Ten­nis shorts

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

‘Baby steps’

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

Marathon money

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

Up­beat um­pire

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

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