Guy McCrea’s Wimbledon Diary: Day 9
No women’s singles matches on Wednesday so a good chance to take in some of the doubles and junior tournaments being played out in the second week. Because of the need to prepare for the upcoming Olympics tennis event, most of the ladies doubles pairings are the same ones who will represent their countries in a few weeks time back here at Wimbledon. For the likes of Maria Kirilenko it’s meant a change – she normally plays with Italy’s Flavia Pennetta but entered here with Nadia Petrova – the Russian duo were also together in Rosmalen where they reached the final. The women’s doubles certainly has a different feel this year. In the past, the draw has mainly been made up of scratch/last-minute pairings mixed up with a few specialist teams. It’ll be interesting to see if some of these teams remain together after the Olympics.
The wet weather here in the past few days has heavily affected the junior tournaments. I felt a bit for the kids as they had to play three matches in a day to catch up the schedule. Still, at least the junior tournaments are now more or less up to speed. It’s always fun trying to assess which juniors could have the best shot at making it on the WTA. Best-quality match I watched was the first rounder between Indy De Vroome of the Netherlands and Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic. De Vroome won it before losing her next round later in the day – but I like the potential of both these teenagers to eventually carve a decent pro career.
I also had a good chat with girl’s world number one Taylor Townsend, who won a singles and a doubles match but lost her third round singles clash to Canada’s Francoise Abanda. It’s so noticeable just how many of the current crop of good American girls are of African-American background. I’ve thought for a while that must be thanks to the legacy of the Williams sisters and talking to Townsend, it’s obvious how much Venus and Serena inspired her: ‘They definitely did – not just their success on the court but also how many times they have come back from bad times. Sachia (Vickery), Victoria (Duval) – all of us look up to Serena and Venus so much for what they’ve done.’
Finally, back on the subject of the Olympics … super-impressed with the ITF Olympics book – it’s called ‘Aspire, Inspire’ and was launched at Wimbledon on Wednesday in the Press Restaurant. Plenty of thoughtful, stunning images of WTA stars – look out for an online version of it very soon!
Guy McCrea commentates on WTA tennis for television and radio. Follow Guy on twitter: @GuyMcCreaTennis