I took some grief for writing too much about the French Open, so I’ve avoided saying anything about the last two weeks at Wimbledon. I get one post though, right?
The main story has been rain. It’s been so wet that Nadal wound up needing five days to finish his third-round match against Robin Soderling. The tournament got way behind schedule, so many players have been playing on back to back to back days. Men’s quarters were today, men’s semis are tomorrow, and the finals are the next day.
That makes for some really tired players, so we’ve been getting a few surprise results. A lot of matches have been one-sided at the beginning, then a player gets tired or hurt, and the match suddenly reverses. That’s what happened to Andy Roddick today. He was up two sets and a break on Richard Gasquet, but wound up losing a 6-4, 6-4, 7-6, 7-6, 8-6 marathon. NBC must be all kinds of pissed. Instead of getting a marquee matchup with an American, Andy Roddick vs. Roger Federer, they get a lopsided matchup with a player nobody’s heard of. Remember the tight schedules? After playing a four hour slugfest than finished after 8 PM, Gasquet has to wake up tomorrow morning and play Roger Federer at noon. It’s going to be a blowout.
The women’s final is also going to be a blowout. Venus Williams has been playing out of her mind, and Marion Bartoli (who upset Justine Henin today) has never played in a Grand Slam final before. There’s a fine tradition of choking in your Grand Slam final debut on the women’s tour. See Anna Ivanovic and Justine herself for reference. Expect more of that tomorrow.
The one interesting match is the Nadal vs. Djokovic semi. These guys will both be exhausted. They’ve both played several days in a row and had a few five-setters. I’m picking Nadal in five, but I’ll be rooting for Djokovic.
Another random note: Bud Collins, the veteran NBC tennis commentator, is retiring. Good riddance. This guy is like the Dick Vitale of tennis. Nobody likes him. His role now is mostly to do cringe-inducing post-match interviews with the champions. A sampler: Bud: “On clay, Rafa is el Rey!” Nadal: “hehehe, ahhmm” (awkwardly looks for anyone else to talk to). Way to go, Bud.
Update: An update doesn’t break my one-post limit, does it? I called all three matches correctly. Venus and Fed rolled, and Nadal won. I called five sets, but it only went three. Djokovic hurt his foot and had to retire in the third set, tied at one set apiece, presumably on its way to a thrilling fifth. =) I’m picking Fed in four tomorrow. The final is on NBC at 9 AM EST/6 AM PST.