There will be no comments from me this year. World and Wimbledon tennis is now in good shape, the standards of play are terrific as is the sportsmanship, the umpiring and line calls are under control, Andy Murray will give it his all as usual, but this time he really can win. The play we have seen on the first day is as good as many a final. The tournament speaks for itself, though, I have to say, the Tsonga/Domitrov match was ultra.

JUNE 29th 2011
I said there would be no comments from me this year, but when Murray came out to play Lopez I didn't like the look of him. He looked like a loser. As I write this he is winning against Lopez, but I now don't see him beating Tsonga or maybe Nadal. He could, but I don't see the sporting attitude it needs. Is he hurting? Later, after winning, he says no more than anyone else; but he's a gloomy chap - you can't be a Wimbledon champion if you don't enjoy it a little bit more than that.

Well how wrong I was. Andy's attitude playing Nadal was great. He played wonderfully. But Nadal was Nadal. Somewhere you will find my comments the first time I saw Nadal play. Then, I didn't see how anyone would ever stop him. The pressure was relentless and suddenly, Murray's first serves dropped their success level. He depended on them. Andy analyzed his own performance perfectly after the match, The next day as a write this, Liam Broady is about to lose to Saville in the same way unless he gets his first serve back. HE JUST DID! But it is now 4-2 to Saville in the final set, with Saville to serve. Deuce....Advantage Broady... then an AMAZING RALLY and Deuce..... Adv Saville, Game Saville. My God he had to work for that!

30 all...40-30...Deuce...Adv Saville due unforced error. Saville takes it. It was the same story as Murray in the same way.

Kvitova takes the Ladies - a really great performance, beating Sharapova very convincingly in a hard fought match.

JUNE 22nd 2010
We know Federer can lose games he should win. He just won won he should have lost. Why? Because he has enormous reserves of concetration and science. Tennis science. On grass, when it is Wimbledon, he will apply every ounce. I missed the great match he just played but I see that for the first time he was puffed and sweating at the end. OK, it was a hot day. The hotter it gets the more Federer has the advantage because he is a tennis scientist. Having said that, the competition this year is sensational and there are some young Americans coming through. If he wins this year his claim to be the greates champion of all time is valid because he has played against greater opponents, in y view, with a greater variety of games, than any other man. I think this year we are expecting too much of him.

The other man on whom the expectations and hopes could lead to stimulus and pressure leading to triumph or disaster is, of course, Murray. I like to think he has been experimenting with his game, wirth Wimbledon the target. We shall see. He is a remarkable player.

JUNE 23rd 2010
Mahut v. Isner - where are these two going? 6 foot 9 inches give's Isner an advantage and a disadvantage. Mahut is incredible as a performer under pressure.. His return of serve is better because he is fitter - amazingly fit. They end the day at 59 games all. But Isner will not be able to play tomorrow in my view unless his physio is a genius.

JUNE 24th 2010
I was wrong. Isner still didn't have to move to win. His serve plus amazing strokes when he got to the ball (so many he didn't bother with) were enough. I am very sorry that Mahut will not now go on towards the final, as this is a knockout tournament. He is a truly great player. I am not sure what to make of Isner's game. It depends utterly on doing brilliant things with the ball when you get to it or have it, every time, on never losing your serve games when the match is at stake, and let the rest go hang. That is why the match went on so long and in my view any match against Isner risks being just as long if his opponent is as fit and persistent as Mahut. The point is few are!

It was NOT the greatest match ever. It was the most, in many respects, it was the longest, and quite extraordinary, witrh great tennis included at all stages, right to the end.

Conclusion: anyone who is going to beat Isner must be prepared to go long.....or retunr his serves better than Mahut. Is that really possible?

Haase v. Nadal on the other hand is SENSATIONAL tennis. The 4th set, with Nadal fighting back is real tennins of another order than Isner. But if Haase collapses under the onslaught that will prove me wrong about it being a great match. Nadal is looking fitter than ever. He has got to be a likely winner of Wimbledon this year if he keeps his hottest form.
It went to 5 sets, it was much more exciting than Mahut/Isner, but in the end Rafa slaughtered him.

JUNE 25th 2010
John Isner came back to play again today but let's face it, he was completely knackered and lost. Nuff said, never mind who against. I shall miss Mahut going on though.

Today, Roddick played superbly to beat Kohlschrieber. He needed all his speed and his serve to do it, but it showed Roddick in true championship form, fit psychologically and pohysically. I think we shall see him in the final. Federer and Nadal notwhithstanding.

Some great womens' tennis going on, both with old favourites and newcomers. How about Henin and Clljsters coming up!

With every great match on TV, recordable, every tennis player can learn for free from the best. Every technique of Federer's play is there to be studied, in slow motion, by every player. Federer has trained his opponents.

JUNE 26th 2010
Murray goes through in top form, using the full arsenal. Nadal goes through but he has a couple of injuries. he will need his day's rest..

JUNE 28th 2010
Federer v, Melzer
This game does not get off to a fluent start. Federer is winning but not playing well. If Meltzer playes better, Federer will too. Federer takes the first set but by hal way through the second set I have to say this is poor tennis. I missed the rest but Federer says he played well. Since he won, I guess it can't have been that bad, and other commentators thought it was good. Oh well, I will shut up but for me, in spite of the score he'll have to do better.

Clijsters and Henin took a set and half to warm up, Clijsters out to lunch, then BAM the game was on! What a change. Clijteres took the secoind set and Henin fights back. But Clijsters takes the match securely.

Sharapova fought very bravely indeed against Serena Williams. Some crashing seconds serves. I hate the noise and refused to watch her for the last twon years but this was brave stuff. Nevertheless she lost. A great match.

Now if Murray can beat Querrey, that will be some match. It's asking a hell of a lot. If he's at his best, he can. He is the better player.
It's a great start but at set point Murray gets nerves. However, he recovers, takes the set and takes charge in the second set. Querrey fights back - GREAT TENNIS!
Murray's variety is staggering. And his whole demeanour is right for a champion.
He takes the second set 6-3. Moving really well, chases every ball. He needs to do better on his first serves though..
He did, but Querrey fought like a lion. Andy took the last set though with real intelligence. An intelligent game, played with great energy. Great defence, wonderful backhand  slice and topspin..

Goodness me. Yen-Hsun Lu has beaten Andy Roddiclk who I expected to see in the final ! That gfives Lu a chance in m y book.

JUNE 29th 2010
Pironkova! A name to conjure with now. She set the tone for the match with Venus and won it. Power and great reactions. And LESS NOISE!! I am with her all the way to the final!"

JUNE 30th 2001
Earlier on I said Federer was playing badly this year (for Federer that is). I stand by that. He's going donw to Berdich, in spite of the fact that his return of serve is better. Federer is missing so many shits and his first serve is not getting in.

It's ridiculous really because if Federer gets his first serve in, Berdych can almost never get it back, It would be a certain win for Federer. But Federer's first serve is almost NEVER in this match! And the rest of F'a play is hopelessly erratic.

3:46pm BST - It's all over. Berdych played well, Federer was PANTS. Well, I did think we were asking too much of him this year but I expectd a better showing than that. Murray would have absolutely thrashed him on that form!.Could it be that Federer, in the back of his subconscious mind, was hoping NOT to beat Murray, OR to lose to him?

Not a single commentator is saying Federer played badly. Why? It was bloody awful! THE ANSWER IS HE IS IN PAIN: LEGS, BACK and OLD AGE!

Now it's Murray v. Tsonga. This will be really tough. No prediction other than it could be a long one.

Half way through the first set the standard of play is very high. Great aggression from Tsonga, great serves, play and running from Murray. Either of these would have thrashed Roger F on his current form. Boris Becker, usually a good judge, has just said "the real match hasn't started yet" - how very, very wrong he is. It started in the first game. Boris, wake up!

It goes to Tie-break in the first. Tsonga takes it 7-5 with brilliant serves and play. All is not lost for Murray, but it's really tough. I think Murray could and must tsake the second set and start to dominate.

5:10pm BST - He does, but Tsonga manages to hold his serve in the 4th game. and breaks back in the 5th. He's pretty cool. Murray has problems for the first time with serve and unforced errors. But he comes back and takes his next service game to love.
5 games all; 6-5 to Murray.....after a struggle....6 all tie-break. MURRAY TAKES IT BY A SQUEAK and makes for the loo!!!!!!

Meantime Nadal has come back and could win his match on court 2 against Soderling. He leads 2 sets to 1.and looks like a winner.

Back with Murray and he beaks Tsonga in the 3rd game of the 3rd set. Tsonga is fit and powerful but Murray has trhe speed.

6:08pm and into the 4th game....Tsonga nearly beeaks back! Murray stops it but only with brilliance at the net!


Murray takes the set 6-2 but has to fight like hell for the last game.

6:30pm MURRAY LEADS 2  to 1
He breaks a tired Tsonga in the first game!!
He takes th first 4 games, it looks like a wipeout but with great play Tsonga wins his serve in the 5th.
At the last minute Tsonga wins his serve with great play to make Andy serve out the match at 6-2 in the final set..


Now he has to beat Nadal.   Ooff!

JULY 1st 2010
I know Pironkova is too young and inexperienced but I still believed she could come back in set 3 to beat Zvonoreva. One day I hope to see Pironkova win Wimbledon, in beautiful silence!!

Now Kvitova is a left-hander. And very tall. She has a chance against Serena. But if Serena gets mad....!
First set goes to tie-break - quite a fight, Serena's serve finally wins it. Kvitova could still take second set, but if Serena raises game....
She does. Could win women's singles once again!

JULY 2nd 2010
Two great matches today:
Murray v. Nadal - Rafa is world No1, on form, enough said. To beat him will be amazing.
Berdych v. Djokovic - Berdych looks like a winner. He has the temperament and the physique. He could take the chanpionship at the final. But D is a powerful player.

Just as an aside, I repeat my opinion that offering equal prize money for the ladies is a pathetic pretence of politcal correctness and will remain so until they play the same number of games to win.

Back to Berdych - in my book he has every quality required of a Wimbledon and World Champion. Although 6ft 5ins tall he has the speed to hold Nadal and a coolness of judgement to equal Federer at his past best.

2:27pm - it looks like he could take the first two sets.
Its 6 all in the tie-break after fantastic defence by Djokovic. D is so tough, it is amazing. But even if he wins the second set he surely can't win the match. B's return of serve is so good.
Now 9 all! D double-faults and it's 2 sets to B.

If there is one type of shot that will win this tournament for Berdych it is his horizontal backhand low slice on-the-run. With this, he returns fast, deep balls that would trip most players up, and sends them back with a spin that is liable to skew the opponent's return out of court unless they play it safe.

Now for it: Andy v. Rafa. They will both get huge support for the spectators. They are both at the top of their game!
I predict a really great match from the very beginning

Murray makes one mistake at 4 games all and Rafa pounces!! 5-4 and Nadal is suddenly serving for the set. Up till then, Murray was doing well.
M fights back! So nearly gets to Deuce but no.... 1st set suddenly lost.

Murray had 5 aces, Nadal none, he could have taken that set but Nadal's 'pounce' was just brilliant.

Murray can come back though. Takes first game of 2nd set to love on serve. By 2 games to one it is clear that Murray is playing best, as he did in the first set. You can play better than your opponent and still lose if the points you win are not the critical ones!!  SO NEAR TO A BREAK AT 2-1 but no! Though M leads 3-2 again after another love game.

2 break points for Murray at 4-3. Loses one, put off by crowd on serve return. Loses second after rally. Deuce....Adv Nadal (brilliant play by N) Back to deuce after brilliant play by Murray. Adv N.... Game N - 4-4 now.... 5-4 Murray (easy)....5-5....6-5 Murray (great play, a cracking ace included!)...6-6 after great play by Nadal.

Tie-break: 1 to M; 2 to M (BRILLIANT RETURN!)  2-1 M (Nadal great play); 2-2 after rally;  3-2 M great forehand down the line at last!; 3-3 GREAT PLAY!;
4-3 to N; 4-4 after M's ace; 5-4 aafter second  M ace; 5-5 after unbelievable play by both! 6-5 to M after N's serve fails under pressure!
6-6!!! N brilliance!  7-6 N, tactical winner; then N takes it. He got lucky but deserved it.

CAN MURRAY COME BACK? Tennis-wise yes. Pressure-wise? Who can say if he will. He can. He can beat Nadal.

5:43pm BST - Murray breaks N in the first game of the 3rd set.

At 4-3, Murray serving, Nadal tries to break back......   30 all.....Deuce....after several  chances Nadal takes it and breaks back.

In the end Nadal wins, by never giving up on anything and eventually Andy, who won more points (I think, or at least as many) in the match than Nadal and was the better server AND the better returner of serve, made his errors on the critical seconds of the game. Although Rafa won in three straight sets it was a really close match and a really great one.

Nadal v. Berdych could be extraordinary!

JULY 3rd 2010
I didn't watch the Ladies Final as it was a foregone conclusion. Talk about easy money. I refer to my previous opinion. At £1 million It's a RACKET.

Good news for young British tennis is the all-British final of the boys doubles. Lewis Burton and George Burton will play Tom Farquharson and Liam Broady.

Some of the UK tabloids do not seem to understand what a great match Andy Murray played. It was terrific play. He handled the pressure. He can win a grand slam one day!

JULY 4th 2010
Rafa wins in straight sets but he had ro work hard for the second one. Not an exciting match, Berdich was put on the defensive a bit. But it was not a walkover. The simple triuth is that the world No1 was at the top of his form and when he needed to he piled on the pressure with a suddenness and remorselessness that was irresistable. A worthy winner and a hugely popular one, with a performance that gave added credibility to Andy Murray's efforts two days ago.


June 22 2009
Very sad that Nadal is temporarily disabled, but it gives a chance of a final of Murray v. Federer. It would be good if Murray won as it has been a long time for Britain, but to get to the final means he is good enough and it will be a great game if he gets there.

When it comes to the women, until they stop shrieking (which they call grunting) I am not interested. Any player should be allowed to call a let if they are put off by 'grunting' and the umpire should allow an appeal, up to 6 times in any game. In addition, the referee should put a limit on the volume of any 'grunting' as gauged by a machine and insist the point be replayed the first time and lost the second and subsequent. [Post script July 2nd - Dementieva-S.Williams match grunt-level is just about acceptable, as it is low, regular, matched  or proportionate to the circumstance and does not interfere with the game or the pleasure of watching their great play]

The ridiculous French girl who says she will do whatever she wants, as she is an individual player playing an individual game, has a lot to learn. She needs people to play against, people to make balls and rackets, make and maintain courts and a public who want to see her and pay, and we don't. he will go nowhere and in the meantime she should shut up.

Britain's Robson's racquet play is good, she played well and could have won but has to be much quicker off the mark at the back of the court. She had better not start grunting, she doesn't need it. Her great serve went off at the end, but she is definitely a possible great player. At age 15, that was good stuff.

June 23 2009
7:00 pm
 I think Murray will win this round but my God, Kendrick has some spirit and some great moments. If he were to really give himself to the sport, he could be a great player. Quite a guy. He has studied Murray's game too.

7:50 pm
Murray wins, but Kendrick put up a great fight. He expected every ball to come back, no matter how good his strike. Murray also had some great moments, the crowd had their money's worth,  He will have to make fewer mistakes though to win Wimbledon.

JUNE 24th 2009
Laura Robson and partner Georgie Stoop beat fellow British pairing Jade Curtis and Anna Smith 13-11 in the deciding set. Now that's tennis, ladies, absolutely first class. As for Sharapova, thank God she's out of it. It's tennis, not a shouting match and the crowd were with Dulko all the way.

JUNE 25th 2009
2:00 pm   If Lleyton Hewitt continues to play as well as this he could beat Federer and take the Wimbledon title, of that there is no doubt. But to continue at this level would be truly amazing. Del Potro is bringing the best out of him. Its a pairing that may not happen again in the tournament. Of course in a while Del Potro may show us something equally stunning and prove me wrong.

3:45pm  Del Potro did show us something stunning, a spirit and talent to never give up. He made Hewitt serve for the match more than once and fail. But he did not prove me wrong, Hewitt showed real tennis science and great foot work. He will make a worthy adversary for Federer this year.

7:00 pm  Murray has picked up his game and won smoothly against Gulbis, with good play, good tactics and an effective way of turning a defensive backhand slice into an attacking backhand slice. Andy must bear in mind that it was UNforced errors that really lost the match for Gulbis and unnerved him, taking the edge off his attack. Admittedly they looked unforced, but in fact they were often because Murray broke the rhythm and speed, which left Gulbis uncertain how hard to strike. Clever stuff, and Andy's forehand cross-courts were killers.

JUNE 27th 2009
6:10 pm   For some reason the commentators feel Murrays's win against Troicki is a foregone conclusion. I do not. It will not be easy.
6:37 pm  Murray has taken the first set with brilliant, intelligent play. He had a plan to beat this guy, he is putting it into action. I am incredibly impressed. This man is really a tennis-player.
7:05 pm Second set in the bag, despite attempts from Troicki to fight back. M's return of serve is wonderful. He is playing carefully, and that way, with some brilliant aces to help, he can win. He will need a different game against Hewitt though.
7:46 pm  Murray takes the third set, though in the penultimate game, Troicki showed some form which, if he had played like that earlier, could have made it another story. He took it in straight points. Instead in this last set, Andy showed techniques capable of matching and beating both Hewitt and Federer, which is good, as he will need to do just that before Wimbledon 2009 is over.

JUNE 29 2009
4:00 Sadly Lleyton Hewitt seems to be damaged. He has lost his form and Stepanek is playing a brilliant game. H has lost the first set 6-4 and I think he going down in the second. No way he can win Wimbledon now, evem if he wins this match which looks unlikely.
5:40  Hewitt has fought back and taken the third set 6-1. But his match against the brilliant Stepanek depenss on him gettinhg his first serve IN, and coming up with his utterly brilliant return of serve REGULARLY. If Hewitt plays hos best, he is just bloody amazing. But can e do it, for two more sets and the rest of Wimbledon. He has fought his way back from 2 sets down several times in his career.. Stepanek is a really interesting opponent. This is tennis to bring a lump in the throat. I think it will bring the crowd to its fee before the day is over.
6:18 Hewitt takes the fourtth 6-2. Curiously he does not have the patience to win all the long rallies, even though there are not that many. But he has tired out Stepanek and his moral is on the bounce. His speed is dazzling.
6:22 He breaks Stepanek in the first game of the final set! "He strikes like Thunderball!" Stepanek's footwork, balletic up to now, falters.
And yes, Hewitt wins convicingly.

Now, we have to see if Murray can use his great return of serve to hold back the sheer force  of Wawrinka, and use his intelligence to outwit his combination of force and control on all his shots. Wawrinka has a killer backhand.
I could be wrong, but there is a moment when Murray, in the second set, did a good drop-shot. The only reply possible we another dropshot, and Murray failed to realise this. That for me indicates the pressure has got to Murray and he could go down. He has to hold his nerve. If he does, he can still do it as he is learning Wawrinka's game minute by minute.
He holds his nerve.
He takes the second set, 6-3, convincingly.
It is 8:00 pm, one set all, the roof is on, what can go wrong now? There can be no light problem.
Wawrinka ups his game.
Murray responds.
He fights like Hewitt! But he does not get his first serves in...
He only just holds his serves sometimes when his first serve fails...
8:40 pm   Then he BREAKS Wawrinka in the 7th game!

His first serve improves. To win Wimbledon, he will need his first serve every time. Ah, thanks MacEnroe, you have just said it. His will and speed and genius which have saved him here so far are not enough.
8:47 pm    2 sets to 1
9:10 pm Wawrinka is tired. Murray should win eventually now, but W is good, there is no doubt about that.
Wawrinka rallies!
 It's 4-3 at 9:20 pm and both player are playing HARD! Great, great tennis.
9:29 pm....4-4  Now it is a battle of wills for this set and for Murray, the match.
5-4 to Andy but Wawrinka starts acing. It's 5-5 even though Andy fights back.
But after a struggle it's 6-5 Wawrinka!
 He takes the set with an ace.

There have been moments in this match when it looked like Murray had complete control, but W always came back!
In the final set, Murray serves and holds, then breaks W from love 40. Then holds with brilliant play. Huge.
But he must try to break EVERY serve.
10:18   Wawrinka breaks back to make it 3-2 to Murray but W to serve.
He's acing again to 40 love, 40-15, game - 3 games  all
But Murray breaks back and ends up serving for the match at 5-3
He wins, but what a sodding fight! Wawrink was the steadier, better player in many respects but Murray had more genius

JULY 1st 2009
Federer v.Karlovic
The commentators have been brilliant up till now with their analysis but today none of them spotted the real depth of Federer's strategy. I hesitate even to reveal it here. Suffice to say luck did not play a part in Federer taking the first 2 sets. It is possible he could have taken them another way, with the expenditure of immense effort and a risk of failing. As it was he took them with a trick of strategy so cunning I would almost call it cruel. He refused to combat Karlovic's strengths and let the Croatian waste them, winning serve after serve while Federer never revealed his game. Until he decided to fight that serve and win, taking it early, and then fight the point no holds barred. he only did it on rare, vital occasions.

Now, after the first 2 sets, Karlovic will have seen the light. Indeed he has remived his glasses. In one sense Federer will have a harder time in the third set as the velvet gloves will have come off. He cannot afford to lose a service game or make any mistakes on the crucial breaks. He should win, because Karlovic is a really limited tennis player, but his physical advantages of reach and strength of serve are still terrifying.

2:45 pm, At 5 sets all Federer aims to break, revealing he can take the serves but fails. It will be a tie break! Feerer could possibly lose the set.

2:54 It's a tie break, but Karlovic is let's face it, a terrible, gigantic tennis player up against a maestro. After the match Federer is very careful not to talk about his strategy at all. Very wise. There are more games to play. This was a match like no other but there are elements that apply.....

3:00 pm Now Murray is back on court to face Ferrero. Both looking very fit. I make no predictions but Murray CAN win and SHOULD win. The weather could favour Ferrero. McEnroe is back on commentary - good.

After 5 games, Murray could have broken twice but failed to take advantage. he has allowe Ferrero to get his game going. Now Murray will have to win against an opponent whose morale could have been crushed early but is up and running. Murray is serving well, but he looks depressed and knackered. It is a hot, heavy day.

Finally at 5 games all, Murray breaks. He will have to do a lot better to win Wimbledon.

In the second set Ferrero breaks early due to unforced errors by impatient Murray, and then holds.

Eventually Murray breaks back and it's 4-3, but it's due to faults by Ferrero

At last Murray gets his great return of serve going, cuts out the unforced errors. About time!

The combination brings us to 5-3 to Murray, then he takes the next 20 points and the set.

Was this strategy, like Federer in match logged just above? No, it was mistakes and it could have lost him the set if he had not woken up, and it depended on Ferrero losing it at a key moment.

Set 3, Murray is  now awake thank goodness. It's a fight, with Murray on top, just.

At last some great tennis. including a Murray point so good it made Ferrero smile! The game's afoot!!

Murray playing well. Breaks with hard work to make it 3-2, 4-2, 5-2, 6-2 He is through to the semi!!!

Now McEnroe thinks Murray would rather face Hewitt than Roddick. In one way I disagree. In his current form, if he beats Roddick, Hewitt is a greater threat to Andy. On the other hand, if Roddick beats Hewitt, it will mean Roddick is in top form so that's bad news too!

5:24 pm Roddick is one set up, its a tie break in the second. Roddick relies too much on aces. Hewitt is the marginally better player, but he could lose this set as well. I hope not, he is an amazing player.

5:32 pm - it's 6 all, then 7-6 Hewitt, 7-7, 8-7 Roddick, 8-8, 9-8 Hewitt, 9-9 (amazing rally), 10-9 Roddick, 10-10, 11-10 Hewitt, SET TO HEWITT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2 sets all.

The third set went with serve, some great tennis, but Hewitt lost it in the tie break

In the fourth set Roddick holds an early lead from a break. I will make a prediction:
If Hewitt wins this (now unlikely?) he will win the Championship (unless groin injury gets him). If Roddick wins, he could win the Championship. Whatever happens, Federer and Murray will have one hell of a fight to win it against either of these two in their current form, but Federer should beat Roddick. Murray will be pushed to beat Hewitt.

7:00 pm  Hewitt in classic form has broken back two games ago, now we are at 5-4 to Hewitt, Andy serving. Hewitt has been acing well. Andy's serve is faltering slightly. Hewitts returns are crackers - HE TAKES THE SET - IT IS 2 SETS ALL

The final set will either break Hewitt down or prove he is up for the rest of the Championship providing not injured.

It looks good for Hewitt but then....

Roddick breaks to make it 5-4, 40-30, Game, set, match. If Murray can win against Roddick when he is serving this well, and the rest of his game not at all bad.... well he can, because Roddick's return of really canny serving is NOT GOOD.

JULY 02 2009
Today, Dementieva v. S.Williams. My server is offline as a power-failure has taken out the entire server centre, so there will be no detailed account and I have other work. But this is terrific tennis. I would like to see Dementieva v Venus in the final, as in my view they are today's greatest players. Dementieva has improved her serve which was the weak spot. Maybe next year

4:04 pm It will have to be next year, as this time Serena somehow managed to hold on and win through in a match where most of the time she was losing. The match made me change my mind about prize money for the womens game. This was staggeringly good, by far the best women's match I have ever seen. I don't expect Venus v Safina to be as good.

5:15 pm Well, that was a waste of time, it was not a match. It is a pity we won't see Dementieva in the final as the Williams-Williams final is just eetertainment. If Serena gets mad enough she might win, if Venus doesn't get mad at all she might lose. Dementieva just might have won.

5:27 Ah, for the first time I hear it from the commentators. "Dementieva outplayed Serena for most of the match". She did indeed. But lost.

JULY 03 2009
Murray is going to have a hard time to beat Roddick today. as R has really upped his game, lost weight, gained stength and is aiming to win the Championship from Federer. I was amazed he beat Hewitt, I thought Hewitt would beat Roddick, Murray and possibly Federer. Now Murray has to beat a fired up, experienced challenger bent on victory AND the greatest living Wimbledon champion. He would need some extraordinary luck as well as amazing play to do that. Surely not possible to beat both unless, which is just possible, they lose their nerve in the presence of the home crowd and Murray just has the edge on speed and return of serve.

The first thing to note is the QUALITY of the Haas serve. The power we take for granted, but the placement, variety and control is exceptional on first and second alike.
The second thing is: will Federer use what I now see as his strategy to the full (see his last match against a great server, recorded above)? The answer is YES, and he needs to! He comes to the tie break without a bead of sweat or even a deep breath and just takes  the first set, even with the odd mistake - and brilliant play from Haas.

In the second set we see serve and volley in great style. No breaks of serve yet.
2:20 Still no breaak, 4-4
Federer has a set point but fails, it goes to 5-5, 6-5 Federer, and then some GREAT PLAY from both. Deuce...
Adv Federer, fantastic rally, GAME FEDERER, so good Tommy Haas smiles, you just have to. It's a privilege to lose a point to this guy. The serve from Haas was great but Federer just decided he was going to take that point and fought it through a great rally.

Third set, Federer back into the strategy. No sweat, take your chances but let Tommy win his serves if he really deserves them. Federer is using these games to practise a few particular attacking shots more than defense, but only when he chooses to and to make sure he never loses his own serve. He sees if he can break Tommy, gets close, but will not exhaust himself trying or reveal his hand.

Federer breaks 5-3 - more correct to say Haas broke, he just could not keep up the perfection needed. Federer takes the last game in seconds, the set and the match. The really frightening thing is that even though the weather wrmed up at the end, Federer never broke sweat or got even mildly breathless. He took the last game skipping around like a lamb.

NOW, MURRAY-RODDICK. There could be some sweat and breathing here!
I think I can see how Roddick could lose if Murray uses the Federer strategy. He has learned a lot from Federer. If he has learned the Federer strategy as well, he could win this match. But he must hold his serve

4:06 pm  4-4, Roddick serving. So far Andy has had some good moments, and some less good. Roddick take this game t love based on his serve. Murray comes out fighting in the next game but Roddick fights back to 30 all., 30-40 and BREAKS. Roddick one that by superb play to beat good play from Murray. The set is lost, much as I feared.

We must now hope the Murray dander is up!!!!

My God, it is, he goes to break Roddick in the first game and he does!! If only he had not let the first set go!

Now he has to HOLD SERVE. The Federer strategy is his only hope. He is doing well, brimming in confidence now. Why the hell does he have to lose a set to get fired up? Don't know, but he does. Roddick is fired up anyway and taking his serve games to love. Murray holds....just. Roddick holds, easily. Murray MUST now hold at 5-4 to win the second set. He reaches 40:15 with great play despite poor serves and then ACES!  ONE SET ALL!!!

SET 3 - Roddick is down 0-40 in the first game but fights back and wins. Oops.

17 stroke rally...Murry wins. Then fires up to make sure of service game.
But in the 4th game its deuce, then Adv Roddick, deuce, Adv Roddick with dropshot, Game Roddick
Can Murray break back? Not for the moment

What went wrong was Murrays first serve. When he gets it in, Roddick cnnot cope, ut he was not getting it in,

Roddick serves for the set but Murray takes him to love 40, 15-40, BREAKS BACK

Murray ACES then fluffs twice then ACES to take the game. 5 all, Roddick to serve

TIE BREAK - Murray manages 3 aces in a row to recover to set point, Roddick to serve. Luck goes against Murray though
6 all Roddick to serve, 7-6, set point to Roddick, and Murray retrieves, 7 all, then mis-hits. Roddick serves and takes the set. Roddick won that, Murray didn't lose it. But can he now win TWO SETS?

The 4th set goes to Tie Break

M       R
4 (amazing)
          6(JUST out)
5 (amazing)
          7              Roddick wins, what a match! If Andy Murray had been serving at his best he could have won.
But Roddick realy does deserve a Wimbledon final, and he deserves THIS Wimbledon final.
How strange that none of the commentators have picked up the simple fact that if Andy had got more first serves in he would have won, it's as simple as that. Ah, finally Tim Henman has pointed it out. Thanks for that.

July 04 2009
Venus has had too easy a ride to the final. Serena has had her game honed by Dementieva. That means that unless Venus gets coolly fired up and it does not go to nerves, Serena will take it.

Yup, there's no beating Serena when she's fired up and in top practice. That will make Dementieva feel a lot better, she has proved she had championship mettle, style and capability.

Tomorrow, money's on Federer but he will have to have work for it.

This was an excellent match. Stosur and Stubbs (aged 40) were in top form. Venus had been warmed up by losing the singles, but Serena was a bit off after her winning effort. Eventually both sisters got it together and won with some force against very talented and stubborn resistance.

JULY 05 2009
Off we go, at a high standard straight away. If Federer science applies it will go with serve, but with Roddick expending twice the energy and Federer will strike at  5 all or the tie-break, unless he gets an opportunity earlier when of course he will go for it flat out. There is also the 'Federer Surprise' attack when he will run like hell to win a rally that has taxed his opponent, which may come into play at a psychological moment. Federer Tennis Science and disguise permeates his game. But Roddick has worked on all his own weaknesses, so this will be a really tough match. Roddick's serve is like a cannon and the aces are coming. He is looking as cool as Federer.

2:35   5 games all. Federer goes for the break as I predicted, Roddick replies with bodyline. 30-40 break point Federer, deuce, adv Roddick, deuce (great pass), adv Federer, deuce, adv Federer, JUST OUT, deuce, adv Federer, desuce, adv Roddick (bad for Federer that, not in the plan!) YES. Roddick wins the game. That is not in the Federer plan A at all. He hit three great shots which were just out over the base-line, each of which would have won the match, and were not difficult to do. Alarm bells for Federer. He has lost all his Hawkeye challenges.


The big difference in this match is this time Roddick has set out to win Wimbledon, before he had never believed he would get further than get to the final. He has decided from way back to plan to win this match by preparation and Federer knows it.

I expected Federer to go to plan B and try an early break in the second set but NO! He is still on plan A. Roddick aces regularly.

5 games all, but to win the last serve Federer had to really wake up and play his best, which he has NOT been doing. Roddick was playing at Federer standard in a great rally. Federer is meeting his match. I would not put any money on Federer now to win, as Roddick has learned Federer's tricks and has a cannonball serve and the will to win. He does not bother to challenge calls he could have won!

TIE BREAK - 143mph Roddick - Federer is going down!

3:35 pm
Unbelievably he doesn't, but it's luck as well as a good serving by Federer and tiny loss of nerve by Roddick that allows Federer to fight back from set point against him with six points in a row. I still think Roddick can win now, and in my opinion he deserves to win. Today he is, so far, the better player and not just because of his serves. He is outplaying Federer using Federer-class shots. But can he keep it up???

4:14pm TIE BREAK  Federer rises to the occasion, gets to 5-1, then 5-2, 5-3, 6-3(brilliant!), 6-4, 6-5 Federer to serve...
 he takes it with brilliant serve and volley, Roddick's return was the best possible, it was a really well fought tiebreak.
In that last set it was even money provided Roddick does not miss his first serves.

4:20 pm FEDERER LEADS 3 sets to ONE - Roddick could still win. He deserves to actually.

4:35  Roddick breaks after he plays well and Federer plays BADLY.  3-1 Roddick
        Becker comments "I have seen Roger play better" - that's putting it mildly, and Andy is playing at Federer's top level.

4:48 pm Roddick is holding and he is not tired!

4:50 pm Roddick serves for the set at 5-3.
0-15, 0-30 (great return), 15-30, 30-30, 40-30(Federer) fails on killer  GAME RODDICK - 2 sets all

Federer will use a different strategy now. Every game will be a break target to drain Roddick dry.
Roddick just saves the break points in hs first serve-game. No problems in the next, but neither has Federer.
The fact is Federer is fluffing some of his otherwise ungettable passes. The 'control' is not at its best. He has served more aces than Roddick, but that is because he returns some of what for Roddick would otherwise be an ace.

5:22 pm Roddick serves to make it 5:5  40-0, Game no problem.

6 games all, play is even, at 7-6 Federer had chances to break and win but fluffed them. At 7-7 he only just saves 3 set points.

6:01 pm Deuce but Roddick aces, the holds 11-11

Federer aces the next game. 45 aces. That's 45 serves Roddick has not attempted to reach.
Federer has had 100 winning shots. what has filed him is what he usually does easily. He has missed his key strokes in match-play. Weird. And Andy had not let him off any of this poor play.

6:15 pm   Again, Federer almost breaks but Andy holds to 13 all. But Federer is not sweating and his game is improving. He sails through his next service game. But he fails again to kill and its 14 all, the 14-15 Roddick serving to survive.
0-15, 0-30, 15-30(ace), 30-30, 40-30, Deuce, Adv R., Deuce, Adv Federer, my God, he's won. He got the second set by luck, but at the end he earned it.

On reflection, it is good for Federer that he had a really good challenger today. If he had not had a touch of luck in the middle, and got his best game going at the end, he could have lost. As it is, he really earned all the records he has now broken.


JAN 24 2008
The best advance news for Wimbledon 2008 is the rise of the competition!

Nadal, playing well, is beaten by Tsonga, Federer by Djokovic.

Associated Press Thursday, January 24, 2008 (Melbourne)

Farewell Rafa. Hello Tsonga. Second-ranked Rafael Nadal, seeking to prove he can win a Grand Slam on a surface other than Roland Garros' clay, instead matched his worst loss in a major as No. 39th Jo-Wilfried Tsonga reached the Australian Open finals with a dominating 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 victory.

Nadal played well against Tsonga, who has been plagued by injuries and had never gone beyond the fourth round in his four previous Grand Slams. But the Frenchman was virtually untouchable, smashing 17 aces against one of the best serve returners.

He now faces the winner of Friday's semifinal between top-ranked Roger Federer and No. 3 Novak Djokovic.

Nadal had just 12 unforced errors - four combined in the first two sets - while matching the fewest games he has won in a Grand Slam, against Andy Roddick at the 2004 US Open.

"I was playing fine," Nadal said. "He played unbelievable. Congratulate him."

Roger Federer crashes out to Novak Djokovic

By Mark Hodgkinson in Melbourne

Monsters at Melbourne Park. Never mind last night's admission from a beaten and peeved Roger Federer that he had "created a monster" of pressure and expectation by winning all those previous grand slams. The real Godzilla at the Australian Open yesterday was Novak Djokovic's semi-final performance to defeat the world No 1 over three astonishing sets.


JUNE 24th 2008
I have no idea who will win Wimbledon this year or even make the finals. Too many unknowns. But I think Murray should get near the final.

JUNE 25th
It is now clear, having watched the electronic line-judging device for some time, that it needs one very simple modification. The size of the electronic representation of the ball should be diminished by at least 25%. The reasoning is obvious. The great Dechy/Ivanovic match brought it home to me.

Djokovic crashed out. He was not mentally prepared for Wimbledon, it seems. He's off to take a well earned rest after playing a hell of a lot of tennis this year with grand slams and masters. His opponent Safin certainly was prepared and played consistently and very, very well.

JUNE 26th 2008
I started this file some years back when Sharapova first turned up and I tipped her right away as a great player and likely to win Wimbledon. Since then my admiration has plummeted. If she can't play without screaming like a demented peacock, she can't play. Glad she's gone out today. On the other hand I don't agree with her opponent on the matter of dress. I thought Sharapova's outfit was fine!

Today I am watching Eaton and Tursunov in the first set. Can't say who will win but Eaton is the better player and I tip him one day to win Wimbledon. Powerful, steady, not this year but one day he could if he has the speed. Great serve and return. But he is up against a strong player. Why do I tip him in the long run, even if he loses now? Racquet control and match temperament.

8:10pm - Tursunov won the match through experience, discipline and winning the crucial points, but looking a the overall play, Eaton did well and I retain my judgment that he is going to get near the very top. His serve and volley and his return of serve when he retains hs confidence are really great. A long way to go but he will get there if he can develop the agility and speed.

Keothavong, our number one lady gave Venus a great match. She could go to the top too one day.

Murray was terrific. No worries. Till tomorrow that is,,,,,

Federer  goes through, impressive, ruthless. Ivanovic goes down to Zheng - sad to see this great player out but Zheng hardly made a single mistake, and she did! I though Murray was playing Haas today, maybe not...  Ancic (who I tipped to beat Federer at Wimbledon years ago but never did) is going to beat Ferrer even though F is playing really well.

OK, I'll back him again. Ancic to win Wimbledon 2008.

JUNE 28th 2008
Andy Murray really in the groove. He lost the second set to Haas in the tie-break but that did not upset him and 6-4, 6-7, 6-3, 6-2 tells the tale. Could reach the semis and even the final against Federer, Nadal or Ancic. Well Ok, that's being optimistic but why not?.

JULY 2nd 2008
It was obviously stupid of me to even think that Mario Ancic's determination could beat Federer's tennis-science combined with his extreme readiness to chase down every single ball that it is possible to reach. He is the greates player of all time, and that's that, even if Rafael Nadal wins this time, which is not a given with F playing at this, his top level. Ancic was not at his best either, it has to be said

Now we have Murray v Nadal. Is it possible? His last match was incredible and he came back from 2 sets down and 2-5 in the 3rd. against Gasquet. In theory not likely, the odds at 5-1 against say it right, but...
No. Nadal was in command all the time. Murray fought well though at all times. A very brave try. Was he tired after the great match aainst gasquet? Obviously. But Nadal was so strong....

JULY 3rd 2008
The incredible Zheng could have won the second set against Serena but for one wrong choice of shot. Even then the end was a great battle, won in the long run by Serena with amazing serving which Zheng could not match, even though her returns were brilliant. Serena could well have lost a third set.

Schuettler and Clement may go to a 3rd day I thought. These guys are unbelievably good. The know every trick. 5 hrs 10 minutes of play and Schuettler goes through to his first Wimbledon semi. He will be so shattered now that to take on Nadal without a good rest seems too much to ask. The thing is he doesn't look shattered at all.

JULY 4th 2008
The Federer-Safin match starts disappointingly so far. In the first set Federer plays well, Safin does not get into the match. In the second set Safin plays better, Federer serves brilliantly, returns brilliantly but his game play is poor with few exceptions. Result, they go to a tiebreak Federer takes control in the tie-break. At 5-1 Safin rallies but then 6-2, 6-3, and Federer aces with an ungettable outside liner But Roger will have to play much better than this to beat Nadal's game.

The third set starts with better play all round. but Federer still making occasional uncharacteristic errors. In the 4th game the play warms up and the fight is on. It is a great fight but as Safin ups his game he brings out the best in Federer so  6-3, 7-6, 6-4!


Now it's the Nadal-Schuettler semi final....32 versus 22. Two amazing characters with great endurance. Nadal must win, but here is a man he has not played before who is apparently having a second childhood! Beating Clement was incredible.  But logically he has no chance now.

 S. wins the toss and serves. 20 mins for 1st set, 6-1 Nadal but it's not all over yet.

Second set starts 1-1.  Then 2-1 to Schuettler! Then 3-1, 3-2. No matter what happens now, Schuettler has shown he is worthy of a place in the semi-final. Yes!! it's 4-2. This man plays tennis. He has the full game!!!!  4-3...5-4   can he take the set? New balls.... 15-0...15-15...15-30...15-40 Nadal fighting like a Tiger. He breaks back and it's 5 all!! I am going out and will learn what happens later.

It goes to tie-break. Nadal ace. Then Schuettler fails to challenge his good serve called out.  S fights back from 1-4... 3-4...3-5...3-6  Nadal takes the second set. You know, Schuettler is the better player, but he wll now lose for sure. It is too much to ask of S.

I am back watching the recording.
In the 8th game of the 3rd set we had the first double fault of the match. It was Nadal's.

The commentators, as Nadal serves for the match at 5 games to 4, are still putting the length of this match down to Nadal's errors. Not at all. It has been due to the brilliant play by Schuettler who, on this form, could have won this match and beaten Federer in the final.

In the post-match discussion th commentators are still underrating the performance of Schuettler. But for some bad luck he could have won. His play is terrific.

Meanwhile how about this:

Britain's Laura Robson produced another sizzling performance to beat Romana Tabakova and book her place in the final of the Wimbledon girls' singles.

Robson, 14, overpowered the 17-year-old Slovakian in the first set and dropped just four points on her own serve.

The Londoner made more mistakes at the start of the second set but recovered from going a break down to seal an impressive 6-2 7-5 victory.

JULY 5th 2008

Ladies final.
Venus is in wide-awake form. She will win it.
She did of course. But then I have always thought Venus could win every year if she took it seriously. This year she did.

Laura Robson wins the Juniors title at the age of 14. It's the power of positive thinking in her case. She should go a long way. I cried.

The men's doubles is an even battle with Nestor and Zimo likely to take it but I have to say it is not as much fun to watch as in the days of Hewitt and Stolle.

Tomorrow it may rain a bit.

JULY 06 2008
Federer loses a serve early on, has several chances to break back but  muffs them. F is not playing his best yet but his return of serve is excellent compared to Nadal. He will win even if he loses this first set. Which he does. The commentators disagree with me. They are wrong. It's all over.

In set two Federer shows his form. But then Nadal fights back to make it 3-4 with him to serve. THE FIGHT IS ON!!

Federer nearly breaks back but it is 4-4.  Then Federer loses his serve!! He has won most service games so easily this was strange.

Unbelievably I may have to change my view on the outcome of this match even though Federer has won far more points so far.

Nadal leads 2 sets to 0.  But Federer can still win. Forehand winners so far: Federer 9, Nadal 0.

Federer starts the 3rd set as usual; serving a love game. He has a break point again in the 4th game but does not get it.
In fact Federer has been on top all the time but fate is against him. He takes the 5th game serve to love.
6th game see's Nadal inspired but it's 15-40 to Federer. He has THREE break points, no FOUR, then FIVE. He does not win.
It is 3-3.

Now Nadal is returning Federer's 1st serve.  In the 6th game it is 0-40, Then 15-40, 30-40, Deuce. Adv Federer, Game Federer.
How can he seriously lose to Nadal when he can play this well?

Score 3-4, then 4-4 though Federer returns all serves and makes a fight of it. Then 5-4 (Nadal makes a point or two).

NOW  RAIN   The rain break will NOT help Federer. He is not tired, He is worried but was coming back. Now he has time to worry more.

6:05 back on court.

The finger of fate says Nadal, but the best player is still Federer. Will we see destiny deciding or will the Tennis Science Master regain authority? Federer has converted only one break point out of the 12 he has set up so far!!!

Nadal serves to stay in the 3rd set. 40-0, 40-15, 40-30, Deuce, Adv Nadal, Deuce, Adv Nadal, Game Nadal. 5-5

Then 5-6.....6-6   Nadal really won that last game

Tiebreak  1-0,  1-1, 1-2, 2-2, 3-2, 4,2, 5-2, 5-3, 6-3, 6-4, 6-5, 7-5  Federer wins with an ace.

Nadal leads 2 sets to 1

As we pass 3-3  in the 4th set Nadal's game rises. Instead of fighting to win his service he is getting 1st serves in and Federer is making errors under pressure. But he holds it to 4-4.

5-4 Federer serves to stay in 15-30,  30-30, 40-30, he's in. 5-5.     6-5 Nadal    0-15, 15-15, 30-15, 40-15, 40-30,  Game Federer

Tiebreak:  0-1(Federer), 1-1, 2-1, 3-1, 4-1, 4-2, 5-2, 5-3, 5-4, 5-5, 5-6, 6-6, 7-6, 7-7, 8-7, 8-8, 8-9(Fed), Game Fed 7-6

2 sets all

Nadal is now returning some of Federer's first serves. To win this match, Federer will have to play better than ever. And I notice for the first time he is tired, mentally and a bit physically.

Federer leads off 1-0, 1-1, 2-1, 2-2,  at Deuce in the 5th game RAIN. When they re-start 25 mins later Federer serves 2 aces. 3-2

3-3, 4-3, 4-4, 5-4, 5-5, 6-5(narrow escape), 6-6, 7-6, 7-7, Nadal breaks! 7-8 and New Balls. My God, it's Deuce after 3 match points.

Adv Nadal......   Federer returns but then next shot NETS IT !!!

NADAL wins it - and he really did win it. He deserved it. The longest men's singles final in history



JANUARY 22nd 2007     OK we have a British Wimbledon 2007 potential winner on the rise.

Australian Open, Melbourne Park

Fourth round result:

A Murray (GB) v R Nadal (Spa)

7-6  4-6  6-4  3-6  1-6

Andy Murray could have won this. It was closer than these figures above indicate. Nadal pulled out everyting. This was World Class Tennis and no mistake.

Murray has at one time or another beat all the other challengers, and Nadal was playing at his very, very best.
His performance took every ounce of his strenght and he finished the match with many blisters.

JANUARY 27th 2007
After watching Serena Williams comprehensive trashing of Sharapova in Australia last night one thing struck me. The master Serena has been studying is not a woman player at all. It is Federer. What we saw from Serena was a combination of 100% instant application and commitment to every shot plus what I have called, after watching Federer, 'Tennis Science'. It is equivalent to at least a saving of 20% of the total energy required to achieve the same result and in some cases much more. It has elements of Ju-jitsu in its psychology. For this reason I see Serena Williams as the likely winner of Wimbledon 2007. As a key ingredient it uses killer topspin, crosscourt strokes from both forehand and backhand.

JANUARY 29th 2007
Roger Federer has won the mens trophy at the Australian Open. If he and Serena both win at Wimbledon this will strengthen my belief that Science+Will can beat an opponent less armed with these, even if they are marginally, or occasionally much better prepared in other vital areas and qualities.

FEBRUARY 22 2007
Tommy Haas has criticised the All England Club's decision to pay women and men equal prize money for the first time at this year's Wimbledon.
I agree with Tommy Haas. They only play three sets.

JUNE 24th 2007
Andy Murray, having damaged his wrist, was absolutely right to pull out of Wmbledon. It will need some careful self-repair.
Apart from what I wrote in January I will make no further predictions or comments this year unless something unexpected happens. Nadal, my favourite tip for last year, remains a possibility, but nothing is predictable. It will be very difficult, however, for Federer to motivate himself if he comes under serious physical pressure, even if he remains the greatest practitioner of tennis science in the world. If Federer has motivation to match his science, he can win again.  But.... Come on Tim! Readers here will know I am a massive Henman fan.

But as I write this bit, later at 8:30pm BST, I cannot see Tim winning. His match against Moya has producd some of his best and some of his sloppiest tennis. There is no room for any sloppy tennis at Wmbledon for a winner. He might win this match against Moya, but not Wmbledon.

JUNE 26th 2007 2pm
I appreciate the comments of the commentators, especially John McEnroe, on the quality of the Henman-Moya match, the variety of the game, the thinkng and tactics of the players. It has been great tennis. But I stand by my point, unremarked by all commentators, that mixed in with this was some extraordinary sloppy shots which cost Henman dear. He is the better player, but Moya has really found his grass game and is not going to give anything away. Tim can win against almost anyone, but only if he sees every ball onto his racket that comes within his reach and treats it with his unique style. He must go after every one.

3:30pm  Henman won, and although Moya finally lost 11-13 in the fifth due to a double fault, Tim deserved to win. There had been 7 Match points for him, He had recovered from way down in the 3rd set, his sometimes terrible shots were more than compensated by his inspired ones, and as far as the spectators were concerned it was just bloody terrific, exciting tennis. As for Moya, he was just amazing. He gave nothing away, and if Tim had not found inspiration and shown real guts at the most critical moments, Moya would have won and maybe gone a long way.

JUNE 27th 2007
A lot of rain today. I have only 2 things to say at this stage of Wimbledon 2007

* of course they can, they just don't. After 2 warnings, in any game, they should forfeit any point they scream on.

JUNE 28th 2007
Henman true to form once again. Some brilliant, powerful tennis. Great heart, great recovery from impossible positions. But never the supreme effort at the right time. Bad judgement overrode great talent. So he lost, even though he won as many serves and as many points as his opponent. Great stuff to watch at times. And oh yes, Lopez was bloody good!

Sharapova is back in top form. Should therefore win it. If she would just shut the f*** up and play.

JUNE 29th 2007
¹ mind you, if we get a lot more women's tennis like the Jankovic-Safarova match I could change my mind about the prize money.

5:30pm  Wow. Jankovic won the second set. Or rather she did not allow Safarova to win it. Eventually Safarova exhausted herself against this amazing defender who moved in for the kill in the third set. OK, they earned the full money. Jankovic has a careful first serve and a tiny and even more careful second serve, but they are subtle. Once into the play she never gives in. Our Mr Henman could learn a lot from this lady. For me, that was the match of the tournament so far.

JULY 02 2007
Serena Willams gets cramp and things get a bit emotional as she fights back with incredible form to beat
Hantuchova from Slovakia. I suppose that will be eld up by those supporting equal money for the ladies as another example of how they earn it. I disagree. But the Williams sisters are certainly showing remarkable spirit in these matches. I didn't give them a chance this year but now I do.

Other outstanding elements of the day: Soderling's serve, which has left Nadal with a fight back in the next set when the weather allows, and Baghdatis' beating Nalbandian.

JULY 03 2007
The continual on-off progression of the Nadal-Soderling match obviously favours Soderling, as Nadal is marginally a more physically enduring and Soderling profits from every rest, coming out with his blazing serve more dealy that ever. If there had been no interruptions Nadal would probably have it in the bag. Now, he will really have to fight for it.

That is what he did, but  I missed it so don't know how.

13:20 BST Next we have Maria and Venus on the centre court. This match will be won entirely on the keeping of nerve, and Venus when in form is about the most terrifying opposition imaginable. If Sharapova wins this it will be remarkable.

16:30 It was not just the keeping of nerve. Venus is in top form - that's completely unbeatable, on serve, return of serve and general play - period. She will win Wimbledon this year barring something extraordinary...

As for the men, unpredicatble, but if Nadal gets really wound up he can do the most amazing recoveries. Baghdatis is the most consistent battler, and Federer the great tennis scientist. However, none of these is certain to be the one to take it.  Djokovic?

JULY 06 2007
Gasquet beats Roddick! How? Great serve, great backhand, incredible anticipation and superbly fit. Amazing stuff.
Then it took 9 hours for Djokovic to beat battling Baghdatis. If he is not utterly drained or about to seize up, Djokovic is a possible Wimbledon winner this year. But Nadal is super-fit and has not been overstressed recently....and the Swiss tennis-scientist is waiting for them. Federer lost a set against Ferrero and that may have stirred him up. But he has Gasquet to bet first and that is far from a foregone conclusion.

Bartoli beat Henin - I seem to be the only person not surprised. Henin would have been slaughtered by Venus anyway in the final.

JULY 07 2007
Bartoli vs Williams is weird. Bartoli loses the first 2 games but then, just as with Henin, she manages to destroy the rythm and confidence of her opponent. Whereas at the start the unforced errors come from Bartoli and the winners come from Williams, soon the errors come from William and Bartoli does not even need the winners! But she makes some nonetheless with calm, strange tactics. It's a psychological battle! Henin lost it. If Venus learns the tricks she will win this easily. If she falls for it, she could go to pieces and Bartoli will cruise home at the end.

3pm - Williams takes the first set. But it's still weird....and Bartoli is good.

3:45 - Venus takes the second set 6-1 but, I have to say.Marion Bartoli battled like hell and made it a great match, right to the end. No pushover. Venus got into her rythm and at the end she cranked up the speed of her serve, but Bartoli made her work for it, so, a worthy victory and her FOURTH!  Still not worth equal prize money with the men of course!!!

Now in my view Djokovic, who retired from his match with Nadal because he was exhausted, had a damaged back and a seriously infected toe, could have beaten Nadal and Federer. But the fact is his will and mental power drove his body past the limit this year and toward the end, dramatically.

I am glad Nadal came out and said frankly that Hawkeye makes mistakes. I have pointed this out to the BBC - it is perfectly obvious that while most of the time it is either exactly or very nearly right, just occasionally it is grossly wrong and some research is needed to find out why.

Today we saw a great mixed doubles, with wth Jamie Murray and partner Jankovic in terrific form against an utterly brilliant Cara Black and her partner who had a shattering serve - name escapes me. Murray and Jnkovic won through.


Centre Court Mixed Doubles - Semifinals
D.Nestor CAN (11)
E.Likhovtseva RUS (11)
00 4 6 4

Match Completed
J.Murray GBR
J.Jankovic SRB
00 6 4 6

So we have Jamie Murray in the mixed doubles final, with a great partner.

14:15 This is the true clash of the Titans. This is the match I anticipated 3 years ago. Both men realise every single point counts. There is no question either of a motivation deficit - Federer knows this is a match that is as important as his first Wimbledon win. It is the match of his life. He know he has to get in front from the start and hold it. Nadal knows he can't allow ihat.

15:45 Federer leads 2 sets to 1, but Nadal can recover. If Federer had not won the third set (which he did finally with his devastating serve in the tie-break), he would have been in trouble. As it is, Federer has a chance of another title, but he will have to work for it every step of the way.

17:00  Nadal is ahead 4-0 in the 4th set. Federer is rattled. He queried Hawkeye. Now Hawkey, as I have said, CAN be wrong but is usually right, On this occasion Federer was wrong and Hawkeye was right, though any visual umpire would have probably given it out.

17:22 Nadal takes the 4th set 5-1

Nadal has an injury, apparently, in his right leg. But it does not seem to be bothering him. Federer is challenged seriously for the first time, and this does seem to bother him a bit. But we know he has extraordinary resources of mental agility and concentration. But something strange is happening: Nadal is playing like Federer. The science master has a pupil, and his pupil is challenging him. His pupil can win. Federer is making more unforced errors than Nadal. He must reverse that. Of course he can....but will he? The standard and level of attacking play is frighteningly high.

18:00 Federer wins. His 5th Wimbledon win, equalling Borg. Really earned against great play from Nadal. I picked Nadal as Wimbledon winner 3 years ago and I still say he will make it.

Centre Court - Gentlemen's Singles - Finals
  Roger Federer SUI (1) Winner 79 4 77 2 6
  Rafael Nadal ESP (2) 67 6 63 6 2

Ladies doubles had a great final. Cara Black brilliant as always

Court 1 - Ladies' Doubles - Finals
  Katarina Srebotnik SLO (4)/
  Ai Sugiyama JPN (4)
6 3 2
  Cara Black ZIM (2)/
  Liezel Huber RSA (2)
Winner 3 6 6

Now for the mixed Doubles... we expect great things...

What we got was just bloody brilliant! And it did no harm to have a Brit in the finals. It has been a while. And then WIN!

What a day.



June 27 2006
I can now admit that last year before the start of Wimbledon I thought Nadal would beat Federer in the final. Nadal knocked himself out but never got there, and Federer won without even working up a sweat. This year I make no predictions, but again it may well be science versus athleticism. And then there has to be the winning streak, head and heart. Henman could beat Federer, but never in a Wimbledon final. Bogdanovic could get to the final one day, but not now.

JUNE 29th
Having seen Federer play Henman, my bet is he will win the championship again. Murray is serving well and will win his match today, but he is inconsistent. A Venus Williams Maria Sharapova final would boost the argument for equal pay. Why not split the difference and reduce the mens and raise the womens and get them to play the same number of games? :-}

JULY 1 2006
André Agassi had a great farewell performance, against an opponent who brought out the best in him. The best possible way to go, and Nadal a kindred spirit to hand over to.  Agassi will have a great future in the next stage of his career. He is not about to disappear!

Andy v Andy later today wil surely test both, though I expect Roddick to win and Sharapova too. Hewitt is definitely a contender again for the title

18:50  Murray's serves and return of serve has been very good indeed. He has been good under pressure and saved set points and won the first set. It now depends on how a fired up Roddick manages his adrenaline. If he manages it well he can still demolish Murray, but it could go the other way!

19:00 Venus is out! The eye-brain-hand coordination whch used to match the amazing physique has slipped enough to render her vulnerable to a determined and talented opponent.

19:30 Murray has now proved that, win or lose, he is the better player. He is far and away ahead of his control of the racquet when returning the very best of Roddick's attack. Put simply, his attack is nearly as good and his defence is far better, and it is a defence he turns into an attack.  His play is very intelligent. One day he will give Federer a real run. I shall cease commentary now as I am busy all weekend.
As I write, Murray has won the second set as well!

20:20 I had to come back, as Andrew Murray won the third set and the match, by playing pure, brilliant tennis. Roddick served well, but Murray returned them in Agassi style. He turned defence into attack. He served brilliantly himself and he used every space on the court to beat his opponent. He went after virtually every ball and got there every time.
Now I really am away till its all over.

JULY 03 2006
I have to come back just to say I have finally lost patience with Sharapova. Why do we have to listen to this women screaming like a sick peacock every time she hits the ball. It's pathetic. If she or any other woman can't play tennis without simulating an interrupted orgasm then they can't play tennis. As for paying them money to assault our eardrums, no, this appalling noise alone is a good reason for keeping the prize money low and most definitely limiting the number of sets they play. I will not watch another match played by her except on TV with the sound turned off. I hope she loses as soon as possible.

Today, it was clear that Andy Murray's amazing performance yesterday took more than he had to give. He emerged on court today drained of energy, dominance and control. The commentators failed to comprehend this, though Lloyd spotted 'something wrong physically'. It was completely obvious. A performance like yesterday can't yet be the norm for Murray.  One day it can be, but not yet. Today he paid the price for yesterday. How little these things are understood. As time wore on his game picked up and if he had started at that level he might have dominated, with errors bringing down his opponent. But to do that he would have needed a 'charging-up' before the game.

JULY 05 2006
I don't usually expect the UK media to say what needs to be said but I am glad to read today's comments in Times and other newspapers on the Sharapova Shriek. It is obvious harassment, even if it is not intended as such. It has got to stop, so the umpire must step in and put an end to it. It is not necessary to wait for an opponent to complain. It must be an umpire's decision. A warning, three strikes and out.

Furthermore, if a non-shrieking player lets out an unexpected shout when hitting a ball they should risk not just a replay but losing the point. Naturally a change to the rules of this sort will need time to be discussed and implemented. If there had not been this abuse of the freedom to make a noise in the first place it would never have been necessary, but as with all freedoms, if they are abused they will get taken away, to be restored only when new generations have learned not to take for granted the privileges it took millennia to develop and share.

When I was at school, every boy carried a penknife 24/7 if only to sharpen a pencil. Many wore a knife in a sheath. That freedom, which existed in even the most simple of societies, has gone along with many others. When the privilege it is to be an autonomous human being is once again recognised by all as a condition for participation in a civilised society, freedoms can be returned. Until then we may find them progressively removed by law or by circumstance.

5:25pm  Ancic gave everything he knew and all his strength but Federer denied him the ascendancy. Pure tennis science, anticipation and timing and power and accuracy. No sweat. But there are still great players with great spirits to face, and those of you who were paying attention will have spotted the moment when Federer made one big mistake under pressure. He chose to go for a shot right down the line when he did not need to and missed it. This nearly set in train a sequence of events that would have cost him the 3rd set. It didn't, because he pulled an ace out of the pack as he so often can, but it showed ever so clearly that he has to fight every step of the way by making the right decisions. This is the only way, even with all his footwork and racquetwork, he manages to fight off all opponents.

JULY 07 2006
Baghdatis deserved his win against Hewitt. When he gets his first serve in it is devastatingly good and he covers the court with energy and great shots.

Thank God Sharapova has been knocked out. She is welcome back when she has learned how to play tennis without shrieking.

We can look forward to some great finals.... I hope...though frankly I have seen a lot of piss-poor tennis by Henin-Hardenne and Clijsters redeemed by some spasms of brilliance. Ladies, you are just not worth the same money as the men, so don't ask for it. After the match they both thought they had played well. Sorry ladies, you both played badly from every point of view, strategy, tactics and execution. I would sooner watch Sharapova with the sound turned off. As for the claim that a key out-call was wrong because Hawk-eye showed a 2 or 3 millimetre overlap of the line, that's not in in tennis. Any good line judge would have called it out and it was called out. It would not have raised any chalk-dust. No part of the ball would have touched the line. Comentators, get real! It does not matter who won anyway as neither of them deserved to.

On second thoughts we have already seen the ladies final. It was the match between Mauresmo and Sharapova. That was tennis, in spite of the noises. Mauresmo won through brilliant and spirited defense and great skill. It was also lost by Sharapvova on some cumulative uncharacteristic unforced errors. Mauresmo has studied the Sharapova game and practised her defense against it.

Baghdatis played the game of his life against Nadal. He almost managed to exhaust him. The second and third sets were as tough as it gets even though Nadal managed not to lose his serve. Now we have the final I expected, Nadal v. Federer. I was clearly premature in anticipating this last year. But the match with Federer will not be like the one with Baghdatis as the players will not be so matched in style. I am glad I am not a bookmaker.

And, ladies, no disrespect but I hoped you watched the Nadal - Baghdatis match and realise the men are just worth more money than you. That was tennis of a different order to the women's semi finals.

JULY 8th 2006
Amelie Mauresmo a decisive winner. I never doubted it after her semi final performance. She has achieved her ambitions and done it in style, as Justine H-H, who played a thousand times better than in her semi, graciously acknowledged. But as for tomorrow and the mens final, I cannot say., though Federer is no doubt the favourite.

Italy being on present form the best team, if France win it will be by either extreme effort, luck, bad ref decisions or Italian over-excitement.

Federer being on current form the best player on grass and at Wimbledon, if Nadal wins it could be because of similar factors but not Federer's over-excitement.

If there is a significant wind affecting the centre court that will favour Federer. To win, Nadal will have to be hitting the extreme boundaries and in a wind that's liable to be tricky.

None of the above prevent a legitimate win in which the winners proved themslves the better on the day or even in future.

I should explain that I backed Nadal to demolish Federer at Wimbldon 2 years ago, but 2 things happened:
1. Nadal didn't make the final due to inexperience on grass
2. Federer got even better.

Now 2 more things have happened:
1. Nadal has mastered the grass
2. Federer as got even better.

It's only a game.

There was some great tennis. We did not see the best Federer, as the first set his serve was so dominant and Nadal did not get going. And in the later sets, Nadal got him on the defensive until Federer finally pulled out all the stops and his experience and mastery showed. But Nadal was heroic and he'll be back.

As for the football, Italy deserved their win. In the second half France threw everything at it and played other things than the ball. Italy resisted.  Zidane's strange action did not decide it either. We may know more later as to why he did it. The referee was fair.

JULY 14th, 2006, PARIS
Now that I have heard Zidane's account, I have to say that he did the right thing. It was not in his interest to react in public.  He regrets profoundly that it had to take place in public, and that it may have set a bad example to young viewers. He accepts his red card. But Marco Materrazzi's behaviour was not something that could be left for later objection. It had to be dealt with then and there. What he actually said is not the issue, just that it was intolerable and unacceptable and that it was designed so to be. It was designed to put Zidane in an impossible situation. His inability to respond, which Materrazzi was counting on, would destroy his mind for the rest of the match. Materrazzi knew Zidane, playing the most important match of his life at the end of his career, watched by the whole world, could not respond without risking his reputation. Nor could he accept what had been said. So Zidane's reponse was timely and appropriate. His punishment was also appropriate. But if there is any more retribution to be meeted out it should not be against Zidane. It is for Materrazzi to tell the world out loud what he said, and for the football authorities to pass judgement on it as an acceptable ploy in a world championship match or not. From that we shall get proper guidance for players in the future.


While I hope Tim plays some brilliant and entertaining tennis this year (so far he 2 sets down and losing to a talented Finn but will no doubt recover in classic Henman style), there is no point in pretending he could possibly beat the 2005 opposition, so at least we can sit back and enjoy the whole championship knowing our national reputation is not at stake. He has had a brilliant career, and if we have some young British players who can do as well in future we should be happy.

Unless there is something about the game I do not understand, the winner of the men's title is now predictable, and it is not Federer.*

[* I eat my words on July 27th below. What I did not understand was Federer, because I had not observed him properly.]

Maria Sharapova is definitely capable of retaining her title, but she will have to work for it...

JB 16:36 June 21 2005

JUNE 23rd
Yes, Tim did the usual and came through. but today he is up against Tursunov who is showing tremendous character and handling the heat well. I am not going to predict the outcome here. Tursunov's serves are dynamite. If Tim plays his best he can beat him but not if he throws away some break points while Tursunov comes up with aces on others... it looks like another long afternoon... a great match.
JB 3:45pm

4:50 pm
It's over. At least Tim has gone out fighting, though not at his best, against a very tough and worthy opponent.
Welcome now to Andy Murray!

6:55 pm: Nice one, Andy.  The World 312th is through to the next (3rd) round, after a really solid, cool performance in every department against the World 14th (I think).

JUNE 25th
Murray versus Nalbandian - a real battle! Andy has shown by 6:45 pm in the 4th set that he has the ability and character to win, but it is not a forgone conclusion. He needs to keep and hold his 'second wind'. Murray has a phenomenally good control of his backhand, able to make the difficult change from slice to topspin which many find difficult. He has no doubt some skills yet to learn, but he is master of the strokes he uses, and that is what counts, as this range is sufficient to win this match. But Nalbandian has stamina, surprising speed, and great determination.  Win or lose, Andy will one day win Wimbledon. He has the serve, and he has the return of serve, and the quick-thinking intelligence.

7:11pm It is now 2 sets all. The commentators assume that Andy is now mentally and physically exhausted and injured. I don't know the extent of any physical damage, but in my view apart from that he can still win this great match. He share's is mother's brain, as high performing sons often do (and geneticists confirm!). It is easy to see the particular well chosen winning shots she enjoys. I think it is good that this match has gone the distance.

7:43 pm The experts were right. He had given all he could and Nalbandian's experience and stamina saw him through. I really great exhibition by Andy, though. He will win this tournament one day, but congratulations to Nalbandian are due today.

JUNE 27th
*I withdraw my prediction that Federer could not retain his title against what I considered to be too strong a challenge from the upcoming, superfit challengers. His performance today against Ferrero means he could still hold on.

JUNE 28th
Hmm... so Venus is taking it seriously again. This could be interesting. Her weak spot is her impatience to win, though.
If Venus can control her game mentally and not try to win through overwhelming blasters, she can win the championship again.

JUNE 29th
I have to come clean and admit now that just over a week ago I thought that Roddick and Nadal were the predictable top performers this year, but Nadal blew it and we have seen such a performance from Federer and others that prediction is impossible. Wimbledon, when the weather is OK, certainly brings out the best from most contenders. Thrilling stuff.
This evening John MacEnroe made two observations about Federer: he reminds us of Sampras and he knows how to defend. Yes,
And if Sharapova knows how to defend she has a chance against Venus.

JUNE 30th
No defense against Venus in that form. Too athletic, too good and too BIG. End of story!

JULY 2 - Lindsay fights and fights, but its the same fate.

So the end was logical. The most capable man and the most capable woman played their best and that was unbeatable, amazing tennis. Neither luck nor linecalls played a part.  At the end, Federer had not worked up a sweat and was not even out of breath. Think about it. That's Tennis Science.

Tim Henman came up against a hurricane in Mario Ancic. Certain commentators did not appear to appreciate the force and fury and the surprise of the attack and as a result were disappointed when Henman succumbed. The next few days may enlighten them. As for the Sun Newspaper, I hope they will lose readers following their absurd headlines. Tim has not prevented anyone else from playing a Wimbledon if they think they can do a better job. He has given us a superb spectacle. Why do we insist he win Wimbledon, when it attracts the greatet talent of all generations from every country on this planet? It defies all logic. If he were to have done so this year, we would really have to rank him as a genius. It has become more difficult every year recently, so for him to overtake the rest, at his age, even if he improved continually, would be astonishing.*

* See update down the page 26 April 2005

On the other hand I find it understandable that Maria Sharapova should win the women's title, if not this year then in the future. She might do it this year but only if she gets Serena rattled enough to be unable to play her best attacking game. My thoughts are clear from this correspondence with a Russian friend. Of course the noise these players make is part of their Americanisation. It is encouraged in training, I am told*. Personally I find it a pain, like many things American these days.

Date: Thu, 01 Jul 2004 14:03:09 +0100
From: James Baring
To: Sergei Alexandrov

Subject: Tennis


I am watching a Russian girl here playing great tennis. Maria Sharapova.
Her approach to the sport is very mature for her age. She may or may not
beat Lindsey Davenport in this quarter final (or is it semi-final?), but
I am certain that one day she will win the Wimbledon Women's

Championship..In addition to a natural ability she has very great powers
of concentration and application and a superb temperament, and she is
very fit physically and mentally. One day she will win it. The only cost
is she makes a lot of noise when she hits the ball when the game gets
really exciting - but I guess there has to be a weakness somewhere! She
will probably learn to control it in time. A truly great champion on the


Date: Thu, 1 Jul 2004 18:26:09 +0400
From: "S.Alexandrov"
To: James Baring
Subject: Re: Tennis

Dear James,

Now we have special "SPORT" channel on Russian TV, but, to tell the
truth, I have very little time to watch TV in general and did not see
a single game of Wimbledon. I saw Maria Sharapova in EuroNews Sports
only (we have now this channel in Russian as well) and agree with you:
she is really impressive!

Best regards,


Date: Thu, 01 Jul 2004 16:36:43 +0100
From: James Baring
To: Sergei Alexandrov
Subject: Tennis (2)


When I wrote that last message, Maria Sharapova was losing the first set
heavily. I wrote it because even then, when the commentators had given
her up for lost, I thought she was by far the best player. She started
the second set losing a service break. But then turned it round through
sheer brains and determination. By the way, it was the semi-final so now
she will go on to the final and probably play defending champion Serena
Williams. She has a chance to win. A great tennis head on a great tennis


We shall see what happens next.

UPDATE: July 03 2004
And so it came to pass. Sharapova never lost her concentration and played perfectly. She never allowed Serena to get in a dominant position, and Serena was too laid back, as a proven champion, to really put up the fight and the top class performance that was absolutely necessary to win. She was gracious in defeat. But this does not take away from the fact that Maria Sharapova really won this tournament. Maybe she won it when she was 6 years old...

Meanwhile, Ancic is making Roddick work to the limit in the fourth set mens semi-final. I make no predicitions here, though the odds must favour Roddick as time passes...in theory,...maybe....?

16:30pm  Andy wins by the skin of his teeth. He could just as easily have lost. Perhaps those who think Tim Henman is rubbish will realise instead that they are. (fat chance of course).

* I stand corrected by her trainer, writing in today's Independent, who says being noisy is just natural. OK, I still say natural noise in this and other public performances is a recent, American, emotional pain in the arse.

UPDATE APRIL 26th 2005 (see first paragraph of this web page)
It has taken nearly a year but it was nice to read what looks like a form of apology from at least one of Rupert Murdoch's publications.The Sunday Times Magazine of April 24th 2005 has Tim Henman on the cover and  6 pages devoted to pictures and an in depth article admitting that Tim is one of the finest tennis players we have ever seen. Tim Rayment's article goes some little way to make up for the Sun's grossly injust treatment. Personally I can say with honesty that the most inspired and intelligent and spectacular tennis I have seen was played by Tim Henman, and I have watched many of the critical games and players over the past 50 years. It has not enabled him to win win Wimbledon, but that does not diminish his achievement or the sheer excellence of his finest moments on the court.