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Wimbledon Diary Day 3

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Originally published on: 22/06/11 20:44

Play started as scheduled on centre court, thanks to the roof, which had swung into action in time for the 1pm start. Play was delayed on the outside courts, which remained out of action until 3pm.

It was as if Venus and Kimiko Date Krumm had read a script though before they took to Centre Court because with all eyes watching them they went to battle in a match that will be remembered for some time, for its great tennis as well as the fact that KDK has reached the ripe old age of 40 and Venus is battling back from injury at the relative old age of 31. They put on a show in which even a young whippersnapper would have found it hard to compete.

KDK, who ran the 2004 London Marathon in a time of 3:27, said afterwards that she works hard on her fitness, in the winter she does interval training to help her sprint and she certainly got to a lot of balls today, but in the big points Venus “knows how to win, how to play a very close match…She’s a great player, she’s very clever and she’s smart”. She reckoned that Venus takes her time during the ball toss to see where she was standing” She just toss up, and then she watching where I’m standing, the return positions, I think”. Venus denied any suggestions that this was the case “If I don’t get a good toss, I retoss it. I think that’s one of the first rules of serving”. Thanks for the serving lesson “The serve starts with the toss. You don’t get a good toss, you toss it again”.

Anyway, their respective strategies aside, it was a great match, and Venus won in two hours and 56 minutes, 67 63 86. The Royal box was once again scattered with names, the Duchess of Cornwall nestled up next to Chairman Philip Brook and Sir Bruce and Lady Forsyth looked on too.

The rain eventually stopped, and so, as it is with the Centre Court Roof etiquette, the roof remained shut and Rafa stepped up to take on American Ryan Sweeting, who he dispatched in straight sets 63 62 64. He reckoned the conditions inside were “more humid. And I don’t know if for this change because the atmosphere inside the court with the roof is more humid or because was raining before the match”. He went onto comment that “it seems like the court is a little more slippery than usual, the left part of the opponent’s piece of the Royal Box”. The dignitaries are in for a bit of close up action then if rainy conditions persist, which according to the forecast they might.

It really didn’t matter to Rafa though whose presser was very jovial and he brushed aside with the verbal equivalent of a killer volley any discussion about him losing his number one ranking if he does not retain his Champions’ status “Maybe, But I won Roland Garros two weeks ago. I don’t forget.” Nor do we, it just seems everyone was looking for a headline.

Which brings us on to the subject of Heather Watson’s presser. She was, as you probably know, defeated 26 64 64 by France’s Mathilde Johansson. Johansson ranked 70 in the world has been ranked as high as 59. Watson sustained an injury to her right elbow early on in the second set, but she did not use this as an excuse for the result. We thought she showed real guts in saving 4 match points and if we could have got a word in edgeways would have loved to have pointed out that next up in the press conference chair, the very same one where she was sitting was the current men’s world No. 1, how cool is that. Hopefully Watson will be back in action tomorrow with Jocelyn Rae for the women’s doubles. The other British teenager, Laura Robson, defeated Angelique Kerber 46 76 63 and she followed Andy Murray into the interview room after he had been quizzed about his 63 63 75 straight sets victory over Tobias Kamme.

So, on a day when it rained a lot, the roof proved once again to be a real winner (though we wait to see how the grass and players view it as the days progress), we were fortunate to enjoy a few cups of Lavazza coffee in the press room, while we dodged the rain outside having a good look round on day 3 of the 125th Wimbledon Championships. Great coffee by the way. Fernando Verdasco, number 24 seed, might have liked a bit of caffeine, instead of being dumped out in 4 sets by tennishead Hot stuff Robin Haase. Until tomorrow.

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