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June 28, 2007

Wimbledon Tidbits: Henman Hole

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Feliciano Lopez dashed the dubious hopes of the British Empire when he bounced Tim Henman out of Wimbledon Wednesday.  Henman gave it his all, coming back from two sets down to force a fifth, but Lopez lost only one point on his serve in the fifth set and that was too much for the 32 year old Henman to handle. 

    Kudos to Lopez for being able to keep it together in the face of the thousands of Henman fans, including myself, hoping for him to implode.  What can I say, I like Henman.  I get the feeling he's a real person and very funny to boot.  If I drank beer, I think it would be very entertaining to down a pint with him, but since I don't I'll have to settle for his promise that he'll be back for more tennis next year.

    Meanwhile, how was it for Lopez with everyone but his own box rooting against him? 

    "Well, of course the people were supporting him a lot. But, as I said yesterday, the people here, the public, they respect all the players a lot. Even if you play against Tim Henman, they give all the support to him, but at the same time they respect you.

    Of course, not the same to play Henman on Centre Court than to play any other guy on Court 14. You feel more pressure, you feel nervous sometimes on the critical moments of the match. But they respect a lot the players I think. They were very nice with me also."

    Henman may be gone, but one of my own personal favorites, American James Blake is still in it.  His Mom's a Brit.  "I guess I'm the closest thing to a Brit left in this tournament," Blake said after beating Andrei Pavel of Romania 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, "so hopefully I'll have a few fans."

    Meanwhile the first big test for Roger Federer will come on Friday when he faces former double Grand Slam winner Marat Safin.  Safin, better known in the last few days for grousing about the expensive (namely $25/plate) and he says, lousy spaghetti they're serving up on the Wimbledon grounds, is one of those players who if he decides to show up could make Roger sweat like crazy right through those snappy Nike threads.

    Random thoughts

    • The male players who have a problem with the equal prize money the women are getting at the Grand Slams this year need to just shut up.  The money's not coming out of their pockets and it's really not smart to piss off the women fans out there who keep the male players in balls.
    • Aren't there any fire laws that apply to Henman Hill?  That place gets so jammed, fans can't even lift their elbows to down their Pimms.

    My pick for the winner on the women's side, Venus Williams won handily Wednesday.  She looked particularly sharp in a sporty pair of white shorts.  According to Mary Carillo, Venus says she's never played in shorts before, but the skirt she brought with her was too big.

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