Upsets, routs and heroics, what a way to start the second week at Wimbledon. All singles players played their Round of 16s today, and the frantic schedule and rising heat seemed to effect everyone a little differently. Post-match, the players were asked about everything from their tennis, World Cup referees and Jennifer Capriati’s drug overdose.
No offense to Yen-Hsun Lu (or Caroline Wozniacki, who lost in under 45 minutes to No. 62 ranked Petra Kvitova) but Andy Roddick suffered the upset of the tournament so far. He lost 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 7-9, to the World No. 82 from Taipei, in one of those unbreakable heart breakers of a match that seem to be Andy Roddick’s new signature. (Love this line from the New York Times: “The match lasted for 4 hours 36 minutes, a marathon by all standards set previous to last week.“)
It’s not so much that I was hoping he would win the whole thing – though I’d love the feel-good story and what it would do for American tennis next weekend. I was really just hoping for a cracker of a quarterfinal against Novak Djokovic. It’s safe to say that Roddick, along with the rest of us, is more than a little upset about it:
Q. Are you a bit stunned after something like this or just down?
ANDY RODDICK: I don’t think ‘stunned’ is the right word. You know, I don’t view what happens today as an impossibility. I take every match very seriously.
You know, I don’t know. I always struggle with how to describe my mood. I mean, there’s only so many ways you can say it. So, you know, I’m sure you can use your intuition and reach out and come up with something.
Q. So tomorrow when you wake up, you think you’re going to be pissed off, disappointed?
ANDY RODDICK: I’m going to be thrilled. I mean, c’mon.
Q. You’ve been through these slams before.
ANDY RODDICK: And it never gets easier. Of course I’m going to be pissed off when I wake up tomorrow. I mean, if you got fired from your job, you probably wouldn’t wake up the next day in a great mood. I mean, c’mon, let’s go. We’re better than those questions.
Speaking of jobs. . .
Q. What was your family doing, your family business?
YEN‑HSUN LU: My father doing, he’s selling the chicken, not the meat, but the live chicken. So they sell the chicken, send it to the farm or something. After, they kill and become the meat. So I can catch a chicken. I can show you. Yeah, serious. I can catch a chicken (smiling).
Q. Can you elaborate on that? Was this like a chicken farm where your dad worked? Did you work with him there?
YEN‑HSUN LU: I tried few times. But I don’t really like because smell really bad. But I know is very tough work. They always working between 1:00 in the morning to 6:00 in the morning, like very early. That time the chicken cannot run away because they cannot see.
I guess after chicken coops, even sweaty locker rooms are an improvement.
Roger Federer was back to his old, dominating self against Jurgen Melzer, winning the match in a brisk 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 scoreline. It’s hard to believe that the two European veterans had never faced each other before on tour. Roger was asked about trying to psych his buddy out:
Q. Do you feel you can intimidate opponents on this Centre Court because you know it so well?
ROGER FEDERER: I don’t play that trick. Honestly, I don’t even know how it works. So I just try to play a good match, you know.
I know Jurgen too well to play tricks with him. I always say, you know, if you’re not good enough and you have to use stuff like that, then you have issues. So I always say, Try to play your best, and if it’s enough, that’s great; otherwise you have to go to the practice courts and work harder and get better.
Crowds are wonderful here. Obviously I know every corner of this Centre Court. It helps. I’ve got the experience from playing so many big matches here. I don’t obviously get too overexcited about a match like this. But I also have nerves going into a match like this. It’s a guy I never played before. He’s a good friend of mine. You don’t want to lose.
Roger will play a guy he knows quite well on the court – Czech Tomas Berdych. Just like at the French, Berdych is moving stealthily through the draw. The two have played ten times, with Roger winning eight of their matches. But Berdych has been in top form this season, beating Roger most recently in Miami. This Fedophile may be wrapping the Roger towel over her Swiss-shaded eyes during this one during this one.
Sometimes reputations can change, proves Wimbledon.org with their story starting: “Robin Soderling proved his credentials as one of the “nice guys” in tennis. . .” Apparently Robin interrupted his own match point to so a teetering ball girl could be helped at the end of his five set match vs. David Ferrer. Good karma pays off – he’s now in the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the first time. But he gets Rafael Nadal next – not the best guy to play after you’ve battled through a tough three hour long match.
Despite his problems on Saturday vs. Philipp Petzschener, Rafa dominated in straight sets against Paul-Henri Mathieu. Shakira was impressed:
Or maybe just relieved it was over:
Perhaps the most nagging annoyance from Saturday’s match wasn’t his sore knee but the $2,000 fine Rafa was given for supposedly receiving coaching from Uncle Toni during the match.
Rafa brushed off questions about the fine, “the rules are the rules” but commented a little more on his physical state:
Q. Did you have any problems from your knee? If not, what did you do after the last game to make sure it was good for today?
RAFAEL NADAL: I tried my best, no? I take antiinflammatories. I did a lot of treatment with the physio, with the doctor.
Today it was better. I didn’t feel pain today, but, you know, you never know. It’s there, but wasn’t the problem today. Hopefully gonna be fine for the next day, too.
Q. But are you concerned going forward that they’re just gonna continue to get sore or sorer?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t have the control of my knees. I don’t know what’s gonna happen, no? I try my best to be ready. I tried my best after the last match to be fit for today. I did well.
Gonna be the same for after tomorrow. We will see what’s happen. I am here to try my best even with pain on the knees or without pain of the knees. I gonna try my best in all the conditions.
Andy Murray is the only player remaining in the draw who hasn’t been broken yet – he beat Sam Querrey in straight sets today. So much for trying to keep a low profile:
Q. How do you feel now that England is out of the World Cup and all the attention is swinging back to you as the sole British sporting hope at the moment?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I don’t really pay much attention to it. I mean, you know, once the tournament starts, you just kind of get into a routine, you know, that’s definitely, as I said many times since I started here, the buildup was a lot quieter, less journalists around, less photographers. You know, that was it.
Once the tournament starts, I don’t really pay any attention to the press and what’s going on ’cause it’s just not worth it. It can only be a distraction. So better just to stay away from it.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will be Murray’s quarterfinal opponent. He beat buddy Julien Benneteau in four sets on Monday.
Novak Djokovic took out this year’s Wimbledon dark horse Lleyton Hewitt, despite suffering from a tummy ache. Some good news for Nole – at least he’s winning these matches now. But its same old, same old in the press room.
Q. Could you tell there was anything wrong with him in that third set?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I don’t know. He’s always got something. So I wasn’t focusing on it, yeah, at all. I was just trying to play my game. Yeah, he looked fine again in the fourth.
Q. It was a surprise he actually called for medical assistance at that stage in the match?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, he looked pretty comfortable at two sets to love, so yeah.
Q. Lleyton was asked, Could you tell there was anything wrong with him in that third set, and he said, I don’t know, he’s always got something. What’s your reaction to that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Everybody has an opinion. I don’t know why the people think that I’m always having something, which is absolutely wrong because I haven’t asked for medical or physio timeout for a long time.
I mean, any time I ask, you know, somebody has to say something. So I don’t really care. You know, whatever.
His countrywoman Jelena Jankovic couldn’t overcome her own physical ailments on Monday, retiring in the second set of her match vs. Vera Zvonareva.
Kim Clijsters has edged to a 13-12 career advantage over Justine Henin after her round of 16 victory on Monday. Unfortunately for Justine, she hasn’t won any of the three matches the rivals have played since their comebacks, though all of them have gone three sets. Justine says this won’t drive her back into retirement:
Q. I know you said last week you didn’t feel that you were a contender to win Wimbledon this year. Do you feel if you come back next year that you hope to be in a position where you can?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, next year is far away from now. I mean, there have been some positive things in this tournament. I’ve been very happy to be back and to play here again. Of course, it’s disappointing to leave this way. I wanted to do better.
But doesn’t change anything to the fact that I said before coming here was still a year with a lot of things to improve and a year of transition. So 2011 will be, you know, probably more important for myself.
Suddenly, I feel like Justine is winning the US Open this year.
Serena Williams beat Maria Sharapova 7-6, 6-4 in one of the most anticipated matches of the day. The obvious follow up question was not asked of her:
Q. Is the tennis tour really a tough place for players mentally? Is it just a real challenge to go out there and be a performer week in and week out?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t think it’s easy to go out and perform every day. I think you have to have some sort of either real mental toughness or have some tic loose in your brain.
I don’t think it’s easy, but it’s definitely, uhm, something that you either love or you hate.
Maria calls it like she sees it:
Q. Would you like to come back (to Wimbledon)?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: That’s a silly question. Of course, I would.
And Venus dodges it:
Q. Was there a reason you went for a bathroom break after the first change?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, bathroom breaks are for, you know, bathroom. No explanation needed for that (laughter).
And Kim Clijsters brushes one off:
Q. Was this a triumph for motherhood?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I don’t know. If that’s what you want to call it.
Venus battled past a game challenge from Jarmila Groth. Li Na is also through, over Agnieszka Radwanska. Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria beat Marion Bartoli and Kaia Kanepi took out Klara Zakopalova. Anyone else missing Sam Stosur about now?
The women play their quarterfinals tomorrow:
Serena Williams vs. Li Na
Petra Kvitova vs. Kaia Kanepi
Kim Clijsters vs. Vera Zvonareva
Tsvetana Pironkova vs. Venus Williams
The men take a break tomorrow before their quarterfinals:
Roger Federer vs. Tomas Berdych
Novak Djokovic vs. Yen-Hsun Lu
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Andy Murray
Rafael Nadal vs. Robin Soderling
Are you seeing any upsets?