BRITISH tennis chiefs say the public needs to lower its expectations for the success of national players at Wimbledon.
Andy Murray is the only Briton left in the tournament after the seven other men and women from the host country lost in the first round. Never before have fewer than two British players reached the second round in singles at the All England Club.
Nigel Sears, head of women’s tennis at Britain’s Lawn Tennis Association, said on Wednesday that two British women who lost this week succumbed to “fear and tension” despite chances to win.
And Leon Smith, head of men’s tennis at the association, says the goal for the men is to take “baby steps” up the rankings ladder. – AP
Playing for peace
AN INDIAN and a Pakistani hope their partnership in the men’s doubles at Wimbledon can chip away at the enmity between their countries.
Rohan Bopanna of India and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan defeated Somdev Devvarman of India and Treat Conrad Huey of the Philippines in their first-round match on Wednesday.
Bopanna and Qureshi have played doubles together in the past. This year, they are wearing sweatshirts with slogans reading “Stop War, Start Tennis” as part of a peace campaign.
A Monaco-based group called Peace and Sport is backing the initiative. Prince Albert is a promoter of the group. – AP
AUSTRALIAN gamblers who had bets on France’s Nicolas Mahut, beaten by US player John Isner in the longest tennis match ever played, learned yesterday that they would not lose money on his 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7-9), 76 (7-3), 70-68 defeat at Wimbledon.
“We weren’t holding a great deal on Mahut, but punters that did bet on him surely deserve their money back after riding the roller coaster with him for three days,” said Haydn Williams, spokesman for the internet betting agency Sportsbet Pty Ltd. “We hope that those who did back Mahut are not nail-biters – there’d be nothing left.” – Sapa-dpa
THE umpire who presided over the longest match in tennis history said on Thursday that he was so enthralled by the epic struggle that he never felt tired.
Mohamed Lahyani of Sweden spent 11 hours, 5 minutes over three days in the umpire’s chair before declaring victory for John Isner over Nicolas Mahut in their first-round match. The fifth-set score was 70-68.
“I didn’t get a chance to feel tired,” Lahyani said. “I was gripped by the amazing match and my concentration stayed good. I owed that to the players. Their stamina was breathtaking and their behavior exceptional.” – AP