Guy McCrea’s Wimbledon Diary: Day 7
Will Ana Ivanovic ever again be the player she was back in 2008? It’s a question that’s been asked many times these past few years and I pondered it again after Ivanovic succumbed easily against Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, winning just one game under the roof on Centre Court. I had expected to commentate more than just 56 minutes of action! Ivanovic is still to reach a Grand Slam quarter final since her French Open triumph four years ago despite many opportunities. It is not good enough to say that is because she always runs into top five opponents – her ranking means this is always likely to happen by the third or fourth round stage. The Serb has to deal with it and start winning more of these contests – who knows if she can.
The All England Club runs a fantastic tournament but they simply have to do more about security for players on Court 2. Serena Williams confirmed in press that she ‘was literally almost knocked over’ when trying to leave the court after her hard-fought win over Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova. The fact is that these sorts of scrums as players come and go from Court 2 have happened often ever since the stadium opened in 2009. It is situated right in the south of the grounds, meaning that players always face a lengthy walk from the locker rooms at Centre Court. Frankly, a couple of escort security guards are never going to cut it. What should be done is that the players be transported to say Gate 7 (nearest to Court 2) and then escorted in. As it stands, how it is handled is a mess.
I was fortunate to have a couple of brief conversations with Maria Kirilenko’s current boyfriend, National Hockey League star Alex Ovechkin at the WTA event in Rosmalen prior to Wimbledon. Ovechkin has been travelling with Kirilenko for the past few weeks and it seems him being around makes her even more settled. The Washington Capitals leader was again in attendance on court 12, cheering Kirilenko on as she reached the Wimbledon quarter finals for the first time with victory over China’s Peng Shuai.
Friendly. Honest. Thoughtful. Three of the words I would use to describe Kim Clijsters’ personality. The four-time Grand Slam champion is right up there as one of the players I have most enjoyed interviewing. After her final Wimbledon title bid ended at the hands of Germany’s Angelique Kerber, Clijsters was in typically engaging form. What always stands out for me is how she actually listens to every question and specifically answers it – a real contrast to some of the WTA’s other stars. In so many ways, the Belgian will sure be missed when she retires at the end of the summer.
Guy McCrea commentates on WTA tennis for television and radio. Follow Guy on twitter: @GuyMcCreaTennis