Following the hype over the Golden Jubilee and the England team in the World Cup, Britain is now being asked to throw our enthusiasm and support behind the few British players in the Wimbledon tennis tournament at the All England Lawn Tennis Club. Britain’s Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski are being touted as the country’s next big heroes. Comparisons are being made with Virginia Wade’s lifting of the ladies’ title in 1977, the year of the Silver Jubilee.
So what chance does Henman have? Well, Goran Ivanisevic is not appearing this year, and Pete Sampras is not at peak fitness. Pat Rafter is also missing, although Andre Agassi is here, and should never be written off lightly. All in all, Henman will be lucky to win through.
The women’s game looks like being dominated by the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena. The model Anna Kournikova, object of much male attention, is already out of the tournament. Martina Hingis is not here either. Jennifer Capriati was not convincing in her first game, but is through to the second round.
The outcome of the men’s game, in particular, then, may be in doubt, but we can be sure of an entertaining and enthralling series of tennis games leading up to the finals.
26/6/2002: Pete Sampras was unexpectedly knocked out by Swiss George Bastl
today, in the second round. Andre Agassi also lost, to Paradorn Srichaphan
, and Marat Safin
was eliminated by Olivier Rochus
. Greg Rusedski proceeds to the next round.
27/6/2002: Tim Henman beat Australian Scott Draper today, 3-6,6-3,6-4,6-3. British teenager Elena Baltach, ranked 295, beat Amanda Coetzer, seeded 32nd. Both Henman and Baltach go through to the third round.
2/7/2002: Tim Henman managed to qualify for the quarter-finals yesterday, beating his Swiss opponent Michel Kratochvil 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (2-7), 4-6, 6-3,6-2 despite stomach problems midway through the match. Greg Rusedski, however, was beaten by Belgian Xavier Malisse 3-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Henman is now the only remaining Briton.
Update 4/7/2002: Henman defeated Brazilian Andre Sa 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 in the quarter-final, and now faces world no. 1 seed Australian Lleyton Hewitt in the semi-final.
Update 5/7/2002: Henman finally lost to Hewitt today 7-5, 6-1, 7-5. Hewitt now faces Malisse or David Nalbandian in the final, and seems certain to win, especially as Malisse seems to be very ill today.
6/7/2002: Serena Williams beat her sister Venus in the women's final today, and Nalbandian beat Malisse.
7/7/2002: Lleyton Hewitt won the men's final today in straight sets, beating David Nalbandian 6-1, 6-3, 6-2.