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Continuing with our Golden Season of Classic Sports coverage, it’s time for the Big W, Wimbledon (Officially “The Championships Wimbledon”), which started on Monday July 2nd and will end on Sunday July 15th. Wimbledon is, arguably, the largest tennis tournament in the world. It’s the last of the four major tennis tournaments (U.S.Open, Australian, French, Wimbledon) to be played on grass (at one time the U.S. Open was played on grass but…that era is long gone) and is the most traditional of all the tournaments while, simultaneously, being one of the most advanced–Wimbledon pioneered the use of “Hawkeye”, the electronic line-calling replay system that is used to settle disputed in/out calls (at the French, the umpire looks for the mark in the clay, which some players have been known to erase before the umpire can get to it).
With all of its traditions, it’s no surprise that Wimbledon has become ever-bigger and impressive. For years, Breakfast at Wimbledon, with Strawberries and Cream (and some champagne) was a Saturday and Sunday tradition in many households throughout America and the world. And Wimbledon has a formal dress code for the players (all white )and an informal one for the spectators (conservative helps as does discretion). This tradition keeps the tournament in classic visual mode and eliminates the jarring outfits often seen at other tournaments.
Wimbledon also treats it’s former Champions with great respect (winners become Members of the All England tennis club, which hosts the event). Chris Evert, who has won the Women’s Singles Title three times, remarked during her TV commentary yesterday that Wimbledon treated former Champions with great kindness and respect: when she asked if she obtain tickets for the tournament for friends and family, Wimbledon gave the tickets to her (good seats, too); at other majors, the players have to beg and scream to receive the right to buy tickets. In short–it’s a classic tournament and it’s run in a classy way.
The US telecast is via ESPN (which is also providing streaming coverage) which fields a good team for the coverage–John McEnroe, his brother Patrick, Chris Evert (graceful, even in the announcing booth), Martina Navratilova. All good, professional, well informed and, with coach/commentator Brad Gilbert mixed in, it’s a very good team. Missing: the energetic and contagious enthusiasm of tennis writer/commentator Bud Collins, who died in March of 2016. Collins was very knowledgeable about the sport (he wrote “The Bud Collins Tennis Encyclopedia”) and reached the finals of the French Open men’s senior doubles. Collins was funny, bright, and totally unique; paired with Dick Enberg for NBC, he became one-half of a legendary play-by-play team. His spirit is missed this year, as it will be every year at the majors.
This year, the favorites are Federer (he skipped the French) in Gentlemen’s Singles and Kvitova (Women’s singles). By the time this post hits the site, there could already be changes because play started yesterday. England is 6 hours ahead of the U.S. Central Time zone so matches are going on while you’re just getting going. It’s pretty great….
Today, not all of England’s attention will be focused on Wimbledon, because today England plays Colombia in the knockout round of the World Cup. England loves their traditional classic sports events (the “Open” golf championship included) but the World Cup is a special event throughout the country because England has such a rabid soccer fan base. Let’s hope the Force is with them this year and they get past a fine Colombia team (Harry Kane, are you listening?…we’re expecting heroics). Kane is the new kid on the pitch and he is capable of taking Britain deep into the tournament. We shall see.
Other news that rocked Wimbledon came via Roger Federer’s latest sponsorship deal, which makes Lebron James’ four year/$154 million Laker contract look like the warmups. Federer, who has been in Nike gear FOREVER, accepted a $400 million sponsorship offer from Uniqlo, the large Japanese retailer. Federer will now be the face of Uniqlo sports and he’s a perfect match: terrific court presence, beautiful, ageless game, the top player in the sport in terms of majors won (although Nadal is right behind him) and a very classy, classic presence. Even the ultra-competitive Ricco, Nightshift Sports official tennis coach (and consultant) loves the Uniqlo gear. Djokovich was the previous Uniqlo spokesperson and he is an excellent player, a graceful and great competitor. But–there is only one Federer. The size of that deal shocked the tour and while there are not many deals of that size around, a certain barrier has been broken and the numbers can only go up from there. Congrats to both.
You know the drill by now: Nightshift Sports provides overnight updates on the previous day’s play, along with relevant links to the best coverage (print, on the net, TV, and streaming) and an amazing collection of photos from the event. Let’s start with some basics:
The Wimbledon website
The Wimbledon Dress Code
The 2018 Draw
Time Magazine Deep Background on the Wimbledon Dress Code
Wimbledon Background and History
Wimbledon Results (updated continuously)
Wimbledon Where to Watch
The Fine Print: Embed courtesy of our friends at Getty Images (gettyimages.com) who have photographic history of the 20th and 21st century on file. This photo has not bee altered in any way. We thank them, deeply, for sharing. Nightshift Sports is produced by Perception Engineering and The Media Bunker. All rights–expect those expressly reserved by others–are reserved by donald pierce. All text, copyright (c)2018 donald pierce. Enjoy the tournament, and check in often, as the site will be updated as often as possible. And…enjoy the Fourth!!