Liam Broady, ranked No. 182, is the kind of player who can walk from end of a tournament site to another without the risk of going noticed by fans. Same for big sister, Naomi, who is currently No. 200 on the WTA’s computer. Both work below that Mason-Dixon line dividing the workaday players from tennis’ working poor. When Liam won his first match on Monday, he remarked that the prize money would obviate his sleeping on friends’ floor. Not couches. Floors.
The Broady Family, however, is British. Which means that at Wimbledon, they are tailed and scrutinized the way L.A. paparazzi pursue Brad and Angelina. We talk about celebrities being “placed under a microscope,” every detail examined under high-intensity light. But a microscope always militates against perspective. The user loses all sense of it and the broader landscape.
So it is that the Broady’s family drama is—literally—front page news here.
What happened? The fact pattern might be worthy of an Ethicist column, a post-modern Greek tragedy involving social media and a tennis federation. But at some point public figures might surrender privacy rights, part of the Faustian bargain that comes fame. Liam and Naomi Broady—neither of them top 100, neither of them wealthy or in position to avail themselves to the infrastructure of publicists and damage control—aren't there. Today, though, they are unwilling tabloid subjects, their family psychodrama, a national conversation topic.
As you pity the Broadys, spare a thought for Andy Murray. If siblings ranked in triple digits merit this kind of breathless and sensational coverage, it gives you a sense of the attention—and with it, pressure—that befalls the top British star. To his overwhelming (and underrated) credit, Murray has handled the pressure that attends playing here, a pressure that no American player will ever face at the U.S. Open.
Five thoughts from Day 2
• The first few rounds of a tournament seldom hold much predictive value. But Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray each breezed today, none dropping a set.
• Last summer’s Slam runner-ups both fell to players with triple-digit rankings. For the third straight major, Simona Halep (French Open 2014) disappoints, falling to 106-ranked Jana Cepelova of Slovakia. Less than an hour earlier, Genie Bouchard (Wimbledon 2014) bowed out in straight sets to Duan Ying-Ying of China. Bouchard’s 2015 needs to be wrapped, disinfected and burned in the back yard.
• On your mark. Get Set. Go. It’s the seven-round dash. After Venus Williams won in 42 minutes and Andrea Petkovic won in 38 minutes yesterday, and Angie Kerber won in 44 minutes on Tuesday—all by the score of 6-0, 6-0—Petra Kvitova set the standard. Her 6–1, 6–0 win over Kiki Bertens spanned 35 minutes.
• The good news for Laura Robson: playing in her first Grand Slam in more than a year, she showed glimpses of her potential and claimed to suffer no ill effects from her wrist injury. The bad news: still lacking match play, she played too many loose big points and fell 6–4, 6–4 to Evgeniya Rodina.
• Rough day for Jack Sock. After a brilliant French Open, the American never quite got his teeth in the match against hard-serving Sam Groth.
Eine kleine Q/A:
Do you know why Wimbledon leaves a few matches "To be Arranged" in the early rounds? It seems incredibly unfair to the players as they are forced to wait around all day with no court assignment, or any idea of when they may take the court. I rarely, if ever, see this at other slams and it has always struck me as odd.
• Other tournaments may not be as transparent, but having the equivalent of “swing bouts” is essential. The biggest venues need to be filled, to keep fans and the TV overlords happy. If the early matches go quickly—as they tend to in the early rounds—it is essential to have a back up. Yesterday Sloane Stephens and Barbora Strycova were “TBDs.” Late in the day, they were assigned to Centre Court. Both players relished the experience.
I noticed that Luca Vanni got a lucky loser spot when David Ferrer pulled out. Vanni, though, lost in qualifying. I’m curious: in addition to winning his qualifying draw prize money does he ALSO get his prize money from the main draw?
—Peter, Los Angeles
• No. Lucky losers get main draw prize money. In Vanni’s case, if he loses in round one, he will get £27,000 (about $43,000) and forfeit the money from qualifying lucre. I suspect he is happy to do so.
So, I'm sitting in my living room in Australia, watching Nick Kyrgios play in his opening round match. I think I hear Vika Azarenka grunting and worry I'm losing my mind. I hear her again, and then again. So I log onto the Wimbledon website, check the live score pages and hurray! I'm not losing my mind! Vika is playing on Court No. 12, and I can hear her on the television coverage of No. 2 Court. I've never been to Wimbledon, so I don't know if the courts are close together. Still, when do the WTA, ITF and ATP go enough is enough, and put an end to this screaming? I'm all for an occasional grunt, but this is ridiculous.
• I am assuming you mean, you hear it on the broadcast and directly into your living room. Though who can be sure? Court 12 is adjacent to Court 2, so props to you for identifying the artist from afar.
• From Clint Swett of Sacramento: It’s not quite Wimbledon, but this story about playing against Redfoo at U.S. Open qualifier is pretty entertaining.
• Today’s lookalike: Thomaz Bellucci and Mario Ancic: