Things We Learned on Day Three of Wimbledon


1. The injuries today were insane. A partial list of the casualties: Victoria Azarenka, Caroline Wozniacki, Maria Sharapova, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Yaroslava Shvedova, Marin Cilic, John Isner, Radek Stepanek, and Steve Darcis.

It was so bad that Wimbledon issued a statement about their court conditions, given all the players who slipped and fell:

“There has been a high number of withdrawals at The Championships today and we sympathise with all the players affected. The withdrawals have occurred for a variety of reasons, but there has been some suggestion that the court surface is to blame. We have no reason to think this is the case. Indeed, many players have complimented us on the very good condition of the courts.

“The court preparation has been to exactly the same meticulous standard as in previous years and it is well known that grass surfaces tend to be more lush at the start of an event. The factual evidence, which is independently checked, is that the courts are almost identical to last year, as dry and firm as they should be, and we expect them to continue to play to their usual high quality.”

2. This made me laugh out loud:

3. Also hilarious:

Who on earth would’ve predicted that lineup in a quarter containing Rafa and Roger? Unreal.

4. And this is awkward, in retrospect:

5. I haven’t gotten a chance to process the crazy Federer loss to Stakhovsky yet (I haven’t seen most of the match, or much of the crazy tennis from today because of work), but this is an incredible opportunity for the players left standing in that quarter. It’s also a huge opportunity for Andy Murray, who in theory should have a clear path to reach the final. I’d really like his chances in a grass final against Djokovic.

6. I’ll just let this speak for itself:

7. One match I did get to see was Lleyton Hewitt vs. Dustin Brown. And what a match it was. Brown played like a man possessed. Brown rattled off an astonishing 74 winners in four sets (Hewitt hit 42), and just 22 unforced errors, which is impressive even though Wimbledon is generous in the counting of this particular stat. Brown came up to the net 87(!) times, and displayed incredible volleying skills through the match. There was really nothing Hewitt could do against an opponent playing that well.

Also, as a big hockey fan, I always get really confused whenever I see the name Dustin Brown.

Juan José

1. Crazy things happen when I have soda for breakfast. I got up at 5:30 a.m. today, and it was still dark in Houston. I wasn’t hungry, which is not surprising. Then, around 7:00, when it hit me that I would have to start the LiveAnalysis post for Tsonga-Gulbis (you can read all about that match here), I realized I needed some fuel. What did I have? A soda. Not my usual healthy-looking granola with milk: I opened a can of soda. This is what Grand Slams do to you.

2. Jerzy Janowicz looked phenomenal today. Every aspect of his game seemed perfectly suited for the Wimbledon grass. And now with Federer out, he has an incredible chance to go as far as the semifinals. Of course, he first has to get over Nicolás Almagro, who already beat Janowicz this year in Australia. But what I saw today convinced me that one day (don’t ask me when), Jerzy Janowicz will lift the Wimbledon singles trophy. Make of that what you will.

3. Only the first week of Grand Slams can alter your sense of reality in such a strange way. I saw so much tennis today. So very much. I remember seeing Mónica Puig plow her way into the third round. I remember seeing Michelle Larcher de Brito pull off a seismic upset over Maria Sharapova. I saw Garbiñe Muguruza’s season end on a whimper against Makarova (Garbiñe is set to have season-ending ankle surgery after Wimbledon). I remember many people retiring during matches, and many others withdrawing before they even hit the court. Speaking of the injuries …

4. As much as people might want to find fault with this year’s Wimbledon grass, the problem lies elsewhere. As we know, the tennis world operates in a very unique dysfunctional way: the four biggest tournaments are independent entities that generally couldn’t care less about the rest of the year (or each other, really). The tour tries to put together events around these four Majors, and we all try to make sense of the endless tennis season we go through every year.

One significant part of this dysfunction is the fact that Wimbledon, played on grass, remains as the center of the tennis universe. Yet there’s no grass season surrounding it.

On the men’s tour, there’s not even an ATP 500 played on grass at the moment (the women at least have a Premier event in Eastbourne). It’s vox populi that the main reason we don’t have that many grass events are purely financial: it costs a ton to maintain grass courts. Thus, we went from having three out of the four majors played on grass to just the one. What’s been interesting is that Wimbledon has traditionally not cared about two very crucial things: 1) not having a significant grass court season before it and 2) its proximity to the French Open, which as we know, is played on clay (and does have a substantial clay season around it).

Wimbledon now finds itself in a complicated situation. As it’s evolved into a baseline event (a transformation they had a very crucial role in, by the way), it’s had to counter the wear and tear around the baselines by modifying the ability of shoes to get a firmer grip. Today one of the match commentators somewhere mentioned that in the past people would play with the equivalent of long metal spikes. Nowadays, grass court shoes have only the slightest little cleats on their soles to provide grip on the slick surface. The reason? Longer spikes would damage the court, since so much more running is done these days.

Hence, by limiting the damage to the courts, Wimbledon has effectively increased the risk on the players themselves, who have only two weeks to adapt to these conditions (in 2015 it will be three, though).

But here’s the thing: I fully believe the pros can adapt to the conditions. They just need more time to practice on it. So, what if Wimbledon, Roland Garros, the ATP and the WTA figure out a way to make that happen? There has to be a solution, or a set of them. The sport needs to adapt to the realities of the game these days. Otherwise, we risk having more injury-riddled days like what we saw today. And nobody wins from this kind of thing.

5. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga should be fined for the 15-30 point at 5-3 in the second set. He played the last ball as if it were an exhibition, bunting a simple put-away volley straight at Gulbis. Let there be no doubt: that was purely intentional. Kudos to Gulbis for not partaking in the fiasco, and firing a passing shot winner to take the point, and moments later, the set.

6. What a performance, Sergiy Stakhovsky. What a performance.


1. I … don’t even know where to start. What in the world just happened? Where am I? Who am I?

2. I wrote some things about Sharapova here, back when I thought that was going to be the story of the day.

(Sidenote: Today was hysterical. I was slated to write a BR column, and I was supposed to write about the British curse at Wimbledon, whether it existed, and whether this was the year it ended. By the time I sat down to write about that, I was sent a message to write about the dress code, after the debacle with Federer’s shoes. Then we changed to a piece about Wozniacki, but then we decided that it should just be about all the injuries and upsets and upsets of the day. Then when Sharapova lost, we figured that HAD to be the biggest story of the day, so I got well into that column when things in the Federer match were clearly getting interesting. I have a huge non-tennis deadline tomorrow, so didn’t have time to write a column on that, so had to settle for the Sharapova piece I was already nearly done with. But man, what a weird day to be covering tennis, even on the small scale that I am!)

Anyway, back to Sharapova. She’ll come back from this, but it was really alarming–once again–how she didn’t have a Plan B and couldn’t find her way out a match that wasn’t going her way. The only time all year she has lost to a player other than Serena Williams has been at the Australian Open and today. Bizarre.

3. Today, I remembered why I used to be a big fan of Sergiy Stakhovsky. Gosh, is he a lot of fun to watch. He was simply a better and more fearless player on the big points, and as shocking and unsettling as the whole thing was, he really did earn that victory with his great serve-and-volley play and flawless serving.

Despite our differences in politics and views on society, he is an interesting and thoughtful guy and I was happy for him to get a victory like this in his career.

As for Federer, he’s not over, so stop saying that. But as I wrote at the French Open, he is going to have more bad days as he gets older. That happened today. It also proved how great he was the past decade, finding the extra gear to get through even his bad days.

Federer’s going to be No. 5 now, which is pretty weird. He’s human, which is also weird. But today is about how well Stakhovsky played. Federer could have beaten a lot of players today.

4. I am just gutted for John Isner. GUTTED. GuttedguttedguttedguttedGUTTED.

5. This might merit a post of it’s own, but I’m going to put it here for now. I know that Azarenka has been treated terribly by the media before, but the tweets I was alerted to and woke up to this morning were still shocking. Bruce Jenkins, who has taken unnecessary and sexist digs on Azarenka before, tweeted some ridiculous things yesterday. (I didn’t even know he was on Twitter. I wish that were still the case.)

And then there was this:


6. On any other first Wednesday of a Grand Slam, Dustin Brown is the biggest story of the day by far. What a result from him. Fabulous.

7. That is how you do it, Sloane Stephens. She had easy draws in Australia and Paris, but you can’t say that about Jamie Hampton/Andrea Petkovic double in the first two rounds. As sad as I was for Petko, it was great to see positive signs from Sloane again.

Also, Petko is awesome. Duh.

8. Seven former No. 1s were scheduled today. Zero won. (Azarenka, Sharapova, Jankovic, Ivanovic, Federer, Hewitt, Wozniacki)

Thanks to @bobbychin for helping me realize this.

12 Responses

  1. Donelle
    Donelle June 26, 2013 at 7:45 pm |

    Hi Lindsay, I think you forgot that Wozniacki was also a former no. 1 who lost today. I know I tend to do that too lol but just a heads up! 🙂

    1. Juan José
      Juan José June 26, 2013 at 7:48 pm |

      Thanks for that, Donelle – it’s fixed now!

  2. RZ
    RZ June 26, 2013 at 7:48 pm |

    It was actually 7 former #1s (Wozniacki is missing from that list). Good thing Andy Murray has capped out at #2 so far.

  3. SaraPi
    SaraPi June 26, 2013 at 8:03 pm |

    “Nowadays, grass court shoes have only the slightest little cleats on their soles to provide grip on the slick surface. The reason? Longer spikes would damage the court, since so much more running is done these days.”

    I’m not sure if I got this straight. Are the old fashioned shoes banned altogether? If a player showed up with longer-spiked tennis shoes would s/he be forced to change?

  4. SholznBowlz
    SholznBowlz June 26, 2013 at 8:23 pm |

    You forgot Wozniacki, but it’s easy to miss that little detail with how much went on today.

  5. Siti
    Siti June 26, 2013 at 8:44 pm |

    The rest of the day aside (Stakhovskhy/Federer!! Hewitt/Brown!!) I am also seriously gutted for John Isner. So sad when he had to withdraw 🙁

  6. Ophelia
    Ophelia June 26, 2013 at 9:12 pm |

    I’m surprised that none of you commented on how Andy Murray was the sole high-profile survivor of the carnage and how he looked very good today against a not half-bad Lu. Good enough to win Wimbledon, in fact, especially with his draw having parted like the Red Sea for him.

  7. Lara
    Lara June 26, 2013 at 11:49 pm |

    I learned that Chris Evert needs a grammar lesson

  8. equalworkequalpay
    equalworkequalpay June 27, 2013 at 8:08 am |

    The Wimbledon tune-up season isn’t extended until 2015.

  9. Jo
    Jo June 27, 2013 at 9:17 am |

    Isn’t it 2015 that they get the extra week after French Open?

  10. Master Ace
    Master Ace June 27, 2013 at 12:20 pm |

    Look like Stephens is going to do her best work in Slams and struggle on the WTA tour events.

  11. Tennisfan
    Tennisfan June 28, 2013 at 3:17 am |

    Wimbledon is going to lost a tonne of money now that majority of the top players who bring in revenue are out. Murray, Djokovic and Williams basically the only ones that bring in the ratings and what not. Apparently, Wimbledon was extra fast this year. I guarantee this is going to scare other tournament organisers, especially US Open and the courts are gonna be slowed down a tonne unfortunately. Didn’t see Fed’s streak ending here but credit to his opponent-but I think he zoned in on Roger. Doubt he plays another match in his life like that but would be cool if he kept it going.

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