Wimbledon Shaken And Stirred

THE morning after the night before and Wimbledon is still a little stunned.
It’s Ladies’ Final Day, with the added bonus of two men’s semi finals starting at noon.
But all the talk is of the shock exits of top seed Justine Henin and American crowd favourite Andy Roddick.
John McEnroe described events here yesterday as, perhaps, the most memorable day in Wimbledon’s history.
That’s taking it a bit far.
But you could have heard a pin drop in the press room last night as a shocked Henin was beaten by 22-year-old Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli.
After winning the first set 6-1, it appeared Henin – who has never won Wimbledon – would cruise through to today’s final against Venus Williams.
But Marion, inspired by a former James Bond, came back to create one of the biggest ever shocks in the history of the tournament by taking the next two sets 7-5 6-1.

“I saw Pierce Brosnan in the crowd, which is one of my favourite actor. I love his movies,” she explained in the press interview room.
“I said to myself, it’s not possible to play so bad in front of him. Because he watch me and I play so bad it was unbelievable.

“So I try to feel it a bit more, the ball, play more smartly.
“I saw he was cheering for me, so I said, ‘Oh maybe it’s good.’
“I kept going and I won, so maybe a little bit for Pierce Brosnan.”
The actor was among guests in the Centre Court royal box yesterday.
So Belgian hot favourite Henin might have cause to rue the fact that her semi-final was moved mid-afternoon from No 1 Court, where it was orginally scheduled.
That was because of the delay caused by the five hour marathon involving Djokovic and Baghdatis.
Henin was in tears after the match, knowing a big chance to finally land the title had gone.
“I’m very disappointed now – I still don’t really realise what did happen,” she said.
Shortly afterwards, France claimed another shock victory when Richard Gasquet defeated Roddick in five sets.
If anything, Roddick – who had been two sets up – was even more devastated.

“It’s another lost opportunity at Wimbledon,” he told a very subdued press conference.
“I’d love to make you try to understand what it feels like in the pit of your stomach right now, but I don’t know if I can do that.
“I don’t know if I’m articulate enough to really put that into words for you.”
He added: “I’ll probably wake up tomorrow with a better sense of perspective.
“I’m aware in the grand scheme of things I’m pretty blessed and very lucky and very fortunate.
“That being said, when you put your blood, sweat and tears, everything you have into something, and you can almost taste it, you envision something and it doesn’t work out, it’s not easy.
“But that’s what makes you addicted to the competition – the feeling when you do win.
“That’s what gets you back on the horse.”
*11.30am update: Despite saying last night that he had a wedding to go to today, Pierce Brosnan is again listed among the guests in the royal box this afternoon. Marion will be pleased.
The sun was sparkling over the roof of No 1 Court as I walked in at 7.45 this morning.
Ticket holders there have a huge bonus in the shape of the men’s semi final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

Over on Centre Court, Roger Federer takes on Richard Gasquet in the other semi final, with the ladies’ final not before 2pm.
There were around 400 people in the daily queue for tickets when I walked by.
Centre Court tickets for the last four days are always pre-sold and not available to those in the daily queue.
But 500 tickets for No 1 Court and 500 for No 2 Court were still on offer to early birds this morning.
Set your alarm early enough, and you could have grabbed a £27 ticket to see a Wimbledon men’s semi final on No 1 Court – as opposed to the £80 paid today by those on Centre Court.
A £14 ground pass today (before 5pm) was also a bargain, with a large number of crucial doubles and junior matches on the outside courts, which begin play at 11am.
That also buys you the experience of being at the greatest tennis tournament in the world on a hot and sunny day.
Most experts reckon this afternoon will see relatively straightforward wins for Federer, Nadal and Williams.
We will see.
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