Wimbledon: The Highs and Lows (July 2012)

Posted on: July 4, 2012 |
Tags: costa del sol, Elite Tennis, Professional Tennis, spain, Tennis Academy, Tennis Academy Spain, wimbledon

What a two weeks…the highs, the lows, the rain, the roof. Wimbledon fortnight: whether you are watching on TV, reading the paper, following online or there in person, nobody can deny the incredible drama we were treated too. I truly am proud of our sport.

From an STA point of view, all of the above!

It started what feels like years ago with Valeria Savinykh who lost in the last round of qualifying, but was not to be denied a chance on the hallowed turf at SW19. She quallied with her partner Mariana Lucic for the women’s doubles and made it through to the second round.

Next to have a go were our Access Players, Jonny Marray and Freddie Nielsen, both good mates of mine. We were members of the same German league team for 5 years (TC Logopak) and Jonny put up with my snoring for a couple of years while we lived together.  As well as Jonny and Freddie know each other, they have not played together many times. In fact when they were with us at STA last year getting ready for the clay court season,  the following week they faced each other in the final of the Challenger .

Anyway, they got together to play 1 day before the tournament after being granted a Wild Card into the event, unheard of really for a Brit-Dane partnership. Freddie’s Scouser accent fooling the AELTC! In the first week these boys got through 2 tough matches, in the 2nd round against Ivo Karlovic (and Frank Moser) – I have never seen anyone half volley his serve before, never mind for winners – Freddie did! Then on the middle Saturday as the junior event started they took out the 8th seeds who they know so well from our National Premier League Club days – Aisam Qureshi and Jean Julien Rojer in a mouth-watering 5 setter.

As I said above the juniors also started on the middle Saturday. Liam Broady (STA Access player) was playing, with his coach Mark Hilton continuing to do a great job. Liam was ready to play and he cruised through his first round.. Monday (2nd week) was to STA full time player Josh Ward-Hibbert’s turn.. I know first-hand how prepared and excited Josh was for his ‘home slam’ as he put it the day before. I must say I really fancied his chances, he was serving big, looking sharp and had found a nice ideal performance state in the proceeding weeks. This was all to blow up in his face while he hit a serve an hour before his match. I could see from his face he was in trouble, but being the brave lad Josh is, he tried to play, but to no avail. Josh was forced to retire, and give up his Junior Wimbledon chances.

Even though Josh and Liam tried to play the doubles (they were 2nd seeds) and won a match somehow, serving at 30% was not going to cut it against the best juniors in the world. Very disappointing for the young lads, but also the reality of an extremely difficult sport. As long as you can keep a level head throughout your career it is easier to ride the inevitable highs and lows.

Liam then had a win over 14-year-old Kozlov from the States. Remember the name, he is going to be a superstar. Unfortunately, only to lose a tight 3rd round match to Couchaud from France. His Wimbledon never really got going like last year, but he will continue to work hard under Mark’s expert guidance.

So back to Fred and Jonny. Into the quarters (they couldn’t, could they!?) I had jokingly remarked to Kevin (Jonny’s dad) after their second round match that they were going to win Wimbledon if they continued to play like that. I can assure you it was a joke, even though they were playing extremely well and looked so calm out there, like they belonged on that stage.

Myself and Mark Hilton had watched most of the quarter-final only for Josh and Liam to be called for their Junior Doubles whilst Jonny and Fred had moved into the 5th set of their quarter-finals. In between cheering the young guns on, we had a sneaky look on the Wimbledon app on the iPhone where it told us the boys were serving for the match.

A semi-finalist at Wimbledon doubles gains entry to the ‘last 8 club’ – Wimbledon member for life, unlimited tickets, their own area during the championship alongside the greats. We did not want to miss this moment, so we ran across to court 3 to see Jonny serving it out. Euphoria carried around the stadium, they had made the semi-finals of Wimbledon, 3 months earlier playing in places such as Sarajevo to climb the ladder. They couldn’t, could they?!

The next day it would all come to an end. They were to play last year’s finalists, 11 times Grand Slam Champions, the Bryan Brothers. 3 hours, and four sets later, they were in the final! They could?

A few months ago, we had been setting a date for my son’s christening. The only weekend we could fit in was Wimbledon final weekend, it was a risk we took 6 months ago when we booked it. My only concern was the boys’ singles/doubles final. I would cross that bridge when it came, but here we were with Fred and Jonny in the final of the Wimbledon Men’s Doubles. As much as I would have loved to have been there and experienced the atmosphere, my son’s weekend came first (if I was coaching Fred and Jonny this may have been different…don’t tell my wife!)

We did of course get a large screen put up where all our family and friends were and screamed and shouted at the TV, and well the rest is history. Freddie Nielsen and Jonny Marray you have shown us all that anything is possible, we should never give up on anyone and I believe that there are thousands of aspiring tennis players (including our own STA players) who have ‘hope’. Two weeks ago they couldn’t, today they can. Thanks boys! You will always be a Wimbledon Champion!

And players, never stop dreaming.

Same time.. Same place next year!

Play to Win

Dan Kiernan

Director, SotoTennis Academy


Inspiring Excellence | Tennis Academy Spain

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