hope they both bring their best tennis.

4. The media REALLY wanted Genie Bouchard to celebrate more, apparently.

Q.  You seemed so subdued in victory.  What are the emotions that you experienced on the court when you realized you were in the Wimbledon final?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD:  Well, I felt like it should have happened a game earlier, so I already had that emotion in my head already. But, you know, it’s not like a surprise to me.  I expect good results like this.  So for me, I was like, Okay, good.  It’s a step in the right direction.  I get to play in the final.  You know, I still have another match, so it’s not a full celebration yet.

Q.  You seem very composed all the time.  It seems to me like if there ever was a time to lose your composure it would be winning your first Grand Slam final.  Do you ever go nuts?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD:  I’m waiting for a big moment to go nuts.  Of course, achieving a lifelong dream like winning a slam is very exciting to me.

But, you know, I feel like my job is not done here, so there’s no need for a huge celebration because, you know, I’m still working.  I still have another match.

But today, you know, I just felt very calm in general.  I was proud of myself, but I know I have another step.

But yeah, you know, I totally feel like I belong, and I’m just so excited for the next match.


1. I loved this fun piece about the Wimbledon hair salon. Great behind-the-scenes info.

The breaking news from the official Championships Hairdresser is that Novak Djokovic has so far booked in three times for the teeniest weeniest trim at the on-site salon. According to stylist Suzanne Strong, when he is careful to keep his hair ‘just so’ it means he feels he’s on a winning streak.

“We know him well in the salon because we’ve cut his hair since he was a junior,” says Suzanne, who has been coiffing the players at Wimbledon for 32 years. “He’s been in every three days so far for a tiny bit off. He’s very chatty, a lovely guy. On the first day in he shook everyone’s hands and asked us all individually how our year has been. He’s a gentleman.”

2. I enjoyed Matt Zemek’s look at the women’s semis, and his take on the final tomorrow:

When Bouchard and Kvitova meet on Saturday, then, you will see a personification of patient tennis from Canada and, across the net, a power merchant from the Czech Republic. Bouchard has turned persistence and pluck into a history-making result for Canadian tennis and all of Canadian sport — surprisingly, on a surface that shouldn’t reward her game as much. Kvitova is a player who does not hold up well in the searing heat of the Australian Open; the slow conditions at Roland Garros; or the smoggy conditions of New York City which cause her allergies to act up. On grass, though, in the quiet of the Wimbledon village, Kvitova is a certified grassmaster, the certification being that she’s won Wimbledon before.

On Saturday, the match will be on Kvitova’s racquet, the hammer of Centre Court. Can that hammer put a dent in Bouchard’s slow-court steel and a very different way of approaching tennis?

3. Great take on Djokovic by Tom Perrotta over at the Wall Street Journal

Maybe Novak Djokovic was too good for his own good in 2011.

He won 70 matches that year and lost six. He won his first 41 matches of the year and eventually captured 10 titles, three at Grand Slams. Few tennis players have put together a better season, and Djokovic has tried to live up to his near-perfect year ever since. It’s stressing him out.

“I set up high standards for myself,” said Djokovic, who last won a Grand Slam title at the 2013 Australian Open. “Not winning a title…this is something that I want to undo.”

4. Oh, did you come here looking for some sort of original analysis? YOU GUYS I’M TIRED.

Okay, I can power through. I love this.

Honestly, the men’s semis today were underwhelming. I know I’ve sounded like a sourpuss this Wimbledon with my complaints, but for some reason everything except Venus/Petra, Kerber/Sharapova, and Kyrgios and Dimitrov in the quarters has really left me wanting.

Perhaps I’m just worn out, or aggressively frustrated that interest in the World Cup and a lack of fireworks at Wimbledon this year has made my freelance work slow over the past two weeks. Both are possible and likely very true. But also, not every major can be a one for the ages.

The men’s semis were true to form. Djokovic/Dimitrov had a little bit of excitement, but the agonizing stretches of abysmal play made it hard to truly appreciate. I became so frustrated with their footwork–don’t they realize there’s a reason most people don’t slide on grass?! PICK UP YOUR FEET.



Federer/Raonic had really nothing to savor unless you’re a Federer fan. I’m trying to stay positive about Raonic/Dimitrov–they have learned to talk the talk and believe in themselves, and they’re getting closer to the top. A lot of players have terrible showings in their first major semifinals and go on to improve, so I hope that’s going to be the case with both of them.

I must admit that a Djokovic/Federer final is pretty tasty. It’s really strange how it feels like two such decorated champions really *need* this win. That’s not something I usually say about either of them, because usually it’s pretty crap. I’m just not that invested in the rich getting richer.

However, Djokovic’s consistency and place at the top is hanging by a thread, and I’m not sure his confidence can take another hit right now. He’s too sensitive. And, for Federer, I mean, time is officially running out. That is not me being a H8ER, it’s just the truth. He could be in contention for a Slam or three again, but that’s far from a given at this stage in his career.

So, all things considered, Sunday could be a lot of fun. Let’s end this Slam on a high note.

5. I just remembered this from last year and cracked up again. Oh, come on, Fed fans. He’s back in the final. You can laugh now, it’s okay.

6. I’M SO EXCITED FOR THE WOMEN’S FINAL I CAN’T CONTROL MYSELF. I really think this is going to be a fun one. No pre-analysis. No predictions. Just excitement. Let’s do this, ladies.

7. Random tweets I favorited:

One Response

  1. A-phat
    A-phat July 5, 2014 at 1:00 am |

    You hate the Fed so much you do. Stop all that hate. Appreci-8. Or…apprec18. Get its?

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