Concrete Elbow by Steve Tignor - Looking Toward London
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Looking Toward London 06/18/2010 - 12:24 PM

Sw You can feel it, right? The tension, the gravity, the anticipation: Wimbledon is the one again. Thirty, 20, maybe even 10 years ago, you probably wouldn't have felt that way. Despite the reverence that the best players maintained for the event, All England’s patchy, outdated surface made it feel a little like a one-off, a prestigious sideshow, rather than the unofficial world championship that it had been for most of the sport’s history.

What a difference a new brand of grass can make. Now that the bounces are truer, the lawns stay greener, and even the dirtiest of dirtballers can succeed there, Wimbledon represents the peak of the season again. The U.S. Open, which through the 80s and 90s had become the truer gauge of the sport’s pecking order, now feels like it arrives a little late to the pro tennis party. The players—Federer, Nadal, Sharapova, the Williamses—revere Wimbledon more than ever.

So the cream rises to the occasion. On the women’s side, the WTA’s two best athletes, and sisters, have played the last two finals and won the last three titles. The same has been true on the men’s side, where Federer and Nadal have played each other in three of the last four finals. Rumors of their demises aside, those two men come into this event reigning as supremely as ever. They’ve split the first two majors of 2010 and traded the No. 1 and 2 rankings. Will the tiebreaker happen on Centre Court? It couldn’t come in a better spot. London is calling.


The Women

First Quarter

Maria Sharapova, the 16th seed and 2004 champion, who is starting to resemble her former self, is the perfect sleeper pick on the women’s side. And I would pick her to win the whole thing, if I knew she wouldn’t have to face one of the Williamses along the way. Unfortunately for her, she’s got Serena in the round of 16. Or is that fortunate for her? If you’re going to play one of the sisters at Wimbledon, you might as well do it early.

Is there a chance that Serena might not get to Maria? There are good players in her vicinity. She has Larcher de Brito, a solid hitter beneath the shrieks, in the first round, and, potentially, Andrea Petkovic in the second. Post Sharapova, Serena might see Li Na, Svetlana Kuznetsova, or Wimbledon adept Aggie Radwanska in the quarters. The Williams sisters will lose a step one of these days, but I’m not going to predict that it will happen in the next two weeks.

Semifinalist: Serena Williams


Second Quarter

Sam Stosur, Caroline Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka, Zheng Jie: Those are the four names that stick out here. Is Stosur due for a letdown? Well, yeah. The player most likely to take advantage of it on grass is former semifinalist Zheng, who loves this stuff. On the other side, Wozniacki and Azarenka are scheduled to play in the round of 16. They’ve both played a lot of tennis this year and have already been through their share of ups and downs. Azarenka, after a total flame out in Paris, is suddenly back on the upswing; she beat Kim Clijsters this week. In other words, this is an anything can happen area of the draw, ripe for a surprise.

First-round match to watch: Azarenka vs. a returning Mirjana Lucic

Semifinalist: Zheng


Third Quarter

While Wimbledon in its seemingly infinite wisdom reserves the right to tweak the seedings the way they see fit, they didn’t do anything significant on the women’s side this year. Which means that Justine Henin, the 17th seed, might face Clijsters, the 8th seed, in the round of 16—good for fans, not so good for the two of them. But there’s more to this section than the Belgians. Jelena Jankovic opens against Laura Robson, Yanina Wickmayer gets a chance to avenge a loss to American teenager Alison Riske, Nadia Petrova will try to bring her Williams-beating form across the channel, and Melanie Oudin will attempt to defend her fourth-round run here from last year. Lots to watch, and a tough section to predict. How will Henin bounce back after her backhand breakdown in Paris? How will Kim be playing after her layoff? Can a steady Jankovic sneak under the radar, the way she did at the French? It will be tough. She has Zvonareva, Wickmayer, Alona Bondarenko, and the woman who beat her last year, Oudin, on her side. I'll take Henin over Clijsters (it's a Slam, after all), and over the rest as well.

Semifinalist: Henin


Fourth Quarter

Who is this we see at the top of a quarter? Francesca Schiavone? Talk about being ripe for a letdown. She made the quarters here last year, but she’s lost her only match since her Parisian miracle, in Eastbourne. Another quarterfinal appearance would be accomplishment enough, considering that she’ll likely have to play Venus Williams if she does make it there. Can Venus do what she always does? Survive an early-round scare and elevate her game once she’s settled into Centre Court during the second week? Safina, Kleybanova, Szavay, Kudryavtseva, Peer, Ivanovic will be the women Venus will probably face to do it. It’s going to be tough to take this tournament from Venus and Serena, isn’t it?

First-round match to watch: Peer vs. Ivanovic

Semifinalist: Venus Williams


Semifinals: S. Williams d. Zheng; V. Williams d. Henin

Final: S. Williams d. V. Williams


RnThe Men

First Quarter

Roger Federer couldn’t have asked for too much more coming to Wimbledon. He’s been made the first seed, and he’s got a draw that he has to like. The next-highest seed is Davydenko, who's coming back from a long layoff and has never done much at Wimbledon. The closest seeds to Federer are Robredo, Lopez, and Melzer. The one threat he faces in this section, at least on paper, is Berdych, whom he wouldn’t get until the quarters. Is there a sleeper in the house? Feliciano Lopez, perhaps? He beat Nadal at Queens. Janko Tipsarevic, perhaps? Two years ago, he beat Roddick here and almost beat Federer in Melbourne. They could see each other again in the fourth round. All in all, it’s hard not to see a new semifinal streak beginning in a couple of weeks.

Semifinalist: Federer


Second Quarter

Andy Roddick also can’t be too displeased with his treatment thus far in London. He was bumped up to the No. 5 seed, and has landed in the same quarter as Novak Djokovic, a man he has beaten on several occasions. If there’s an early fly in Roddick's ointment, it could come in the form of Philipp Kohlschreiber, the German shot-maker who took him out in Melbourne a couple of years ago, and who is not averse to grass. Roddick might face him in the third round. After that, he could get Marin Cilic, who beat Andy in Melbourne but hasn’t done a whole lot since.

As for Djokovic, he has a few small minefields to avoid. Olivier Rochus in the first round, Taylor Dent in the second. Lleyton Hewitt or Gael Monfils in the round of 16. Hewitt, in particular, is a threat for the semis, and—maybe, who knows, why not—beyond. The 2002 champ likes Wimbledon, obviously, and he just beat Federer for the first time in 16 matches. He must be feeling good. If he gets to Roddick, we should get another special match from them.

Semifinalist: Hewitt


Third Quarter

United Kingdom, here is your chance. Andy Murray has a lot going for him in this draw. He's on the opposite side of Federer. He can ease into the tournament; Gilles Simon is the first seed he would face, and either Sam Querrey or JC Ferrero are the biggest threats to him before the quarters. And on the other side, the top two seeds are Verdasco and Tsonga, neither of whom are very good at the majors.

True, Murray hasn’t been playing well, and in his current form it’s conceivable that he could lose an early shocker. But last year he was buoyed by the energy of the crowds at Wimbledon, until the semis, when the prospect of a final with Federer, in front of the Queen, got to him just enough to let the other Andy through the door. The Queen is coming early this time. We’ll see if Murray notices.

Semifinalist: Murray


Fourth Quarter

Moving from first seed to second supposedly has no effect on the draw, but don’t tell that to Nadal right now. The heavyweights have sunk to the bottom with him. To reach the semis, he may have to go through Blake (who has beaten him three times), Gulbis (who has been injured but took a set from him on clay in Rome), Isner (who took a set from him in Indian Wells), Youzhny, not his favorite opponent, and Soderling—we know all about their history. Is Nadal up to that task? Is he in 2008-type form, where no one really bothered him until the third set of the final? No, he’s not playing like that; he may never play like that again.

But who is going to beat him? Isner may not be fast enough. Gulbis has trouble sustaining for three sets. And Soderling is still not a sure thing on any given day, even though I do like his draw. A Rafa-Sod quarter could be another nasty little classic.

Semifinalist: Nadal

Semifinals: Hewitt d. Federer; Nadal d. Murray

Final: Nadal d. Hewitt


I won't be at Wimbledon this time, but we've got Tom Perrotta heading over tomorrow. Look for his stuff starting this weekend, and for Pete Bodo later in the tournament. I'm all over the TV report from the couch. There are worse fates than Wimbledon in HD.

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Posted by Matt Zemek 06/18/2010 at 12:38 PM


I love the cojones! Hewitt d. Fed in the semis.

The Au(s)-Dacity of HOPE!

Before you get some haterade from my fellow Fed fans, Steve, I just have to admire the guts there. You're bucking a safe pick, and Hewitt has just enough spunk and street cred to make it seem bold.


Posted by Sarmad 06/18/2010 at 12:39 PM


Posted by ehm 06/18/2010 at 12:42 PM


Posted by adam 06/18/2010 at 12:43 PM

semis: roddick d. federer, soderling d. querrey
final: roddick d. soderling

Posted by Ryan 06/18/2010 at 12:44 PM

Steve...the Hewitt pick seems...disingenuous. You really like him over Fed in best-of-five? I guess Fed is the easy pick, but...

I don't see Hewitt getting to the semis.

Posted by daryl 06/18/2010 at 12:45 PM

Steve, you keep saying "Henin bounce back after her backhand breakdown in Paris". Yet you have never once mentioned maybe the fact that she had to play 5 days in a row might have had something to do with that. Didn't she beat Sam 6-1 in the third set right before the French. Could you give me the list of other players who played that many days in a row.

Posted by mayer 06/18/2010 at 12:45 PM

Hmmmm, I wasn't able to watch Queens, so I haven't seen him on grass, but I thought Rafa at the French was just a shade below his 2008 form. Hard to see him getting beat in five set matches by any of the guys in his side of the draw. But anyone can have an off day, and anyone can have an on day, so you just never know.

Posted by skip1515 06/18/2010 at 12:46 PM

Phoney Federmania has bitten the dust? Hewitt, twice in two tourneys? Brave boy.

Yes, as far as the rankings of tournaments is concerned, Wimbledon is top of the dial. Come Monday the war is declared and battle come down.

Posted by Chamath 06/18/2010 at 12:47 PM

Hewitt d. Federer: seems unlikely and more importantly, does Fed's anomalous loss to Hewitt in Halle necessarily justify such a grand and audacious prediction.. Steve just admit it, this ones just for fun right??

Posted by Ryan 06/18/2010 at 12:52 PM

Maybe Skip Bayless did Steve's picks this time.

And he added, "I just don't think LeBron James is that good!!"

Posted by Calvy 06/18/2010 at 12:56 PM

Daryl, you mention Henin played 5 days in consecutive days in Paris. It's not as if she played a 2 or 3 set match each day. Truth be told, the WS' were playing doubles on days off and on days of singles and Venus made the fourth rd and Serena the quarters. No excuses, a loss is a loss.

Posted by Eugene. 06/18/2010 at 12:59 PM

keeping in mind Steve's success history as GS weatherman, I may sleep well.
Final: Fed vs LeSod.
LeSod in four.
Fed will take second set and lead tiebreak in the third 6:2.
The fourth will be finished by LeSod with DelPo-at-USOpen style.
What a heart breaker !

(weeps softly)

Posted by Or 06/18/2010 at 01:00 PM

Hewitt defeat Roger? Best of five, semis at Wimby.

Ah, one miracle after 15 matches isn't a final in the make, Steve.

Posted by Taco Bell 06/18/2010 at 01:06 PM

I think Steve has finally started to believe that his pick is doomed...and hence he picks Hewitt over Fed...aha.

Posted by Frances 06/18/2010 at 01:07 PM

Steve maybe the NADAL 2008 will come out since esp you called it out!!! Regardless of a tough draw... i am really having a good vibe so VAMOS!!!!

Posted by Frances 06/18/2010 at 01:09 PM

I can't pick hewitt however.. we never know!

Posted by Bobby 06/18/2010 at 01:13 PM

Wimbledon is beautiful in high def. Especially now that I finally have a TV big enough that I can see the ball. :)

Posted by CPM 06/18/2010 at 01:17 PM

Steve: I'm with the Zemek; kudos on the boldness. But that ain't nothing compared to my picks --

Berdych d. Djokovic
Gulbis d. Verdasco


I just blew ya'll's mind, didn't I?

Posted by Giovana 06/18/2010 at 01:18 PM



Posted by Frances 06/18/2010 at 01:20 PM

I do think roddick will go deep

Posted by CPM 06/18/2010 at 01:22 PM

OK, slightly more serious picks:

Roddick d. Federer -- yeah, I said it
Nadal d. Querrey

Nadal d. Roddick -- yeah, I said that, too.

And boom goes the dynamite.

Posted by Alex 06/18/2010 at 01:23 PM

Steve, I'm not going to bemoan your pick of Hewitt making the semis. But Federer is 8-0 lifetime against Hewitt in grand slams, including 3-0 at Wimbledon. Virtually no way Hewitt wins that match. A win at Halle means little by the time Wimbledon rolls around.

Posted by cathy 06/18/2010 at 01:26 PM

please - Fed all the way.
Hewitt will NOT beat Fed over 5 sets.
I suppose I should be happy you didn't choose Fed - but then again - do you EVER choose him ??

Posted by adman 06/18/2010 at 01:32 PM

the roddick vs sod pick for the final is the worst I have ever heard of. I like the guts on the nadal vs hewitt pick, but you have to be kidding me. Hewitt is easily going to let down. He already peaked winning Halle. He is going to blast through his early matches not losing a set and everybody will hype him up, and he will lose in the quaters or semis. No way will he beat A-Rod and federer. Murray got the luckiest draw of his life!

Posted by CPM 06/18/2010 at 01:33 PM

Looks like Tignor last picked Federer to win at Wimbledon here last year. Since then, he's picked Murray at the USO, Djokovic at the AO & Nadal at the French. So he's 50/50 at the last four. Who among us has done better?

Posted by Kombo 06/18/2010 at 01:38 PM

Roddick is in a similar spot to Fed prior to the FO, playing blah and looking to pick his game up when it matters most. I don't think he'll make it to the semi-finals. I don't expect Gulbis to do well, he's coming off a hamstring injury and grass is tough on the glutes and hamstrings. Hewitt may not make it to Federer and I doubt he can beat him in a best of 5 with a lot on the line, Fed will find a way. Rafa may not be in good shape if he makes it to the semis. He can win playing okay, but his body will have to pick up the slack and 'unforeseen' things may happen.

I think we're in for a very competitive tournament and the favorites will have to survive some tough matches to play up to their seeding.

Posted by Stewart 06/18/2010 at 01:43 PM

Murray has by far the best draw. Pissed Roddick is on Fed's side, but really I'm more worried about Roddick's recent form dip since the spring.

Even more furious with Justine and Kim being stuck in the same quarter AGAIN, just like Melbourne. I'd bet on Kim but for her tendency to collapse on a dime. However, much too much was made about Henin's loss to Stosur, was hardly a collapse by Justine, Stosur was just playing too well.

Go Soderling!!

Posted by Master Ace 06/18/2010 at 01:46 PM

Williams-Federer Classic Predictions

Q1: Fierce Queen vs Li
Q2: Azarenka vs Stosur
Q3: Henin vs Zvonareva
Q4: Schiavone vs Elegant Queen
S1: Fierce Queen vs Azarenka
S2: Henin vs Elegant Queen
F: Fierce Queen vs Elegant Queen
W: Elegant Queen

Q1: ******* vs Berdych
Q2: Hewitt vs Roddick
Q3: Tsonga vs Murray
Q4: Soderling vs Nadal
S1: ******* vs Roddick
S2: Murray vs Nadal
F: ******* vs Murray
W: *******

Posted by qt 06/18/2010 at 01:54 PM

2 weeks ago,I PREDICTED this:Tignor will say RF loses at SEMI and Venus loses at Final.Tignor is a fool...and he has a job.

Posted by Ramana 06/18/2010 at 01:56 PM

Neither Nadal (injured yet again) nor Federer (has other things on mind) will make it to the final. There is going to be someone else winning. Sam Querrey from the Golden State (my home)is whom I am betting on

Posted by london 06/18/2010 at 02:01 PM

Time for my world famous predictions of WTA Grand Slams: Wimbledon 2010 Edition

Round of 16:
Serena def. Sharapova
Radwanska def. Li
Azarenka def. Wozniacki
Stosur def. Rezai
Henin def. Clijsters
Wickmayer def. Jankovic
Bartoli def. Dushevina
Venus def. Groenefeld

Serena def. Radwanska
Azarenka def. Stosur
Henin def. Wickmayer
Venus def. Bartoli

Serena def. Azarenka
Venus def. Henin

Venus def. Serena and collect her 6th and final Wimbledon title.

Posted by Pspace 06/18/2010 at 02:02 PM

Nice picks, Steve. I have:

Q1. Federer vs Berdych
Q2. Hewitt vs Roddick
Q3. Verdasco vs Murray
Q4. Nadal vs Soderling

S1. Federer vs Hewitt
S2. Verdasco vs Soderling

F. Federer vs Soderling

Tough to win a slam F after losing one a few weeks ago. So, you'd have to go with Federer if this materializes. Who knows we may have a Berdych vs Verdasco final.

Posted by zolarafa 06/18/2010 at 02:05 PM

Thanks for the preview. I think they should just give the trophy to Federer and spare us two weeks of drama. This is the most uneven draw ever. Before SF Rafa has to face Nishikori ( first round!), Gulbis and Soderling! and Federer will meet who?.....There is no sense!

You have the wildest prediction for the final. I hope you do not jinx Rafa and he can win Wimbledon!(that would be something passing through this draw of fire!)...but Hewitt over Federer? You must be joking. Federer in Wimbledon with such an easy draw, will not let thos one slip away.

Posted by Emma 06/18/2010 at 02:06 PM

Hewitt def. Federer? Is that a real prediction or was it just picked out of a hat?

P.S. Still reeling from the Hewitt def. Federer. I mean seriously. SERIOUSLY.

Posted by Mr Rick 06/18/2010 at 02:07 PM

Wow, Steve, you are hilarious, maybe even a little insane - but I like it!!!

As much I would love to see Hewitt go deep in Wimbledon, I don't see him getting by both Roddick and Federer.

It is in fact incomprehensible for me to believe Roger won't be in the final.

However, I am also sensing Roger is not up for a lot of big battles this year; especially now that you-know-who is playing extremely well and is always waiting for him in the finals. If anyone gets by Roger, I would say Roddick. Who could definately cause Rafa some problems in the final. Or maybe Berdych gets through somehow to the finals, which I would also like to see.

Regarding the question about Rafa being in 2008-type form, and whether he will ever play like that again, Rafa has said he is playing DIFFERENTLY now - so he can deal better with the agressive hard court players and put less wear and tear on his body. Will he ever play like 2008? No, he has a different playing schedule - and game - which is more prone to errors - but as a result, I think he's playing better and more completely overall. Will he WIN like 2008? Yes.

Posted by CWATC 06/18/2010 at 02:10 PM

For Steve's prediction to happen, Hewitt would probably have to beat Djoker, Roddick and then Fed in a row. How likely is that?? I know he won Halle but come on . . .

For an unconventional pick for the top half, how about:

Roddick d. Berdych

OR Berdych d. Hewitt

OK Berdy was my sleeper before the draw came out. Now as a fed fan I'm frazzling . . . (too much??)

Posted by wilson75 06/18/2010 at 02:12 PM

Steve, thanks for not predicting Hewitt to beat Federer. I feel much better about Roger chances now. You may have been right about Rafa @ RG but anyone would be crazy to bet against Rafa on clay. But, as I said on the other thread, lightning doesn't strike the same place twice.

Roddick took Roger to five sets and still came up short, I very much doubt that in SF of Wimbledon, Roger is going to roll over for Hewitt, just because he beat him at Halle. Halle is not equal to Wimbledon. Best of 5 you still have to go with Roger. But I guess it fashionable to go against Roger these days.

Posted by Fern 06/18/2010 at 02:19 PM

So RAndy only got through to the final last year because MAdndy was nervous about playing Fed in the final and the prospect of playing in front of the Queen?! Not at all sure the Queen was planning to attend last year, aside from the fact that Roddick had a game plan which he executed brilliantly and outplayed Murray.

Posted by CPM 06/18/2010 at 02:20 PM

More serious still thoughts on the draw:

Despite Murray having the easiest draw of the top four seeds by a long shot, I really don't think he'll make it out of his quarter.

And Kombo's just plain correct about Roddick: he came into Wimby last year on the back of one of his best clay court campaigns, and lost at Queens only because of a minor ankle tweek. He likely doesn't have the matches in the muscles to play his best tennis. Hewitt will probably emerge victorious from the nominally-Nole quarter, and get wtfpwned by Roger (who will be coming off a won-by-the-smallest of margins victory over Berdych, who will have wasted ample opportunities to win before playing the fifth like he's on ambien).

I think Rafa's tricky-but-ultimately-insufficient competition in the early rounds is going to serve him very well, and force him to find his game early. By the time he gets to Soderling, it'll be another quick & clean kill; he'll have a let down against whoever comes out of the Muzz quarter, but still make it through in 4, and Fedal Vol. MMDVIX (give or take) will fall Rafa's way in 4 sets, two of which will actually be worth watching.

Posted by Gagi 06/18/2010 at 02:23 PM

Tipsarevic will be a dark hourse on Wimbledon, I am sure that he will beat Federer in the 4th round

Posted by M.J. 06/18/2010 at 02:23 PM

OMG, I'm not one for going on a rant, BUT what is that Bill Gray person (senior editor) smoking on for his women's pick for Wimbledon??? Or is he just old and senile? He picked Stosur to take out Serena in the Semis and Venus in the final of WIMBLEDON! Does he not remember how dominant they are at that tournament, especially when on opposite sides of the draw? Also, did he forget that Stosur's never done well at Wimbledon? He says "the Williams sisters have looked strangely vunerable this season." Uh, hello, Serena won the AO and both she and Venus made it to the 2nd week of the French.

Posted by Vicfectious 06/18/2010 at 02:33 PM

You obviously has the feel for William sisters, but we'll see! I totally don't agree for William sisters to meet on the final. I bet Sharapova will beat Serena and Justine will beat Venus. My prediction: Henin will defeat Sharapova in three sets. For fans around the world, it's more exciting to see Henin and Sharapova on to the finals than having Serena and Venus. TV ratings will boast up when they see Henin and Sharapova to the final.

Posted by Bhai Mirzai 06/18/2010 at 02:34 PM

I remember that before the 2007 AO Roddick beat Federer at kooyong (sp?) and declared that he was getting closer to Federer. What happended at the AO could be described as masscare. No way Hewitt beats Federer in a Wimby SF.

Please remember that it took a great effort from Rafa at his best to dislodge Federer at Wimbledon at a time when Federer was not playing the TMF tennis. He is still not playing the TMF tennis, but it will still take that level of an effort to beat him.

Posted by LOL 06/18/2010 at 02:35 PM

I just laughed when I scrolled down to read the prediction would be HEWITT vs Nadal in the final.

There is more chance of Nadal not picking his butt between points than Hewitt taking 3 sets off the mighty Fed in the SF of Wimbledon.

Posted by zolarafa 06/18/2010 at 02:40 PM

Bhai Mirzai
I remember that before the 2007 AO Roddick beat Federer at kooyong (sp?) and declared that he was getting closer to Federer. What happended at the AO could be described as masscare. No way Hewitt beats Federer in a Wimby SF.

very true, except that it was a tactic by federer. Fed played two different games in Kooyong and AO and gave Roddick one of his worst defeats.

Rafa played the final in 2006 and 2007. Federer was lucky to win in 2007 and lucky not to lose in straight sets in 2008. So Rafa is a very capable contender. Of course the draw is favorable for Federer and he will perhaps arrive at the final very well-rested.

Posted by CanadianTennisGuy 06/18/2010 at 02:53 PM

"Rafa played the final in 2006 and 2007. Federer was lucky to win in 2007 and lucky not to lose in straight sets in 2008. So Rafa is a very capable contender."

Federer was lucky to win in 2007; Nadal was lucky to win in 2008. Both won the Wimbledon their opponent really should've won -- how many break point chances did Nadal have in 2007, or Federer have in 2008?

Posted by Aube,I'm happy France lost to Mexico 06/18/2010 at 02:54 PM

To my knowledge, Venus and Serena were the ones that put tennis to prime time TV in here at least at the US OPEN,therefore the idea according to which Henin and Sharapova will boost ratings and that Venus and Serena would not be watched is a little bit hard for me to swallow...but anyway,me I'm more on "the let's wait and see" side than the this or that is going to happen,no crystal ball is going to tell you who will play on Saturday the 3rd of July but I still love the fun of the predictions...

Posted by M.J. 06/18/2010 at 02:55 PM


You're dreaming if you think Serena doesn't own Sharapova. Also, Venus has beaten Justine handily both times they've played in this tournament, and Venus would eat Justine's erratic serve for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Lastly, you need to check your facts because it's commonly known that ratings are HIGHER with a Williams in the final; they were a reason for the women's final being during primetime at the US Open.

Steve, I mean really, you don't honestly believe that Hewitt mess. The sun does shine up a monkey's butt sometimes, like the other week, but not at Wimbledon.

Posted by M.J. 06/18/2010 at 02:58 PM

OMG Aube, it's so funny that both of us picked up on the same thing at the same time. lol

Posted by California Ace 06/18/2010 at 03:04 PM

Whatever happens in the tournament, I sure hope this is the last year of Wimbledon's ridiculous seeding policy. It ranks right up there with the Australian Open holding men's semis on different days as worst Grand Slam policies. If a player is ranked #1, that means he's earned it by his play. Sometimes "tradition" is just an excuse to avoid having to make important and necessary changes. Same thing goes for the "no playing on middle Sunday" policy. You would've thought they'd learned their lesson after 2007.

Posted by zolarafa 06/18/2010 at 03:04 PM

Canadian Tennis guy,
Rafa could have the 2008 win in 3 sets. he choked!

Posted by zolarafa 06/18/2010 at 03:07 PM

***Aube,I'm happy France lost to Mexico***

me too!

and I think you are right about the Williams's boosting the ratings in the US and not Henin or Sharapova. Apart from the nationality, game, etc., Henin and Sharapova have not progressed to the later rounds anyway.

Posted by Arnold Bolang 06/18/2010 at 03:10 PM

The better we see Sharapova versus Henin than Venus versus Serena. Don't you see we have more player who able to beat Williams lately! In more Williams!

And for the man...i hope Nadal will win this tournament!

Viva Sharapova and Nadal!

Posted by Aube,I'm happy France lost to Mexico 06/18/2010 at 03:31 PM

I know MJ,isn't hilarious,but hey,it's the plain truth, unless if you're blinded by I do not know what!!!

Posted by Red⁺ = Legacy Solidified 06/18/2010 at 03:33 PM

Its gonna be a Fed-Murray final.
You read here first!

Posted by Aube,I'm happy France lost to Mexico 06/18/2010 at 03:33 PM

Zolarafa,wink @ you,ever since France treatment of BERNARD TAPIE THE GREAT,I do not ever root for them any more...

Posted by TeamNadal 06/18/2010 at 03:39 PM

Vamos Rafa!

Posted by felizjulianidad 06/18/2010 at 03:43 PM


Hewitt is going to hurt his hip in the 2nd round.

Posted by TeamNadal 06/18/2010 at 03:43 PM

Fed's possible Wimby outfits revealed:

Option 1:

Option 2:

Posted by UJK 06/18/2010 at 03:47 PM

Eeyaa Steve... You wouldn't put any money on Hewitt over Federer and you know it. Obviously most everyone else does too. Simply stupid.

Posted by Christopher 06/18/2010 at 03:56 PM

Steve=Stupid predictions

Posted by Francisco Vera 06/18/2010 at 04:19 PM

Why do 'specialists in tennis' insist in 'Rafa's not playin' like 2008 and maybe never will again...' Rafa's playin' better than 2008...He's serving better, running less, has a terrific backhand, going more to the net, shortening the points... He's playing much efficient tennis, saving energies more than before...He's being more intelligent to play...He'll have a very difficult work if he's to win this year, but if there's one guy to whom really "nothing is impossible" that's Rafa, so...I'll go for Rafa over Roger in 5 sets again...

Posted by Geellis 06/18/2010 at 04:41 PM

Ok, My Turn, LOL
Those calling Soderling to beat Nadal (and you know who you are) have forgotten two important factors. First, they forgot that Nadal didn't just play his way into the final in one spectacular year 2008, a year Steve suggests he might never duplicate. But the Nadal of 2006/7 also made it to the finals. So, the question is not simply, is Nadal playing as well as he was in 2008? The question is, rather, is he playing as well as he did in '06 and '07? The answer to this last, more relevant question, must be emphatically yes.

Secondly, and perhaps more to the point, Soderling is simply insufficient athletically. Love her or hate her, Mary Carillo is fond of saying that Wimbledon rewards athletes. And on that score, can there be any question who the better athlete is between Nadal and Soderling? Given how much lower the balls will bounce at Wimby than, say, RG, Soderling actually has a better chance at beating the Spaniard in Paris than he does at Wimby. What's Soderling gonna do? Serve Nadal off the court? Not close. The Spaniard has played Dr. Ivo 3 xs on fast surfaces (grass, indoor carpet, and HC) and prevailed each time. Nadal will simply slice him to death, which will not allow Soderling to take those haymaker swings of his. And does anyone really see Soderling getting down low to the ball to get under it? And doing that successfully against Nadal? I don't. So Soderling is no real worry here.

And, looking at the draw again, I just don't see a reason for him to lose to anyone in his quarter. Soderling is the only tricky match in this qtr and you know what I think about that matchup. And his likely semi opponent is...........Murray? Not sure about that one. Murray hasn't shown much this year since the AO final so it's difficult to say who comes out of that quarter.

Posted by BC 06/18/2010 at 04:41 PM

Daryl, you mention Henin played 5 days in consecutive days in Paris. It's not as if she played a 2 or 3 set match each day. Truth be told, the WS' were playing doubles on days off and on days of singles and Venus made the fourth rd and Serena the quarters. No excuses, a loss is a loss.
Doubles are much less taxing than singles. Henin had to wait almost 12 hours on site to play her 2nd and 3rd round match. And having matches dragged on to the next day is the last thing players want.

Posted by Geellis 06/18/2010 at 04:48 PM

@Francisco Vera
Though I generally agree with your position about how Rafa is playing now v. 2008, I think there are some things the tennis writers are responding to. Rafa's movement does not seem as explosive as it did in 2008. Also his BH seems to have lost just a little sting (not much, but noticeable). However, I believe these same writers are, indeed, missing his adjusted court position, the greater length on his shots, and his overall more efficient play. Furthermore, I believe he's chasing down fewer futile balls. Meaning, he really does seem to be making smarter decisions about when to charge at 150% and when to let a ball go.

Posted by Ash 06/18/2010 at 04:49 PM

Venus has beaten Justine handily both times they've played in this tournament, and Venus would eat Justine's erratic serve for breakfast, lunch and dinner
That's when Venus was at her absolute peak and Justine was an upcomer. And did you forget how Justine eat Venus's pathetic second serve for breakfast, lunch and dinner at USO 2007?

Lastly, you need to check your facts because it's commonly known that ratings are HIGHER with a Williams in the final; they were a reason for the women's final being during primetime at the US Open.
Only in the US. And that was ages ago. People have lost interests in the brutes.

Posted by Geellis 06/18/2010 at 04:59 PM

Please, do not comment on women's tennis and, especially, do not comment on the sisters. You sound like a moron. The brutes? Seriously now. And the sisters, internationally, continue to be two of the biggest stars in sports. Not just among tennis fans, but amongst fans of sport generally. And that's where their appeal extends beyond someone like say Henin, who is known by those of us who are crazy tennis fans, but by no one beyond that hermetic little world.

Posted by gliciouss 06/18/2010 at 05:05 PM

henin will not make the final...
i believe that if there was no rain at rg which stopped the momentum...maria would have beaten her...and that is henin's "best" surface...
semis at best...

Posted by Geellis 06/18/2010 at 05:15 PM

@Arnold Bolang and other Williams' Haters
Who are you people and do you even know anything about tennis? Do you have any sense of the history of this great sport and the place of these two women in it? I'm so exhausted by the Williams haters I could just puke. Although I'm not a huge fan of Federer, I can certainly appreciate not only his game, but what the man means to the game of tennis. I think people just do not understand how utterly and unfathomably amazing it is that two women, sisters, from rather modest backgrounds, fulfilled the prediction of their, admittedly cooky, father and became the numbers 1 & 2 players in the world. It remains one of the greatest stories in the history of all sport and, certainly, one of the greatest stories in the history of tennis and perhaps The Greatest story in the history of women's tennis. Add to that that, during a period when their contemporaries were retiring, unretiring, being suspended from the game etc. all these two women have done is continue to play hard and, for the most part, represent the game well. Serena had an outburst at last year's USO. Does that overshadow a decade of superlative tennis and unmatched competitive fire (especially at the slams)? It does not. Venus has conducted herself like a lady, has stuck her neck out for equal (and I'm not necessarily a fan of this for reasons I could expln in another post) pay for the women players at slams and, for this, has continually been confused and conflated with her sister Serena. It's unfathomable to me that, if Serena and Venus were two white women from Saddlebrook, Fla, that there would have been the continuing and vigorous amounts of bile spewed against them by tennis fans. And I just don't get it. When we continue to ask, where are the next American tennis players gonna come from, we forget that two of the greatest are playing right before our eyes. And they are sisters. And their names are Venus and Serena. Not brute.

Posted by Servus 06/18/2010 at 05:21 PM

Just a few months ago Rafa was considered done and dusted, as he could not win a tournament for almost a year, whereby most tournaments played during the subject period of time were HC, which is not his preferred surface. Then the clay court season started and he went on a tear and won four tournaments in a row, including RG, which is a great achievement. However, last week he did not play well, by the way on grass, and lost to a guy who can be hardly described as a top-notch player. Why don't we accept a simple fact that for the time being Rafa is almost impossible to beat on clay, whereas on other surfaces there are at least six to seven players as good as he is , if not better, for instance, Federer, Del Potro, Davydenko, Soderling, Roddick, Murray, Djokovic. In a nutshell, give Rafa his due for his great achievements on clay, but don't expect him to dominate on other surfaces.

Posted by Gotham21 06/18/2010 at 06:23 PM

The draw is favorable for Fed. LOL.

Posted by Rockin'Robin 06/18/2010 at 06:48 PM

hewitt defeats federer in the semis? why, because of some tiny unimportant tourney fed could care lessabout? NO WAY. Federer vs. Nadal final again hellz yeah!

Posted by lilscot 06/18/2010 at 07:04 PM

Geellis: 5:15 p.m.

You know, you really had me with what you wrote, right up until you had to bring race into it. It's so unfortunate because the points you were making about the sisters and their incredible historic accomplishments were so precise and well thought-out. Then you had to ruin the whole thing with your racist comment. Totally unnecessary and unworthy or the sisters. Neither of whom would blame any criticism on them, harsh or otherwise, on racism. Such a shame...

Posted by Rafalicious 06/18/2010 at 07:07 PM

Servus, then how do explain Fed's loss to Hewitt? True, Rafa has had an incredible run on clay, and is probably THE BEST EVER on that surface, how can you judge his grass form based on his loss to Deliciano after coming off his INCREDIBLE clay season, and btw, did not get far in Queens in 2006 and 2007 and STILL made the final of Wimby those years, what should we say about Fed, who has been spotty for awhile now, not only on clay, but hard and now grass against Hewitt.

And Gotham, Fed has even admitted that Nadal has a tough draw.

Posted by lilscot 06/18/2010 at 07:09 PM

It seems like this Wimbledon is turning out to be a very intense, high-expectation GS. Cool. For the past few years they were becoming a bit predictable and although I'm a die-hard Rafa nut, this year seems so wide open and full of side-stories and intrigue, on both men's and women's sides.

As in Roland Garros, I think we're going to be treated to yet another high-quality GS, thanks in no small part to two men named Roger and Rafa, and a handful of women such as Serena, Venus, Kim, Justine, Sam, and Maria.

Game on!

Posted by lilscot 06/18/2010 at 07:12 PM

It's a bit quick to judge Rafa's readiness for Wimby based on Queen's this year. It's part of his whole new approach to his game I think. It was amazing to hear him talking about just going home and relaxing on the island and spending time with family, play a little golf. I think that can only serve him well coming into Wimby. His loss to FLo was a bit on purpose I think. He got some matches under his belt and hit the ball on the grass a bit, but I don't think he was overly interested in pushing himself to win the tourney. This way he still has low points to defend at that event next year, and was most likely thrilled to see his friend advance. He's so ready.

Posted by Ren 06/18/2010 at 07:17 PM

Oh my, I hope he does not jinx the the Williamses. His success rate is low when it comes to predictions!

Posted by Geellis 06/18/2010 at 07:29 PM

you said: "Totally unnecessary and unworthy or the sisters. Neither of whom would blame any criticism on them, harsh or otherwise, on racism. Such a shame..."


Have you ever heard them discuss their experience at IW? Have you EVER EVEN read the comments about them, on this board and others? Seriously, I don't know what world you inhabit but let me be clear, MUCH OF THE FEELING ABOUT SERENA AND VENUS IS MOTIVATED BY SIMPLE RACISM, END OF STORY. They know it and most of the regular commenters here would probably tell you that's true as well. By this, I DO NOT MEAN THAT THERE ARE NOT NON-RACIST REASONS TO DISLIKE ONE OR BOTH OF THE SISTERS. But, to be sure, the racial ones are very loud very often. Sorry a little truth (as in "you can't handle the truth") moment offended your sensibilities. But please, read more blogs and, more importantly, more comments to the blogs.

Posted by lilscot 06/18/2010 at 07:36 PM


Oh puhleeze. I do not need any lectures on racism. I am Indo-Canadian and have had my fair share of dealing with racist morons. Thank you very much.

Maybe I just choose to scroll on by ignorant people who make racist comments rather than try to use racism as an excuse for everything. I think people are a bit sick to death these days of race being used in almost every aspect of our lives. Of course rasism is there, loud and clear, but believe me, nothing is going to change as long as people like you continue to use it as an excuse for all the ills of the world.

A large part of the criticism about the sisters is just their attitude, not the colour of their skin. I don't happen to be one of them as I like the sisters. I've seen Serena act like a princess, but I've also seen plenty of white women act the same way, and I feel the same about them.

Get a life will you. You sound like one of those people who scream "racist" whenever someone disagrees with President Obama or his policies. We don't need more people like that creating even more walls in society.

Posted by Geellis 06/18/2010 at 07:49 PM

Did you even read what I wrote? Did you read the line of your that I directly quoted. Please. Read again, what I wrote then let me know if you still think your response is applicable? You're addressing someone else. You're not addressing me nor what I wrote in response to a rather ill-informed comment you made about how the sisters would never cite racism as being behind criticism of them. Hah!

Posted by SW19 2010 06/18/2010 at 07:58 PM


Federer def. Roddick
Nadal def. Murray

Federer def. Nadal

Posted by J-Block 06/18/2010 at 08:00 PM

Got to like Querrrey's draw. I agree with CPM a couple posts up, sleeper pick for the semis.

Posted by leigh 06/18/2010 at 08:01 PM

i am rooting for Francesca Schiavone in the bottom half of the draw.
Became a fan during the French and would love to see more of her grateful attitude and
pure joy while playing.
Also a fan of Sam's. Her grace towards Franny during her post-match interview also won me
over. Love these two players. Other players could learn from them on how to handle themselves
before, during and after a match.

Posted by leigh 06/18/2010 at 08:07 PM

Sam Q's first round with Sergiy will be interesting. Sergiy and his friend Youhzny won the Halle Doubles Title,
and I think he made a semi-final on grass this week. He could be trouble for Sam.
I do hope Sam makes it through, but I think it will go Five.

Posted by lilscot 06/18/2010 at 08:14 PM

I really hope Schiavone can do well, at least make it to the quarters. Probably won't happen but it'd be nice to see her fairy tale go a little longer. It's going to be interesting to see how Sam does, Stosur that is. I think her game should transition well onto the grass.

Posted by Ryota 06/18/2010 at 08:19 PM

Nadal has the toughest quarter - on paper. He's got Nishikori in the first round and that's a tough out. Federer's got the stars aligned for his quarter.

Posted by Seth 06/18/2010 at 08:53 PM

Hewitt d. Federer in the semis? Last week's Halle result notwithstanding, I simply do not see Hewitt going the distance against Fed on grass in a 3 out of 5 contest. Neat pick, I suppose, if it turns out to actually happen, but I just don't see it.

Posted by federer*sampras*edberg*mcenroe 06/18/2010 at 08:57 PM

I hope: Federer-Kohlschreiber / Tsonga-Gulbis
I fear: Berdych-Roddick / Murray-Nadal
...but I think it will be: Federer-Hewitt / Querrey-Nadal

Posted by Game Lover 06/18/2010 at 09:16 PM

Ola Pspace if you read this:

The beauties have made into Wimbledon and Sorana Carstea and Anna Ivanovic have been in the same pic:


Posted by step 06/18/2010 at 09:50 PM

Sorry folks, but Nadal goes down in the quarters if not sooner, and Federer breaks the hearts of Brits again by beating Murray in the final in 4 sets. Face it, please, there is no one better on center court Wimbledon than Roger. Federer is much closer to Nadal on clay than Nadal is to him on grass. Just the way it is...

Wishing that someone dethrones Roger won't make it so. Tennis talent trumps... Again, it's just the way it is. Watch for a little more serve and volley from Roger this year, mixed in with a few more drop shots, and a wicked slice BH.

Let the games begin!!

Posted by Jesse 06/18/2010 at 09:53 PM

Hewitt really? Get ready for another one-of-the-worst-prediction-moments ever... Just because he beat Federer once in like a gazillion tries doesn't make him a favorite for Wimbledon. You have great servers that will blow even Hewitt's great returns away. Hence why Serve is King at Wimbledon. It will be Federer and Nadal most likely. There is a possibility that Querry or Fish could be factor.

Posted by Jai 06/18/2010 at 10:22 PM

No stopping Fed this time.... Nadal has had tough times against all.....Blake, Gulbis , Soderling , Murray etc.... highly unlikely he will make the finals..and Roddick and hewitt of the old generation can do nothing to stop Federer..!!! Any arguments??

Posted by jdtennisusa 06/18/2010 at 10:28 PM

To Lilscot, Assh and the rest of your ilk, it's racist idiots and apologists like you who erect or maintain more "walls in society."

Posted by lilscot 06/18/2010 at 10:42 PM

jdtennisusa: 10:28 p.m.

Not one word of what you just said makes any sense. There's not one racist thing in anything I've said and I defy you to point it out. Nor did I apologize for anything. Lots of big words with no meaning. Typical.

Posted by jdtennisusa 06/18/2010 at 11:00 PM

Lilscot, what's typical is the unwillingness of some (including you) to see that there is a racial component to the animus which some direct toward the Williams sisters.

Some who experience racism choose to ignore it and shrug it off as something that won't ever change. I'm happy, however, that those responsible for the civil rights movement in this country did not view the world as you do.

People should be criticized for hurling racist epithets at the sisters. It is especially sad to see a self-identified member of a minority group criticize a poster for inserting the "race card" where it is clearly warranted.

Posted by Andrew 06/18/2010 at 11:35 PM

Evening, all.

I never do predictions of SFs and the like - too many matches, too much odd stuff can happen.On paper, Steve's right - Federer should be a lock to the QFs, Murray had some help from the Queen with the draw, Nadal has the toughest prospective matches.

You could have done very well making predictions over the last few years taking Nadal to win the French, and Federer the rest. Starting in 2006, you'd have been, oh, 14 of 18. Not too shabby.

In that vein, why pick against Federer? His 2010 form has been sub par, apart from the AO: he did lose to Hewitt in Halle F five days ago; he still doesn't have a top flight coach; the twins are now 11 months old.

Put up against that, though: 7 finals in a row. Zero sets dropped at the SF stage. Only one man has beaten him - the second great player of the era, at his 2008 peak. In 5 sets, 9-7 in the 5th set.

Federer might not win it all this year. Hard (for my money) to pick a stronger candidate.

Posted by ndk 06/18/2010 at 11:44 PM

Steve, Interesting picks... Not sure if they are intended for conversation starters..
I have to disagree on Wimbledon- Growing up, Breakfast at Wimbledon was the most important weekend of my yearly tennis calendar..

Posted by asdf 06/18/2010 at 11:54 PM

CPM i like your thinking. made me laugh to see hewitt over federer.. i don't like federer, but think logically - grass is his surface.
vamos rafa! do it again :D

Posted by Tran 06/19/2010 at 12:40 AM

Nadal will fall on third round, Murray cannot advance past quarter. Federer will defeat Hewitt in the final.

Posted by California Ace 06/19/2010 at 12:50 AM

All this racism talk is ridiculous. If you're going to accuse someone of racism, the burden of proof is on you as the accuser. If someone says, "I don't like the attitudes of the Williams sisters," you cannot and must not assume they are racist unless you have direct evidence. The burden of proof is on you to prove that person is racist, not the other way around.

Amazingly all these people who are quick to shout "racism" when Venus or Serena is critiqued are the same people who refuse to admit the obvious racism of UAE denying Shahar Peer entrance into the country for Dubai 09 tournament. This is the very definition of racism: making a distinction/differentiation about someone because of her race. In that situation people don't call it for what it obviously is because they won't ever accuse a non-white person of racism even when it's clear as day.

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