Print and Go Back Wimbledon 2009 [Print without images]

Monday, June 22, 2009
Updated: June 23, 9:32 AM ET
Tandon's Wimbledon live blog -- Day 1

By Kamakshi Tandon
Special to

Need the inside scoop on all the latest news, results and gossip during the 2009 Wimbledon Championships? Our fearless blogger Kamakshi Tandon is on hand to fill you in on all the happenings every day from noon to 3 p.m. ET. Don't hesitate to ask your questions.

3:28 p.m.: A dramatic happening just as I bid you goodbye for today … it's match point for Novak Djokovic, and Julien Benneteau has run into the back wall chasing a ball and looks to be in real pain. He's sitting in a linesman's chair holding his knee, and Novak Djokovic has walked over to check on him.

Just a quick final word that the courts are playing quite fast, which could help the big hitters. I asked Philipp Kohlschreiber whether they were faster than last year, and he said, "a little, little, little faster." Make of that what you will.

Check back tomorrow for the start of Andymonium.

2:52 p.m.: Reaction from Michelle Larcher de Brito, as promised.

The first two questions in the below news conference were actually about the match, which was a bit of a surprise because the tabloids here aren't shy about going for the jugular. (Remember the time Tatiana Golovin walked in and was greeted with, "Excuse me, can I ask you about your knickers?")

But after those initial niceties, it was 90 percent grunting-related. "I tried to be quiet for you guys today," she joked at first, but later said she was just joking.

"I didn't think it was necessary to really go any louder than I was today, I was playing good. ... The grunt goes through my intensity."

So take note: Today's quiet performance was not a change of heart. "We'll just see," she said. "Definitely if the matches are going to be tougher, I'm going to start grunting."

And if she were ever ordered to stop? "Nobody can tell me to stop grunting. Tennis is an individual sport, and I'm an individual player. If they have to fine me, go ahead, because I'd rather get fined than lose a match because I had to stop grunting."

Is the grunting controversy much ado about nothing or a legitimate topic? Send thoughts to

2:33 p.m.: It's opening day, and the grass is always a bit slippery to begin with. The normally sure-footed players have been taking tumbles all over the place. As mentioned, Severine Bremond Beltrame fell badly and had to retire against Victoria Azarenka. And there were some gasps when Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova took tumbles within seconds of each other on Centre and No. 1 Court, respectively.

Now Julien Benneteau is the latest. He went sprawling while chasing one of Novak Djokovic's shots during the third set of their match and lost the set quite easily. He just tried to get a bit of his own back, sending Djokovic running after a drop shot, but the Serb slid nicely into the shot and kept his balance.

Adidas must be proud. The company has been touting its redesigned grass-court shoes recently, after being embarrassed last year when it was revealed that Djokovic was wearing painted Nikes during Wimbledon.

There have been a lot of injuries on the grass this year. Ivan Ljubicic withdrew today with an ankle injury he suffered at Queen's. Marcos Baghdatis pulled out earlier after hurting his knee last week, Dmitry Tursunov caught his ankle in the Eastbourne final, and Marion Bartoli suffered a leg injury in the semifinals.

2:07 p.m.: And speaking of zingers, here's a good one from Serena Williams on all the new names constantly arriving on tour: "I just know the standard -- everyone is from Russia. Sometimes I think I'm from Russia, too.

My name must be Williamsova."

1:55 p.m.: Speaking of Laura Robson, she had a mixed debut. The 15-year-old has played at the WTA level only once or twice before, but got a wild card here thanks to winning the girls' event last year. The fact that she's British also didn't hurt -- its drought on the women's side has been even deeper than the men's, so the home country is delighted to have a genuine prospect on its hands.

Four and a half million people in the U.K. tuned in for her victory in the girls' final last year, more than the women's final. Even Robson called that "crazy."

Today's match was shown in its entirety on BBC 2, even when both Federer and Sharapova were down a break in their matches. Robson won the first set against Daniela Hantuchova but double-faulted twice to hand over the second set and didn't make it close in the third. But the 15-year-old competed well against an experienced and canny player. She hits a good serve to go with her big forehand and is essentially a good mover (though perhaps slightly affected at the moment by her recent growth spurt). Though it's not always a good thing to be this close to a finished product at such a young age, reaching this level this early at least gives her a good head start.

One of the big X factors is how she'll be affected by all the public attention and endless media coverage that all high-achieving British players have to deal with. But on today's evidence, the kid is going to be just fine. Here are a few of today's zingers, all delivered with a cheeky smile: