Guy McCrea’s Wimbledon Diary: Day 5
Like several other members of the media, I’ve suspected the grass at Wimbledon this week to be playing a bit quicker than in previous years. So I went and talked to the All England Club’s head groundsman Neil Stubley about it. He told me they’ve ‘not been doing anything different’ in preparations, despite needing to have the grass courts ready again for play just three weeks after the women’s singles final for the start of the Olympics tennis event. But I then heard from another source that ground staff have been trialling a different pre-germinated seed, which has not proven to be that durable. It isn’t what is normally used and may explain the relatively poor condition of some courts at this stage of the Championships.
Bizarre that Vera Zvonareva managed to play her mixed doubles match only hours after she retired in tears from her singles third round encounter against Kim Clijsters due to a respiratory illness: ‘Moving, like running, is just impossible at this level to play.’ I missed Zvonareva’s press conference so I couldn’t ask her about it. But it does seem very odd – surely you still also need to move and run in a mixed doubles match?
Not a seat to be had on court 18 in mid-afternoon on Friday as Sorana Cirstea and Maria Kirilenko battled for a place in the second week of the women’s draw. Indeed, most vantage points on the broadcast centre roof were filled too. Clearly an extremely attractive match-up. Kirilenko won it to reach the Wimbledon fourth round for the first time.
Italy’s Camila Giorgi – arguably the most exciting talent on the WTA right now. I watched her produce a terrific performance to defeat Nadia Petrova in straight sets on showcourt 3. There is so much to like about Giorgi – not least an excellent second serve, superbly-produced ground strokes and sound movement. Now into the last sixteen of a Grand Slam for the first time, there is no doubt in my mind that she has serious potential. Italian tennis fans have been looking for a new generation of WTA players to follow Francesca Schiavone and Flavia Pennetta. It looks like with Giorgi and Sara Errani, their wishes could be answered.
Guy McCrea commentates on WTA tennis for television and radio. Follow Guy on twitter: @GuyMcCreaTennis