Eugenie Bouchard celebrated her victory on court at the Australian Open by having a little pirouette for the millions of lads and lasses watching at home.
Not because she wanted to. But rather because a man asked her to. A man with a captive audience and a microphone. The kind of man she's been trained to be nice to, just as surely as she practises her backhand.
The type of man she feels powerless to say no to.
Tomas Berdych is also ranked number seven in the world right now. Any good at twirling? Entirely possible. Maybe its just the poor lad has never been asked. And if he was asked to, would he feel the need to oblige?
Eugenie Bouchard is exceptionally talented at a sport that has managed to achieve what few others can ever boast: an almost equal footing with its male counterpart. Yes, a tennis match is still defined first and foremost by the sex of the person playing it, but tennis has an almost equal audience across the board. Equal billing with television coverage and in the sporting pages of our newspapers. Just as many people queuing to watch it live. All factors we are far from seeing in women's football or golf.
Along with this success in women's tennis comes fame. And along with fame comes media. And along with media comes presenters. People paid to push a microphone in an athletes face and get them to dissect their own performance. A presenter reporting from the sidelines of any sporting event knows that they are dealing with a person who is very, very tired. And it's quite difficult to get a tired person to talk to you.
The presenter also knows they are very pushed for time. That they need to get their precious few words from that athlete before they leave. Possibly most importantly? They are scared to ask a question so inane as to deem them totally replaceable by the countless other presenters standing in the studio wings all desperate to take their place.
The male presenter saw that Serena Williams likes to have herself a little twirl, so he quite wisely incorporated it into his own little interview with her. And it worked very well, as any truly genuine personal touch always does. But to try this same little trick with Eugenie was lazy. Its the sign of an individual who can't be bothered to do their research and find out the essence of their subject. And male or female, there is no excuse for that in our industry.
It isn't sexist to ask a woman to twirl for a camera. It's just sh*t presenting. What is worrying is the fact that this young woman with the world at her feet (and all of the power that goes with it?) felt powerless to refuse this action she clearly felt very uncomfortable doing. That this man was allowed to publicly push her to a place she truly did not want to go. That she submitted to the pressure and complied.
This pressure comes from all of us. Not just the presenters that force female and male athletes to become performing seals just because we can't be bothered to see them as individuals, but the collective pressure of millions of singular people with twitter accounts. Who share the outrage publicly, letting our sporting stars know with a simple "@" exactly what we thought of their performance on and off the court.
Public opinion matters now. In ways that it never did before. Athletes live in fear of their behaviour being misinterpreted as difficult. It affects their sponsorship and livelihood. Nobody can afford that to happen in a career that is so short. And we know it does matter. Because the same people Eugenie and her peers are so very afraid of are playing out their outrage right now in the very way she was trying to avoid by submitting to the presenters request in the first place.
If we want our athletes to be true to themselves and not feel used by the media, pressured by lazy presenters and cowed into submission by the public? We need to leave them alone a bit more. Give them a chance to feel like human beings again.
Everyone deserves that. This basic human right is a totally equal opportunity.
What a week! I've been lucky to have a career that has taken me around the world and enjoy some incredible experiences but the last few days have really been something to treasure.
It's always a pleasure to spend time at Wimbledon but over the last week I've been watching the next generation of tennis talent competing on the famous lawns of the All England Club. The HSBC Road to Wimbledon National Finals is now in its thirteenth year - it's always great to be involved but what made this year special for me was the fact that for the first time the invitation was extended to players outside of the UK with four Indian players joining the field of 148 players.
They certainly made an impact. In fact, 14-year-old Siddhant Banthia won the boys' singles final - not a bad way to make your debut at the home of tennis! He also found time to win the boys' doubles final with compatriot Adil Kalyanpur. I knew that the two boys and two girls from India would have an incredible experience at Wimbledon but their performance has been way beyond my expectations.
I should explain that India holds a special place in my heart - this year marks twenty years since I made my breakthrough on the Indian satellite circuit, winning eighteen successive singles matches. This was to be a massive springboard for me and I really hope it's the same for Siddhant and the other Indian youngsters.
It was a memorable week all round - the HSBC Road to Wimbledon 14 and Under National Challenge is the UK's largest national junior grass court tournament and it's so fantastic to see the standard just get better and better each year. Thousands of young players take part in all but one who really took my eye was 14-year-old Nell Miller from Kent who won the girls' singles final with a really stylish performance. She's definitely one to watch.
I'm an ambassador to the initiative so it's really rewarding to see how these young players progress - myself and Wimbledon Head Coach Dan Bloxham were out in Delhi and Mumbai in January to launch The Road to Wimbledon in India and witnessed first-hand the passion for tennis and Wimbledon in that part of the world. I know this win can inspire Indian tennis to even greater things and it's going to be fascinating watching it unfold.
Tim Henman is an ambassador of the HSBC Road To Wimbledon. To see how he and the participants of The Road To Wimbledon got on visit Youtube.com/Wimbledon.
Sabine Lisicki hit the fastest ever serve in women's tennis but lost her second round match with Ana Ivanovic at the West Classic in Stanford.
Lisicki served a 131mph beamer at 5-5 in the first set on Stadium Court, however the 2013 Wimbledon finalist was beaten 7-6 (7/2) 6-1 by the Serbian, who will meet Canada's Carol Zhao in the second round.
Venus Williams was the previous record holder, having hit an unreturnable 129mph serve at the 2007 US Open.
TENNIS' FASTEST SERVES
Now 5'9" - or 175cm for younger readers - doesn't seem unduly short to us but in this day and age size often does really count for athletes.
And for one 175cm tennis player, Dudi Sela, size was a 'problem' when he had to congratulate his opponent, Ivo Karlovic, who was more than 30cm taller.
Croatian player, Karlovic (6'11") beat Sela at the Claro Open Colombia in Bogota last week but far from trying to hid from his defeat, Sela turned loss into a sportsmanlike victory.
We honour his higher aspirations.
After lamenting at Beyoncé being pictured in her underwear for her recent Time magazine cover, I'm about to concede that I can't stop looking at Venus Williams' bum. And I applaud her for getting her kit off.
But before you attempt to tar me with the double standards brush, let me explain.
Venus' behind appears on the cover of ESPN's annual Body Issue, which has a long history of celebrating the bodies of talented sportspeople.
For the 2014 issue, Venus joins six other world-renowned athletes including Olympic snowboarder Jamie Anderson, Texas Ranger first baseman Prince Fielder, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka and Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch.
And what's more all of them are starkers. This isn't some lads' mag trying to sell covers by objectifying women. In fact, there more naked men and than women.
From warrior-like to more slender, ESPN champions the various physiques of athletes from different disciplines.
And there's no question to which category Venus falls into.
The former no.1 seed and seven-time Grand Slam champion is known for her strength and speed (she has the fastest serve ever recorded by a woman at 129mph), is ferocious on court and has a body to die for.
So, it's no surprise that the 34-year-old looks completely at ease in the shoot (more pictures here). The images are empowering, elegant, simple and, as I've mentioned, I just can't take my eyes off of her bottom.
And Venus isn't the only one promoting a 'fit not thin' body type.
Recently there has been a surge of fit women on social media changing the conversations around body image, linked by a range of fitness-inspired hashtags.
Their toned abs, pert bottoms and slender legs have been crafted by hard work and nutritional awareness - as opposed to cutting calories, food groups and unhealthy attitudes.
Fashion magazines are lambasted for featuring emaciated women on their covers and rightly so. According to figures, there are currently 1.6 million people in the UK affected by an eating disorder and the vast majority (89%) are female.
ESPN shows that it's possible to have a beautiful body that is also healthy.
If it's a toss up between Venus Williams or a triple zero celebrity, I know which body I'd prefer to have.
Regardless of how good the matches, the debate of gender equality in tennis still rears its head every Grand Slam, even seven years after men's and women's winnings were made equal. The physical comparisons are indisputable; men play faster, they play for longer, they are the better tennis players. But is that what we are compensating?
Prize money is a reward, not a salary. It is given for the dedication and commitment that it takes to dominate the opposition in the toughest tournaments and to get to this point it will have taken a lifetime of sacrifice. Travel, coaching and equipment all cost the same regardless of gender, hotel rooms and plane tickets are no cheaper for women. There are no concessions when hiring a top coach or joining a club based on a player's sex.
If women were not worthy of being on the same court how could they allow mixed doubles? If anyone would want to argue that men should be paid more than women in a modern progressive society, that would raise some questions in itself.
Grand Slams are the only time where men are asked to play five sets and looking at the results it is evident that half the men's first round matches are won in straight sets. All other Tour competitions throughout the same long, gruelling season (for both genders) are battled over three sets. Perhaps the business end of the men's tournament can be exhibitions of attrition and stamina that you will never see in the women's game but whether this always adds to the quality and entertainment of the match can be debated.
Outside the top 50 ranked players riches are scarce. The number of women earning more than $500k a year is a third less than the men, (37 women to 58 men in 2013) and the ones lucky enough to climb the rankings work just as hard outside of the few weeks they are on our TVs. Women are just as valuable a commodity from a sports marketing perspective, perhaps even more so in the world of celebrity.
Ultimately why are people so offended by equal pay? Who is wronged by professional players being offered the same prize? The improved women's pot did not come out of the men's, in fact they have both increased dramatically since equal pay was introduced in 2007 from £700k to £1.76m in 2014. If you do not like watching women's tennis there is a very simple solution; turn over or don't go.
Some of the quotes attributed to critics of the financial parity have proved a sports public relations rally to equal any match. Gilles Simon, a previous top 10 player and now part of the ATP players council, was criticised for saying "I believe men's tennis is more interesting than women's tennis. You have to be paid on that basis." Maria Sharapova's response that "more people watch my matches than his" perhaps a fitting end to the argument.
One image haunts me from this year's Wimbledon. It is that of Roger Federer, the greatest tennis player of his generation, and probably of all time. He cuts a forlorn figure as he stands clutching his silver salver. A finalist, not a champion. This isn't the Roger Federer who blubbed his way through his speech after defeat to Rafa Nadal in the 2009 Australian Open Final. On that occasion he was trying to match Pete Sampras' record of 14 career grand slams, and the emotion was raw and untamed. This was different. Federer's emotion seemed all the greater for being contained. He wiped away a single tear which rolled down his right cheek, though the sadness in his face could not be swept away so easily. He was still chasing records, an unprecedented eight title at the All England Club.
As Novak Djokovic lifted the trophy it was to Federer that my eyes were drawn. Even the sight of his two beautiful daughters failed to lift the deep sadness etched upon his face. He spared us the platitudes so often echoed by sportsmen who have become fathers and say there are more important things in life than winning at sports. That's not to say I doubt for a moment that Roger's love for his children is unrivalled, but I don't doubt either that he is a champion and champions win. Here was perhaps the greatest of all champions, a player still at the height of his powers, and he'd just been beaten. Some, wrongly in my opinion, saw Roger's defeat as a sign that his greatest was on the wain. I saw the five-set match as a vindication that Roger is still at his peak. Still able to compete with best of the younger players.
I admit I've not always favoured Federer. I could be won over by the swashbuckling style of Nadal, or the rubber legged antics of Djokovic, and there is always a thrill in seeing a Champion defeated and new talent emerge. Yet as time has gone on I've found myself won over. Time waits for no man, and Federer won't be around forever. Whilst his style of play may see him outlast the younger Nadal, there will come a time when we'll see Roger say farewell to Centre Court. When that sad day comes, my heart - which has been in love with this game since Becker and Edberg were duelling on court and not in the coaching box - will feel very heavy indeed.
Perhaps it was the sight of Becker, now coaching Djokovic, which brought about this feeling of premature melancholia. I still remember the day in 1997 when Boris had lost to Pete Sampras and realised his time was up. As the two met at the net Boris could be heard telling Pete that he'd just played his last game at SW19. Even though he actually returned two years later and made it to the fourth round.
Jimmy Connors asked an interesting question during the commentary,
"Do they realise what they are watching here?"Often we don't. Nadal's 2008 victory is regarded as one of the greatest finals of all time, but it was only made great because in Federer he faced a grass court giant. It was McEnroe and Borg. One needed the other.
Tennis without Federer would be a poorer place. He is still the benchmark to which all players should aspire. His results in the majors may show that Roger's dominance in the men's game has slipped, but it's less that Federer has fallen back and more that the pack have caught up. However, like all greats we are still seeing Roger's game evolve. The addition of Stefan Edberg to his coaching set up has seen the birth of a new aspect to Roger's game. At coming forwards he is unrivalled. I consider myself highly fortunate to be born in the same generation as Federer. I've seen him win 17 grand slam titles, and be in the top ten for 12 straight years, and yet there were moments during this Wimbledon when I was left without words from the sheer beauty of his game. John McEnroe likened his movement to that of the great ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, and I can understand why. Whilst others bring a raw power, Federer seems to dance with grace and elegance. At times he elevates the sport to an art form.
People like to say players win because they want it more. It's a nice thought, often repeated, but it is an untruth. Djokovic did not beat Federer because he wanted it more, and to say so is to do a great disservice to two Champions. These were two players who gave all they had, and at the end of the day it was Nole who won more of the important points than Roger. If they were to play on another day perhaps the result would have gone Roger's way, but that is not how sport works. You can't win by want, you can only win by ability. I might want to beat McEnroe more than he wants to beat me, but at the end of the day his skills would leave me lucky to even get a game off him.
Federer turns 33 next month, it's hardly time to be writing of retirement. The Fed Express will still be running and calling at its usual stops for years to come. It is poignant that on Sunday, just like in 2009 after that Australian Open defeat Federer signed off by saying,
"See you next year,"When he returned to Melbourne in 2010 he reclaimed the title. I have no doubt that Federer is more than capable of doing the same at SW19 in 2015. He is not done winning grand slams. And those who write him off are more than just premature, they risk looking like idiots.
This tournament was Murray's first grand slam working with France's 2006 Wimbledon winner Amélie Mauresmo, who he appointed as successor to Ivan Lendl only the previous month.
Ahead of Wimbledon, Wade said she thought Murray's decision to hire Mauresmo was a joke and was struggling to understand the logic behind it.
And speaking on Sunday to BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek programme, former Wimbledon champion Wade said: "I think it was very optimistic to think she (Mauresmo) could have an impact in a couple of weeks before a major tournament.
"I feel that he learned so much from Lendl that it is not that essential that he actually has somebody telling him what to do.
"He needs to implement all that himself. He has a great team around him, so possibly he was better just doing the thinking himself.
"I'm not 100 per cent sure about that, because I know that he has people in his team that are very good tennis people.
"But unless he can find the right person to be his coach, I think he is better off to fight a bit on his own and assimilate all of the stuff he has heard from Lendl and from his own experience, and work on that."
She added: "I think if the Amelie relationship is going well, absolutely keep her on.
"But I think it was really worrying for him, the last few months with all the speculation which certainly was worrying for all of us, that a decision could not be made - that he did not know who was likely to be there.
"If he can continue with Amelie, I think that would be great, but I'm still saying that he is master of his own fate in so many ways."
You know Samuel L. Jackson, it's his duty to please that booty, but Victoria Beckham did not look too pleased to be sat beside the coolest man in Centre Court's Royal Box for the Wimbledon final.
Looking customarily unhappy whenever the BBC's cameras homed in on her, Mrs Beckham experienced one particularly awkward moment as she observed an edgy silence with Mr Jackson.
Wimbledon is the talk of the UK at the moment for obvious reasons.
For those of you who are unaware of what Wimbledon is, it's a place. However, it's also the place of the biggest tennis competition of the year. More info here: Wimbledon Tennis Competition
Each day there have been highlights shown on TV - who has won, lost - you know, a general overview of the day.
This sparks the question of what it takes to be a winner, such as Novak Djokovic.
Now, let's look at this in the context of tennis to keep it topical.
There are three main points to keep in mind to be a winner. Whether that's a winner at life, sports, quizzes... you name it, this is your answer.
1) You can't win all of the time
- The sooner you accept this, the easier it will be. Every has good days, and not so good days. You cannot be on top of your game the whole time
- Preparation is not just about knowing what is coming and planning for it. It is about being the best you can be, and constantly pushing yourself to be flexible in dealing with whatever situation may arise.
Say you were in a tennis game (see where Wimbledon comes in?). You may plan your technique, where you would like to place the ball etc, but this will only work if your opponent does what you want.
That will not happen all of the time. Same with life. Things will not always work out the way you want them to. You have to equip yourself enough (by using experiences you've had growing up, observing, or seeking advice) to be flexible in dealing with a variety of situations that may arise. This may simply be by ensuring you have a solid support system around you.
Nevertheless, preparation is key.
3) Positive Attitude
Wimbledon winners cannot go into a game believing they are going to lose. If this was the case, they would not perform at their highest level, and therefore may not win the match. Yes, sometimes they may be lucky and come out on top, but can you really fully enjoy the win if you know you could have done better? For some that is enough, but not always.
Players strive for a positive mental attitude constantly. This includes during the match (or difficult life situation), and afterwards.
People often look back and create a distorted memory of an incident according to how they would like to remember and retell it. This does no one any good!
In tennis, if players turned sour after losing a match, they only lose their sportsmanship and credit. They let only themselves down. This is the same whether they lose, or they win. Nothing is to be gained from boasting in a win, or blaming others for a loss.
The same goes for life.
Nothing positive will be gained from boasting, or from laying in self pity and passing on the blame. Keeping a positive attitude whilst taking responsibility and being proud of whatever the outcome (as long as you have done what is right, and given it your best shot) will be key in preparation for the next obstacle (or tennis match of course).
The Wimbledon Attitude summed up (APP):
- Accept you can't always win
- Positive attitude (at all times, if possible)
More at: www.lucyroberts04.blogspot.co.uk
The world No.1 triumphed 6-7 (7/9) 6-4 7-6 (7/4) 5-7 6-4 to end his Grand Slam finals heartache, having lost five of his last six majors.
Djokovic served for the match in the fourth set and had a match point on Federer's serve but each time the 32-year-old Swiss player hung on.
But the Serbian's resilience proved vital and he rallied to secure his seventh slam, while Federer will be left to wonder whether he will ever get a better chance to win an 18th slam.
"I would like to dedicate this title to my first coach Jelena Gencic," Djokovic said. "She passed away last year and this title is for her."
"This is the tournament I always dreamed of winning. The best tournament, the most valuable one."
Of Federer, Djokovic said: "He's a great role model, a great champion and I thank him for letting me win today.
"That's why he's been the most successful player ever because he comes up with his best shots under pressure."
Federer said: "It was a great final, I can't believe I made it to five [sets]. It wasn't looking good for a while.
"Definitely I felt the love out here again, I've enjoyed myself a lot. See you next year."
Roger Federer takes on Novak Djokovic in his ninth Wimbledon final at 2pm on Centre Court today. Djokovic, playing in his third SW19 final, has not won a Grand Slam since the 2013 Australian Open and since lost in three major finals, including last year's All England Club showpiece against Andy Murray.
Petra Kvitova is queen of Wimbledon after beating tennis darling Eugenie Bouchard, who was being watched by her royal namesake Princess Eugenie of York.
Czech champion Kvitova fell to the ground in jubilation when she realised she was the winner before embracing her family and supporters in the players' box.
It is Kvitova's second Wimbledon title, having won the grand slam tournament in 2011, winning this time round with a 6-3 6-0 victory that took just 55 minutes, making it the shortest final since 1983.
After losing the final set Bouchard sat motionless in her chair, while Princess Eugenie and her boyfriend Jack Brooksbank applauded from the Royal Box.
Kvitova became the first Wimbledon champion to make use of a new gate which enabled her to celebrate with her loved ones without climbing onto the commentary box roof.
She fought back tears of joy during her post-victory interview, saying: "I just really wanted to be here again with the trophy."
The 24-year-old became emotional as she paid tribute to her family, and as the camera turned to her father, the proud dad looked on in tears.
She said afterwards: "He has a birthday tomorrow so I'm just glad that he has a nice present."
A disappointed Bouchard, who appeared to be in tears following her defeat, said: "First of all I'd like to congratulate Petra. She's played fantastic these two weeks."
She said getting to the final was a "step in the right direction", adding: "I don't know if I deserve all your love today but I really appreciate it."
Also in the Royal Box were Love Actually stars Chiwetel Ejiofor and Keira Knightley, who was accompanied by her husband James Righton.
Christine Bleakley was joined by her footballer fiance Frank Lampard, who might have hoped to pick up some tips on how to become a champion following England's disastrous World Cup campaign in Brazil.
American Vogue editor Anna Wintour, with her trademark bob and sunglasses, was also in the stands at Centre Court, while The Big Bang Theory actor Jim Parsons - a close friend of Bouchard - was in the players' box.
Going into this year's final, the focus was on Bouchard, who said it would be "amazing" to meet the person she was named after.
And Princess Eugenie, 24, made a "last minute" decision to come to Wimbledon to support her.
Bouchard, 20, is named after the princess, while her twin sister Beatrice is named after Princess Beatrice, and their brother is called William after the Duke of Cambridge.
The defeated finalist said: "That was crazy. I did see her in the box. I'm very happy that she came out. Disappointed I couldn't put on a better show for her, but I'd love to meet her, of course.
"It's the only person I'm named after. She's the only one in the world.
"I haven't seen her. If she's still here, hopefully I'll get a chance to meet her."
A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: "Princess Eugenie was delighted to be able to attend the Wimbledon final and see the game.
"Genuinely a last minute change of plans made it possible. HRH sends her congratulations to both players."
The two women were asked to leave the court while the Centre Court roof was closed for the presentation.
Bouchard revealed an official told her to wait in the engraver's room, which she described as being "a little odd".
She said: "I was watching them work, wishing one day, dreaming that he'll write my name somewhere."
She added: "Maybe it's a bit cruel. She just told me to go in there. I didn't ask questions."
Bouchard revealed she would now take a break from her strict regime and was looking forward to eating a chocolate brownie.
"Comfort food is the best," she joked.
Fans in Centre Court claimed she appeared nervous during the final, which lasted only 55 minutes.
Andrew Tice, 39, from Harpenden, Hertfordshire, said: "Kvitova's game plan was spot on. She had a big first serve.
"Bouchard's problem was she didn't get enough first serves in. She was a bit nervous. It was her first final and she's still quite young."
Catherine Charles, 45, from Fleet, Hampshire, said: "Once things started going wrong it's really hard to find the strength to turn it round because she's so young."
Bouchard's comments that her relationship with British player Laura Robson had cooled made front page news before the match.
Robson, who worked as a BBC Radio 5 live analyst during of the match, said: "It's a bit awkward isn't it? It's her Wimbledon final and this is her moment.
"To make it about anything other than the tennis was a bit silly in my mind. This should be about the achievement she's made and how incredible she's played over the last two weeks."