Americans, Centre Court roof lead Wimbledon 2016 midterm grades
LONDON – We’ve had the return of Juan Martin del Potro, The Grand Slam return of Federer. The familiar sight of Williams and Williams in the second week. We’ve had rain, a sadly customary sight—both from years past and from the Drench Open. But the most notable news item from Week One at Wimbledon was unfamiliar: Novak Djokovic losing early.
Through Saturday’s play, herewith our midterm grades:
Beats Novak Djokovic for the biggest win of his career, completely reshaping this event.
The story of the
Week Year, the No. 772 and the 23rd Brit, blazing through pre qualifying, qualifying and a first-rounder to set up a Centre Court date…. against Federer. While Willis didn't turn into a pumpkin, he’s back to playing club matches. Will we ever see him again? Let’s hope so. Quite apart from the best week of his tennis life, he handled the occasion with good cheer.
The oldest player in the draw marches into Week Two of Wimbledon for the 14th time in her career. On the one hand, it’s a pity she’s had some long matches already. On the other hand, it’s good to see her fighting instincts remain sharp.
Down match points, she’s in Week Two. As a player of her skill set should be.
Juan Martin del Potro
Won his first Grand Slam match in more than two years. Then he knocked out Stan Wawrinka. “I feel alive,” he said, emotionally, afterward. Likewise, tennis is invigorated when he’s around.
Usually at this point in a tournament, it’s American idle. As we write this Saturday, ten Yanks remain. (From Serena to contender Madison Keys to qualifier Julia Boserup.)
After years of being largely decorative—“the world’s most expensive sunscreen”—a covered court sure came in handy last week. The schedule may have bottlenecked, but at least there was tennis held.
He might always be known for that John Isner match; but Mahut has flourished at age 34, especially on grass.
Dreddy lost a five-setter to Nick Kyrgios on Friday but he is making a run for “Most Entertaining Player in Tennis.” Catch this guy if you can.
Holding match point against Aga Radwanska for the biggest win of her young career, the 18-year-old Croat got the bum end of a let cord. Then, at 7-7 in the third, she slips on a ball, rolls her ankle and there goes her tournament. The tennis fates owe her one.
Lost a highly winnable first match against Roberta Vinci. But the pride of Pittsburgh did get engaged to Stephen Amritraj.
You can't blame someone for taking advantage of the ranking they rightfully earned and showing up for first round loser money; but, as always, a few players were severely compromised when they took the court.
Falls to Venus Williams in round two but remember the name. This is a 20-year-old Greek bearing gifts.
The eighth seed—playing his 61st (!) match of the year—falls to Jiri Vesely in round two. Not a horrible loss. But, to quote John Lovitz in Big (something we try not to make a habit of doing): “Kid, stop working so hard.”
Won his first nine games of the tournament, leading James Ward 6-0, 3-0. Then his level dropped as errors crept into his game and he became tighter than a Sorkin script. Let’s pause to acknowledge the titanic streak he put together. But this loss confounds.
You win the French Open and then, at the next major—as a defending finalist—you lose to a qualifier in less than an hour? No. Just no.
Loses to Grigor Dimitrov and then threatens to sue the referee for making him play on “the famous water that is not touching the grass.” (Oh, that famous water.)
Ana Ivanovic and Caroline Wozniacki
Rough times continue for a pair of thoroughly likable former No. 1s, both cashing out and crashing out in round one as their rankings head ever downward.
We had quite enough of you in Paris.