Words on Wimbledon 2008 – Week One
by Dan Martin | June 28th, 2008, 11:19 pm

Janko Tipsarevic has a tattoo in Cyrillic that reads “Beauty will save the world” from Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot.

Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic bow out early? Ivanovic might still be on cloud 9 after her first Slam title so I can excuse that, but Sharapova?
Nadal vs. Youzhny is always good stuff even before Youzhny turned into a bloody mess in Miami. Mr. Intensity vs. Mr. Psychotic – sounds fun to me.

No U.S. Men, no Sharapova, and no Ivanovic – what will NBC do when it can’t advertise jingoism or cheesecake? Maybe it should advertise a great sport and competition. Just a suggestion ….

Federer and Nadal are a combined 16-0 on grass in 2008 with 3 sets lost by Nadal as the only wounds to report at this point.

Even without Sharapova and Ivanovic the women’s draw has lots of good young players left along with Serena, Venus and Jankovic.

July 4 is a day that the U.S. celebrates a victory over England. Funny thing, no U.S. men will be playing on July 4 … England laughs last.

WTA officials should add a tab to their website that explains patronymics in Eastern European languages. It might help fans understand why so many top players last names end with “ova” or some such variation.

Lleyton Hewitt, Marat Safin, Rainer Schuettler, and Arnaud Clement had a combined 4 grand Slam Titles and 6 Grand Slam runner-up finishes between them entering Wimbledon. Crazy as it sounded one week ago that collective total could rise.

Nadia Petrova and Elena Dementieva could both start a nice second act to their careers by making a splash next week.

Marcos Baghdatis is a combined 12-2 at Wimbledon since 2006. His serve, forehand and nice hands at net make me wonder why he is not posting better results during the other portions of the season. The Cypriot is marketable and personable. It would be good for tennis if he becomes more consistent.

Venus Williams clocked a 127 MPH serve.

The men’s final 16 is made up of only 1 Australian but has 3 Spaniards. This is grass right? Oh yeah, the Aussie is a counter-punching baseliner to boot.

No play on middle Sunday 2008, but less rain has prevented last year’s back up.

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31 Comments for Words on Wimbledon 2008 – Week One

Mona Kleitch Says:

How can we get word to the powers to be that we would like to see more DOUBLES. I am so sick of the single superstars and the slugfest in their matches. Doubles is what most of the tennis public play and it is so much more exciting. Who in the world enjoy watching 5 sets with the same 2 people!!!!!! If one can win in 2 out of 3 sets then they don’t have the tennis skills. Shorten the singles matches and there would be more time to show doubles!!!

Statman Says:

“If one can win in 2 out of 3 sets then they don’t have the tennis skills.”
This puzzles me.

Dave B Says:

I like your comment about NBC. They should be banned from broadcasting tennis: they couldn’t do a worse job. We should all write Dick Ebersol at NBC and let him know what we think.

I agree that it is criminal that they don’t show doubles.

mia Says:

Janko Tipsarevic`s tatoo is in Japaneese, he wanted it in Russian but it looked bad. He was always a bit controversial. I remember he used to dye his colour navy blue and play tennis in screaming colours, but finally I think he`s got his head straight and means business…Watching him against Roddick and TursunovI would doubt him for just a second and then would realize he is ready for this. It wouldn`t be suprise if he gets to the semis.

jane Says:

I know this is a technicality, but there are two American men still going at Wimbledon – The Bryan Brothers.

jane Says:

Thank goodness no rain – I hope it keeps up for the second week.

“Marcos Baghdatis is a combined 12-2 at Wimbledon since 2006. His serve, forehand and nice hands at net make me wonder why he is not posting better results during the other portions of the season. The Cypriot is marketable and personable. It would be good for tennis if he becomes more consistent.”

I don’t know what is happening with Marcos (personal problems?) but I also don’t know if he has the drive to be a consistent player. He has the talent, for sure. But it takes a certain fire, which I am not sure I see in him. Maybe he’s a bit like Nalbandian that way? Although certainly more of an extrovert.

Vulcan Says:

Nadal-Youzhny is going to be interesting indeed.
Youzhny has been Nadal’s Freddy Krueger in a couple of their last meetings (ie Chennai 6-0,6-1). As far as doubles being more interesting I would have to disagree. Its a matter of personal preference, but clearly the fan turnout for singles finals far surpasses the fan turnout for doubles finals.

jane Says:

For some reason, I think Rafa is going to be fine against Youzhny this year. Chennai was an anomaly because Rafa had played that 5 hour semi against Moya the day before – plus it was hardcourts, arguably Nadal’s weakest surface. In fact, the 4 times Youz has beaten Rafa have all been on hard. He did have the upper hand on Rafa for the first two sets last year against Rafa, but was injured so Rafa grabbed control and sailed through from there.

Rafa is an even better player this year – better serve, good slice, improved backhand, better at the net. Is Youzhny? I don’t know.

It’ll be a tight match but I’ll be surprised if Rafa doesn’t beat him in 4 sets.

To me, the Murray-Gasquet match is more exciting; both these two could break through here. I think either of them stand a chance of beating Rafa and getting all the way to the final. Who wants it more? This is the type of meeting in a GS that could make a big difference for either player – especially Murray. I can’t call it (neither can John McEnroe, although he leans toward Murray in 5) but man do I look forward to watching it. I hope it’s all it can be and that neither player – let’s face it, both of whom can be a bit flaky – flakes out.

jane Says:

typo – ” He did have the upper hand on Rafa for the first two sets last year against Rafa,”

Should be ” He did have the upper hand on Rafa for the first two sets last year at Wimbledon”

Dan Martin Says:

Quick reactions – I would love for Baghdatis to bring on D. Cahill and try to embody some of what he taught Agassi and Hewitt. NBC has been a joke at the majors for quite some time. I did not know that about the tattoo. Sorry about the error on that factoid. I like playing doubles, but I think if doubles is to be given more TV time it would have to be marketed with an explanation of how the strategies differ from singles. Tennis players know this, but non-tennis players may be a little thrown. My preference is for singles to be televised, but if tennis can grow by promoting doubles I am all for it.

Von Says:

Doubles has become more disinteresting since they changed the format from 2 best of 3, plus tiebreaks,to 1 of 2 and the 3rd being an 8 of 10 points tie-break. To me that’s a travesty. I’d like for them to revert back to the previous format where it was more competitive.

My preference also leans to singles being televised as opposed to doubles. Maybe the powers that be can have dedicated additional TV coverage for doubles and the womens matches, with the men’s regular TV coverage, or whatever there is left of it, on a separate TV channel. Perhaps that’s asking too much considering the ping-pong format and stuidio commentaries that’s now indulged in by ESPN.

Nadal is a moron Says:

Nadal must be crapping in his pants right now, thinking about his match with youzhny. Nadal fans start getting your excuses ready! And keep praying that youzhny is not fit. If he is ready, nadal is a dead duck.

Vulcan Says:

Murray-Gasquet should be a treat. Looking ahead to a potential Nadal matchup with either of the two:

I think of the two Gasquet has a better chance at pulling off the upset because he would be less likely to be deterred if the match has to go 5 sets. Gasquet just seems like a better long match player to me. Neither player has anything in their game to especially bother Nadal. Murray’s variety is great to watch – hes a crafty player but i’m not sure its crafty enough to bother Nadal or disrupt his rhythm (I doubt if even Santoro could do that – Nadal is just too steady). The problem with Gasquet is he doesn’t serve well enough to avoid entering rallys so I think he would be looking at getting broken alot. Overall Youzhny could probably give Nadal as much trouble as either of these guys mainly due to the fact that he can do the one thing that seems to be a prerequisite for beating Nadal which is bomb aces and hit the ball hard, flat, and deep to his forehand

Vulcan Says:

Jane, I saw that Chennai match and while it may be true that Nadal was tired and went away in the second set…Youhzny was in the zone for the entire match…he was thumping winners from every possible angle and location on the court.
Its hard to say what would of happened if Nadal had been 100% in that match but I think it proved that Youhzny has the goods in a Djokovic kind of way to beat Nadal. If Youhzny plays with the same intensity and quality he might be the most formidable opponent Nadal has to deal with until hypothetically reaching Federer in the final.

Von Says:

The chances of Youzhny beating Rafa presently are very slim, considering the back issues that he has been fighting. That, coupled with the amount of time and effort he put forth in that 5 setter against Stepanek, could place him at a huge disadvantage. Additionally, Youzhny did not appear comfortable on the Wimby grass — he was slipping and sliding. I’d give Nadal the edge here in view of his recent performance at Queens and now at Wimby.

jane Says:


Yeah, you may be right. But I do think Youzhny would have to be in the zone for three sets – which seems to be a tough call with him; he can be kind of unstable. There’s no doubt that when he’s at his best, he’s a threat to anyone on a fast surface, and he matches up well with Rafa for the reasons you’ve already identified – his serve & his driving flat groundies. But it took him 5 sets to squeak out a win against Stepanek. If Rafa combines the kind of unpredictable mixing of which Step is capable, and if he takes it to the net, and combines that with his power and a consistent serve, I think Rafa should be through. Whoever wins will have to play his best.

I agree, though, that Youz is a looming -perhaps nightmarish – threat, no doubt about it.

But Murray in particular seems keen to go deep here, and if he gets past Gasquet (IF) then he’ll be booming with confidence and have the crowd behind him. Remember the epic match between Murray & Rafa at AO 07? Well, I suspect we could be in for one of those if the two meet.

In any case, to me anyhow, this is the section of the draw that most entices. We’ll have a surprise semi finalist on this side (Tipsy? Cillic?) and another on the other side (Baggy? Safin?) – the question remains whether we’ll see any other surprises.

In other words, will either Rafa or Fed fall? Probably not Fed, for even though there are a few threats looming there, mentally & physically, I doubt any of them will come through. Rafa has a tougher go of it, but if he gets to the semi, he will get to the final, and -imo- he’ll win it if he makes it to the final.

JCF Says:

Nadal is a moron Says:

“Nadal must be crapping in his pants right now, thinking about his match with youzhny. Nadal fans start getting your excuses ready! And keep praying that youzhny is not fit. If he is ready, nadal is a dead duck.”

Hi Joker. I see you’ve changed your name. There’s no need to be bitter just because your player lost to Safin. Safin is a good player, nothing to be ashamed of.

A simple name change isn’t going to fool anyone.

It’s okay. It happens to everyone. Safin is always good potential for an upset, though never a favorite.

Vulcan Says:

Jane, your last paragraph sums it up very well as far as Rafa is concerned. I think if he makes it as far as Federer this year he will win.
And I wouldnt rule out a decisive victory either.
Regarding Federer’s half, Im sure nobody in their right mind would ever count their chickens before theyre hatched against Hewitt. As many times as Federer has beaten him convincingly I dont think any prior match history has any bearing whatsoever in regards to any of their future matches. Hewitt is always a threat and even the most miniscule lapse in mental focus on Federer’s part could wake a sleeping giant. There was another thread which discussed choking – Federer clearly choked away his lead in their infamous 5 set Davis Cup match in Australia. And its rare to see Federer choke against anybody. I think even if you beat Hewitt 50 times in a row in straight sets you still cant say you have the upper edge on him mentally.

Dan Martin Says:


I agree that Hewitt has a chance against anyone including Federer. Their two matches last Summer were pretty tight. However, the 03 Davis Cup match was in Oz before Federer was #1. In January 04, Hewitt won the 1st set and had break points in the second vs. Federer in Melbourne in the Rd. of 16. Federer won the match in 4 sets. To me that exorcised any demons from the 03 Davis Cup match vs. Hewitt.

jane Says:

But Hewitt has that hip issue, which to me makes him less of a threat. Although he has said he’ll play through the pain, and if anyone can mentally overcome pain, Rusty has to be one of them. He also, famously, has Roche on his side, so maybe that’ll help?

Spain just won the football championship; is this a harbinger for Rafa?

simba Says:

Federer trolls should be afraid of Nadal getting to the Final because if he gets there, Federer’s reign at Wimbledon will be OVER. Nadal will be more than capable to give another thrashing on Fed’s home court. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Vulcan Says:

Dan, I forgot it what back in 03…seems like it was more recent but maybe thats just because it was such a memorable match…Ill add one more somewhat out in leftfield kind of observation. If by some chance Hewitt did pull through all the way to the final and faced Nadal. I think he would probably still lose…but he is one out of a handful of guys I would pick whose mettle comes close to matching Nadal’s. He would certainly not fear going the distance with him. Also Nadal has never beaten Hewitt on a surface other than clay. However, with that said, Hewitt simply does not possess the firepower off the ground to do enough damage. But perhaps he could do the exact same thing to Nadal which David Ferrer did at the US Open which is maybe the most unexpected way of beating Nadal which is to grind him down (apparently it can be done although if memory serves Rafa was having some knee problems at that point).

Kroll Says:

I ve always seen Youhzny as a watered down version of Federer from the point of view of perhaps every stroke in the game. On hardcourts Nadal is certainly inferior to Fed for now (and I personally I think it does have a bit to with Rafa’s attitude on Hardcourts) and is only marginally better than Youhzny which makes the potential for an upset rather great. I dont think the same is true for grass though. Rafa’s probably almost as good as Federer and will probably dominate Youhzny. Or he’d better if he feels he has a shot at beating Fed that is. Murray or Gasquet (if he makes it past Youhzny) are vastly more talented and it is hard to say what happens there. Murray for one would really stretch him though I dont see him beating Rafa in five sets.

bobby Says:

The “ nadal is a moron” guy must be the biggest moron of the world.It is a shame that such jokers are still away from mental asylums.Let us find good ones to get himself fixed.Poor frustrated guy.

Dan Martin Says:

I think Hewitt and a couple of his contemporaries have made a nice showing here so it would be keeping with a theme of the event. Still, Fed is Fed. I am not sure I understand the personal animus Nadal fans feel toward Fed or vice versa but it does generate some intensity. I think Youzhny’s one handed backhand bothers Nadal more than Federer’s does – although I am not sure why (angles, point of contact, taking it more on the rise …?)


Nadal is a moron Says:

The drama has started! knee injury….. time out and then break youzhny!

so believable all these fake injuries from nadal. Is he learning all these from jerkovic? Moron!

JCF Says:

Nadal is a moron Says:

“Nadal must be crapping in his pants right now, thinking about his match with youzhny. Nadal fans start getting your excuses ready! And keep praying that youzhny is not fit. If he is ready, nadal is a dead duck.”

Nadal just whipped him 6-3 6-3 6-1. Youzhny almost got bagelled in that last set. How red is your face right now Joker?

Nadal is a moron Says:

What a cheater this nadal guy is! He did the same nonsense in last year’s wimbledon final and at the US open against ferrer. Take time-outs for fake injuries. He did that again at Hamburg in the final. There was absolutely

He is just not a moron. He is a cheater.

Kroll Says:

“Rafa’s probably almost as good as Federer and will probably dominate Youhzny”

Call me prophetic!

Nadal is a moron Says:

“nadal is a dead duck.”

Well that went well. It seems you share my clairvoyance, my friend!

jane Says:

I knew Rafa wouldn’t have a problem with Youzhny, for the two reasons I already identified above: Rafa’s gotten better; Youz played a whale of a match against Stepanek – had no fight left.

simba Says:

Q: How do you know Roger is in trouble?

A: When you see Federer trolls throwing accusations left, right and center against Nadal and the left-handed guy keep winning and winning.

There is an proverb that goes like this: “Let the dog keep barking, but I will keep going my way.” I can’t wait to post Top-5 excuses for Federer getting beat by Nadal for the Wimbledon title.

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