Wimbledon digital marks milestones

There are a lot of milestones being celebrated at Wimbledon this year.

It’s the 150th anniversary of the All England Club. And it’s the 50th anniversary of open tennis. 

The Wimbledon digital department has hit another home run, as it launched a #TakeOnHistory campaign on the day of the French Open final.

The tournament’s efforts on that side are the gold standard.

There will be a series of content films rolled out through the end of this year’s tournament, focusing on areas such as the gardens, the ticket resale program and the Queue.  

Half-century of Open tennis marked

Open tennis, that moment when the professionals and the “shamateurs”  came together as one, is 50 years old.

It began this week in 1968 at the West Hants Club in Bournemouth with the British Hard Court Championships (actually played on shale).

It harkened the return of pros like Rod Laver, Pancho Gonzalez and Ken Rosewall.

Notably, Billie Jean King and Rosie Casals passed. The women’s prize money was 30 per cent of what the men were earning, according to a story in the New York Times.

The milestone was commemorated Sunday with an exhibition involving Tim Henman.

No. 1 Court roof work progressing

The No. 1 Court roof, projected to ready to go for the 2019 edition of the championships, is progressing nicely.

Once this year’s edition was in the books, the work began apace.

The tournament Tweeted a photo of the current state of the construction zone.

The effort is much more than just adding the roof. The seats will be wider and more comfortable – and there will be 900 more of them. Much work around the court was already done for this year’s tournament.

Here are some projections of what the final project will look like.

McEnroe not pleased at movie portrayal

Neither Bjorn Borg nor John McEnroe had much to do with the new movie about their rivalry – i.e., creative input, consulting fees.

Still, McEnroe isn’t too impressed. “A lot of it is not accurate. I mean, I don’t know why they couldn’t make it accurate. … There is plenty of stuff – if they wanted to make me look like a jerk at times, they could have come up with something far better than they came up with, in my humble estimation,” he said at Laver Cup.

Here’s what it really looked like: 

Ready for 2018? Wimbledon ballot opens

There are ways to get tickets to Wimbledon without having to sleep out all night in the queue. 

So it’s worth improving your odds by trying all of them, as the UK Public Ballot for 2018 Wimbledon tickets is now open.

You have go go old-school: send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the All-England Club to receive a ballot application form, which you then have to mail back.

There’s a ballot for overseas fans as well. That form will be available next month. Tennis.Life will keep you posted.

You Cannot be SERIOUS! Where it began

John McEnroe has gotten a lot of mileage in his post-playing days out of his spontaneous “You CANNOT be SERIOUS!” line. 

Just check out this Eurosport commercial he stars in for proof that more than 35 years later, it’s still going strong.

But do you remember when it actually happened?

It was at Wimbledon, back in 1981, when he hit a serve and chair umpire Edward James wouldn’t overrule and call it in. 

Believe it or not, this was actually studied.

From disappointment to victory for Liu

American junior Claire Liu, 17, made it to the French Open junior final last month.

But in losing to countrywoman Whitney Osuigwe, two years younger, there was disappointment.

Liu got on the grass, and got on a roll. She won the tuneup event at Roehampton without dropping a set. And then she won the Wimbledon juniors, beating another American, Ann Li, in a three-set final.

Liu’s currently WTA Tour ranking is inside the top 300. But at this point she has a decision to make that faces most girls her age – college, or not?

Henin gets Hall of Fame ring

Justine Henin was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame last summer.

She finally got her ring this week at Wimbledon.

It was a little special, Henin said, because Wimbledon was the one Grand Slam she never won.

Henin’s countrywoman Kim Clijsters is set to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in a few weeks. Two from a small country like Belgium is the motherlode.

Clijsters is playing the Wimbledon legends invitational this week; they really need to get Henin on board for 2018.

Ladies’ legends go wild at Wimbledon

Some of the lady legends take the invitational event kind of seriously.

Others kind of get the point.

And so when a portly fellow from the audience Friday wanted to play, Kim Clijsters – who could barely talk, she was laughing so hard – obliged.

The players got the man all kitted out in white, so as not to have the Wimbledon underwear police out tut-tutting. And off they went.

It’s hard to know who enjoyed it more: the crowd, the man himself, or Clijsters. Probably a three-way tie.

Pre-match head banging for Rafa

It’s not funny, even if Rafael Nadal had a good chuckle about it with opponent Gilles Muller before entering No. 1 Court for their fourth-round match Monday.

In doing his usual pre-match jumping thing, Nadal misjudged his surroundings. (perhaps because he’s not played on No. 1 Court all that much in recent years).

He ended up banging his head – hard, on the top of the doorway.

Nadal quickly went out and lost the first two sets to Muller, the No. 16 seed and fellow lefty who is on a fine run of grass form.