Wimbledon stars caught up in World Cup
Wimbledon: Roger Federer joked
that he would install a TV screen on Centre Court at Wimbledon
so he can watch Switzerland`s footballers play in the World
Cup during his first-round match.
Serena Williams said she screamed and jumped after a
referee`s decision that denied the United States a goal
Wimbledon`s defending champions are not alone in
fervently supporting their national teams in South Africa. On
the groomed grounds of the All England Club, the tennis elite
debate World Cup tactics, talk up and tease each other about
One hitting partner drew a smile from Serbian player
Novak Djokovic when he said Serbia was lucky to beat Germany,
one of the World Cup favorites.
On the grass practice courts Sunday, Rafael Nadal, who
pursued tennis over football at an early age, flipped a tennis
ball into the air with a flick of his left foot, then kicked
it high with his heel. Kim Clijsters showed less flashy
footwork, bouncing a ball a couple of times before it sailed
off her toes into the fence.
The library-like surroundings of Wimbledon are far, in
mileage and atmosphere, from the scrappy shotmaking on the
field and din of vuvuzelas, or plastic horns, in the stands of
South African stadiums.
Wimbledon has banned vuvuzelas at the championships this
year, and World Cup games will not be broadcast on the big
screens or scoreboards on the Wimbledon grounds.
Federer, also a football player when he was younger, said
he didn`t get in touch with Spaniard Nadal after Switzerland`s
unexpected 1-0 victory over Spain.
"I`m not the type of person who rubs it in," said
Federer, who had spoken to the Swiss football team about
pressure and handling the media before the World Cup, at the
request of the coach.
"We know the bad times can come by very quickly... But
obviously, after a match like this, you`re allowed also to
start dreaming that you could go much further in the
Federer starts his match against Alejandro Falla of
Colombia at on Monday, two hours before Switzerland`s World
Cup contest with Chile.
"Maybe I can install a little screen on Centre Court on
the change of ends," he said, smiling. "It`s happened in the
past that I`ve had to play matches during important things in
my life. You know, kind of went on court last year many times
thinking that Mirka was going to give birth to my children.
That was a bit more, you know, crazy than Switzerland playing
at 3 p.m."
For his part, Nadal said Spain`s loss was "very bad luck"
and he offered some technical analysis of World Cup play.
"A lot of teams are playing very defensive and it`s
difficult to play against this kind of team," he said
Saturday. "You see, all the matches are very close, 1-0, 0-0.
Germany won the first one, 4-0. And Argentina, I saw two days
ago playing well."
World Cup football has traditionally struggled to excite
Americans, who stick to baseball, basketball and other
staples. Count Serena Williams as an exception. She was
incensed when the referee disallowed a U.S. goal in a 2-2 draw
with Slovenia on Friday.
"Man, my heart skipped several beats. I`m surprised I`m
here. There`s no way we shouldn`t have won that match. It was
really, really upsetting," she said at Wimbledon. "A tie is
OK, but we totally got that win. I was really upset about
that. But, you know, review."
No stranger to high expectations, Andy Murray, a Scot,
said he felt for England`s footballers, who are struggling in
South Africa and have endured scathing reviews from British
media. England drew its matches against the U.S. and Algeria,
and face possible elimination.
"Everybody`s been there and done it, you know, made bad
mistakes. In tennis, you make mistakes at important points in
matches, you know, on the biggest stages in the world," said
Murray, who has faltered since reaching the Australian Open
final in January.
"You just understand that it can happen to everyone."
Sport, Murray said, is a "pretty tough world."
American Andy Roddick, runner-up in an epic final at
Wimbledon last year, shared the same sense of outrage as
Williams after the controversial US-Slovenia game. He didn`t
watch the ensuing England game, knowing Londoners would be
glued to televisions.
"I decided to take advantage of no traffic and go into
the city and have some dinner," Roddick said. "You`d be amazed
how quickly you can get down there when an England game is