Oh my God, Venus got beat by a skinny Bulgarian girl with a forehand slice. What an upset! And what a shot. We tennis nerds knew Pironkova was pretty good, but beating Venus Williams 6-2, 6-3 in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon good? Well that’s one hell of a slice forehand.
Wimbledon is heaven to the young Bulgarian:
Q. What memories do you have of Wimbledon growing up?
TSVETANA PIRONKOVA: Wimbledon has always been, you know, like a religion to me. And I don’t think it’s just for me. I think it’s for all of the players.
I love Venus and I love tennis, reading this quote after her loss:
Q. When you have a match like today, to what degree does it make you think about the possibility of having a limited time left in your career; that maybe this isn’t what you want to pursue all the time?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, why wouldn’t I want to pursue this? I’m pretty good at it most days. Today I didn’t seem to be the best tennis player, but for the most part, I rock and roll this game.
I’ll give it up when I’m just terrible. It would take more than just a few bad days in a year to make me quit tennis. So that’s not even in the equation.
I want to be mad at Vera Zvonareva for taking out tournament favorite Kim Clijsters in the other major upset of the day, but how can you be peeved at a such a well-spoken young lady?
Q. You are a promoter of gender equality. What have you achieved, and what are your goals with that job?
VERA ZVONAREVA: It is very important to give the same opportunities to everyone in the world. If we are lucky here, in Russia, there are so many countries, where girls, they don’t have the possibilities to achieve their dreams.
And I think, uhm, us tennis players, we could be role models for the girls. No matter what they want to do in their lives, they should believe in themselves. They should believe they can achieve great things.
It’s not more about of gender equality, it’s more about equality for opportunities for everybody, so everyone has the same opportunities. I think our examples, where we are, we should be able to make, you know, a lot of girls around the world to believe in themselves more.
Serena Williams is one woman who always believes in herself – and her family:
Q. Why are there so many ‑ovas and there are no more Williams around?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, my dad and my mom stopped having kids after me, so… There wasn’t able to be any more Williamses. I think for the most part the tour is excited it’s only the two of us. Any more and it would be disastrous, especially if they were younger ones that keep doing well. Yeah (Smiling.)
Q. You talk about other people, Clijsters and Henin, your sister. They’re not here. You are still here. What is the main reason you are still the No. 1, the big favorite?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I don’t know. I’ll take that as a compliment. Thank you. Thank you.
More compliments from the press:
Q. Do we expect too much of you after the US Open?
KIM CLIJSTERS: That doesn’t bother me at all. I mean, I think, you know, pressure, you know, being looked at as a favorite or something, I mean, it’s a compliment. It’s a sign of you doing well, so I see it as a compliment.
Petra Kvitova inspires nothing after taking out qualifier Kaia Kanepi in the forgotten quarterfinal.
Q. Do you think you can win the tournament here? Do you think you can be Wimbledon champion?
PETRA KVITOVA: No, I don’t think. I don’t think so, no (laughter.)
Q. Why not?
PETRA KVITOVA: So maybe it’s two matches. But, yeah, maybe I can lose in the Serena. I don’t know what I can tell. I don’t think so, yeah.
You simply must read this gorgeous press conference with tennis doubles “legends” Anna Kournikoa and Martina Hingis. Here’s a sampling:
Q. With Venus going out today, do you think there are other women’s players that can stop them?
MARTINA HINGIS: There are the young ones, hungry ones. It’s not only the Williams sisters you have to face.
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: They’re triple the size and strong.
MARTINA HINGIS: You have to face every day, every hour. Like I said, it’s not only like going out there getting the glamour, the glitter. Playing on Centre Court. It’s six, eight hours of practice at home. Then you get the glitter and glamour at the end of the day.
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: It’s only for the top 10, the glitter and glamour, it’s only the top 10 that can have a nice lifestyle.
MARTINA HINGIS: It’s when I was young, 15, 16, you get on the tour, you’re young, fresh, hungry.
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Everything is new, you’re excited.
MARTINA HINGIS: When you get older, you have different priorities, lifestyle changes.
And this made me a little weepy:
Q. It would be nice to see you back. No way you want to come back?
MARTINA HINGIS: We’re going to play TeamTennis, like Anna said.
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I would love to. I’m really afraid. I’m the kind of person that I don’t want to come back unless I’m a hundred percent fit. I wouldn’t put myself in that situation. I wouldn’t want to let me team down around me that I’m going to get hurt. I wouldn’t want the fans let down. I don’t want to set myself up knowing that there’s a chance I can’t perform, that I can’t be healthy a hundred percent. I’m kind of OCD that way. I need to practice my three hours, my four hours, to feel confident, to feel good, to be able to go on the court.
Honestly, I don’t feel that my body can survive it. I have five different problems with my pelvis area, torso, back. I don’t want to go out there false. It’s like going on the court injured and you call the trainer two games later. It’s unprofessional, unsportsmanship‑like to me.
Q. What was the trainer coming on today for?
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: (Holding her hand up.)
Q. What is it?
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: It’s a blister that’s like bleeding.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Really, that’s it? Suddenly when I’m older, I’m enjoying the press conferences (laughter). I thought we were just getting started.
Ah, the good old days.
Great story here at Wimbledon.org about the retirement of Jane Poynder, Master of Ceremonies for the ladies at Wimbledon.