Things We Learned on Day Four of Wimbledon


1. Milos Raonic: probably not a good sleeper pick to win Wimbledon anytime soon. Also, called it (I have to brag about these things because I’m so frequently wrong):

2. Bernard Tomic’s win over James Blake today was a solid display of the kind of confident tennis we saw from Tomic earlier this year when he won his first career ATP title in Sydney. He was serving great, hitting with pace when he needed to, and threatening in most of Blake’s service games. He seemed to revel in the crowd support from the Australian fans. When Tomic plays with mental focus, he can challenge almost anyone. The problem is that he seems to struggle to keep that focus far more often than he should. It’s been a rough stretch for him on and off the court, but I hope to see more of that style of tennis from him this year.

Also, this column from Nick Bollettieri on Tomic is a great read:

I call him the sleeping giant. He looks dozy and you never quite know what to expect but then – wham! – his opponent is lulled and Tomic bites him on the a***. I love watching this guy. He can fool you into thinking there is nothing there but he has everything, the serve, the groundies. And his movement – this is classic Tomic. You think he is a slow mover and all of a sudden, whoosh, he’s there.

If he can sort out what is going on off the court he can fly high, touch the stars. He is no longer the new kid on the block, he has been a pro since 2008, but is still only 20. According to the ages now he still has three, four years to mature. I just hope whatever is taking place off the court, his private life, including his support team, comes together. He has all the ability not just to be a good player, top 20 say, but to be a top player on the tour, single figures and counting.

3. Look at Sam Stosur, winning matches on grass. This third round appearance is just her second venture into that round of Wimbledon, and matches her career-best performance from 2009.

4. Why?

5. According to ESPN, Wayne Odesnik may have been linked to a group of athletes receiving PEDs. I’m interested to see what (if anything) the ITF will do about these revelations, if true:

Before he played his first-round match at Wimbledon this week, Odesnik denied having anything to do with the anti-aging clinic’s beleaguered owner, Tony Bosch. The Miami New Times had published images of documents that listed “Wayne Odesnik” when it broke the Biogenesis story earlier this year. As he flatly told reporters, “I don’t have any connection. Any other questions you can ask my lawyer.”

But a source close to the Florida state government investigation of Bosch told that ex-employees of Biogenesis have positively linked Odesnik to a broader group of athletes who received performance-enhancing drugs and masking agents.

“For him to say what he said is nonsense,” this source said.

6. A third round Jerzy Janowicz vs. Nicolas Almagro collision is scheduled for Centre Court at Wimbledon tomorrow. This is not a drill. This could be a glimpse into the future of the ATP, post-Roger and Rafa.

7. This Scarlett Johannson reference from an interview with Roger Federer just made me laugh:

 Q: If you win, do you celebrate with a drink?

RF: Of course – and these days, it tends to be champagne. I have recently become the brand ambassador for Moët & Chandon, following in the footsteps of Scarlett Johannson, which is quite an honour. I feel part of a glamorous tradition.

Juan José:

1. Experience is a good thing. After yesterday’s mayhem (for which I woke up at 5:30 a.m. and stayed up all the way until 8 p.m.), I decided to rest up today and catch up on results later. The odds of more insanity were slim to none, and when I woke up after a nice night of sleep, I grinned after looking at a very uneventful list of results.

2. You get what you pay for. Milos Raonic hired Ivan Ljubicic to be his coach. I was skeptical of the hire at the time, given that Ljubo was notorious for underperforming at the slams, and was pretty mediocre on grass in general. Today, Canada’s hope fell to unheralded Igor Sijsling in straight sets, which is a simply abysmal result. At first I thought Milos had plateaued: now it seems like he’s regressing. Not a good sign for one of the top prospects of the next generation.

3. No one hypes a player quite like the Brits do. Given the rain and my late start to the day, I got a chance to catch up with Jerzy Janowicz’ opening round match against British prospect Kyle Edmund. I wanted to see just how well Janowicz had played his opening match at Wimbledon, but I was also curious about Edmund, an 18-year-old who won a match in Eastbourne and gave Gilles Simon a tough time in the next round. The hilarious bits came before a ball was even hit, as the commentators (one of which was Jason Goodall, while I couldn’t identify the other) were talking up Edmund’s chances of an upset. Bear in mind, Edmund is ranked at No. 385 in the world, and Janowicz made the third round at Wimbledon last year. I cracked up when just as the players were set to start, the commentator who wasn’t Jason Goodall suggested Janowicz was employing some gamesmanship by tying his shoelaces before going out to start the match. Moments later, that same commentator said that Edmund reminds him of Andy Murray’s demeanor.

Janowicz went on a huge roll after the first four games, and the enthusiasm in the booth dampened significantly. I focused on Edmund, and while there are flashes of potential, he reminds me a lot of the American crop of prospects: he’s very, very green. The shots look somewhat polished, but the top level consistency and focus are far from being there. Still, after watching him play for three sets, I can’t say there’s a single part of his game that stood out. He saved a few match points, which was nice, but it was a case of delaying the inevitable. We’ll see what happens with his development, but I’m not really holding my breath here.

4. Indoor grass tennis still feels weird. Due to the rain, the famous Centre Court roof was closed for almost the entirety of Novak Djokovic’s second round match against Bobby Reynolds. I guess the biggest change is in the sound: it suddenly doesn’t sound like Wimbledon anymore. I wasn’t the only one, apparently:

Still, I’m very glad there’s a roof. In fact, I can’t wait until there are two roofs at Wimbledon; anything that lessens the amount of canceled matches is a very good thing.

5. Not sure I learned anything from seeing Grigor Dimitrov struggle against Zemlja in a five-setter today. Though I did realize that there’s a reason why Maria Sharapova’s boyfriend has only made it to the third round of a major once in his career: despite his recent run of noteworthy results, Grigor still manages to look quite ordinary for large stretches of matches. It’s far from a sure thing to venture that Dimitrov will actually overcome his much less heralded opponent when they resume their match tomorrow. Which is a sad commentary on one of the top prospects of the ATP Tour.


1. I barely got to watch any tennis today because I am on a deadline–though of course I managed to sneak a few minutes while procrastinating. It was nice to get a day to catch our breath after the insanity of yesterday, which I still haven’t processed.

It was fun to see Maria in WAG mode, Madison Keys being awesome, and Li Na pull out a crazy match. I was very impressed with both Caroline Garcia and Bobby Reynolds and the way they came out onto Centre Court for their respective matches with confidence, even though they were well out-matched.

Matches I cannot wait for: Aga/Keys and Gasquet/Tomic.

2. Poor Benny:

3. Milos is really, really bad on grass, and I don’t see him getting any better. He’s scared of it after his fall, and there just isn’t enough time for him to spend on it to get any better. He seemed to be moving in the right direction at the Olympics, but this grass season was a free-fall backwards.

4. I heard back from someone associated with the Slamtracker, and found out that the reason that the head-to-head information is not available on the tracker is because of data rights. The ATP and WTA own that data and don’t provide it to the Grand Slams. Sigh.

Also, Erik Gudris has some great information on the positive sentiment stat.

5. I miss Bepa. Remember that time she made the Wimbledon final? That was awesome.

3 Responses

  1. Joshua
    Joshua June 28, 2013 at 4:01 am |

    I love Serena’s list of conditions under which she would consent to play Andy: “I get [the doubles] alleys. He gets no serves. I get alleys on my serves, too. He gets no legs.”

  2. racquet
    racquet June 28, 2013 at 7:45 am |

    4. Why?

    Nobody is trying to start a battle of the sexes. It was a lighthearted comment from a Murray fan about Serena being able to beat Andy on grass during a Q & A. I think they should avoid it at all costs because the result will fuel the already prevalent sexist attitudes towards WTA players.

    However, I’m all for a lighthearted charity match. Maybe Andy/Serena vs Nole/Maria – now THAT I’d pay to see!

  3. Matt (secondservehack)
    Matt (secondservehack) June 28, 2013 at 4:39 pm |

    That Federer quote is the best thing ever. It sounds straight out of Pseudofed. The only thing missing is him calling her Scarlett O’Hara.

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