Inside the Newsroom

News, commentary, insight on local happenings and fun from the staff of The Saline Reporter and Milan News-Leader.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The old English way

Wimbledon is here, my dearest ladies and gentlemen. It's very exciting. Of the four grand slam tennis tournaments, the English and proper grass court games are exceedingly exciting to watch. It is the only major on grass and it is the third installment in the four-major tour. The series began in Australia in the Australian Open, then took place in Paris only weeks ago for Roland Garros (the French Open). Now Wimbledon is up and the U.S. Open will follow in New York in several months.

There are two important things to know about this year's tournament. First, a majority of the matches will take place in the morning and afternoon Eastern Standard Time, because of the 6-hour time difference with the European overseas site. Related to this is the fact that one can listen to Wimbledon radio online or follow an online scoreboard in real time. Both can be found at and are incredibly entertaining sidekicks to have open while at work. Nothing like listening to the proper commentating of a Brit while at working, discussing "lovely volleys," "the grand Queen of England" and the "antics and excitement of the British crowd which always loves a good challenge and underdog." Things are always so official with a British accent.

The second thing to know for this year's tournament is the absence of the No. 1 player in the world. Rafael Nadal pulled out of this year's draw only a week or two ahead of the first schedule match, citing continued tendinitis in his knees. The Spanaird is the rival of No. 2 player and Roland Garros champion Roger Federer from Switzerland. Nadal lost to Robin Soderling in an early round of the French Open several weeks ago and also struggled in a minor grass court tournament that took place in the weeks leading up to Wimbledon. He's definitely struggling with injuries.

But given Nadal's absence, this could very well be the year that Federer breaks Pete Sampras' record of 14 major tournament wins. Federer tied the record of 14 two weeks ago in Paris and will be going for a new record at 15 this week and next. It will be history in the making for the Swiss player, who also finally completed his grand slam in Paris. He's playing really well.

I do advise watching some of the tennis. Local American players Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Andy Roddick will all make appearance with relatively decent seeds. The Williams sisters are seeded No. 2 and No. 3, and Roddick is No. 6 this year. Serena is poised to potentially win at Wimbledon again, but will be challenged by several Russians who are battling for majors. Roddick has only won one major in his career, so I doubt he'll progress past the quarterfinals. James Blake is fun to watch, too, but has struggled to break through to any notable level of greatness. He has a fun peanut gallery, though...

So check it out. There should be plenty of television coverage in the coming weeks, so check your local listings. And check out Wimbledon Radio at, as well. The finals are usually on Sunday (June 28), I believe.


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