Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Championships

Since I've been trying to organize 4 terabytes of external hard drives, I dug up some old pictures to illustrate this post.

I'm sure everyone thinks I scheduled my surgery so I could watch Wimbledon while recovering. I actually haven't watched too much tennis, but there has been some interesting stuff going on across the pond. Rain, as usual, has backed up play & they are 178 matches behind. They had the option of scheduling play on Sunday, but they didn't. With the forecast ahead, they now see that was a huge mistake. In my 15 years covering Wimbledon, one Gentlemen's Final was played on Monday (it's only happened twice in the open era). I experienced play on the middle Sunday twice. Anyway, it's really nice to be watching my two favorite commentators, John McEnroe & Mary Carillo, instead of battling the elements.

Rafael Nadal's third round match against Robin Soderling started on Saturday & finally finished today, 5 days later, after 8 rain delays. CRAZY! At one point in the final set Soderling mimicked Nadal's favorite pasttime by picking his underwear out of his butt (as seen below). The crowd erupted in laughter. My friend Fred got a great detail shot of Nadal from platform B during the finals. Thanks Fred & Susan for letting me use it on my blog. Meanwhile, Roger Federer has had 5 days off since Tommy Haas (his 3rd round opponent) had to withdraw due to an abdominal muscle tear.

Yesterday, the club decided to move Venus Williams vs Maria Sharapova to court 3 to try to get it in before the rain. This was absurd for two reasons. First, between them, they have four Wimbledon singles titles, but more importantly, court 3 is REALLY, REALLY small. The capacity is 800 spectators & about ten photographers. They played three points before the rain forced them off the court. The rules state that once a match starts on a court, it must finish on that court. Thankfully, the Wimbledon officials decided it was time to break that rule and their 100+ year tradition. The match was moved to Centre Court & Venus completely dominated the first set 6-1. Maria had four double-faults in one game. Then the rain came & after a two hour delay, they were back on court. There were some crazy games with unbelievable rallies. One game lasted 32 points. At one point Sharapova's dad & coach moved out of the player's box to some seats diagonally opposite across the court. Apparently, they couldn't stand to be too close to the Williams family. Venus won 6-1, 6-3.

Now Serena is playing Justine Henin. This match-up always brings up bad memories (for both Serena & me). At the 2003 French Open, Serena rightly accused Henin of "cheating, lying and fabricating." Their semifinal clash was overshadowed by claims of gamesmanship on Henin's part, when at 4-2 in the final set, the Henin held up her hand on a Serena first serve and then Serena served it into the net. Serena thought she would get a first serve again, but the umpire didn't see Henin raise her hand and Justine didn't admit what she did. Serena won the point but it affected her concentration. I saw it in person & it's been replayed over & over again on TV.

Serena won the 2nd set after a Hawk-Eye challenge on set point. NBC ended the coverage when they split sets to go to Days of Our Lives. They can't be serious! At least the match was continued on ESPN2, but there's no Mac & Carillo, so it's just not the same. Serena ended up losing 4-6, 6-3, 3-6.

These matches are really cutting into my recovery plans for today. There's a special Monk marathon on USA Network that runs from 6am on July 4th until 4am on July 5th. I never get to see the show & I love it, so I figured that would keep me from exerting myself today.

To spice up this post, here's a sequence of a Wimbledon streaker I shot in 2002. Click on the sequence to make it bigger (no pun intended)! ;o)


"Googs" said...

That sure is some nice light in those portraits - did you use a bungie cord, or did you have an assisitant?

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