Gifts to treasure
It's time to appreciate the talents of Andy Murray and the Williams sisters, says Gerry Williams.
Last Updated: 23/06/10 10:11am
It was about the time of day when this happy breed likes a nice cup of tea that the last of our men at Wimbledon, Andy Murray, settled down to do his particular thing, which is to play tennis.
He did so with intelligence and a certain under-statement and won his first round match against Jan Hajek of the Czech Republic, a middle-order pro, in straight sets.
So perhaps now we scribes will stop try to psycho-analyse Murray and simply enjoy his gifts.
He can look forward to performing before the Queen on Thursday when he plays a Finn called Jarkko Nieminen who is a powerful left-handed hustler who has been around the block
Next, I would like to make a point about a family whose surname I share.
I wonder if we fully appreciate the contribution two sisters from the dangerous streets of Compton, a suburb of Los Angeles, have made to Wimbledon.
The Williams girls have won eight of the last 10 singles Wimbledon titles. Just think of it! Venus' share of it so far is five, Serena's is three.
On Tuesday on Centre Court Serena, who is the top seed, beat the 17-year-old Portuguese screeching champion Michelle Larcher De Brito 6-0 6-4. These Williams girls are one of sports truly great tales.
I was much helped to forget about the budget, the goings-on at the World Cup and a lingering concern still for Crystal Palace by a spitfire of a match on Court 12.
It was between one of ours Anne Keothavong and a Russian turned Aussie named Anastasia Rodionova. These tall, slim young ladies weren't afraid to hit hard for the lines.
Keothavong took the first set 6-3 where upon Rodionova had a rant at the umpire. Clearly this Melbourne import isn't the type to submit meekly.
Keothavong won that set because she had slightly more control of the ball not to mention herself. Rodionova then smashed-and-grabbed the second set (in-between complaining) and took it 6-2.
At that point Keothavong decided she wasn't going to be bullied anymore. Good for her.
Shaking her fist she punched her way back to 4-0 in the third. The Australian began to capsize but then suddenly pulled herself together and it was Keothavong who had a wobbly and the slugging Rodionova pulled herself back level.
In the end you had to say that the tougher nut won, and that was Rodionova. The score was 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Finally today I'd like to make this point to anybody who has ever doubted that there is a big difference between playing tennis on a slow clay court at the French Open and on fast grass court at Wimbledon.
It's a point that has been proved again here. The new French champion Francesca Schiavone lost in the first round and now the runner-up Samantha Stosur has gone as well.
Grass is a whole new ball game. When I began watching tennis three of the four Grand Slams were all on grass. The times they are a-changing.