Sportswriters frequently "clean out the notebook," at the end of a tournament, and although I wasn't actually at Wimbledon this year, I'm going to do the same.
I am forever indebted to Guy McCrea for the fantastic coverage he provided here throughout the second week at Wimbledon. With no power for the second half of the week, I was in no position to write coherent posts about what happened; he made it easy for me and I hope, enlightening for all of you who stopped by to read and listen. When I could, I listened to Guy's Radio Wimbledon coverage, and as I am sure you could tell from his interviews, he knows his junior tennis and does his homework (Contrast the Wimbledon website's junior coverage, which is so riddled with errors that I didn't even bother to read it when I finally had an opportunity to yesterday).
Anyone else notice that the no-ad, tiebreak-in-lieu-of-the-third-set format that was adopted for junior Grand Slams, Grade As and Grade 1s by the ITF this year was conspicuously absent from Wimbledon? But the argument for playing conventional doubles (which to me is defined as ending in a third set tiebreaker) is not really strengthened by the fact that both Wimbledon doubles champions had won previous Junior Slams this year under the abbreviated format. What will the USTA decide to do in New York next month? Stay tuned.
Wimbledon LIVE, which four ZooTennis readers received free access to courtesy of MediaZone, is fantastic. I wasn't able to get it going until Sunday myself, but, I watched the boys final from start to finish (with the sound turned off and Guy's radio call on instead). I was impressed with the quality of the video (I have a standard cable modem and it streamed very nicely) and most of all, with the variety of matches available. There is much talk that tennis has become a niche sport here in the U.S., and will never have the mainstream interest that other sports do, so webcasting will fill the void that TV networks leave. But the best part of this is not that it's providing tennis coverage, it's providing individualized coverage of THE TENNIS YOU WANT TO SEE. As usual, there was no coverage on NBC of the junior matches, but I did not have to rely on them for it. The price of $24.99 is a bargain when you consider how many different matches that encompasses, and that you are able to download or time-shift them as you please. I'd love to hear what others think, but I'm sold.
U.S. junior Bradley Klahn had quite an experience yesterday at Wimbledon--he warmed up five-time champion Roger Federer prior to what is, a day later, being lauded as one of the greatest tennis matches of all time. Klahn, a left-hander, and doubles partner Ryan Harrison were still in London after their loss in the doubles quarterfinals Friday due to the cost of changing their plane tickets and a few phone calls between Federer's agent and David DiLucia, the USTA high performance coach, provided Klahn with the opportunity of a lifetime.
The British media was beside themselves in having the Laura Robson story to follow this week, but most of the excitement has been tempered by those with memories of the last British girl to win Wimbledon Annabel Croft, who three years after capturing the title in 1984, retired from tennis. Sandra Harwitt points out in this piece for espn.com that in "61 years of junior competition, only three titlists have gone on to win Wimbledon -- Briton Ann Haydon-Jones, Martina Hingis and Amelie Mauresmo." On the other hand, should Robson turn out to be merely an Caroline Wozniacki (2006 girls champion) or Agnieszka Radwanska (2005 girls champion), both top 30, I'm not sure there would be grave disappointment. Right now the bar is quite low in British womens tennis, with only one Top 100 player. BBC Sport has this interview with the last British Wimbledon singles champion, Virginia Wade, entitled "Robson Must Be Protected."