The Wonder of Wimbledon
There is an iconic area at Wimbledon between the players' locker room and restaurant simply referred to as "The Players' Garden." This upstairs area is frequented by us players and our company. We sit outside, relax and catch up on news while feeling the buzzing atmosphere from spectators on the walkways below.
Yet on the Sunday morning – the day before the Championships are set to begin – it more closely resembles a Hollywood movie set, with camera crews filling the entire space. At each table sits an ever-recognisable tennis star, with eager reporters in tow, garnering the players’ thoughts ahead of the most prestigious tournament in world tennis.
Over the past week, more and more players began to descend on Wimbledon. And as they did, so the energy and intensity around the grounds stepped up a notch.
It’s no secret that for just about every tennis player, winning Wimbledon signifies the ultimate dream. While all the Grand Slams are unique in their own right, there is something extra special about Wimbledon. Every player has his or her own preferences but for me, the tradition that Wimbledon possesses is unparalleled. It’s on this hallowed turf where tennis finds many of its roots. And even though times have changed, much of that history and tradition remains.
I feel both ready and excited to begin my Wimbledon adventure. My shoulder is feeling much better – the few days’ rest I enjoyed during Queen's helped a lot. Although I ventured to Eastbourne a little short on practice time on grass, it proved invaluable playing at least one match on the surface.
This week, I’ve been able to get in some very good practice sessions, both at Wimbledon and at Aorangi Park (the name of the practice club that connects with Wimbledon). Court time can be tricky to come by but fortunately we have ensured enough practice time to balance playing points while working on specifics that relate to the grass surface.
Additionally, I played an exhibition match at the Hurlingham Club, which was a treat in itself. Of course one has to deal with the inevitable English "summer" weather but again we have been fortunate on that front and as yet haven’t been rained out!
The other Slams often keep you waiting to find out what day you play. However, this is not the case at Wimbledon. One only needs to discover whether or not one is in the same half of the draw as the defending champion, as that side of the draw is always played on the first day.
Today, in keeping with tradition, Roger Federer will walk out onto Centre Court as the defending champion. In so doing, he will signal the official start to the 2013 Championships.
My first round match is scheduled for Tuesday where I will meet experienced Belgian Olivier Rochus.
I will partake in a light practice session today in order to recap a few important aspects of play. However, the primary focus will be on resting and preparing ahead of my opening encounter at Wimbledon.
Wish me well!