Wednesday, 24 June 2009


I was going to try to not get drawn into the knife throwing contest that took place on the back pages of this morning's papers. And I haven't much to add on what need or need not now take place at the
LTA. A dysfunctional organisation with a staff turnover problem almost as big as that of producing world class players.

I remain clear on one thing though: I don't think you can blame the players for Tuesday's carnage. Only saved from being the worst British Open Era performance at Wimbledon by Elena Baltacha's three set win over Alona Bondarenko. It's now joint worst with what took place here two years ago, when only 17% of Brits survived the first round. So that's ok then.

I don't blame Dan Evans, a guy who a few weeks back was, and may still be (current ranking #305), the world's highest ranked 19 year old. Yes he could have given a better account of himself, but let's be fair. Nikolay - four time Slam semi finalist (grass court discrepancies and all) - in the first round - really? Britain's best hope for a post-Murray future had this to say:

“While Andy is winning, I don't think any eyes are going on any of the others,” Evans said. “Let's be honest, we are all 200 to 300 in the world. They shouldn't know who we are.
"You've got to earn a living sooner or later. It's a matter of respect. I've got bigger things to do than than sit around in Futures tournaments.

"I might not even be a tennis player soon. I might be stacking shelves. I haven't had to think about that yet but Tesco are advertising.

"I'm not going to get to 24 or 25 and still be asking for wildcards, simple as that."

(Source: The Sun)

I don't even blame the
press's favourite whipping boy Alex Bogdanovic, whose eight consecutive first round losses here have resulted in the LTA finally calling time on his supply of wildcards. He receives way more than what I'd consider his fair share of flak, nevertheless you would have thought five consecutive losses would have been enough.

Amidst the chorus of derision this morning the most concise and factual assessment came from young cable-knit himself:

Murray said: "It's disappointing. The depth needs to get way better. It's not acceptable. That's not picking out any players in particular because I watched some of them play and some of them played well.

"But they aren't at the same level as a lot of the guys. They don't play at this level too often because they're not ranked that high so when the tight moments come they don't play as well. It's not good."

(Source: The Independent)

That it isn't.


I didn't post anything on Murray's match yesterday for the simple reason that I wasn't that impressed. He seems to be operating at the same level Djoko is right now. And though Kendrick pushed him hard yesterday, that match shouldn't have lasted nearly as long as it did. Not if you think he's a contender for the title.

But what really got up my nose, is he wasn't decked out in that cricket jumper. I don't care that it was over 24 degrees out there. You don't torment us with tantalisingly comedic photoshoots only to come on court days later with nothing more threatening than a comely white jacket.
It's like Superman coming to rescue you without his cape, with 'out of bed' hair and a five o'clock shadow.

Anyway, be scared of Ernie Gulbis Andy. Be very scared. His lacklustre form of late is apparently down to a new physical regime which his body's taking time to adjust to. A sort of step back so he can take two steps forward, if you like. I wouldn't be surprised to see that match go to five sets.

What else? Sharapova out today in three tough sets to Argentine Gisela Dulko. Dulko's not the biggest hitter and has what you would call a slight frame. It was always going to be tough against Maria, an opponent from whom she's only managed to win a handful of games in the past.

But Maria wasn't anywhere near her best. We already knew that, with the time she spent out of the game.

But she wasn't even that close to her unexpectedly good form of Paris or Warsaw either. And
that bothered me. I really thought we might see something special from her on what is after all her favourite surface.

"You want somma this..."
(Photo: AFP)

Azarenka continues to provoke animosity from the crowd. Though things weren't as hostile as Paris. Things are never as hostile as Paris. For today at least, they were content to imitate her grunting. In between points mind you. They're polite like that.
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