Google Down the Line!: 2010-06-20

Saturday, June 26, 2010

HE SAID/SHE SAID: Wimbledon Day Six

Q. How is the writing going?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I think I have writer's block again. I don't think I can be a good writer because I keep writer's block about 360 days out of the year.

Q. Maria Sharapova was very hard‑hitting when she came up. Is she still among the three best hard‑hitting women or which are those?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I don't know. Everyone hits really hard. Even the girl I played today, I was surprised at how hard she hit. And she's so small. She really packed a punch.

I think honestly everyone is hitting really, really hard. You know, I don't think it's about hitting hard. You look at someone like Henin and Clijsters. Oh, my God, I was about to say, Who is No. 1?

So, anyway, I don't think I hit that hard either. But, I mean, I've been told that I do.

Q. Back to the incident at the US Open, do you think there's any chance that the same thing could happen to you here, that you might have had a better chance of keeping your cool given the atmosphere of the tournament?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know. I think that was maybe like a one‑time thing, I hope. You never know. Maybe I'll be inspired to do it again (laughter). Who knows?

Q. You broke Rafa's Roland Garros streak and Roger Federer's semifinals streak. Which achievement are you more proud of?

ROBIN SODERLING: I don't know. They're both really good memories for me and great victories. You know, beating Rafa in Paris, he never lost before that match.

And then always beating Roger ‑‑ they were both No. 1s at the time, so it's tough to say. But they're definitely my two biggest wins in my career.

Q. Roger you beat on the 13th try, I think, and he has lost more than usual. Is he more vulnerable right now? Why? What's the main reason?

ROBIN SODERLING: Well, I think it's really tough up in the top. You know, there are so many good players out there. There are so many players who can really play well and really compete for the bigger tournaments, like the Grand Slams. You know, Roger is No. 2 now, but of course he's one of the best players in the world. Maybe the best player of all‑time.

But you cannot win every match and you cannot win forever. You have to lose sometime. Even Roger has to do that.

Q. Having beaten both of them and with their streaks, is it possible for you to put into words how much that's fueling the fire to break through against one of them in a situation like a Grand Slam?

ROBIN SODERLING: Yeah, I think, you know, the first win against any player is really good. It gives you a lot confidence. To win against, you know, the world No. 1 gives you even more confidence. It will for sure make it easier to play them next time.

Q. Do you think facing Serena Williams has come too early for you in the draw?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Absolutely not. I love playing against her. I love playing against, you know ‑‑ she's the defending champion. You know, she's great on this surface. She's won numerous Grand Slams. Uhm, you know, if there's a challenge ahead of you, it's definitely playing against her, and I enjoy that.

Q. Obviously we remember you playing here most of all, you probably remember most of all, beating her in 2004. Can you tell us a bit about how you think back to that?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I think that was our last meeting on grass. It's tough to take anything away from that match as it was many years ago. You know, this will be a new day. I don't really think about, you know, yesterday or the day before. Whoever I play when I go out there, it's a new match. You have to take it as a new day.

Q. You must still have some happy memories of it.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: There are always wonderful memories. But when you step out on the court, it's new. You've got to start from scratch. The score is 0‑0.

Q. Could you talk about a big rivalry match like this and how it compares to a standard or regular match? When you know you're going up against a big rival, do you like it? Do you find yourself more engaged? Does it change your preparation in any way?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, you know, I'd call it a rivalry when I win a few more against her (laughter). I mean, I've lost the last few.

But I absolutely enjoy it. You know, we certainly had a good, you know, rivalry building up. We haven't played for a while, and I was out of the game for a bit. I mean, we never really clashed. You know, that's what I thrive on. I love going on the court and playing someone that's, you know, obviously the favorite to win the match.

Q. Can we analyze first.

PHILIPP PETZSCHNER: Yeah, tough to analyze right now. I'm pretty sad a little bit pissed off of myself that I couldn't hold the focus after he had the injury timeout. I don't know what happened there.

Q. Your timeout or...

PHILIPP PETZSCHNER: No, his timeout. Yeah, it was pretty clever, I think. Right now I'm not happy. This will maybe come tomorrow or in two days.

Right now I'm just pissed off and sad that I lost the match.

Q. Are you suggesting there might have been a bit of gamesmanship involved there?

PHILIPP PETZSCHNER: I cannot say this. You have to ask him what it was. But I didn't feel any difference afterwards or before.

So he was ‑‑ I thought he was moving great. I only could say if I would be injured like this once I would be happy. No, but I don't know. Maybe he had something. Maybe it was just a clever part to take a timeout there.

I don't know. He played really good, really solid the whole time. I had two really good sets, but I couldn't keep the level up till the end.

So he deserved definitely the win.

Q. Is that the only difference between a player like you and him, that he's clever enough to know when to take a timeout maybe?

PHILIPP PETZSCHNER: No. I don't assume that he didn't had anything, that there was just a timeout for no reason. I mean, you know that he has problems with his knee all the time. I think he got treatment for his knee again.

So I don't assume that he just did to break my rhythm. But that's what happened, and that's mostly my fault. Yeah, that's what I have to work on.

Q. You were complaining to the referee about the coaching by Rafael with...

PHILIPP PETZSCHNER: No, I didn't complain.

Q. No?


Q. Did you hear it?

PHILIPP PETZSCHNER: No, I just heard words, but it could have been "vamos" or whatever. It's anyway tough to hear if you're down on the court, because the whole arena is pretty loud.

So I don't know why he gave the warning for or if it was coaching or not. I have absolutely in idea. I can just tell if you are down there, you almost understand nothing from up there, even if they are screaming at you.

I think there was no coaching involved. That's what I think.

Q. Let me ask you just a couple quick questions about sort of the state of Polish tennis. It seems at the moment that Polish tennis is quite strong. You're seeing more people that are in this year this have gone through further. How would you characterize what's happening in Polish tennis? And do you feel a bit of pressure because you're the last person in terms of singles from Poland that's still in the Championship?

AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA: Well, yeah, for sure, now there's a little bit more players than like two years ago. We can see girls and guys playing in the main draw, so it's great. Not only one, like was before, so it's great.

But, um, well, I'm just not thinking about the pressure. I'm just doing what I have to do, you know. Of course I would like to also do at least fourth round, which is like second week. So, yeah.

Q. And last question: Tell me first of all in terms of why do you think Polish tennis is becoming stronger? Is there more money? Better facilities? More sort of interest in it? And also, would you say that there's sort of more support? No? Everybody is sort of shaking their head.

AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA: No facilities, no money, no nothing. So, no. Can you imagine that like even in Krakow there's no hardcourts. So I don't even have hardly in my city, which is big city. So no, we don't.

Q. Was it fair to be warned about coaching? You looked very angry.

RAFAEL NADAL: Sometimes, yes. Not today, in my opinion. But, yes, sometimes in the past Toni talk maybe too much. And when it happened, and the referee or the umpire give me an advice, and if it is continuing, later a warning.

But not today, in my opinion. Yeah, no.

Q. After your incredible clay court season, now 13 sets in one week in Wimbledon, how are you feeling right now emotionally and physically?

RAFAEL NADAL: Emotionally perfect. I fighted a lot last two matches. I think I played very good tennis. But I told before the tournament, the draw gonna be difficult. That's what happen when you play against these player that they have very good serve. So all decide in a few points and everything is very difficult, no?

Physical, I have a little bit problem on the right knee. But, you know, I have one day and a half to get recovered. I happy to be in the fourth round. For me it very good news, having very tough matches and in the end winning. So that's a very positive thing mentally.

Q. How much are you worried about your knee? Is there a risk you should skip the Davis Cup tie after Wimbledon?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah. Well, sure, I am a little bit scared about the knee. But, you know, it happen. I had a treatment after Monte‑Carlo. So I had the problem. I didn't say nothing before, but you know, guys, how is everything. I had the problem against Roddick in the semifinals of Miami.

I don't like to say nothing in that moment because when you lose, always looks like an excuse. But I can say now I had the problem after I played in Monte‑Carlo with a little bit of pain on the knee, on the left knee, because that's what happened there.

After Monte‑Carlo, I didn't play Barcelona because I had to do a treatment, new treatment. You know, I tried to play the clay season perfect because in that moment the right knee was better than the left. But at the same time I know the knees are not hundred percent recovered. But playing on clay and maybe on grass, if is not very long matches, can work well.

But the last treatments I did between Monte‑Carlo and Rome was perfect. I didn't have no one more problem on the left knee. But just I did one time, and I need to do three times.

I didn't have time to do it at the right knee before because I had to play. The clay season was my main goal of the season. After here I gonna do it another time, no? My goals for me is a big disappointment not be in the Davis Cup on France, you know. Some confrontations, if you play at home against some country, maybe you cannot play this one. But playing in France for me is a very special confrontation and a very big motivation for me.

But I talked with the captain, I talked with the president of the Federation a few days ago, and I said, Guys, I never arrive to the US Open with my hundred percent of conditions. I had last year broken abdominal, two years ago playing crazy here. After Olympics, I did arrive very tired. And I really want to try to go there with my best chances, no, to play, to play my hundred percent.

So I need to do this treatment after here. If I play Davis Cup, I don't have enough time to recover and play tournaments, Cincinnati. Everything was perfect for me last few months, and I need to be ready to finish the season well. My goal is try to keep having the chance to be No. 1 for the rest of the season. That's gonna be difficult. But if you are not in hundred percent of condition, is going to be impossible.

In fact, read the ENTIRE presser. There's a lot going on in this one.

[Photo(s): Getty Images]

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Friday, June 25, 2010

HE SAID/SHE SAID: Wimbledon Day Five

Q. You're the greatest mind we have in our sport, the greatest comic. We're in the print media. Before you did your imitation of John Isner, what qualities would you think before you went into a monologue?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You know, the interesting thing is we do a player's show in Monte‑Carlo every year. So Isner‑Mahut is definitely going to be there, is definitely going to take a very funny sketch for next year's show.

Q. Is it going to be Michael Jackson doing John Isner?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Actually, we were talking about getting that show into public more because if, of course, nobody minds, the players who are taking a part on that show, which I think is going to be very interesting for the people to see players in some other activities off the court. I have been doing it for last five years.

Let me tell you, I've been enjoying every single moment of it. I just like having fun.

The locker room sketches are always the one that is the funniest. It's where the players show their real characters, if you know what I mean.

Q. You played Justine 24 times. Is it still something special, emotional to play her?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I mean, obviously, you know, like you said, 24 times, it's obviously not the same as in the beginning. But, yeah, it's still a little bit different I think than playing ‑‑ but then I don't know. I mean, when I have to play Serena, you're also a little bit more tense. You know, it's just playing those big players, you know, those top players, that's what makes it more special.

I think if I had to play Venus or Serena or Maria, that would also be very special. So, yeah, you just put a little bit more focus into all your preparation and everything.

Q. Is your relationship different than before your comebacks of you both or is it the same?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I think so. I think it is. It's not that in a way that it's completely black‑and‑white difference. But I think we've definitely grown up. I think we've, you know, had great times together playing Fed Cup and just, you know, messaging each other on phones, teasing each other, fun, you know, relax. I think that's how I would have liked it to have always been.

Q. You've been to a lot of special events. Anything at all surprising about your experience with the Queen? What did you enjoy the most about it?

ROGER FEDERER: Just enjoyed sitting right next to her at lunch really and getting a chance to know what kind of a person she is, because you hear a lot obviously about people of her status.

It was nice. She was very friendly, very relaxed. You could tell she's done this a million times, you know. She made everybody feel very special at the table, one of those things you'll never forget, and be able to tell to your kids or someone down the line.

Q. Did she have any sensibility at all towards our sport in terms of references or knowledge?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, she knew about my tough first round. She knew she was going to watch Andy obviously at 1 p.m. She knew about the Isner‑Mahut match. She also was very excited to be back at Wimbledon finally, that her schedule allowed it, because usually she said she was in Scotland during this time. We were all very thrilled she finally made it.

Q. What did she mention about your first round and about Isner?

ROGER FEDERER: She said I should hit more backhand down the line (laughter).

No, she didn't go into details.

Q. How would you describe your style of play and Kim's, the similarities and differences?

JUSTINE HENIN: Well, I mean, our careers, we grew up at the same time. We arrived at the top at the same time. We almost retired at the same time. We almost came back at the same time. So we very close.

But in terms of game, of course, we play different kind of tennis. Kim is very powerful, but she's moving very well, and she has big weapons in his game. A real fighter also. The attitude is unbelievable.

And I just try to use these different kind of things. I have to move forward. I have to be very aggressive if I want to have a chance. I know what I'll have to do. But it's going to be a question of ‑‑ it's not that easy to do it on the court. So to do it on the court...

I would say in our first career, we never played our best tennis against each other. This year it's been two times 7‑6 in the third, so very close and I hope it's going to be another good one.

Q. How has your relationship evolved?

JUSTINE HENIN: Our relationship is very good. We can feel we grew up a lot, both of us. I mean, Kim, of course, having a baby, and the distance I took also for two years.

We had a fantastic time in the Fed Cup tie together. Probably discover each other not differently than in the past, but we more adults now, and we have a lot of respect. So, of course on the court, I mean, we both want to win, but the relationship is very good.

Q. Is it true that you drink a lot of coconut water? Do you feel that was one of your secret weapons the last couple days?

JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I actually do. I've been drinking that for a while now, a company called ‑‑ it's called Vita Coco. It helps rehydrate me really well. Years past I'd have issues with cramping. But ever since I've started drinking that the night before, the day of my match, I've nipped that problem in the bud.

[Pssst! Coconut water is awesome. That is all.]

Q. You probably heard this from some of your compatriots, but two years ago there were six Russian women in the top 10; now there's only one, Elena. Is it because of age or injuries? Why do you think that's happening?

VERA ZVONAREVA: You know, you cannot be on top of your game and play the best tennis the whole career. It happened that all of us were playing very good tennis at the same time and get into the top 10. It's not easy. It's very, very hard.

Now it seems like quite a few players got injured, like you can see with Dinara was struggling a lot, I was struggling, and other players as well. You know, injuries, they always put you back a little bit, and it's tough to recover.

I think one of the best players who can do it very well is Serena, because she's not able to play for a long time due to injuries and then come back and still play very strong.

But, um, otherwise, injuries always tough to recover from. It seems like we all got even Elena, you know, she couldn't come here and play here. She had to withdraw in a semifinal of a Grand Slam.

So I think it's just a coincidence of everything together: everyone being in the great form and then everyone suddenly getting injured at the same time. It's a little bit downhill, maybe.

But I'm sure all of us, we're good players, and I'm sure we will get back to that level.

Q. Who do you think would win a WAG‑off between the tennis WAGS and the soccer wags?

ANDY RODDICK: That just sounds dirty. You just said 'WAG‑off.' I'm not going to answer that.

[Photo(s): Getty Images, Zvonareva: Reuters]

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(UPDATED) VIDEO VAULT: No spitting (at crowds) in tennis!

Victor Hanescu. Daniel Brands. Wimbledon third round. Tanking games. Something about spitting at the crowd. A sudden retirement. Now 4 spectators arrested afterward.

Something tells me those Wimby strawberries really are wonky.

More updates to come!

UPDATE #1: Here's how it went down according to Han had pain in his hamstring and received treatment in the fourth. The crowd started chanting "Victor is weak!" and he complained to the umpire who did nothing. Now in the fifth. At this point he starts to tank his games and goes down 0-2. As he goes to serve in third game of the decider he walks over to the taunting spectators and does the spitting game in their direction and gets a warning for unsportsmanlike conduct.

He intentionally steps on the baseline while serving his final four points, which he loses, to receive foot faults. After Han loses the fourth point he walks over to the umpire, attempts to shake his hand, shakes Brands' hand and walks off the court. Score 6-7 (9), 6-7 (3), 7-6 (9), 6-3, 3-0 for Brands. Phew.

So it seems the arrests at Court 18 were not related to the Hanescu incident but were a completely separate occurrence. Also the official statement on the match says, "Victor Hanescu retired from the match due to a leg injury." Uh-huh. Let's keep Court 18 on lock down, shall we?

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PHOTO OP: Who is this masked man?

"Maybe this is a better strategy..."

This near shirtless baller hid his face in frustration as he fell down 2 sets to 1 in his third round match at Wimbledon today. He eventually managed to get through in five hitting 70 winners/31 UEs, 34 aces, 62% first serve and made 21 of 29 net approaches.

Can you guess the mystery man?

PS - This isn't just an excuse to show photos of an almost shirtless, sweaty baller. Uh, who am I kidding? Of course it is. Duh.

[Photo(s): Getty Images]

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PHOTO OP: Is that a trophy in your hands or...

"...are you just really happy to meet me, John?"

John Isner, who's finally relaxing after being ousted in the Wimbledon second round today, was awarded the Virgin Trophy for winning the historic 3-day Isnut match. Oh, and he got that phallic-looking thing too.

[Photo(s): Getty Images]

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No handshake, no love lost between Kuznetsova + Rodionova

Something tells me Anastasia Rodionova won't be getting an invite to the next girls night at Svetlana Kuznetsova's crib.

The 2-time Grand Slammer defended herself over Twitter after refusing to shake hands with Rodio at the net. The Aussie defeated Sveta 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 in the Wimbledon second round.

Rodio, who has a reputation for on-court theatrics and was defaulted from a match at Cincinnati in 2007 for unsportsmanlike conduct, apparently questioned a ton of line calls and took a strangely timed medical break for her hip during the match. She was surprised but not bothered by Sveta's non-action:

I don't know what happened, I guess Svetlana was disappointed. It doesn't really bother me. I go out there and try my best, every single match that I play.

I'm happy that I won the match and I'm looking forward to my next round. I played really well and I served really well. I felt really good on the court. It can't even compare to my first round.
And what about suggestions the injury was not as severe as she claimed?
I strained a muscle a bit on my hip at the beginning of the second set. I'm fine. I have a bit of history there and I wanted to make sure it was nothing serious.
It's one of the biggest slaps in the face to refuse to shake your opponent's hand after a match so Sveta must've been seething with anger over Rodio's behavior. I mean if Sveta, who has a great reputation on the WTA tour and with fans as being uber-friendly, refuses to shake your hand you know it's pretty bad.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

(UPDATED) HE SAID/SHE SAID: Wimbledon Day Four

Q. What kind of a night did you spend last night? Could you sleep? Nightmares? Or what?

JOHN ISNER: I honestly, when I left the match, I really thought it was a dream. I didn't think that type of match was possible. So I was really expecting to wake up, in all seriousness.

No, I went back. I didn't sleep great. I only slept for four hours. I talked to Nic. He said he only slept for about three. So we're both kind of running on fumes right now.

Q. You said this was like a dream. In some ways, is this even better than a dream? And what did Andy get you for takeout?

JOHN ISNER: Yeah. I mean, I think it really is better than a dream because you can't even dream of something like this. I mean, you can dream of winning a match 22 20, maybe 34 32, but not 70 68.

Yeah, I guess in that regard it's a little bit better.

Andy just brought me all sorts of stuff. It was for my coach and my trainer. There was three boxes of pizza, all sorts of chicken and mashed potatoes, anything. I would have eaten 12 BicMacs.

Q. Given the severity of your injury, the difficulty of the comeback from that type of injury, how much do you think about a possible future without tennis? What options did you think about for the future?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, I mean, I've set up myself pretty well for things that I can do after my tennis career. But that never really crossed my mind 'cause I was always gearing up to get back. You know, I've been fortunate to do, uhm, and to work with different people in different industries that have really made my life interesting and fun and creative. Fashion and things like that.

Uhm, I would certainly explore that after my career.

Q. Can you explain what happened this morning? Did you miss meeting the Queen? There's some suggestion you weren't there.

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, was disappointing for me. But, you know, the Club knows, Wimbledon Club knows that before, because I have my routines before the match. I had a very difficult match, before the match, I know going to be a very difficult match. I had to practice around 12, so was impossible for me.

Seriously I thought the Queen was going to be in my match, and I would love to have the chance to meet her after the match. But wasn't possible because I think the Queen left before. For me was disappointing. I was excited to meet her. But was very important match for me, too.

Q. If you had known she wouldn't be there for your match, would you have gone to meet her?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, because I have my routines. Before the match, is very difficult when you have ‑‑ you don't know when you gonna play, no? You have third match. But if some injury there, you are on court before.

I had the practice at that time, so was impossible for me to meet her at that moment, no?

Q. You said you wouldn't change your routine to meet the Queen. Is there anything or anybody in the world that would make you change your routine?

RAFAEL NADAL: You know, I am playing in Wimbledon. Is not a joke. I love this tournament. I have a lot of respect for the Queen. I have a lot of respect for this tournament. Always was my dream play here. Today is a match, is a match day for me, no? So I have my things to do, and I try to do my best what I think is the best to win the match, no? So not in that case.

Q. When you're at home, do you get questions about is it time for you now to be one of the top players, especially with Svetlana hasn't been playing that well this year and Dinara has been hurt and now Dementieva is hurt. Do you hear a little bit of that?

ANASTASIA PAVLYUCHENKOVA: Well, no, not really, because I'm never at home, so... (Laughing.)

Well, I heard it quite a few time before, which was strange, because I was like 15, 16, and people, when I finished No. 1 juniors, people expect me to be straightaway, like, I don't know, top 50 or top 20 in the world.

I was really young, and that's why I put a lot of pressure on myself. And especially in Russian they did put a lot of pressure. They were expecting me to be the best, beat everyone, like this, easy, and go faster.

So that's why I struggled a while to get through that. It took me a while to get good ranking in the pros. I mean, not a while, but still, you know, I think I could have gone much faster maybe in the rankings and the results.

But anyway, it went quite fast.

Q. Now you feel like you have to be more patient with yourself and then the results will come?

ANASTASIA PAVLYUCHENKOVA: Yeah, now I'm more relaxed and I don't care about what people say. I just try to do my what my team tells me and to do good job and play well and just thinking about this.

I don't I stop thinking about results so much. So I don't know. I think when the time is right, it's gonna come. My work will pay off. So I just I don't know when it's gonna happen. I'm working hard, playing well every I mean, trying to do my every match, and then I will see.

Q. We see every year at Roland Garros French players don't do so well in their home tournament. It's been not as long as Fred Perry for here, but French players haven't won in Paris for a while. Do you admire the way Andy Murray handles the pressure at Wimbledon? Because he's our only player, where you've got lots of good players.

GILLES SIMON: For sure he's alone. But for us, yes, we have the pressure, but we are many players, so it's a little bit easier.

For him it's hard, because you know, I have an apartment right here. The guy told me, Murray didn't win anything for the last six months. That's a shame. Come on, he's playing good. He played a little final in Australia.

He said, No, no, no. He didn't win. He has to win. So I can feel a little bit the pressure he have.

But I just think he's doing the maximum. Last year he reached the semifinal; it was a good result, I think. He played a nice match, even if he lost this one. I think he's doing good.


Q. How would you describe the match that you had and your thoughts on why it took so long?

NICOLAS MAHUT: Do you have time (smiling)?

I don't know. This is just a match I will never forget. I hope the people who watched the match will think the same.

At this moment, it's really painful.

Q. Would you elaborate? What's painful about it?

NICOLAS MAHUT: The loss. I mean, I lost this match. I just wanted to win. Was just better than me. Really painful to lose this kind of match.

Q. Do you take a sense of pride in having competed this hard and this long even though you did lose?

NICOLAS MAHUT: Yeah, ask me tomorrow I will probably say yes. Tonight, it's really difficult.

Q. What are your thoughts about John right now?

NICOLAS MAHUT: He's a champion. He served unbelievable. Every time I was that close to break him, he just serves aces, aces, bomb. I could not do anything. I tried very hard, but he was just too good.

[Photo(s): Getty Images]

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PHOTO OP: Leap of faith

"No strings needed."

Rafael Nadal grabbed air during his 5-7, 6-2, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3 win over Robin Haase in his second round match at Wimbledon today. He had 42 winners/12 UEs, 68% first serve, 5 aces, made 23 of 29 net approaches and converted 6 of 10 break point chances.

The second seed was challenged by the big serving, bit hitting Haase for 3 sets but Rafa's quality and experience came through in the end. He'll face Philipp Petzschner, who defeated Lukasz Kubot, for a spot in the Round of 16.

[Photo(s): Getty Images]

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PHOTO OP: Isnut and the final act

"Only 6 more to go!"

So the epic first round encounter between John Isner + Nicolas Mahut that has been followed all around the world finally came to an end today with the towering American pulling out the win with a final scoreline of 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (9), 7-6 (3), 70-68. It lasted a total of 11 hours, 5 minutes and spanned 183 games. Unfathomable.

Tree was asked about his mental fortitude and how he managed to be on the winning end of this marathon match in his post-match presser:

Q. Is there something that keeps you patient and mentally fastened on what's going on, some sort of magic word?

JOHN ISNER: No. I don't know. A lot of times in situations like that, I always find myself very, very calm and controlled.

I think I learned that in my time in college, playing a lot of, you know, pressure filled matches. Obviously it's not the magnitude that this is.

That's something that Coach Diaz at Georgia was really good at, was able to really make me a lot mentally stronger. That's one of the reasons, you know, I'm here today, what I'm doing right now.

Q. In the finish, was it the will to win or fear of failure that got you across the line?

JOHN ISNER: Oh, that's a good question. I think it was more so the will to win. Obviously in the back of my mind is, as I'm sure it was with him, I don't want to be on the losing side of this. It's going to be a little bit better to be on the winning side.

But I think it was the will to win. Not that I outwilled him. I mean, obviously he gave it his all. I just kind of was a little bit more fortunate than he was.

Infinite props to both ballers for the astounding mental fortitude, physical stamina and supreme sportsmanship they displayed over the three days it took to complete this match. They certainly show me and a lot of other people what it means to compete with grace and dignity.

More images from the final act below!

[Photo(s): Getty Images]

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PHOTO OP: Throwback Thursday at Wimbledon

It was a special morning at Wimbledon as Queen Elizabeth made her first appearance at The Championships in 33 years. She was met by the Duke of Kent, who is president of the All England Club, chairman Tim Phillips, vice-chairman Philip Brook and chief executive Ian Ritchie.

She was given a tour of the grounds followed by a luncheon where she met with a number of ballers including Roger Federer, Serena Williams (who managed to keep her curtsy under control), Andy Roddick, Novak Djokovic, Venus Williams, Jelena Jankovic, Laura Robson, Anne Keothavong, Elena Baltacha, Heather Watson, Caroline Wozniacki, Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova.

Afterward she took to the Royal Box to watch Andy Murray easily dismiss Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in the second round. The boys performed the traditional bow to the Royal Box upon entering and leaving Centre Court.

Seriously, what a special tourney this has been already. I can't wait to see what the rest of the fortnight brings us. It's great to be a tennis fan right now!

[Photo(s): Getty Images, Reuters]

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Isnut: The longest match in history...ain't over yet

The word 'epic' is used all over the place like a cheap, eh, suit but John Isner + Nicolas Mahut have set the standard for its use in tennis. Their first round match at Wimbledon, which began on Tuesday and was held over until today because of darkness, was suspended once again because of fading light with the score at 59-59 in the decider.

It's already the longest match in tennis history at 10 hours but the 7 hour, 6 minute fifth set alone was enough to break the old record of 6 hours, 33 minutes set at the 2004 French Open. The on-court scoreboard (above) even broke down while the online Slam Tracker reset itself to 0-0 once the score hit 50-50.

Seriously, I can't believe a match at Wimby that has stretched over 3 days has nothing to do with rain. WTH?

So what was it like watching every minute of this battle of attrition live on TV? Well, I can only compare the experience to what it's like staring at a JJ outfit: I desperately wanted to look away but I kept being drawn back to the insanity of it all.

Now I need to see the ending. I must see the ending. Nothing will be complete in my tennis life until this thing ends.

[Photo(s): Getty Images]

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