Monday, July 28, 2014

Kastles win fourth straight WTT title

The Washington Kastles won their fourth straight World Team Tennis title over the weekend when they defeated the Springfield Lasers 25-13 in the WTT final, which was held in Springfield, Missouri. Martina Hingis was named the final's Most Valuable Player. The Kastles won all five events--women's singles, men's singles, women's doubles, men's doubles, and mixed doubles.

San Diego Aviators player Daniela Hantuchova won the Female MVP award for the season, and Texas Wild's Anabel Medina Garrigues won the Female Rookie of the Year award.

An especially interesting WTT score is Townsend-1, Huber-0. Because it isn't a match until someone hits Liezel Huber in the face, in the head, or down to the ground. Townsend doesn't have the scary firepower in her forehand to knock down Huber the way Sania Mirza did, but she did manage to hit her partner in the head.

It was an odd series of events. Townsend hadn't planned to play on the WTT tour this year, but she stepped in to play for the Philadelphia Freedoms when Vicky Duval had to withdraw. Last Thursday, Townsend and Huber played doubles against Martina Hingis and Anastasia Rodionova of the Kastles. Townsend hit a crosscourt forehand that landed her racket on Huber's head and Huber had to stop playing.

So Townsend played on, but with no partner. And she wasn't allowed to return serve from what had been Huber's side of the court. This is a WTT rule. If this had happened to anyone, it would have been funny in a bizarre kind of way, but there's something about having it happen to Townsend that especially cracked me up. I think it's because she looks so deadpan about the whole thing.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Women Who Serve now available on Twitter

For some time now, I've avoided putting Women Who Serve on Twitter for professional reasons, and also because I didn't want to make my blogging life more complicated. Then it occurred to me that not having a Twitter extension was actually making my blogging life a lot harder. Not only was I leaving myself out of a loop of tennis bloggers and journalists I very much like and respect, I was also spending too much time and energy collecting odds and ends and trying to figure out what to do with them.

Now, you will see fewer of those "odds and ends" on the blog, but you'll find them on the Women Who Serve Twitter page, and they will appear in a more timely fashion.

Occasionally, it seems, I plug my brain in and have a revelation. Please enjoy, and thanks, as always, for reading.

Catalina Castano retires from professional tennis

Charleston, 2006
Columbia's Catalina Costano announced Thursday that she is retiring from professional tennis because she has a diagnosis of breast cancer. Castano is undergoing chemotherapy to treat her illness.

The 35-year-old Colombian player reached her highest ranking, number 35 in the world, in 2006. She is the most decorated player in Colombian Fed Cup history, with the most ties played, the most years played, and the most matches won. She played 50 Fed Cup ties in her career.

"I live day by day because with cancer you never know when everything suddenly ends," Castano said in making the announcement.  "I hope to recover as soon as possible and from there I will see what I'll do. For sure something related to tennis because tennis is my passion."

Svitolina repeats as Baku champion

We don't see titles successfully defended that often, but today, Elina Svitolina was the exception, winning her second Baku Cup title in two years. The 19-year-old from Ukraine defeated Bojana Jovanovski 6-1, 7-6 in the final. Winning the doubles title were Alexandra Panova and Heather Watson upst 3rd seeds Raluca Olaru and Shahar Peer 6-2, 7-6.

Meanwhile, Peng Shuai moved a step closer to winning a "real" WTA title. She defeated Liu Fangszhou 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 in today's Nanchang final. The 18-year-old Liu, ranked number 422 in the world when she entered the tournament, has impressed all week. Peng, it should be noted, entered the final following her victory in a three-hour and 22-minute semifinal.

Chuang ChiJung and Junri Nanigata won the doubles championship by defeating Chin-Wei han and Yi-Fan Xu 7-6, 6-3 in the final.

The Zhonghong Jiangxi International Women's Open is a WTA 125K Series event.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Sweeping the court

Sloane Stephens has hired Thomas Hosgstedt to be her coach on a trail basis, starting with his appearance at the Citi Open in Washington, DC. Hogstedt, a former coach of Maria Sharapova, also spend some (very little) time coaching Caroline Wozniacki.

Nike has unveiled its new headquarters in Shanghai, which includes the Li Na Building. The nod to China's leading player is part of a tradition Nike has of naming buildings after its star athletes.

You can now get to know Grace Min.

Or, if you happen to live in Romania, thanks to Dedeman and Simona Halep, you can have a great food and house supply shopping experience!

Ajla Tomljanovic will no longer represent Croatia, beginning at the U.S. Open. She will now be playing a representative of Australia.

Defending champion Elina Svitolina has advanced to the semifinals in Baku. Svitolina, the 2nd seed, will next play Francesca Schiavone.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Wozniacki and Barthel win tournaments

Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, who took a wild card into the Istanbul Cup, won the event today when she defeated 2nd seed Roberta Vinci 6-1, 6-1. This is Wozniacki's 22nd WTA singles title, and her first of the 2014 season. The doubles title was won by Misaki Doi and Elena Svitolina. Doi and Svitolina defeated Oksana Kalashnikova and Paula Kania 6-4, 6-0. Both teams were unseeded.

Mona Barthel won her third WTA title in Bastad, also today, when she defeated Chanelle Scheepers 6-3, 7-6 in the final. None of the seeded players made it to the quarterfinals, something that had not happened on the tour for five years. It seems somehow "right" that the mercurial Barthel should win under these circumstances.

Andreja Klepac and Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor won the Bastad doubles title, defeating Jocelyn Rae and Anna Smith 6-1, 6-1.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Sweeping the court

"Normal Petra" thanks everyone for our support, and talks about her sleep problems and her celebrations.

Coach Patrick Mouratoglou says that Serena Williams is in "a difficult phase."

Five of the top ten favorite female athletes in a Harris survey (I'm assuming this means in the U.S.) are tennis players. The number 1 favorite is Serena Williams.

Maria Sharapova has won the 2014 ESPY award for Best Female Tennis Player. This is the fifth time that Sharapova has won the award.

Here is Serena's 2014 U.S. Open dress from Nike.

Doesn't this remind you of some sisters from Ukraine?

Wozniacki reaches quarterfinals in Istanbul

Top seed Caroline Wozniacki reached the quarterfinals in Istanbul yesterday when she defeated Karin Knapp in the second round. Perhaps of more interest, however, was Wozniacki's first round match against Beleinda Bencic, which she won 6-0, 6-0. Sometimes, being a teen phenom is difficult, but if you happen to be one and you're looking for perspective, then you might get what you need.

Sometimes, if you're the top seed, you can get a surprise, too. Alize Cornet, seeded 1st in Bastad, went out in straight sets in the first round to qualifier Anett Kontaveit. Cornet was given a wild card into the event, but everything was over quickly for her.

2nd seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova went out in the first round, too--to Grace Min, who beat her 6-0, 6-4. 3rd seed Camila Giorgi followed the other two out in the opening round, losing to qualifier Gabriela Dabrowski. Oh, and the 4th and 5th seeds--Yaroslava Shvedova and Anna Schmiedlova--lost in the first round, too.

But--Jana Cepelova is still in the tournament! Cepelova, until this week, had not been able to string two wins together since her run to the final in Charleston, which included the defeats of Serena Williams and Belinda Bencic (in the best match of the tournament). But Cepelova has reached the quarterfinals, which has to be a relief.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sweeping the court

Police have arrested a man who made threats toward Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova. Apparently, he was angry about Kvitova and others who move out of the country (Kvitova lives in Monaco) in order to avoid Czech Republic taxes.

Lindsay Davenport has been inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Davenport, who won three majors (the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open) has long been considered one of the best ball-strikers in the history of women's tennis. The former world number 1 (in singles and doubles) was also the winner of an Olympic gold medal. Davenport won 55 singles titles and 38 doubles titles, and was a member of the U.S. Fed Cup team for several years. She has a career singles record of 753-194. Davenport now works as a commentator for Tennis Channel.

The winners of the WTA Finals, which will now feature eight doubles teams--at long last--will receive the newly named Martina Navratilova Doubles Trophy.

If you play tennis, it's nice to be Czech.

Actor Ellen Page has puchased Venus Williams' house in Hollywood Hills.

Redfoo talks, sadly, about life without Vika.

Halep and Petkovic win Bucharest and Bad Gastein

Top seed Simona Halep won the inaugural Bucharest Open today when she defeated Roberta Vinci 6-1, 6-3. This is Halep's second title for the year; she also won in Doha. The Romanian star is now just eleven points behind leader Maria Sharapova on the Road To Singapore.

Wild cards Elena Bogdan and Alexandra Cadantu won the doubles title. The Romanian pair won the final by defeating Cagla Bayukakcay and Andreja Klepac.

Meanwhile, in Bad Gastein, 4th seed Andrea Petkovic also picked up her second title of the year, defeating qualifier Shelby Rogers 6-3, 6-3. The doubles title was taken by 2nd seeds Karolina and Kristyna Pliskova, who defeated 5th seeds Andre Jaklepac and Maria-Teresa Torre-Flor 4-6, 6-3, 10-6.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Sweeping the court

Petra Kvitova can help you develop a better serve.

But she can't help you become a celebrity.

The U.S. Open is increasing its prize money by $4 million since 2013.

Maria Sharapova leads the rest of the tour on the Road To Singapore.

Steve Tignor suggests that some Wimbledon traditions be broken.

Ana Ivanovic and  Nemanja Kontic have parted ways. Ivanovic is expected to name a new coach for the upcoming hard court season.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Some thoughts on "mental coaching"

Getting a "mental coach" appears to have helped 2014 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova regain her mojo in a big way. Francesca Schiavone, who lost in final after final, sought the services of a mental coach and won the French Open.

"Mental coaching" is apparently the relatively new euphemism for "sports psychology." There are some players (Aga Radwanska jumps immediately to mind) who are too--what?--misinformed, insecure, out of touch--whatever--to see a sports psychologist, though it would do them a world of good (and why aren't their coaches insisting on it?). Perhaps calling sports mental health experts "coaches" makes it easier for players to accept the help. I don't know.

What I do know--because I pay attention--is that regular coaches sometimes are not up to the task of dealing with their charges' fragile psyches. My educated guess is that they try to help, but perhaps don't know enough to offer the kind of help that players need. That's not a criticism--a tennis coach is supposed to understand mental and emotional goings-on, but only up to a point.

I have never met a sports psychologist or "mental coach" so I don't know exactly what it is that they do. As a very experienced psychotherapist, I know what I would do, and I wish I had the opportunity to treat--oops, coach--athletes. Here are some things I would bear in mind:

Some athletes, though their ability indicates that they should have belief, don't believe in themselves because of the way they were treated as children. Not everyone with talent can be a Steffi Graf or a Mary Pierce and overcome the sins of their parents.

Becoming a famous or fairly famous athlete means that people are going to say all kinds of things about you, most of which are untrue and some of which are very cruel. You have to be taught how to handle that, just as you have to be taught how to handle the "good" celebrity attention.
The more accomplished a woman is in sport, the more sexist and misogynistic the attacks against her become. The past few generations (at least in my country) have pretty much ignored bigotry toward women, so a certain degree of gender self-esteem may have to be learned.

Left-handed athletes are known to have an advantage in many sports, including tennis, but left-handed people have some disadvantages, too. Leftys are more prone to have fearful feelings and to worry and obsess about negative thoughts. When we see a player like Kvitova, an extreme talent who is also known as a "head case," we are probably looking at a brain hemisphere issue. If I were Kvitova's "mental coach," she'd be doing Tai Chi and/or Qi Gong every day to balance her left and right brain hemispheres. It can make a big difference.

Athletes have other mental health issues, such as anxiety disorders and depression, and those need to be addressed.

Hypnotherapy is very useful in changing a player's belief about everything from her serve to her ability to close matches. It would seem to me that hypnotherapy would be a standard intervention in sports psychology.

Sweeping the court

Here they are, the 2014 Wimbledon champions!

And here's the 2013 champion.

Miguel Morales' excellent article in Forbes on the marketing of WTA players is definitely worth reading. I was especially gratified to see his take on the "Strong Is Beautiful" campaign, which I've always found offensive.

Petra Kvitova is the new world number 4; Genie Bouchard is the new world number 7. Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci share the number 1 spot in doubles again. Kvitova is now number 5 on the Road To Singapore.

You can now get to know Tereza Smitkova.

Irina Falconi is blogging from Bad Gastein.

My Wimbledon top 10

Here, in ascending order, are my top 10 Wimbledon occurrences:

10. Mix thoroughly: Sam Stosur and Nenad Zimonjic sound like a winning pair for mixed doubles, and indeed they are. The 15th seeds won the title, defeating Chan Hao-Ching and Max Mirnyi in the final. Chan and Mirnyi were seeded 14th. The victory gave Zimonjic a mixed doubles Career Slam. Stosur won the Wimbledon mixed doubles title once before, in 2008, with partner Bob Bryan. 

9.  Gone viral: Serena Williams says it was a virus that caused her to become very weak and to develop hand-eye, left-right coordination problems when she and sister Venus attempted to play their second round of doubles. Of course, the incident brought out the worst in the thousands of people who live to smear the name of the Williams sisters, with one British "media outlet" even launching an attack on Venus. Then Martina Navratilova stated how unlike a viral infection these symptoms were (true, that), and she was attacked by Williams fans who immediately, and ridiculously, assumed she was launching an accusation (somehow, Pam Shriver--who said the same thing--escaped without being verbally abused). Williams says she's fine to play in Sweden; let's hope so. The incident was scary.

8. Czech this out: It turned out not to be a repeat of 2011, when Czech players swept the singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles, but the Czech Republic's showing at this Wimbledon was certainly worth noting. Petra Kvitova, of course, won the singles championship, beating three of her countrywomen along the way.

Then there was Lucie Safarova, who made it to her first major semifinal, and there was also Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, who stylishly took out 2nd seed Li Na, and also defeated Elena Vesnina and Caroline Wozniacki. She reached the quarterfinals, and while stopped by Kvitova, Zahlavova Strycova performed well against the eventual champion.

Also getting noticed was qualifier Tereza Smitkova, who took out the likes of Coco Vandeweghe and Bojana Jovanovski. Smitkova made it all the way to the round of 16, then fell to Safarova.

7. Pack enough for a week:
Top seed Serena Willams, the hands-down favorite to win the tournament among members of the tennis press, went out in the third round to Alize Cornet. Preceding her to the door was 2nd seed Li Na, who lost to Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in the second round.

6: You say "shedule," I say nonsense: There is a lot of rain at Wimbledon. Always. There is also no play on the middle Sunday. Changing that tradition is out of the question; after all, it makes too much sense. And then, when big matches needed to be played in "catch up" mode, of course, it was the WTA stars who had to play their matches at the same time. There was at least one incident when a match could have easily been moved and not postponed, but it wasn't.

The ultimate victim of this chaos was Angelique Kerber, who went for over two and a half hours against Maria Sharapova in a very physically and mentally taxing match, then had to show up at noon the next day to play in the quarterfinals. And yes, in sports, things happen, and players have to accept change. But some, if not most, of this dysfunction could have been avoided.

5. Touched by an Angelique: Angelique Kerber defeated 2004 champion Maria Sharapova 7-6, 4-6, 6-4 in the round of 16 in one of the highlights of this Wimbledon event. Kerber's win was gutsy, athletic, exciting, and inspired. It showed a mental toughness we don't always see in the German. Unfortunately, she would be too exhausted to adequately compete in the next round, but it was still a great win.

4. Genie in a bottle rocket: Genie Bouchard has reached the semifinals of the last three majors. At Wimbledon, she went one better and reached the final. She did have some good fortune in that two of her competitors (Kerber and Halep) were compromised in their movement, but she had nothing to prove, given her record for 2014. Besides, many a young player has lost to a  more experienced, though compromised, opponent. Bouchard is one tough cookie, an all-surface prodigy whose attacking game seems to be especially cut out for grass.

The tennis press got carried away with Bouchard at this tournament, with many of them declaring her the champion before she faced the totally in-form and deadly Petra Kvitova. That was irrational (and typical), and--for better or worse--served to feed the Genie frenzy that has swept the tour this year. It's useful to remember, though, that there is real talent and real determination behind the hype. I wish that Bouchard could ascend more organically, and--with that in mind--I think that her beat-down in the final may turn out to be one of the better things that happens to her this season. Reality is one of the best friends a champion can have.

3. Tested and found worthy: Venus Williams, the five-time queen of Wimbledon, showed up in a big way this year to fight for another Wimbledon title. She took it to Petra Kvitova in the third round, and the two-and-a-half hour match was amazing. There were only three break points in the entire match, which Kvitova won, 5-7, 7-6, 7-5. It would be a turning point for the Czech star, who obviously used her victory to settle her mind and to visualize herself as a Wimbledon champion.

2. A lesson in Italian history: Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci lost in the third round last year. Fighting Italians don't accept that kind of thing, especially when they're going after a Career Slam. They changed their style of play to accommodate the speed of a grass court, and they won the title. With the title came the Career Slam. Fighting Italians--they're priceless.

1. The Rock rocks the tennis world: Admit it--you just about gave up on her, didn't you? I'll admit it. But then she came alive this season, and I began believing in her again. By the time she arrived at Wimbledon, there was a lot to believe in. Petra Kvitova moved through this tournament like the great grass court player that she is--surviving an out-and-out battle against Venus Williams, and putting the hurt on just about everyone she played. But she also got tested--by Williams, and by two of her countrywomen--which only served to strengthen her.

Kvitova's biggest opponent was probably the tennis press, which was quick to predict her demise. Only she didn't fall. And even after she had put together stats that would put fear into anyone who was actually paying attention, the tennis press declared her a loser. What did she have to do, anyway, win Wimbledon?

No problem. Kvitova came at her favored opponent, Genie Bouchard, with such force, it was as if Bouchard had been told there was a bit of a breeze, and then opened the door, only to be knocked down and slammed into the next county by a tornado. It was clinical. It was efficient. It was awesome. In one of the most glorious performances ever put on in a Wimbledon final, Kvitova blew the estimable Bouchard off the court, 6-3, 6-0.

The Rock rules.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Wimbledon--what they said

In the first set I was a bit nervous. My opponent, she started the match really well and she was playing really good. I was doing some unforced errors. Then I just tried to come back in the second set and focus on every point to get back my game. It helped and I won.
Jelena Ostapenko

First time I've seen Sam was in the Australian Open when I lost to her in mixed. I said, "I have to ask her. I have to play with her. She's going to be a great partner."
Nenad Zimonjic

I feel like I kind of played three different tournaments. It’s always nice to leave a tournament winning. Leaving Wimbledon 2014, I'll think of it as, yeah, a great memory, and leaving with a trophy at the end is fantastic.
Sam Stosur

We spoke about reducing stupid errors and to create pressure, look for the space and hit the space because that’s what they were doing. We got off to a good start and from then on we were on it.
Jordanne Whiley

Stosur and Zimonjic win Wimbledon mixed doubles title

15th seeds Sam Stosur and Nenad Zimonjic won the Wimbledon mixed doubles title today when they defeated 14th seeds Chan Hao-Ching and Max Mirnyi in the final. Stosur won the Wimbledon mixed doubles title once before, in 2008, with partner Bob Bryan. Today's victory completed Zimonjic's mixed doubles Career Slam.

The wheelchair doubles final was a repeat of last year's, only the outcome was different. Jordanne Whiley and Yui Kamiji defeated Jiske Griffioen and Aniek Van Koot 2-6, 6-2, 7-5. Whiley and Kamiji also won the Australian Open and the French Open earlier this year.

The new junior champion is Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia. The unseeded Ostapenko defeated 8th seed Kristina Schmiedlova 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 in the final. Ostapeno hit a total of 40 winners, which is around 39 more than we usually get from a junior competitor. The 17-year-old is currently ranked number 484 in the world.

Tami Grende and Ye Qiu Yu won the doubles championship. They defeated Marie Bouzkova and Dalma Galfi 6-2, 7-6 in the final. Both teams were unseeded.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Wimbledon--what they said

You always dream as a player to play your best tennis on the biggest stage and that was a thing of beauty. You can't even blame Bouchard because she didn't play badly, but she just didn't get the chance to play because Kvitova didn't allow her to. I don't think anyone would have been able to play her today.
Lindsay Davenport

Yes Genie Bouchard is the next Maria that she's being overwhelmed by Petra Kvitova in a Wimbledon final.
Ben Rothenberg

It’s my second title, so I hope that now it's going to be a little easier for me.
Petra Kvitova

I think we play perfect. They were serving so strong. It was not easy, but she played unbelievable returning, serving, volleys, everything. We were like very aggressive all the time. That was the important thing for us, that we try to do it all the two weeks. Was perfect.
Sara Errani

...I sat down. Put my jacket on. Just reflected. I was in the engraver's room, so I was watching them work, wishing one day, dreaming, that he'll write my name somewhere.
Genie Bouchard

On her game, Kvitova makes life absolutely miserable for you because she makes you feel like you cannot do anything.
John McEnroe

Those washing powder advertisements are right about egg. It really is very difficult to remove, particularly when it’s all over your face.
Kate Battersby

I'm all for competitive finals, but sometimes you just have to applaud a player seizing the opportunity to perform at the very highest level. An extraordinary display.
Laura Williamson

A few shots were incredible, and I couldn’t believe I made it, actually.
Petra Kvitova

One of the best performances in Wimbledon history that, Petra Kvitova absolutely demolishes the helpless Eugenie Bouchard, winning 6-3, 6-0. You've got to hand it to her, that was superb.
Matthew Morlidge

She played unbelievable and didn't give me many opportunities to stay in the rally or do what I do.
Genie Bouchard

How good was Kvitova today? Bouchard hit just four unforced errors in the entire match. Kvitova was given nothing and she still ran away with it.
Courney Nguyen

I knew that if I'm gonna get nervous again--which I did--I can still do it.
Petra Kvitova

Aside from everything else, Petra Kvitova is also the first player in WTA history to successfully recover from Radek Stepanek.
Ben Rothenberg

They did it! Errani and Vinci earn Career Slam at Wimbledon

It took Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci only 49 minutes to win their first Wimbledon title today. In defeating Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic 6-1, 6-3, they also achieved a Career Slam: They have won all four majors, and, in fact, claim two victories at the Australian Open.

The fighting Italians learned a lesson at last year's Wimbledon tournament, when they lost in the third round to Julia Goerges and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova. They learned that their game was not aggressive enough for them to triumph on a grass court, so they went about making some changes. Those changes paid off today as Errani and Vinci, playing their 258th match as a team, seemed to be on every inch of the court, fighting off Babos and the doubles talent that is Mladenovic. It didn't help that Babos, playing in her first major final, appeared to be a bit overwhelmed by the occasion.

The mixed doubles final is set. 15th seeds Sam Stosur and Nenad Zimonjic will play 14th seeds Chan Hao-Ching and Max Mirnyi. Stosur and Zimonjic defeated 16th seeds Vera Dushevina and Aisam Qureshi in the semifinals, and Chan and Mirnyi upset 5th seeds Kristina Mladenovic and Daniel Nestor. Mladenovic and Nestor, the defending champions, were defeated 7-6, 7-5.

The junior final has also been decided. 8th seed Kristina Schmiedlova will compete against Jelena Ostapenko. In junior doubles, the team of Bouzkova and Galfi will play against the team of Grende and Ye.

Stand aside, Princess, and behold The Queen

Last night, I set my alarm to make sure I would be up with all my morning tasks done and my breakfast ready so that I wouldn't miss a moment of today's Wimbledon singles final. I didn't want to miss a moment, especially because I was expecting a straight-sets win. With all respect for Bouchard as a very strong up-and-coming player, I felt that she had reached the final on a wave of good luck--that a recovered Angelique Kerber would have very likely beaten her, and that an injury-free Simona Halep would certainly have.

There were multiple predictions that Petra Kivota would "go off" and open the door for the Canadian to win her first major. But Kvitova had lived through the Venus Williams match, and had been put through her paces by the Zahlavova Strycova match and the Lucie Safarova first set. And she had "that look"--the one she had in 2011.

Before I went to sleep, I wondered idly how many games Bouchard would win and whether there might be some long, drawn-out, multiple-deuce games that would bring some tension to the championship match.

Some time during the night, when I was in a restless, impaired state of sleep--and get ready because now it gets strange--I dreamed I saw a scoreboard on a lawn. On it was written 6-3, 6-0. I woke up with a vague memory of this symbol, and went about feeding the cats and making coffee. When Kvitova won the first set 6-3, I felt a bit giddy. Could this really be happening? Not the victory, but the score.

The answer was a resounding "yes."

On Thursday, Chris Evert, doing commentary on ESPN, said she thought Bouchard would win the title. A day later, she backed up a bit, stating that Bouchard's inexperience might be a factor, in spite of what many were expecting from her. By this morning, at the "Breakfast at Wimbledon" broadcast, Evert (perhaps having chatted with Pam Shriver) was pointing out that it was Kvitova's tournament stats that were outstanding, not Bouchard's.

Standing in the tunnel with her bouquet of flowers, Kvitova looked serene. Her expression never changed during the next 55 minutes, during which she played a championship match that exceeded perhaps even my expectations. The Czech had only two significantly "off" moments. One came in the fifth game of the first set, when she had multiple opportunities to break Bouchard for a second time, but wasted all of them with sloppy shots. The second came when Kvitova failed to win the first set when she served for it the first time, at 5-2.

Shaky Petra can spiral down after missing big opportunities like that, but Champion Petra doesn't let it bother her. She held her serve, and then broke Bouchard for the second time. Kvitova was broken back when Bouchard took advantage of the only break point she would see in the entire match. But then the Czech broke again on her third break point, and won the first set.

Kvitova began the second set by holding at love and then breaking Bouchard. The script had been written, and Kvitova would not divert from it again. She blasted her way through the second set, winning with 90% of her first serves and 67% of her second serves. As I wrote yesterday,  when she's in form, Kivtova's second serve isn't terribly vulnerable; but for this match, she won with her first serve 82% of the time.

Kvitova hit 28 winners and made only twelve unforced errors. Her average first serve speed was 106 mph. Her ability to find the most wicked of angles reached its peak. She was merciless when attacking her opponent's second serves.

There were a few exciting rallies. In the fourth game of the first set, with Kvitova serving, there were two deuces. Kvitova got the ad point with an ace (one of four she hit in the championship match), and what followed was a thrilling, defense-heavy rally, which Kvitova won with a ridiculous backhand cross-court volley.

Again, in the fourth game of the second set, there was another long rally which thrilled the crowd and which was won by Kvitova, bringing the game to deuce. Two points later, Kvitova was up 4-0. After that game, the 2011 champion held at love, then broke Bouchard on her first break point.

It was over. Kvitova fell backwards onto the court, covered her face, then rose for the handshake and her run into the stands to greet her team. The roof was closed because of fear that the oncoming showers would dampen the trophy ceremony. There had been some talk about closing the roof earlier, but it didn't happen.

In 2011, when Kvitova tried to make her way down the halls and through the mob of All England Lawn Club members (and ultimately, to the balcony to show the crowds her trophy), she was stopped by Wimbledon staff and told she could not enter. Someone actually had to tell the staff members to let her through--that she had just won Wimbledon.

This year, no one tried to stop her. The crowds were waiting in the rain, somewhat encumbered by having to hold both umbrellas and cameras, and the 2014 Wimbledon champion stood on the balcony with the Venus Rosewater dish while the rain fell on her and the fans screamed their appreciation.

Genie Bouchard is a stand-out member of the new generation of WTA players. She has made it to the semifinals of the last three majors and is the first Canadian to ever play in a major final. She and all of her siblings were named after royalty, and she has a nickname of "Princess." But for all her admirable aggression, talent and mental toughness, today, Bouchard was blown off the court by a woman who--when she frees her mind--can rule almost any court.

It's been 22 years since a Wimbledon finalist won only three games (Monica Seles, of all people, who lost in straight sets to Steffi Graf). Kvitova's masterful performance today silenced the majority of the tennis press, who--during the past week--had turned into a non-singing version of the Genie Army.

It's good to be Queen.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Wimbledon--what they said

Eugenie Bouchard has more poise than the most poised person on Poised Day on Planet Poised.
Kate Battersby

We’re more aggressive. We’re trying to do different things that last year we didn’t try. We have to be much more aggressive and change a bit our normal game that we are playing on other surfaces.
Sara Errani

Kvitova's left-handed serve, especially since the Venus match, has really gotten to a new level.
Pam Shriver 

Can you tell us why?
I'm sure you guys can figure that one out.
No, I can't. Why?
I'll leave it at that.
Eugenie Bouchard, on the end of her friendship with Laura Robson

Conditions were really terrible out there, really windy, even more in really have to be precise, and go for other serves, and go for clean winners and be ready at the net. And that’s what I think we did really well.
Kristina Mladenovic
...Bouchard clearly is impatient to get on with the next step of winning her first major, so she can go on to win her second, third and tenth.
Carl Bialik

I think it's going to be tough battle. Definitely I had a few already, so I know how it feels and what I can expect...I really have to be focusing on everything and try to push her.
Petra Kvitova

Errani and Vinci a match away from Career Slam

Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, whose doubles fame was somewhat eclipsed last year, are very much in the thick of things again and have reached the 2014 Wimbledon final. If they win it, they will have achieved a Career Slam since they already have titles at the Australian Open (two), the French Open and the U.S. Open.

Standing in their way are Timea Babos and the ever-pesky Kiki Mladenovic. Babos and Mladenovic, seeded 14th, defeated Andrea Petkovic and Magdalena Rybarikova today to reach the final. Errani and Vinci, the 2nd seeds, defeated 9th seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Zheng Jie.

Mladenovic and partner Daniel Nestor, the defending champions, are also still alive in mixed doubles, in which they have reached the semifinals.

In women's wheelchair doubles, the top seeds, Yui Kamiji and Jordanne Whiley, will compete for the title against the 2nd seeds, Jiske Griffioen and Aniek Van Koot.

In junior singles competition, the highest seed remaining, after the third round, is Tornado Alicia Black, who is seeded 3rd.

Kvitova and Bouchard to compete for Wimbledon title

On the grass of Centre Court, is Petra Kvitova's bark worse than her bite, or vice versa? So far, a case can be made that the "bark" and the "bite" are equal. The Czech's signature barks have come loud and often during this tournament, as Kvitova has repeatedly hit aces and manipulated the ball with all those crazy angles that make opponents--even fast-moving ones--wonder what it was that just whizzed by.

The 2011 champion, looking very much like "herself," has hit 180 winners in 13 sets. Her confidence appears to be very high. After she beat Maria Sharapova in the 2011 final, the often-unintentionally hilarious Kvitova had this to say in reply to a question about how she did it: "Some special tactics, it wasn't."

Kvitova is generally not concerned about who is on the other side of the net--she's just serving big (or not) and going for a lot of everything. Not that she's unaware: You would have to live in a cave (sorry, Carl), so to speak, to not know that Genie Bouchard is going to hang inside the baseline and try to put a second-serve hoodoo on her Czech opponent in Saturday's final. When she's in form, however, Kvitova's second serves are good, and she can still control points with them.

Bouchard has been the beneficiary of a bit of good fortune in this tournament. She got an exhausted Angelique Kerber in the quarterfinals and an injured Simona Halep in the semifinals. For her part, the Canadian does not appear to be either tired or hurt, and she has taken all the Wimbledon twists and turns in stride.

The general prediction is that Bouchard will not be bothered by nerves during the final. It's possible--Simona Halep wasn't bothered by nerves in the French Open final, and it was her first time to play the last round of a major. The quickly-rising Canadian star has both the confidence and the killer instinct of the great Chris Evert, and may indeed face the occasion with a centered determination.

After she beat Lucie Safarova yesterday, Kvitova showed up on the ESPN set dressed in a white warm-up suit and hot pink shoes. Only the shoes hinted at the intensity underlying the Czech's understated pleasure at having finally reached another Wimbledon final. Bouchard called her own semifinal victory "a step in the right direction."

Bouchard and Kvitova have played each other only once before, and that was on a hard court last year in Toronto. Kvitova won that match in straight sets.

Some showers are predicted for tomorrow, so there's a strong possibility that the Centre Court roof will be closed.

Here are the players' paths to the final:

round 1: def. Daniela Hantuchova
round 2: def. Silvia Soler-Espinosa
round 3: def. Andrea Petkovic (20)
round of 16: def. Alize Cornet (25)
quarterfinals: def. Angelique Kerber (9)
semifinals: def. Simona Halep (3)

round 1: def. Andrea Hlavackova*
round 2: def. Mona Barthel
round 3: def. Venus Williams (30)
round of 16: def. Peng Shuai
quarterfinals: def. Barbora Zahlavova Strycova*
semifinals: def. Lucie Safarova (23)*

*How many players have had to defeat three of their countrywomen en route to a major final?!

Vicky Duval diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma

Victoria Duval said today that she has been diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma and will leave the tour for a while to undergo treatment. Duval learned of her diagnosis after she had won her first Wimbledon qualifying round. She went on to win two more qualifying rounds and also her first round main draw match against Sorana Cirstea. She lost in the second round to Belinda Bencic.

Alisa Kleybanova of Russia, who was treated for stage 2 Hodgkin's lymphona, has made a productive return to the tour. Duval's cancer was detected at a very early stage and she is expected to make a full recovery soon.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Wimbledon--what they said

I lost my energy because I am a little bit tired, played many matches. After French Open was really short the time to recover. But, you know, I'm really happy that I could play semi-final here. Is my best result in Wimbledon.
Simona Halep

It's almost like you have to get mad sometimes to play your best tennis.
Chris Evert

I'm glad you were all entertained, I was having a heart attack!
Naomi Broady, after she and her partner won on their 11th match point

I don't want to be, you know, the next someone else. I want to be the first of me.
Genie Bouchard

I’m back in the final and I’m feeling well. I mean, it’s really tough to say about, but definitely I’m all ready for a final and I’m going to try my best.
Petra Kvitova

I think she's going to win the title.
Chris Evert, referring to Genie Bouchard

From tiebreak to heartbreak--Safarova and Halep say goodbye

When Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova had finished their Wimbledon semifinal match today, I couldn't help but think of Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova because--looking at them--it was hard to tell which one of them had lost. Safarova still had a big smile on her face after the handshake. The two Czech lefty stars are friends, and for one set, they were also true tennis combatants.

The straight-set match ended with a 7-6, 6-1 victory for 2011 champion Kvitova. The semifinal that followed that match was a 7-6, 6-2 victory for Genie Bouchard, but don't be fooled by the math. Safarova went out fighting; Simona Halep went out as a disappointing shadow of herself.

Safarova and Kvitova gave us a very competitive, very enjoyable first set. The second set was enjoyable, too, but in that set, Kvitova pulled the switch that can take her to another level, and that other level was too much for her countrywoman to handle. Nevertheless, this was a great (and unexpected) run for Safarova, and seemed long overdue.

The other story isn't as pleasant. Anyone who reads this blog knows I wanted Halep to win, but I think maybe even neutral observers might have found the occasion a bit uncomfortable. At 2-all in the first set, Halep turned her ankle and had to have it taped. One of the commentators asked--given Halep's history of foot problems--why she didn't walk onto the court with her ankles taped, and I was asking the same thing. It seemed imprudent that she wouldn't protect her ankles in the semifinal of a major event.

It was a good set, however, and it wound up in a tiebreak. Halep led 4-2, but Bouchard wiped out the mini-break and won the tiebreak 7-5, but only after some intervening drama. A fan became ill, and there was a four-and-half-minute break, during which the fan was taken out of the stadium.

Having had to endure both her opponent's medical timeout and the fan's medical timeout, Bouchard seemed undaunted. But really, she didn't have to worry very much because Simona Halep never really showed up again. In the second set, Halep dropped her aggression, dropped her serve, and generally looked as though she wasn't even there. She said later that the ankle injury impaired her serve and she wasn't able to push off again, even after getting her ankle taped.

I don't mean to denigrate Bouchard in any way; she played superbly throughout the match. But Halep stopped fighting. Until the very end, that is, when she saved five match points. But it was too late for the Romanian to do the kind of damage she's capable of doing, and Bouchard advanced to her first major final.

The good news for me is that I don't have to go through the pain of watching Kvitova and Halep play one another for the Wimbledon title; watching two of your favorites play each other on a big stage can be difficult.

In doubles, 2nd seeds Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci--seeking a Career Slam--advanced to the semifinals with a 6-4, 2-6, 6-0 victory over 6th seeds Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua. Timea Babos and Kiki Mladenovic also made it to the semifinals with a three-set victory over Alla Kudryavtseva and Anastasia Rodionova. Lucie Safarova, meanwhile, suffered a second loss (with partner Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova), this time to Andrea Hlavackova and Zheng Jie.

Defending champions Mladenovic and Daniel Nestor defeated Martina Hingis and Bruno Soares in the mixed doubles quarterfinals. 

Sweeping the court

Li Na and Carlos Rodriguez have parted ways. According to Rodriguez's IMG agent, the academy in Beijing that Rodriguez oversees wants him there and not on the road. Li reportedly did not take the news that well.

Phyllis "Woodie" Walker has been named the Chief Umpire of the 2014 U.S. Open.
Google Maps is calling Wimbledon's former Henman Hill, casually renamed Murray Mound, Henman Hill again. On Sunday, Petra Kvitova, who has reached the 2014 final, suggested it be called Petra Perch.

The Grand Slam committee is "studying" the time violation rule. I have no idea what it means to "study" one of the most clear-cut rules in professional tennis, but perhaps there will soon be a task force that will explain it all.

The last time I went into a pinkberry store, the young woman behind the counter said: "Well, you really belong here!" Until that moment, I'd forgotten I was wearing my Sharapova t-shirt. As I was enjoying my pinkberry fare, another staff member left the counter, came to my table and said "I didn't really know anything about Maria until we started selling Sugarpova. Can you tell some things about her?" So I got to talk about 'Pova for a while. My friend Steve says that I am an expert in JJ-ology, but I think I didn't too badly with Sharapovology that day.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wimbledon--what they said

I want to go one step further. It’s a normal kind of evolution of things, as the great champions get older, the newer ones come in.
Eugenie Bouchard

I was a little bit lost on court. But in the beginning only.
Simona Halep

The turn-around had been both swift and resounding, and a shell-shocked Lisicki simply had no Plan B to counter it.
Matt Trolloppe

I was really trying to stay in the moment. I knew I couldn't think ahead and things like that and that's what I've been working on for a while now to try to stay mentally in the moment.
Eugenie Bouchard

I watch her opponents when I can and I'll give Simona details, but I don't want to give her too much information. My thought is that if I give her too much information, she won't feel free anymore.
Wim Fissette

She was hitting the corners of the court, so it was getting more and more difficult to turn it around. I tried everything that I could today, but she was better.
Sabine Lisicki

Halep makes straight-sets move to Wimbledon semifinals

Sabine Lisicki, last years Wimbledon runner-up, got off to a 4-1 lead today in her semifinal against Simona Halep. The 3rd seed, not one to panic when things don't go well, replied by winning eleven straight games. Moral of story: A cornered Simona is a dangerous Simona. (Also, Halep probably watched last year's final.)

The whole thing took only 57 minutes. So far, Lesia Tsurenko is the only player to take a set off of Halep, and Halep has delivered two bagel sets, one to Zarina Diyas, and the other to Lisicki. The Romanian's quick 6-4, 6-0 victory gives her some mental and physical rest, as she awaits her semifinal against Genie Bouchard, who will be a much tougher customer than the labile German could ever dream of being.

Bouchard, with a straight sets win over Angelique Kerber, has now reached her third consecutive major semifinal. The Canadian star, even without her army to cheer to her on, defeated Kerber 6-3, 6-4, in a match Kerber was probably expected to lose. The German (bad day for Germany) played her heart out yesterday for almost three hours against Maria Sharapova, then had to come back at noon today to take on Bouchard.

Bouchard has taken to the grass courts at Wimbledon and is emphasizing--in case anyone didn't notice before--that she is the talent of the current wave of young-"youngish" players. She'll have her hands full with Halep, though, and that promises to be a special match.

I've never been a "half full" kind of person, so the possibility that Halep and Petra Kvitova will have to play each other in the final is enough to make me consider paying someone to watch it for me. It would be so hard for me to see either of them lose.

But that's just one possible scenario. We could get a Bouchard vs. Kvitova final, a Bouchard vs. Safarova final, or a Halep vs. Safarova final. Of the four women, only Kvitova has won a major (Wimbledon, in 2011). Halep has been to a major final, just recently--the 2014 French Open.

For Bouchard or Safarova, playing in the Wimbledon final would be the most challenging mentally. And while I'm sure that many people think that Bouchard would not be that affected by finding herself in the final, I'm not so sure. Halep certainly handled her first major final well, but that's not the usual scenario.

7th seeds Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears (one of the longest-running--if not the longest-running--doubles teams on the tour) lost in the third round today to 11th seeds Alla Kudryavtseva and Anastasia Rodionova.

The big news, however, is that top seeds and defending champions Hsieh Su-Wei and Peng Shuai were upset today in the third round by 14th seeds Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic. (This blog had incorret information earlier; I was unable to access the Wimbledon site and looked at a score report that had Hsieh and Peng winning. It turns out that two of the scores were backwards.) Mladenovic, with partner Daniel Nestor, also won her third round mixed doubles match.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Kvitova advances to Wimbledon semifinals

When Petra Kvitova won Wimbledon in 2011, she hit 222 winners. In this year's tournament, she has already hit 156 winners. Today, she defeated countrywoman Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-1, 7-5. Zahlavova played a clean match--only ten unforced errors--but was overcome by a Kvitova who wasn't always steady, but was good enough to win.

This has been a great tournament for Zahlavova Strycova, and the goings-on in today's quarterfinal were often very pleasing to the eye; each player is so good on grass. To some of us, Kvitova's "bark" is very pleasing to the ear, but that's a matter of personal taste.

Next for the 2011 champion is a countrywoman who has not historically demonstrated Zahlavova Strycova's grass court skills, but who has plenty of skills of her own. Lucie Safarova (who, like Kvitova, is also left-handed) pretty much ran over Ekaterina Makarova today. Kvitova leads Safarova 5-0 head-to-head. Earlier this year, she beat Safarova 6-1, 5-7, 7-6 on grass at Eastbourne. Petra won't have any room to mess around when she confronts Safarova.

There are still two quarterfinals to be played. Eugenie Bouchard, trying for her third consecutive semifinal at a major, will play Angelique Kerber. The mojo is with Bouchard for the simple reason that Kerber has to be exhausted after today's epic match against Maria Sharapova. Everything is backed up because of all the rain--and because--in a city where it rains constantly this time of year--Wimbledon has no play on the middle Sunday. Kerber is probably doing ice baths and massage and a six-course meal and a plea to the tennis gods for more rain, since her match isn't scheduled to take place on Centre Court.

In the other quarterfinal, last year's runner-up, Sabine Lisicki, will face Simona Halep. This match will be played at Lisicki's favorite of all places, Wimbledon Centre Court. It's okay to anticipate drama, by the way.

Wimbledon--what they said

Petra is loving the grass, she’s a former champion, a great top 10 player and I never beat her but I was really close at Eastbourne, two weeks ago. She’s a tough one but I have nothing to lose but I’m going to just go and enjoy.
Lucie Safarova

In Paris, as here, Halep seems to have been entirely unburdened by becoming the highest seed left in the tournament from an early stage--more notable as she still so new to the heady air breathed by the most elite.
Kate Battersby

It was such a tough match. We were playing on a really high level, and it was so close--every single set was so close.
Angelique Kerber

But Sharapova hadn't come back from a set down to win a match at Wimbledon in ten years, and that stat would prove to be the most telling of them all.
Todd Spiker

You can have reasons not to feel right on the court but nothing that would not be able to make you hold the ball in your hand or catch the ball or throw it up.
Pam Shriver, commenting on Serena Williams

As many people anticipate certain matches, people going through, the favorites--at the end of the day those are just words. We as players have to go out and play. And that's the way some of the results have turned out.
Maria Sharapova

I want to thank my sister, Kristina, Stefanie, and our teams for their support. We were all looking forward to a great match. From the bottom of my heart, I thank all of the fans for their cheers and understanding.
Serena Williams

I was trying to tell me, "You can do it. She will not make mistakes. If you would like to win the match, you need to do it, to be aggressive, just go for it."
Angelique Kerber

Sharapova gets a lesson in German engineering

Aga Radwanska may be gone from Wimbledon, but the now-famous "Radwanska squat shot" lived on today in Germany's Angelique Kerber (we've seen it from Alize Cornet, too), who squatted, stretched, ran, and generally gutted her way to a 7-6, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Maria Sharapova, the 2004 champion--the one who got "lucky" when Serena Williams dropped out of her quarter of the draw.

Luck will take you only so far, and while Sharapova put up a mighty fight, saving six match points, she couldn't hit accurately enough to save seven. For her part, Kerber played perhaps the match of her career, making only eleven unforced errors in the entire 2-hour and 47-minute slugging exhibition. Kerber was everywhere, changing the direction of the ball on the turn of something even thinner than a dime, and never allowing Sharapova's almost super-human will to break her down.

The German star hit "only" 27 winners to Sharapova's 57, but Sharapova made 49 unforced errors, and that was her undoing.

From the beginning, Kerber showed a strong mentality. Leading 5-3 in the opening set, she was broken and had to go all the way to a tiebreak to claim the set. No problem. She dropped the second set. No problem. This isn't necessarily a familiar Kerber. The German tends to get down when things are tight, but today, she seemed to get only more confident. And if you're going to try out a new attitude, who better to test it against than Sharapova, the queen of "never give up."

"Slugfests" don't generally interest me too much, but there was something about this one that I found oddly compelling. The third set was compelling, no matter what one's personal tennis tastes are. Kerber raced to a 3-0 lead, but Sharapova pushed the score to 2-5, and saved a match point on her own serve with a ball that just clipped the line. She broke Kerber when the German served for the match at 5-3, then saved five more match points on her own serve. At this point, there seemed to be a freeze on the entity we know as time, while Sharapova found the will to survive again and again.

But Kerber never let up. She was fast, flexible, reliable, and also able to stop and start when she needed to. There was no sputtering or sign of breakdown.

It was also around this time that ESPN commentators Mary Joe Fernandez and Cliff Drysdale were editing their already-composed eulogy for Kerber. What a shame, they were saying--in various phrasing--that Kerber worked so hard and played so well, only to wind up losing to the mighty Maria. When it was over, and Sharapova had hit a ball out to give Kerber the match on her seventh match point, Fernandez and Drysdale didn't seem to even notice.

Hello, Mary Joe and Cliffie! Maria lost. Just in case you haven't figured it out yet.

But that wasn't the only match played today. Simona Halep, the only one of the top four seeds left standing, quickly dispatched Zarina Diyas 6-3, 6-0, and advanced to the quarterfinals of Wimbledon for the first time in her career. Halep practically doesn't exist to the commentators, and that may be just the way she likes it.

2013 runner-up Sabine Lisicki moved the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 win over Yaroslava Shvedova. Lisicki had some shoulder problems, however, and had to be treated.

The schedule is, of course, off, because of rain delays. But playing successful catch-up was Lucie Safarova, who beat Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-1 to advance to the semifinals! And Makarova's lackluster performance, which followed her brilliant performance in the round of 16, answers our always-frustrating question: Why isn't she ranked higher?

The bottom half of the quarterfinal draw could have been called the "Czech half," for having three Czech players in it, or it could just as well have been called the "lefty half," for having three left-handed players in it. 

Top seeds Katarina Srebotnik and Mike Bryan lost their second round mixed doubles match to Oksana Kalashnikova and Chris Guccione.

Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, finishing a match that started yesterday, saved five match points and defeated Lyudmyla and Nadiia Kichenok in the second round of doubles. And Kristina Barrois and Stefanie Voegle advanced to the third round when their opponents, the Williams sisters, retired after playing just three games.

Serena's blood pressure was checked right before the match. The younger Williams sister had already acknowledged that she felt faint, she cried for a while, but she chose to play. Serena had difficulty bouncing and catching the ball for her serve, and then could not serve. Most of her attempts hit the net, a few went outside the court. There appeared to be some kind of left/right confusion going on, as well as general weakness, and it was scary to watch. According to Wimbledon officials, she has a viral illness.