Seven Days in Hell

Lucy Karsten   |   July 16, 2015   11:39 AM ET

Selfie sticks are banned at Wimbledon, but selfies abound. Photos are taken holding containers of strawberries, in courtside seats, in front of pitchers of watered-down pimms. But one of the biggest photographic-draws is a small plaque, on the brick-wall outside court 18, which commemorates the longest match in history: an 11 hr 5 minute battle between the American John Isner and the Frenchman Nicolas Mahut.

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The match itself took place in 2010 over 3 days, and was ultimately won by Isner. The very possibility of its existence relies on the fact that, at Wimbledon, there is no tie-break in the last set. Rather, the match continues until one opponent has won by a margin of two games. As Andy Samberg puts it: "So theoretically a match there could go for eternity."

The Isner/ Mahut match has its own wikipedia page, a Wimbledon plaque and thousands of tourist-taken commemorative selfies, but it has not yet merited that most pertinent of tributes: a mockumentary. Which brings us neatly to 7 Days in Hell, a new HBO parody starring Andy Samberg and Kit Harrington, and written by Murray Miller. The clue is in the title, really: it covers a tennis match at Wimbledon that lasts for 7 days.

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7 Days in Hell is a 45 minute delight, filled with the type of buoyant exuberance that Samberg is famous for. It is an ensemble piece - Will Forte, Fred Armisen, Lena Dunham and Mary Steenburgen all appear and it brings to mind that brief period, when Sarah Silverman, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck et al created 'I'm f**king Matt Damon', and Hollywood for a second looked like it might be kinda fun.

It takes as its basic premise the intensity of the first Bjorn/ McEnroe 1980 Wimbledon final, ramps up the timeline to surpass Isner/Mahut and adds a surfeit of penises. (Some human, some animated). "Well, look, you gotta utilize the fact that you're on HBO, that's how we looked at it," Andy Samberg states.

Andy Samberg and Murray Miller, who, sweetly, have been 'buddies since Summer camp', originally planned to write and produce a feature film, set in the world of tennis. Unable to get that project off the ground, they utilized Miller's HBO relationship (he is a writer on Girls) to pitch 7 Days in Hell: a 30 for 30-style parody. The constraints of the form turn out to be invaluable: there is a robust comedy to the piece that belies its simple conceit.

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It is McEnroe/ Borg Fire and Ice married to the Isner/Mahut match, if Isner was an abandoned baby, adopted by the Williams' family, grown up to be the ex-world no.2 turned underwear designer turned felon, and Mahut was an indefatigablely stupid Englishman. It is an ESPN 30 for 30, if ESPN revelled in Taiwanese Swedish prison orgy animations. It is a generous, big-hearted wink to those who love tennis and those who don't, utilising world-famous personages both from within the tennis world and without it.

The excellence of the comedy lies, as always, with its attention to detail. Directed by former SNL writer Jake Szymanski, pains have been taken to replicate the look and feel of its genre - a verisimilitude created not only by employing some of the world's most famous tennis commentators (McEnroe and Evert give stand-out performances), but also by shooting several scenes using vintage cameras.

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In the McEnroe/ Borg Fire and Ice ESPN documentary we see the great love and mutual respect between two men at the top of the game, and pains are taken to show McEnroe and Borg as two sides to the same coin. 7 Days in Hell flips this premise on its head, in as many ways as possible, yet it also pays homage to the fact that McEnroe and Borg never won a Major after turning 25 - and here this idea is taken to its preposterous, absurdist end.

A Roundup of Wimbledon 2015 on the Women's Tour

David Deady   |   July 13, 2015    3:04 PM ET

'What an athlete, what a role model, what a woman!' J.K. Rowling emphatically declared on Twitter, bestowing absolute congratulations on Serena Williams, the 2015 Wimbledon champion. Notching up her 21st grand slam triumph, and third of the year, Serena is unquestionably the story of this year's competition. Dominating in so many categories and achieving history by the handful, she etched her path to glory by battling nerves, expectation and form in typical supreme fashion.

So with the illustrious tournament now over, and the gleaming Venus Rosewater Dish firmly back in Serena's hands, let's take a look at some of the more rousing stories from Wimbledon 2015 on the women's side.

Most predictable moment- Serena defeats Sharapova 6-2 6-4

This matchup is hyped up every time Maria and Serena meet in a draw. Two of the most consistent performers on the WTA for over a decade now, with great credentials apiece and a fiery tenacity to compete, it should be a mouth-watering prospect but unfortunately never lives up to the billing. In terms of this particular match itself, you could see Sharapova almost trying too hard throughout; she has nothing else to give but her A-game but this is rarely allowed to shine against Serena. Pummelling returns, throwing down aces and battering Maria in every aspect of her game for the majority of the match- Serena was her usual merciless self. Unfortunately, there is nothing compelling here. On a technical front even, it seems their games no longer correspond competitively, with Sharapova's more awkwardly mechanical groundstrokes and serves capitulating under the continued power from Serena's organic strokes.

Most shocking moment- Heather Watson almost beating Serena

Ben Rothenberg and Courtney Nguyen, two of my favourite tennis commentators, once spoke of a phenomenon they called 'Serena vs. the field.' They argued that Serena, especially in early rounds, can potentially lose, not necessarily to a seed or form player, but an ethereal someone who they can never put their finger on. It happened in Wimbledon 2014 at the hands of Alize Cornet, in the 2012 French Open to Virginie Razzano, and almost here again, in the third round, to Great Britain's own Heather Watson. Buoyed by the Centre Court crowd and displaying apt defensive skill, the world number 59 managed to exasperate Serena and come close to the famous win. This is, however, where the story ended. While a few have indeed managed to pull off the victory, many others have merely come close. As was the case here, Serena found a way to win ugly. It does pretty much sum up this tournament though; as dominant as Williams was, the most shocking moment was someone almost beating her.

Best match- Muguruza defeats Radwanska 6-2 3-6 6-3

Merely personal preference here I think as there was no real signature match from the championship this year. Marking a return to form for Agnieszka after a fairly disappointing run in 2015, this semi-final was a wonderful display of both clout and guile. Muguruza started powerfully, quickly taking the advantage but Radwanska inevitably managed to work her way in with signature voodoo like skills, pulling the Spaniard to all corners. In the end, however, Garbine composed herself, stepped up her level and came through impressively in three sets. It was a match of shared high quality, but also had its moments of drama and spectacle too.

Biggest upset- None

A few seeds tumbled before the second week but there was nothing surprising about each of these losses. Last year's runner-up, Eugenie Bouchard almost inevitably went down to unheralded Duan Yingying 7-6 6-4 in round one, further signalling her descending spiral, having lost 10 of her last 12 matches. Though she cited injury, which may have been the case, I doubt many people pegged her to make the same run as 12 months previous. World number two Simona Halep was edged by former random Serena-conqueror Jana Cepelova 7-5 4-6 3-6 in round one also. Again the story was of Halep's recent lack of good form also. Personally, I think she still doesn't have the experience to win in these sorts of situations, when her form and confidence has dipped, but it will come with time. Finally, Jelena Jankovic's 3-6 7-5 6-4 win over defending champion Petra Kvitova in the third round caused little outcry. There were no conspiracy theories here; Jankovic has considerable pedigree to her name and Kvitova can lose or win to anyone on the tour on any given day.

Sub-plot of the championship- Garbine Muguruza

While Serena governed headlines, it was the charming run of Garbine Muguruza to the final that piqued further interest. Finding her feet both on grass and in the women's game, this utterly likeable Spaniard, who had been more at home on clay before this week, captivated the public in interviews and thrilled them on the court. Not only physically talented, boasting big groundstrokes and an aggressive mindset, she also possesses mental toughness and awareness that belies her 21 years. Her press conferences proved this, as she divulged how nervous she got in big moments and how conscious she was of her game, but never panicked, resolving to find ways to win and never give up. Garbine is an exciting prospect for the WTA and I look forward to seeing how she progresses.

Final thoughts

It was a strange but similar Wimbledon, both transitory and immobile in equal measure. Rising players continued their solid years, with nods to Timea Bacsinszky, Madison Keys, Belinda Bencic and Muguruza, showing both panache and consistency, navigating the ups and downs quite efficiently. However, it was Serena who still reigned supreme, as she has done for so long now. I think it marks the strength of the tour however. Serena is the best and should be wining most of the time but seeing some rising stars find footholds is encouraging. Wimbledon 2015 belongs to Serena Williams though. It will be interesting to see how much longer the 33 year old can sustain this utter dominance but, if current form suggests anything, I think she's far from finished.

Come on Tennis - Let's Get the Women Playing Five Sets!

Gordon Bryan   |   July 13, 2015    1:27 PM ET

Every time Wimbledon comes around, one question that's always raised is why do women play 3 set matches while the men play 5 sets? Seems like a reasonable question..?

Well, it *is* a reasonable question, which became even more pertinent when the prize money for the women was raised to the same level as that for the men.

I've written about equality in sport many times, from the boat race, to the marathon, which have been solved, to the decathlon which hasn't, and in my mind this tennis question sits fair and square in the 'hasn't been solved' group.

So, why do women only play 3 sets? Surely it doesn't go back to the crusty old thing about men deciding that women aren't capable? Well, sort of, but not really - men's and women's tennis are run by separate organisations (following a revolution started by women players), so they are hardly like to hold such a nonsense sexist view.

No, the real reason is down to more pragmatic reasons, although I believe the solution could be equally as pragmatic.

For starters, let's remember that the men only play 3 sets themselves outside the 4 Grand Slam events. This is where the pragmatic reasons come in - scheduling and money, framed in the boundaries of TV scheduling.

Take Wimbledon, for example. Held over 2 weeks, it's always a bit of a jam to get everything in, and that's not even accounting for the rain breaks which are a usual feature at some point in the fortnight.

The argument is that the Grand Slam organisers do not want to have to add to that burden by lengthening the women's matches to the same 5 sets that the men play.
It's also argued that pretty much every sport nowadays is looking to have shorter formats, to be more consumable for people watching on TV.

Hmm. While these are both truisms, I'm not sure either is a reason that could not be dealt with.

If we take the argument about shorter formats of sport for TV, well part of the appeal of the men's 5 setters is precisely because it *is* the longer format, which combined with the scoring system in tennis, can make for gripping drama as the momentum swings back and forth between the players, and a player seemingly on the ropes can come all the way back to win.

You do get that occasionally in the women's game, but it's more noticeable when it happens, just because it does happen so rarely, and that's because the 3 set format doesn't lend itself to that kind of outcome. So, the 5 set match is actually more of a sellable product than the 3 setter.

As for the argument of logistics - nope, I'm not having that one either!
Wimbledon has the full range of events, men's and women's doubles, mixed doubles, juniors for both sexes, and wheelchair events which they are rolling out even more.

They don't need to have all those formats, and if something had to give in order to accommodate the women playing 5 sets, then so be it, in my view.

Back in 2013 the head of women's tennis said she was happy for the women to play 5 sets, they were just waiting to be asked by the Grand Slams.

That seems a cop out to me. How about if they sent an email to the 4 Grand Slam organisations, and said that in 5 years time they expected all of them to be the 5 set format, or they would ban their members from taking part?

If they then made one of their tour events a 5 setter to see how it went, although the legal wrangling would no doubt have lawyers rubbing their hands, I suspect the momentum for the Slams to then go to 5 sets would be unstoppable.

About time too, and the perennial question could finally be moved to the 'solved' column!


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Elitism: The Curse of The British Summer

Grant Feller   |   July 12, 2015   12:21 PM ET

When I was growing up I wanted to be the American tennis champion Jimmy Connors. To be honest, I wanted to be sweary, stroppy, petulant John McEnroe (which I kind of was anyway) but my mum preferred his more charming, coiffured rival so Jimmy it was.

Anyway I saw a quote recently attributed to Jimmy in which he described the kind of attitude to tennis we have in the UK compared to his homeland: 'New Yorkers love it when you spill your guts out there. Spill your guts at Wimbledon and they make you stop and clean it up.'

I'm not quite sure whether he was being witty or rudely dismissive - he often wavered between the two. But he's right. There is a certain decorum at Wimbledon - something we treasure. Matters in SW19 are conducted in the 'right manner', there are codes that are rigidly enforced, when you walk on to the immaculate green grass you are somehow representing the soul of the sport.

Brash is bad. Loud is banned. Rebellion is out.

Rules, you see. That's what tennis is really all about. And that's why, despite the tens of millions of pounds pumped into British tennis, there are no new Andy Murrays on the horizon and only 700,000 or so proper players in this country. Hamstrung by our determination to keep tennis for an elite who can barely play it properly, the sport in Britain is in crisis because it is too codified and tame. And I know that because I just tried to join my local club.

It boasts three beautiful grass courts, several hard and a few astro with floodlights. They are hardly ever used. So I thought I'd pop along on 'club night' to get a better feel of things. Some welcomed me, others were a little suspicious, perhaps because of my age. At 47 I was by far the youngest there. The club chairman was there as was the deputy, the treasurer, the membership secretary, someone I recognised from the papers and two titled ladies. They had set the club up, they told me, because they hadn't like the elitism of the last one.

Anyway, if I wanted to join and use the courts that were - they admitted - nearly always vacant, I'd need to pay close to £200 a year and could only bring a guest three times a year. I couldn't play before 9am, I'd have to adhere to the dress code, I would need to be interviewed by the club secretary and I would need to peruse the rule book before I joined. Hopefully, I could also invite more people 'my age' to join because it would 'jolly well liven things up'.

In truth, this was the third club I'd looked at around West London and each one was pretty similar. It's not the snobbishness that most upsets me, it's the sheer waste of fantastic facilities that we have in this country. Tennis is a sport for those with money - just the other week a survey revealed that it costs more than £1m to turn a child into a champion - and those without money are excluded. Intimidated even.

It's not just private clubs. Municipal courts - of which there are hundreds - are in such a parlous state as to be unrecognisable as proper tennis courts. Strewn with rubbish, carpeted in moss and used as makeshift basketball courts and dog toilets - and councils have the nerve to charge £10 an hour for the privilege to use them. £10 an hour! An entire day at Wimbledon is slightly more than double that. And if you try to sneak on without paying (and remember, they're hardly ever being used), you're liable to be fined £50. Which I'm sure the boss of British tennis could afford, on his £434,000 annual salary.

There are occasional ventures that try to encourage rather than discourage. The Great British Tennis Weekend, for instance, sees private clubs across the country open their doors for three - yes, three - weekends a year so that all those unfortunates peeking through the wire gates can get a taste of what it's all about. Except that the clubs tend to allow the great unwashed in only for an hour, while lunch is being served presumably.

No other sport, with the possible exception of golf, is treated as if it was a precious remnant of the British Empire - laden with rules, reassuringly expensive and to be enjoyed only by a certain type of person.

White, middle class and elitist. The clue's in the name of the governing body, LTA. Lawn Tennis Association. Lawn?! Gentility does not breed champions - Connors and McEnroe were proof of that - but it does mean wonderful cucumber sandwiches.

  |   July 11, 2015    3:31 PM ET

A Murray will fight for Britain’s only chance at Wimbledon glory today – but it is older brother Jamie rather than Andy this time round.

Jamie, 29, and his doubles partner John Peers from Australia go head to head with Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau on Centre Court for the men’s doubles crown.

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Jamie Murray will play in the final today

The men's doubles final will take place today at 2pm. It will be covered on BBC Two from 5.55pm, live on the BBC website and live on BBC Radio 5 Live.

Younger brother Andy was yesterday blown away by SW19 legend Roger Federer in three sets in the men’s singles semi-finals, preventing a dream Murray singles and doubles finals appearance.

Tennis fans will also be treated to the women’s singles final today, which pits 20-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams against Spain’s Garbine Muguruza.

If Andy had gone through it would have been the first time brothers had been in the finals of the singles and doubles at the same Wimbledon for 109 years.

Asked after his crushing defeat to Federer if he would be in the stands to watch Jamie, Andy said: "I may come and be here and see what the score is.

"If it's close to finishing, I'll maybe try to go out and watch the last game or two.

"But I find it very, very difficult watching. I would love to but I get extremely nervous.

"I'll maybe ask Jamie if he would like me to come, if he feels like he would rather I wasn't there or I was there. I'll see what he wants."

In the women’s final, 33-year-old Williams will be seeking to hold all four Grand Slams with a sixth win at Wimbledon.

But 6ft world number 20 Muguruza, who was born in Venezuela and lives in Barcelona, has impressed against Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki and Agnieszka Radwanska to get to the final.

The 21-year-old said she is confident she can beat Williams - despite previous doubts over how the Spaniard would perform on grass – and if she does a star will be born.

Should Williams win she will move within one of Steffi Graff’s record of 22 major women’s titles.

World number one Novak Djokovic will try to prevent Federer from winning a record eighth Wimbledon title tomorrow.

Below are some pictures of Jamie Murray in action over the years:

Eve Hartley   |   July 10, 2015    9:04 AM ET

*... not really.

Two lucky tennis fans who won a VIP trip to Wimbledon were shocked to find their chauffeur was none other than tennis legend John McEnroe.

What's more, McEnroe shared with his new charges just who he has tipped to lift the historic championship trophy on Centre Court.

The pair were filmed sitting in the vehicle waiting for their mystery driver to appear, with one whispering: "It's all a bit suspicious this isn't it?"

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John McEnroe tips Andy Murray to win Wimbledon

The semi-final of Wimbledon begins on the 10th July and sees Andy Murray face old time favourite and seven time champion Rodger Federer.

To the competition winners' shock and amusement, McEnroe jumped into the driver's seat, exclaiming: "I'm not used to driving on this side of the road!"

Before the VIP taxi ride, the all-star was apprehensive about not being recognised and said to the camera: "These guys wanted a VIP drive - and here I am, the VIP driver.

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Not your average taxi journey...

"Lets just hope they remember who I was... or who I am for that matter!"

The ex-Wimbledon champion also disscussed his views of the British player Andy Murray and tipped him to win the entire championship.

SEE ALSO

McEnroe infamously made a name for himself in the Tennis championships for his hot-headed rants and swearing at umpires.

Wimbledon 2015 has been cracking down on swearing and British player Liam Broady faced a hefty fine of £1,500 for swearing in his first round match.


Why Dawn Fraser Was Wrong *And* Right About Nick Kyrgios

Gordon Bryan   |   July 9, 2015    2:28 PM ET

Australian swimming legend Dawn Fraser has apologised for remarks about tennis player Nick Kyrgios, but could it be she is right after all?

Here's the scene - Wimbledon 2015, and Australian Nick Kyrgios is playing Richard Gasquet. After an exchange of words with the umpire during one of the breaks in the second set, Kyrgios is given a code violation for using 'audible obscenity.'

Then it all kicked off! During the next game, with Gasquet serving, Kyrgios basically gave up. He trudged between serves, moving over to the opposite side of the court almost at the same time as Gasquet served, clearly making no attempt to play the ball.

Not trying, basically.

Boos rang out from the crowd, and although he fought back in the 3rd and 4th sets, Kyrgios lost, and the 'non trying' incident was always going to be talked about.

Later after the match, Dawn Fraser said in an interview that it was 'disgusting,' and that if he didn't like it maybe Kyrgios should go back to where his parents came from.

That's where she was wrong. She first defended her comments, saying she hadn't intended them in a racist way, but she has now issued a statement saying she apologised 'unreservedly.'

So although she was wrong, she was *right* when she said it was disgusting.

Fraser won four Olympic gold medals, so she knows a thing or two about competing at the highest level, and it's fair to say she knows a thing or two about the Australian sporting mindset.

Personally I love the Aussie sporting mindset. It says that you compete hard, you expect to win, and you don't give up.

It's a simple philosophy, but it's one the Aussies are rightly proud of, because it's brought them massive success on the sporting stage, and it embodies an ethic of hard work and self confidence.

That's why, if Kyrgios' behaviour jarred with non Aussies, it's not hard to see how it went down with the Aussie crowd!

Kyrgios himself said in post match interviews that he had ups and downs on the court, and suggested he hand a racket to a journalist to see how many of Gasquet's serves the journalist could return.

Now, my own experience of playing sport at the highest level is absolutely zero, so I have no way of relating. That means I do accept the possibility of a young man reacting the wrong way under pressure.

Kyrgios was still in the wrong though. He clearly *wasn't* trying in that game, and will likely receive a massive fine for it.

Rightly so. As a professional sportsman, being paid a lot of money to play in front of a lot of spectators, who have paid a lot of money, in your sport's most prestigious tournament, you had better be trying if you ask me!

Had he tried that at any tennis club or coaching academy he would have been put right in no uncertain terms, so although Fraser was wrong with the comment about going back to where his parents came from (Kyrgios was born in Australia to a Greek born father and a Malaysian born mother), she was most certainly right to use the word 'disgusting.'


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Ryan Barrell   |   July 6, 2015    2:35 PM ET

Judging by his hairstyle, Canadian rapper Drake really likes tennis. He was so keen for Wimbledon, in fact, that he seems to have had his hair cut to look like a tennis ball.

Still, we think he could use another session to get the full effect:

drake tennis ball hair

Photo may have been digitally altered

SEE ALSO:

Sarah Ann Harris   |   July 6, 2015    1:42 PM ET

You might have though making it to the fourth round at Wimbledon would make Nick Kyrgios behave (or at least take the tournament seriously), but true to form the Australian is refusing to give up his bad boy ways.

During his match against Richard Gasquet, the 20-year-old appeared to completely give up, feebly returning his opponent’s serves and at one point simply seeming to just walk away.

At one point it all seemed to get a little too much and he reached out and hugged a ballboy.

He also added to the string of verbal warnings he has received during this year’s tournament. Umpire James Keothavong ticked him off for an "audible obscenity”, which Kyrgios responded to with an ironic applause.

He went on to lose 7-5 6-1 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (8-6) to the Frenchman.

Just last week he also got into several altercations with umpires.

On Monday he appeared to call Mohamed Lahyani “dirty scum” before quickly backtracking and saying he was referring to himself.

And Wednesday saw him rant at Ali Nili, first asking if he was threatening him and continuing: "Does it feel good to be in the chair up there? Does it feel strong to be up there?"

During his third round match against Canadian Milos Raonic, Kyrgios also threw his racquet at the ground so hard that it bounced up into the stand.

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You okay there mate?

Luckily for him, a member of the crowd was kind enough to retrieve it.

He also fell foul of the famously strict dress code at SW19 by wearing a Wimbledon-branded headband with purple and stripes (only white is permitted on court).

To avoid further trouble, he continued to wear the band but turned it inside out.

And he continued to add to the list of misdemeanours when he received a thorough telling-off from Wimbledon officials for climbing onto a fence to watch fellow Aussie Lleyton Hewitt playing doubles on court 14.

Wearing hot pink headphones, Kyrgios could be seen peering over the wall - strictly prohibited in case it distracts players.

He was ordered down by security personnel but, true to form, promptly climbed back up as soon as they left.

SEE MORE:

Ryan Barrell   |   July 3, 2015    3:29 PM ET

Until today, the most interesting thing to happen at this year's Wimbledon was a ball hitting the ground sometimes. But now, the internet has picked up on something.

There's a chap in the crowd with a rather odd hair-do, which is doesn't seem very heatwave-friendly.

Yeah, it looks a little bit like a bird's nest.

Or a tumbleweed.

Or Syndrome from 'The Incredibles'.

Still, it's nowhere near as bad as this:

[h/t Mashable]

Sarah Ann Harris   |   July 3, 2015    2:21 PM ET

Just a few sets into his Wimbledon 2015 third round match today and Nick Kyrgios was already living up to his bad-boy reputation.

Although he ultimately went on to win 5-7 7-5 7-6 6-3, the Australian threw a tantrum after losing a point to Canadian Milos Raonic, throwing his racquet at the ground so hard that it bounced up into the stand.

Luckily for the petulant 20-year-old, a member of the crowd was kind enough to retrieve it.




Kyrgios also fell foul of the famously strict dress code at SW19 by wearing a Wimbledon-branded headband with purple and stripes (only white is permitted on court).

To avoid further trouble, he continued to wear the band but turned it inside out.

Before...

After...

This is not the first time Kyrgios has been in trouble during this year's tournament either.

Just yesterday he received a thorough telling-off from Wimbledon officials for climbing onto a fence to watch fellow Aussie Lleyton Hewitt playing doubles on court 14.

Wearing hot pink headphones, Kyrgios could be seen peering over the wall - strictly prohibited in case it distracts players.

He was ordered down by security personnel but, true to form, promptly climbed back up as soon as they left.

In just a few days Kyrgios has also managed to fire plenty of verbal volleys at the umpires.

SEE ALSO:

On Monday he appeared to call Mohamed Lahyani “dirty scum” before quickly backtracking and saying he was referring to himself.

And Wednesday saw him rant at Ali Nili, first asking if he was threatening him and continuing: "Does it feel good to be in the chair up there? Does it feel strong to be up there?"

The player was unrepentant in a press conference later that day, putting his behaviour down to an ongoing sinus infection, and said: "I just thought he thought he was top dog in the chair really.

"He was telling me not to speak to him, all that stuff. Doesn't really matter, you know."

Reaction to his antics today was mixed, with some disapproving…

\

While others were less bothered…

IBM Continuing to Serve Up the Ultimate Fan and Player Experience

Sam Seddon   |   July 3, 2015   11:17 AM ET

2015 marks the 26th year of IBM's partnership with Wimbledon as the official technology supplier at The Championships. The focus for all sports, and Wimbledon is no exception, is about pushing the technological boundaries, to boost the fan experience from an enjoyment and engagement point of view. Associations, clubs and tournaments are all introducing ambitious new innovations and technology to enhance the fan experience for those fans in the ground or following the action from around the globe.

Working closely with IBM, the AELTC (All England Lawn Tennis Club) have introduced a wide variety of technological innovations to Wimbledon over the years: right at the beginning in 1990, there was the bespoke keypads allowing data and scores to be rapidly collected providing statistics on TV; 1995 saw the launch of the first Wimbledon website; 1997 featured the first Wimbledon online shop; and then in 2002 there was the first mobile solution for Wimbledon before phone became "smart".

The amazing thing about Wimbledon is that for 50 weeks of the year it is a private tennis club which evolves for two weeks of the year into a world-class global sporting event delivering fans one of the best, immersive digital experiences here in the UK and beyond - all efficiently enabled by using cloud technology.

This year, technology is helping improve the fan experience even further. The Wimbledon website has been redesigned for an even more engaging fan experience. The new wimbledon.com is essential to millions of fans worldwide who cannot physically make it to SW19. With 63 million visits to wimbledon.com from around the globe during The Championships 2014, the digital technologies provided in partnership with IBM are an expanding and critical part of the Wimbledon fan experience.

Serving up uninterrupted access to real-time Wimbledon match records and trends allows us to showcase the benefits of delivering insights at speed. For Wimbledon, this capability will allow them to enrich the fan experience by providing a comprehensive and compelling digital platform featuring instant access to video, scores, articles, interviews and breaking tournament news.

The innovations at Wimbledon 2015 include advancements to help the players. This year sees the debut of our new Player Website hosted on the cloud. The website provides players with personalised information about their match schedules, reports and historical insights about other players and real-time updates about the tournament information to enhance player engagement and experience throughout The Championships.

New for 2015 is advanced analytics which will identify breaking match facts in near real-time and, via our cognitive computing solution, provide related insights and historical context. Wimbledon staff will be able to pose further questions in natural language, as if they had the world's best tennis expert on-hand, and share these insights with fans via social media and the Wimbledon digital platforms.

The combination of advanced analytics and cognitive computing will bring unprecedented analysis and awareness to the Wimbledon digital output. For example, Wimbledon staff will be able to quickly surface information and insights about interesting, important or even record-breaking player and match statistics - such as rapidly comparing Andy Murray's 2nd serve percentage from his Championships-winning matches in 2013 to his real-time performance in 2015.

Throughout Wimbledon we will continue to offer insights and behind-the-scenes tours into the technology which helps Wimbledon stay at the top of its game and remain the premier tennis competition in the world and one of Britain's showcase sporting events.

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It's Time for the Annual Wimbledon Question - Why Are the British So Bad?

Gordon Bryan   |   June 30, 2015   12:40 PM ET

As Wimbledon comes around, some people love the tradition, some people hate it. One Wimbledon tradition is a question - why are the British so bad..?

Hang on, the British bad? What about Andy Murray, you may ask?

Well yes, obviously there's Murray - right at the top table in tennis, Grand Slam winner, and the man that finally laid another age old Wimbledon question to rest, which was when a British man would finally win the singles title again.

That's sort of my point.

Murray did indeed answer that question, but it's the fact that it was a question for *decades* drives home the lack of British players in contention. Take Murray away, and the next British male is ranked down at 75th, Aljaz Bedene, who has previously played for Slovenia and only became a British citizen in March 2015.

On the women's side, the top British player is Heather Watson ranked 59th, with the next Johann Konta at 126th.

Pretty woeful stats for the country that hosts Wimbledon, don't you think? So, what's the reason?

Systems and attitude, that's what I would say. Systems and attitude.

You can see countries that have many players in the top rankings for both sexes, and it's *always* felt that any Brit that reaches the dizzy heights is the exception, and gets there despite the systems and attitude, rather than because of them.

If you look the two richest women in all of sports, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, neither of them came from privileged backgrounds, and both of them worked hard from an early age, with the total lifestyle commitment from their families.

When you see the rise of the Eastern Europeans, it's put down to, yep, simple hard work. It's seen as a way out of the less affluent situations in some of those countries, a path to riches if the work is put in. So, the work is put in, and the success and riches follow.

That would suggest it's a model that could be applied in *any* country. Let's face it, commitment and hard work is a bedrock to most success isn't it?

Well yes it is, and this is where the systems and attitude in Britain become a problem when it comes to tennis.

The sports that draw in the masses in Britain are football, rugby, cricket. If you move outside those sports, particularly in schools, the resources and ambition just isn't there.

If the school buses, and coaches, are set up for the big team games, a smaller niche sport will always get pushed to back of the resources queue. Always.

Tennis is an individual sport, and in Britain it's seen as somewhere between upper middle class, and downright posh. The club structure is stifling, with rules and regulations that are designed for conformity, not for individuality. If you want to get to the top of tennis, you need a competitive spirit as fierce as any in sport, and individuality must be encouraged.

Let's look at Murray again. His coach mother took him to Spain to develop his career, when they felt they had no other option under the British system. Murray has not always been popular in the press, because after the ever-so-nice Tim Henman, who got settled in the top 5 rankings, but never won Wimbledon, Murray has a dour demeanour, and has always said he doesn't care because his focus is on his game.

Attitudes towards him have softened as he got closer to the win, and then he won Gold at the London 2012 Olympics and finally the Wimbledon title, making most grudges against him fade away. That fierce competitive nature of his is now viewed with warmth.

Did Henman's success paper over the cracks? Yes.
Does Murray's success paper over the cracks? Oh yes.

When it comes to the answer, I'm not sure there *is* an easy answer. Tennis is a niche sport in Britain. It only really grabs the national attention for one fortnight every year, and until the attitudes in schools and the attitude in the clubs and governing body change, I imagine it'll be much of the same for many years to come.

Anyone for tennis?


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