Thunderstorms interrupted play for a third day in a row, with an almost five-hour delay on Wednesday afternoon and evening. How did Andy Roddick pass the time? "I looked out the window and watched the rain fall in the pool," Roddick joked. Roddick was surprised his match against Nicolas Mahut on Stadium Court was bumped up ahead of Michael Russell versus Kevin Anderson, who had already played two games before the rain delay, but he was happy he was able to finish the match on its scheduled day.
Rain Delay Entertainment
There were a few very vocal fans in the crowd Wednesday night who would sometimes shout right before the players served. Some of the fans might have taken advantage of the Corona tent on the grounds and the surrounding bars during the long delay. "I think you could tell what the rain delay activity was. People might have been indulging a little bit," Roddick said.
"I came here believing I can win this tournament," said Denis Kudla, the young victor over Ivo Karlovic. Kudla, who trains at a USTA academy in Florida, attributed his confidence from practicing with the professionals. In his sophomore year on the main Tour, the Ukrainian-born 18-year-old has noticed that he can play as well as any of the up-and-comers of his generation (he noted Bernard Tomic, among others), and that he has "every shot" but makes a lot of errors.
Karlovic served well in his first-round match, but returned even less effectively than usual, allowing the American to adjust to his serve and finally break the Croatian in the deciding set, winning 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-4.
Although he is ranked just barely in the Top 400, Kudla's ambition is admirable, and his win over Karlovic showcased an ability to adapt and impose his own rhythm. His strength will certainly get tested in the Second Round, however, when he faces second seed Grigor Dimitrov.
- For a week that began with hordes of players withdrawing with injury and the tournament favorite in danger of losing his opening match on Centre Court, the first half of the Championships turned out quite alright. We saw awkward curtsies to the Queen, fan arrests, spitting, a Tina Turner homage, players standing up to rude commentators, 65,635 plugs for a Sting concert (for those of you watching U.S. coverage), an impromptu award presentation on Court 18, and not one vuvuzela. And the level of tennis has been pretty great, as well.
- The Long Haul
- While any tough match pales in comparison to a “6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 70-68” scoreline, 2010 Wimbledon has so far been highlighted by numerous long and competitive matches in the men’s draw. The First Round proved particularly tough for top players. Nine seeded players found themselves facing a fifth set in the first two days, out of 11 total first round five-setters. However, seven of these nine prevailed (the early exits were by Juan Carlo Ferrero and Stanislas Wawrinka) to reach the Second Round. Among the survivors were top seeds Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Nikolay Davydenko.
- Federer’s First Round match received the most attention, as it was the most troubling. The top seed had previously lost the first two sets in only four Wimbledon matches, the final against Rafael Nadal in 2008, the first round defeat by Mario Ancic in 2002, a quarterfinal loss to Tim Henman in 2001, and a straight-set first round beating by Yevgeny Kafelnikov ten years ago, back in the age when Roger Federer was not seeded at Grand Slams. These matches, incidentally, are the only four the Swiss did not win at SW19 this millennium (he also fell against Jiri Novak in his 1999 debut). Knowing that a defeat by the clay-courter Falla in the First Round of Wimbledon would have been perhaps the worst in recent years, his camp and fans were relieved when Falla faltered in the third and fourth sets and then ran out of gas, allowing Federer to dominate the decider and win, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(1), 6-0. Federer improved gradually, having to play one fewer set in each of his consequent matches, struggling against Serbia’s Ilija Bozoljac, then routinely outplaying French veteran Arnaud Clement to reach the second week. However, only one player in the Open Era has gone on to win a major after trailing two-sets-to-love in the First Round (Patrick Rafter at the 1998 US Open).