Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The scary and the scared

My favorite version of Petra Kvitova showed up today at Wimbledon to play in the opening round. That would be Scary Petra, the pineapple-loving, Princess-slaying, give-you-"that-look" Petra. Kvitova defeated Kiki Bertens 6-1, 6-0 in 36 minutes. The defending champion made only three unforced errors, and one of the those was a double fault--the only point she lost on her serve. Scary Petra.

Meanwhile (speaking of Princess), Genie Bouchard was defeated in her first round match by world number 117 Duan Ying-Ying, known in some circles as the Chinese Lindsay Davenport.

Things are looking grim for Bouchard. The 2014 Wimbledon runner-up said, in her press conference, "...when I had a loss in Indian Wells or Miami, I didn't feel like it was the end of the world....We're closer to the end of the world now."

I should point out that Bouchard was playing with a torn abdominal muscle, which she was advised not to do. One can't really blame her for wanting to give Wimbledon a try, especially considering all of the ranking points at stake, but going out in the first round can only make the mental injury worse, if not the abdominal injury.

To add insult to that injury, the Canadian star was issued a code violation for wearing a black bra under her white bra. We know that the inspection of women's underwear is a priority at Wimbledon, so the Greater Good was doubtless served by calling Bouchard out on her bra. Understand why I dread Wimbledon every year?

Meanwhile, third seed Simona Halep was also shown the door--by Jana Cepelova. All we heard from commentators is that Cepelova is ranked number 106 in the world, but there's a lot more to the story than that. Cepelova has talent. We got to see that talent in 2014 when she made a Serena Williams-defeating run to the Charleston final. Her semifinal victory over Belinda Bencic was one of the great matches of the year.

Unforunately, Cepelova has had to overcome several health obstacles--and all that goes with that--since she made that great run, but today, we got to see her shine once again. Her win over Halep was a reminder of what she's capable of doing, and here's hoping she can be more consistent in the future.

As for Halep--things just aren't right. She has changed coaches so much that one might confuse her with Ana Ivanovic, and she has spoken publicly about the pressure she's under now that she's a huge sports star. She feels that pressure especially in her homeland, Romania. 

There's also the matter of Halep's having to deal with a stalker. Being stalked is a violation, and a violation is a trauma. The Danish "fan" issued death threats toward the Romanian star in April, and she supposedly "shrugged them off." Let me take a professional moment here and say that no one can "shrug off" death threats. Halep seems like a pretty stoic woman, but death threats--or any kind of stalking or threats--make you vulnerable.

To add to her troubles, Halep played today's Wimbledon match with a blister on her toe, and it was obvious that her serve was hampered by the injury. Suddenly, the Romanian star can't catch a break.

The curse didn't reach as far as Sabine Lisicki, who won her first round match, as did grass court threat Ekaterina Makarova. Katerina Siniakova, whom some consider a grass court threat in the making, was defeated, and--in a holdover from day 1--British number 1 Heather Watson defeated 32nd seed Caroline Garcia. Jelena Jankovic defeated Elena Vesnina (who served for the match) 6-4, 3-6, 10-8, in what may have been the match of the day.


Todd.Spiker said...

I think the photo of Kvitova in that Tweet might be THE classic action shot of her that I've ever seen. It somewhat reminds you of some of the old B&W shots of Lenglen from way back.

Evert suggested that Bouchard take a break for a bit, which would seem to be the best advice she could take at this point.

Diane said...

Evert should know. When she couldn't figure out Tracy Austin, she took a break. When she returned, she never lost another match to Austin.

And agree about the Lenglen quality of that photo!

Karen Williams said...

I always dread Wimbledon and their clothing rules, not because I don't agree with it, but because players consistently feel that they can ignore the rules and do whatever it is they want. The rules are quite clear. All white clothing. As with everything in life rules were made for a reason. We in the 21st century may consider them archaic and some might even say that they are sexist but I just don't buy that argument. Players seem to think that they are bigger and better than the tournament or that they need to bring the tournament into the 21st century. I like the traditions. I love the all white rule. I don't consider it racist or sexist. The only issue I have is that I would prefer to have more women's matches on the main show courts, but that is me thinking that the women who have traditionally done well at this tournament deserve pride of place.

Whenever people talk about the stupid traditions of Wimbledon I take them back to Federer and his orange soled shoes which he had to change mid tournament. If Federer is issued a code violation for breaking the all white rule then nothing wrong with Ms. Bouchard also suffering the same fate.

shalini said...

My understanding is that the players wear what their clothing companies give them. With the exception of a few players like Serena and Maria most have no input. Nike has grown women playing in tank tops that don't offer enough support for a ten year old! Add to that the fact they don't have a plain white strappy sports bra -they should pay the fines and not Genie.
Seriously though -does Wimbledon have a designated underwear checker? Yuk.
Diane I am glad you mentioned what a strong player Cepelova is. Sometimes when a higher ranked player loses to a much lower ranked player it's that the ranking does not reflect the ability of the player. This is especially true of young upcoming players.

Diane said...

Karen, it turns out, according to Courtney N., that Bouchard did not get a code violation, so I'm going to go with that. She had on a white bra and a black bra under it; Wimbledon allows "some color," but the vague rules about what that means keep changing. I'm glad she didn't get a code violation.

And shalini, as of 2014, yes, there is a special women's undergarment inspection! So there most likely is a staff member in charge of bras and underwear. I'll be so glad when Wimbledon is over.

shalini said...

I would like to see how that job experience would be listed on a resume.

Diane said...


I'm sure they got a lot of aplicants from the "journalism" pool.

shalini said...

Diane I think you will like this article.
Now moving onto talking about women's tennis.

Diane said...

Oh thanks, shalini--that was a good read. And I agree--it isn't the "rule," it's the context. The AEC, as well as the British press, has a terrible attitude toward female tennis players (meaning, even worse than other countries), and that context can't be ignored. And the quality and endurance of the sports bra has to come first.