Print and Go Back ESPN.com: espnW [Print without images]

Monday, July 2, 2012
Thank you for Sunday off

By Sandra Harwitt

Wimbledon Blog
Nick Bollettieri was honored with the International Tennis Federation's Award for Services to the Game


If I was in charge of professional tennis the first thing I would make mandatory is the middle Sunday off at all four Grand Slams.

Ask anyone working at the Slams in any capacity, especially those who also work at the other three majors, and they'll tell you how great the Sunday break is for revitalizing yourself for the second week fo action. Plus, if the weather isn't an issue, Monday includes all the fourth-round matches, which means the players are start on even footing the second week.

The day off finds most journalists/photographers sleeping in, restocking their pantries and refrigerators and going out for dinner with colleagues. It's also what many of the players do, although they will tend to fit in a practice session. I found Victoria Azarenka, with hood up on her sweatshirt, shopping down the aisles of Sainsbury's supermarket.

Sunday's dinner out also included a move to a local Wimbledon pub to watch the Euro 2012 football final (that's soccer to the Yanks out there). Spain prevailed over Italy 4-0.

I ended up giving up my annual dinner with colleagues as I was invited to a United States Tennis Association affair to honor famed coach, Nick Bollettieri. The dinner was held at The Queen's Club President's Room -- this is the venue on the other side of the Thames River where the men play one of their Wimbledon tuneup tournaments.

There was only one oops to the event -- the invite had Nick's name spelled wrong -- Bolletteri instead of Bollettieri. It was a fun evening and as expected, Nick had a lively acceptance speech, in which he shared that most of his money has gone to alimony for his seven ex-wives. In his 80s, he is on wife No. 8.

The dinner, which had about 100 guests, celebrated Bollettieri winning the 2012 International Tennis Federation's Award for Services to the Game. Bollettieri has been a coaching voice to many of the game's premiere superstars including Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Monica Seles, Anna Kournikova, Maria Sharapova, Boris Becker, Serena and Venus Williams, Aaron Krickstein, Jimmy Arias, Tommy Haas and Brian Gottfried.