Monday, July 2, 2012

Ten things that make Wimbledon great

   I have had the privilege of attending or covering Wimbledon four times.
   My first visit, at age 15 in 1971, made me a tennis fanatic for life. I still have the program from that day.
   Here are 10 things that make Wimbledon great:
   Centre Court -- Old-fashioned and intimate, it is to tennis what the Globe Theatre is to drama and Fenway Park is to baseball. The distinctive inclined roof covers only the stands -- a retractable roof was completed in 2009 -- and the capacity is only 15,000. Add 90 years of tradition, and Centre Court is unquestionably the top tennis facility in the world.
   Acoustics -- This also is a big part of Centre Court's appeal. Because of the intimacy, inclined roof and grass surface, the "pop" of the ball hitting the racket strings is clearer than anywhere else in the world.
   Silence -- No rock music blares from loudspeakers. There's no airhead, obnoxious emcee (hello SAP Open in San Jose). There's just respectful silence during play, appreciative applause after great shots and a few shouts before big points. It's all very dignified. What a concept. Centre Court is aptly called "the cathedral of tennis."
   Lack of commercialization -- Ads aren't plastered all over Centre Court (or anywhere else at Wimbledon). There are only a few small, discreet Rolex and Slazenger logos.
   Green everywhere -- Everything at Wimbledon, except the retractable roof, is green: the grass courts, the buildings, the seats and the ivy on the outside of Centre Court. Understated but beautiful. Even though you're in a suburb of London, you feel as if you're in the country.
   Attire -- In a charming nod to tradition, players must wear predominantly white. If they made players wear all white, it would be fine by me. But I'm not complaining. It's kind of refreshing not to see players wearing shirts that look as though someone threw an open can of paint at them.
   First match -- The men's defending champion plays the first match on Centre Court of the tournament, and the women's title holder begins play there on the second day. Perhaps, though, they should alternate.
   Middle Sunday  -- No matches are played on the middle Sunday. This gives fans time to reflect on the first week, anticipate the second week and mow their lawns.
   Strawberries and cream -- Wimbledon's signature snack. What, you thought it would be corn dogs? Deep-fried Twinkies?
   No night matches -- They're fine at the U.S. Open and Australian Open, but lights aren't needed at Wimbledon (except when the retractable roof covers Centre Court). The sun sets at 9:20 p.m. in London at this time of year. As Wimbledon demonstrates so well, simple is best.
WIMBLEDON TV SCHEDULE
(All times PDT)
   Today -- Fourth round, Courts 1 & 2 and outer courts, ESPN2, 4 a.m.-2 p.m. (live), Centre Court, ESPN, 5 a.m.-noon (live). Wimbledon Primetime, Tennis Channel, 2-6 p.m. (premiere), 6-10 p.m. (repeat), 10 p.m.-2 a.m. (repeat).
   Tuesday -- Women's quarterfinals, Courts 1 & 2, ESPN2, 4 a.m.-1 p.m. (live), Centre Court, ESPN, 5-10 a.m. (live). Wimbledon Primetime, Tennis Channel, 2-6 p.m. (premiere), 6-10 p.m. (repeat), 10 p.m.-2 a.m. (repeat).
   Wednesday -- Men's quarterfinals, Courts 1 & 2, ESPN2, 4 a.m.-1 p.m. (live), Center Court, ESPN, 5 a.m.-noon (live). Wimbledon Primetime, Tennis Channel, 2-6 p.m. (premiere), 6-10 p.m. (repeat), 10 p.m.-2 p.m. (repeat).
   Thursday -- Women's semifinals, ESPN, 5-10 a.m. (live). Wimbledon Primetime, Tennis Channel, 2-6 p.m. (premiere), 6-10 p.m. (repeat), 10 p.m.-2 a.m. (repeat).
   Friday -- Men's semifinals, ESPN, 5-11 a.m. (live). Wimbledon Primetime, Tennis Channel, 2-6 p.m. (premiere), 6-10 p.m. (repeat), 10 p.m.-2 a.m. (repeat).
   Saturday -- Women's final, ESPN, 6-11 a.m. (live), ABC, noon-3 p.m. (repeat), Wimbledon Primetime, Tennis Channel, 4-8 p.m. (premiere), 8 p.m.-midnight (repeat), midnight-4 a.m. (repeat).
   Sunday -- Men's final, ESPN, 6 a.m.-noon (live), ABC, noon-3 p.m. (repeat). Wimbledon Primetime, Tennis Channel, 4-8 p.m. (premiere), 8 p.m.-midnight (repeat), midnight-4 a.m. (repeat).
CALENDAR  
   THROUGH SUNDAY -- WIMBLEDON, www.wimbledon.com.
   Saturday- July 10 -- West Coast Junior Championships, Rio Del Oro Racquet Club, 119 Scripps Dr., Sacramento, www.norcal.usta.com.
   Saturday-July 15 -- WTA, Bank of the West Classic, Stanford University. Qualifying on Saturday and July 8. Main draw July 9-15. www.bankofthewestclassic.com.
   July 9 -- World TeamTennis, Sacramento Capitals' season opener at Boston, 4 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   July 10 -- Capitals at Philadelphia, 4 p.m. http://www.saccaps.com/.
   July 12 -- World TeamTennis, Capitals' home opener (with Mardy Fish) vs. Kansas City, Sunrise Marketplace Stadium, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., www.saccaps.com.
   July 12 -- 2012 Northern California Tennis Hall of Fame Brunch and Induction Ceremony (Nick Saviano, Andrea Norman, Steve Cornell and Martha Downing), Stanford University, Pac 12 Plaza/Cardinal Plaza, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., tickets $75 each at http://www.acteva.com/booking.cfm?bevaid=230538.
   July 13 -- Capitals (with Fish) vs. Orange County, Sunrise Marketplace Stadium, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   July 14 -- Capitals at Orange County, 7 p.m.
   July 16 -- Capitals (with Sam Querrey) vs. New York, Sunrise Marketplace Stadium, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   July 18 -- Capitals at Washington, 4:10 p.m.
   July 19 -- Capitals at Springfield, 5:05 p.m.
   July 20 -- Capitals at Kansas City, 5:35 p.m.
   July 22 -- Springfield at Capitals (with Querrey), Sunrise Marketplace Stadium, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   July 24 -- Orange County (with Lindsay Davenport) at Capitals (with Kevin Anderson), Sunrise Marketplace Stadium, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   July 25 -- Capitals at Orange County, 7 p.m.
   July 27 -- Philadelphia (with Mark Philippoussis) at Capitals (with Anderson), Sunrise Marketplace Stadium, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   July 28 -- Boston at Capitals (with Anderson), Sunrise Marketplace Stadium, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   July 28-Aug. 5 -- OLYMPIC TENNIS TOURNAMENT, Wimbledon, www.london2012.com.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please help defray travel expenses
$
Thanks for your donation!