Wimbledon ’23: Aussies fall like, nicely, rain in an English summer time


After which there was one.

5 days performed of Wimbledon 2023 and only a single participant from 10 Aussies scheduled to play the singles, Sydney’s Chris O’Connell, continues to be standing.

A self-confessed late bloomer, 29-year-old O’Connell will now face the imposing American Christopher Eubanks this weekend for a spot within the final 16.

That’s, in fact, if it goes forward on time with the cease/begin rains that washed out the early a part of the week forecast as soon as extra.

Confusion, discombobulation even, has been all over the place. O’Connell noticed his opening spherical match stretch throughout three days earlier than beginning and finishing his second-round encounter towards Jiri Vessely yesterday in only one session

“Heat up, play a set; heat up, play a pair extra units. It’s truly OK,” stated O’Connell.

A dispirited fifteenth seed, Alex De Minaur, who misplaced to the 2021 runner-up Matteo Berretttini in three units, Jason Kubler, Alexander Vukic and Jordan Thompson all made spherical two, however the profitable runs stopped there.

It was not what Australia might need anticipated.

The ladies – Daria Saville and Storm Hunter – didn’t scrape collectively even a set towards opponents barely touching the highest 100. Ash Barty, a brand new mum final month, is understandably centered elsewhere, and never one Australian lady threatens to even remotely energise us the way in which the Queenslander did.

The place’s the following Stosur?

And don’t neglect that Sam Stosur, who spectacularly beat Serena Williams within the 2011 US Open ultimate, additionally referred to as it a day final yr. The highest and center cabinets are naked for Australian girls and it seems to be like a while earlier than they’re stocked even half-full once more.

The lads, in the meantime, are a mixture of real enchancment and flattering- to-deceive. They quantity 9 gamers on the earth high 100 however first and second spherical exits at almost all on the greatest tournaments are commonplace.

Possibly we’re simply inferior to we predict. Take Jordan Thompson, who has emerged as a relaxing and likeable individual this week, taking part in superbly at instances on Wednesday towards Novak Djokovic on Centre Court docket. He gained 14 video games too however finally none of them mattered as he by no means got here inside a sniff of even a set level.

Thommo will rightly maintain his head excessive – he served to close perfection and loved the higher crowd assist – however neither Djokovic’s pre-match nor post-match media conferences even referenced the Sydneysider, not even as soon as. A key theme of the Djokovic chat with the press after his victory was the Serb’s wandering non secular quests. Jordan who?

Of wider intrigue this week has been these perennial British staples, the chilly and the rain.

Everybody has been affected. British primary Katie Boulter was 5-6 right down to Daria Saville on Tuesday lunchtime when she served to remain within the first set. A drop or two fell and, as you may if you’re up towards  the world quantity 231, Boulter appeared to the umpire for a means out, the following eight hours then stuffed by ever extra hopeful bulletins that play would certainly be beginning once more shortly.

Solely Andy Murray on the roofed Centre Court docket was left to earn his maintain – and {that a} non-spectacle, the gritty Scot flattening the journeyman Ryan Peniston.

A dapper Roger Federer shares a joke with Kate Middleton. Picture: Getty

When it rains, Centre Court docket assumes an much more central position In Wimbledon lore, with the summer-suited Roger Federer again on Centre Court docket to look at Andy on Tuesday. His spouse, Mirka, was there too, instantly to his left, however the bulk of the images despatched out to world audiences revealed the champ and Kate Middleton – our future Queen – collectively. They gave the impression to be having a great chat. What Mirka manufactured from it solely Roger will know.

All up, 69 matches didn’t see what little gentle of day there was on Tuesday, and Wednesday kicked off equally as covers had been wrenched on and spectators hung round loosely, uncertain whether or not to surrender their court docket facet area or head for strawberries and cream, enticingly priced at $4.80 a punnet.

Prime-shelf tipples

Anybody requiring one thing stronger would perversely, want one thing stronger simply to summon the nerve to dish out $18.65 on a Pimms or boutique vodka. Bars and cafes had been packed although, if you’ve shelled out huge time to get right here, what else is there to do however take cowl and booze?

Contained in the members enclosure, the caterers appeared full-on whereas underneath its outdoors tarpaulins, members met and preened in entrance of the unwashed unable to entry the hallowed establishment.

One former England soccer worldwide was in full boast. “I don’t organise the Royal Field however I would be capable to get you in there,” he graciously instructed his group. When or how he by no means specified.

Certainly Wimbledon inhabits a better social strata to all different British summer time sport gatherings – a godsend Nick Kyrgios can be pleased about after his nonetheless not absolutely defined Sunday evening singles withdrawal. What a damning of the Aussie character this might need been had the media pressed Kyrgios as a lot as the general public did Usman Khawaja and David Warner as they handed via the Lengthy Room at Lord’s the identical day.

The gamers indulged on the Australian Open are cocooned ever extra deeply in SW19. Whereas Melbourne throws out its (spectacular) fleet of event vehicles from sponsor Kia, right here the elite athletes journey about in Jaguar Defenders, the electrical model too.

Maybe the chauffeurs had been watching an excessive amount of of the newest James Bond movie, through which the Defender featured. Home windows need to be shut tight when ferrying gamers, a driver instructed me – selfies and kidnapping, he ventured – with one other telling me he’d had Novak Djokovic within the again a number of days earlier, chatty and glad to sing alongside to Magic Soul radio. Trivia, sure, however as a temper indicator it might probably say a lot.

Safety has been a rising theme this week with an interruption to the Boulter/Saville match as aged demonstrators tottered throughout Court docket 18 to bathe ‘environmentally pleasant orange confetti glitter’ and jigsaw items over the grass.

Safety tightened, type of

Simply how the oily court docket invaders can get away with this isn’t troublesome to guess. Whereas simply moving into Wimbledon with its airport-style scanners for all baggage is more and more burdensome – if welcome, given the intent – physique checks might be random at greatest, some extent likely picked up by the protesting pensioners who additionally had the foresight to purchase the offending jigsaw on-site. It has since, apparently, been faraway from sale.

Superstar, in addition to protest, is central to Wimbledon with former England soccer captain David Beckham seen shuffling throughout seats within the Royal Field to take a seat for a selfie whereas the singer Seal, of a lesser fame, paraded across the grounds unmolested save for the few glamorous varieties he appeared to have arrived with.

Wimbledon this yr might not be one to recollect for the Aussies – De Minaur admitted on Wednesday that he and girlfriend Boulter are but to resolve who’ll take which facet of their blended doubles debut – but it surely stays not only a world sporting spotlight however a barometer of the place Australian tennis sits.

Promising however can do higher, may learn the report. Most likely lots higher.



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