Wimbledon Through the Eyes/Camera Lens of a Tennis Fanatic
Frankie's News is excited to report that Frankie herself has already paid a visit to the most prestigious event in the tennis calender this year. That's right folks, this crazy tennis obsessed young woman somehow managed to get past security and into the grounds at SW19 to watch some of the fabulous tennis on offer on the first day of the Championships.
We at Frankie's News have decided to dedicate this issue to our boss' fun day out and hear the musings of our slightly loopey editor-in-chief.
Warning: this is a personal blog. Readers who are hoping for some unbiased factual analysis of the play on day one of the Championships have (unfortunately) bought the wrong type of publication. Frankie's News does not offer any refunds so all we can say is...sorry in advance.
An Early Start and a Certain Tiger
Many thanks for purchasing this very special issue of Frankie's News.
Please let me introduce myself: I am Frankie of Frankie's News and I wish to share with you all some of the photos I took on day one of the famous tournament held in a place called Wimbledon.
Let me start by saying that it wasn't easy: I arrived at the gates at 5.45am to begin queuing in the hope of getting a ticket for Centre Court (yeah I am an optimist) or at least one of the other main show courts. I will do anything to get a good story or a fabulous photo for my devoted readers. (You can thank me later).
On arrival my heart slightly sank at the sight of all those who had camped out over night and were already in a long line in the fields (opposite the main site) where the queuing begins.
I was handed a queue card which stated that I was number 2085 in the queue. (#?%$!!)
However, I decided to remain positive. And it wasn't all bad. Okay, so the toilets had run out of loo roll but this was more than made up for when I spotted Tim "the Tiger" Henman doing a Robinson's Drink promotion only a few yards away from the queue line.
This photo was taken at approximately 9.30am (I bet Tim didn't have to get up at some unholy hour!) and by this time I'd been queuing for a fair while so seeing my nation's last big hope lifted my spirits. And the free cup of orange squash helped quench my thirst!
(Readers from the UK may recognise Alisha Dixon - the 2007 Strictly Come Dancing champion and pop princess - in the photo. She was there helping "Tiger" Tim raise awareness of Robinsons Fruit Squash.)
Getting Into The Grounds
After having queued for over 4 hours I finally made it into the grounds. (Hooray!)
Being number 2085 in the queue I doubted whether I would get tickets to one of the show courts (as only a couple hundred are reserved for selling on the day) and resigned myself to getting a ground pass.
However, I got my first bit of luck of the day when I got to the front of the queue and an announcement was made that some tickets had become available for Court One. YESSSSSSSSSS!!!!!
Having managed to get hold of a ticket for the second best court in house I was in high spirits by the time I walked in and spotted the sign for Centre Court.
Who's That Down the Far End of the Court?!
My second piece of luck came only half an hour or so later.
With play not commencing until midday I had a couple of hours to wander around the grounds and work out the layout of the place.
As I walked past Court 16 (one of the smaller outside courts) I could hear the thud of tennis balls and realised that someone was playing on it. As I poked my head around the entrance to the court to see who was on it I nearly fainted.
A bloke standing next to me was saying to his friend, "Is that who I think it is?"
And yes, yes it was!
Only a few yards away and warming up for his first round match on Centre Court was the great man himself. The guy who only a few weeks ago won the French Open, and in doing so had joined that small but elite group of players to have won all four slams. And of course he had equalled Pete Sampras' Grand Slam record of 14 titles at the same time.
Seeing Roger Federer up close and personal, practicing his magical shots right there infront of my eyes, more than made up for the fact that I hadn't managed to get a ticket for Centre Court.
As many of my regular readers know, I can get slightly over the top when it comes to Roger but I think the title of this slide is justified.
Here's my favourite photo that I took of Roger; he is in a typical "Federer-esque" pose getting ready to hit one of his lethal forehand volleys.
Let me just have a moment to go crazy: OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD!!! I SAW ROGER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Henman Hill (or is it Murray Mount?)
Once Roger decided he'd had enough practice the crowds quickly departed and I made my way to Henman Hill.
(Presumably Roger needed quite some time to get ready as his new outfit for Centre Court has so many layers...the jacket, the waistcoat and the trousers over the shorts must take some time to put on!)
It was a beautiful and sunny day so a lot of people were already gathered on the hill and watching last year's Wimbledon highlights on the big screen.
Spotted: Lucious Lopez out on Court 18
With play not starting until 1pm on Court One, I had an hour to watch some of the action on the "outer" courts where play commenced at midday.
I consulted the "schedule of play" given inside my programme and saw that Feliciano Lopez, the number 21 seed from Spain (who is known for more than just his tennis...you know what I'm saying ladies) would be playing on Court 18.
Lopez's opponent was Karol Beck from Slovakia. Whilst they were warming up I thought that this match would surely be won by Lopez, a quarter-finalist at last year's Wimbledon.
The Lopez Serve
Even the great Frankie gets it wrong sometimes.
Although I didn't see the whole match (having left at 1pm to make my way to Court One) I saw the result. Lopez lost in a marathon 5 setter, with the final scoreline reading 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 4-6, 10-8 in Beck's favour.
I suppose it was the first shock exit of the day. Oh well, at least Feliciano could rest assured that he definately had the better hair. (I couldn' help but notice his luscious locks from up close!)
On a side note, I must say how fantastic it is to watch the tennis being played on the smaller, outside courts. Being so close to the players you can see just how hard they hit the ball and how much effort goes into every point. I felt exhausted just watching one set between Lopez and Beck! The power and precision are simply breath-taking.
Maria Maria Maria
The first match on Court One was between former Wimbledon champion, Maria Sharapova, and Vicktoriya Kutuzova from Ukraine.
I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of Sharapova (I cannot stand the shrieking) but I do admire her gritty determination. She once again showed the spirit of a champion in this match by coming back from a break down in the first set (she was 5-3 down at one point) to take the first set 7-5.
Since I am Roger obsessed and his match was going on at the same time, I'll admit that I did not stay for the whole of Sharapova's time on Court One. Instead I left to see what was going on in Roger's match on Centre Court (via the Big Screen).
As we all know now, Maria did go on to win her first round match (7-5, 6-4) but was then knocked out in the 2nd round by Gisela Dulko of Argentina in an exciting 3 set match.
(Apologies for the pane of glass which was in the way for this photo...it was annoying me during the match!)
My Favourite Man on the Big Screen
Happily, Roger was doing well when I left Court One to check on the scores from Centre Court.
I sat on Henman Hill to watch the last set of the match being played between Roger and Yen-Hsun Lu of Chinese Taipei. Roger won comfortably, taking the match 7-5, 6-3, 6-2.
I took this photo of my favourite man on the Big Screen during his post-match interview. Lots of the talk centred on his new attire. Personally, I don't mind the jacket but feel that the waistcoat and "blinging" bag are slightly over the top. Having said that, Roger could wear a frilly pink dress and he'd still have my unwavering support.
Spotted: David Ferrer
The next few slides just feature players who I spotted in action as I wandered around the grounds. I can't tell you much about their matches as I generally was on my way somewhere when I saw them and seized the photo opportuntity at hand.
First up is David Ferrer of Spain who was out on Court 19 playing doubles with his Spanish compatriot, Marc Lopez.
Spotted: Tommy Robredo
I think Spain must have a secret factory which is producing world class tennis players. Their best product may be sadly missing from the tournament this year (*sob sob*), but there were still many fabulous Spanish players in action on the first day of the Championships.
Tommy Robredo, the number 15 seed from Spain, was spotted out on Court 14.
Spotted: Dr Ivo
That's right. The big serving Croat was out on Court 17 pelting down balls at his opponent (poor Lukas Lacko of Slovakia). Ivo Karlovic was hard to miss, standing tall at 6 ft 10 in.
A Newly Famous Swede
After knocking out Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of the French Open and then making it all the way to the Finals, Robin Soderling of Sweden has really made a name for himself.
The Swede is now ranked at number 13 in the world and as a reward for his efforts in Paris, the man was given a spot on Court One on opening day at SW19.
His opponent in the first round was Gilles Muller of Luxembourg. The first set between these two men turned out to be pretty competitive. Huge groundstokes were traded from the baseline and the first set had to be decided by a tiebreaker, which Muller won.
Soderling makes Light Work of Muller (Muller Light - Geddit?!)
The next set was also full of great tennis, with the Swede eventually breaking his opponents serve to take the second set 7-5.
From there on in, it was Soderling's game. His run at the French was no fluke - he knocked out some top quality players (other than a famous Spaniard) in Nickolay Davydenko and Fernando Gonzalez on the way to his first Slam final - and he wasn't going to give in to the likes of Muller.
Soderling reminded us all why he is a real threat in these Championships by winning the next 2 sets really rather easily (6-1, 6-2) to win the match in 4 sets.
Soderling has also joined the ranks of players who are known for their little quirks - I can report that he is still using his "towel over his head" trick to help him focus at the change of ends!
Fernando Verdasco Vs. A British Man
The last match I saw on Court One was between Fernando Verdasco, a Spanish player who is popular amongst the ladies (including the lady writing this piece), and James Ward, a British man who is not even ranked inside the world's top 200.
So what happens when the World No.7 meets the World No. 224? Answer: total demolition (particularly in the first set).
As much as the crowd cheered for its home player there was not much they could do about the final scoreline. Although Ward picked up his game in the third set to make it more competitive, there was never any doubt about what the outcome of the match would be.
Verdasco won the match in straight sets: 6-1, 6-3, 6-4 and I believe that I was in the minority in hoping that the Spaniard (rather than the Brit) would win.
Fernando's Formidable Forehand
I can confirm that Fernando Verdasco's forehand is just as impressive to witness in person as it is through television screens. Many a player must fear being on the receiving end of this particular shot.
On a completely different note, I realised by the end of my day out at Wimbledon that I must, must, MUST purchase a camera with a better zoom function (seriously folks, 4x zoom is just not adequate from some of the far away seats on the big show courts)!
Spotted: John McEnroe
As the day drew to its close, there was one more big name to be spotted.
John McEnroe (one of my favourite tennis commentators and not a bad player himself back in the day!) could be seen being interviewed by John Inverdale up on a roof near the broadcasting centre for the BBC's round-up programme called 'Today at Wimbledon'.
And if you are thinking, "You can't be serious?!" I would ask you to take a closer look at the photograph. See, I'm right.
That's All Folks!
That pretty much brings me to the end of this slideshow. I hope you enjoyed it.
Please remember that Frankie's News is the best at bringing you all the breaking stories from the world of tennis and is in the process of lining up an exciting interview with the man who has turned British hopes to British expectations at this year's Wimbledon.
Yes, Frankie's News is in the middle of some serious talks with the Andy Murray camp for an exclusive interview with the best thing to come out of Scotland since Ewan McGregor.
(P.S. This photograph is of one of the many entrances to Centre Court. Just behind these doors are the famous lines from Rudyard Kipling's poem, 'If'.)