No surprises at Wimbledon so far. All the big names are fighting fit and winning their matches.
As expected however, Andy Murray is flying the British flag solo again this year as James Ward was knocked out in the first round, despite reaching the semi finals at Queen’s. Daniel Cox also fell at the first hurdle against Sergiy Stakhovsky and Daniel Evans tried hard against Florian Mayer, pushing him to four sets, but it wasn’t enough. Last year Wimbledon alone made £31 million profit which fed straight to the Lawn Tennis Association. Could that have bought us a top flight youngster? Money margins give the premiership football clubs the edge with their outlandish spending, but it seems money doesn’t solely nurture talent with a racket.
Of course, there’s no option here to buy players from around the world, talent has to be home-grown and that’s not an easy ask. Feeding clubs around the country with the skills to grow their seedlings has its challenges and with the fierce competition around these days the tulips of British tennis are being nipped in the bud at these tournaments before they get a chance to bloom. Still, I’ll buy a Pimm’s and add a bit of miracle grow to the watering can of the LTA if that’s what it takes, but I’d rather be watching someone British with my quintessential drink this weekend.
Having said this, who could deny the entertainment from Centre Court yesterday when Robin Soderling beat Lleyton Hewitt from two sets down. The first set was astonishingly close and Hewitt was lucky to beat his opponent in a tie break. Soderling battled through the second set, only to let Hewitt break his serve and look like an early winner. But the third set, at 4-4, saw momentum change for Soderling as he swung the set to 7-5 to get himself back in the game. A close battle in the fourth saw the Aussie crowd continue vocally in hope only to watch their hero allow the scores to return level and prolong the match to another set. Two deuce games early on in the fifth proved the fight wasn’t over for both players, but the Swede remarkably claimed a 6-4 victory to come out on top. Was it Soderling’s extra 25 mph on the serve that won it? I don’t know. But Hewitt certainly wasn’t a fan of the blistering beginnings of each and every point.
In fact, after watching that, I’ll raise my glass to the internationals and look forward to Soderling’s attempts at battling past the big four.
Keep it coming Wimbledon.