German tennis star and former World Number One Angelique Kerber fell at the first hurdle in the US Open on Monday, going down 7-5, 0-6, 6-4 to France’s Kristina Mladenovic.
Kerber, who won in New York in 2016, hauled herself back into the match after losing the first set narrowly by comfortably winning the second without losing a game.
However, she went an early break down in the third and despite restoring parity, the German was unable to hold serve at 4-4. Mladenovic kept her cool to serve out the match, despite double-faulting on her first match point.
The Flushing Meadows crowd were kept entertained in the searing heat for two hours and 24 minutes as the two players struggled with the conditions at times.
No coach, no conviction
Kerber’s first round defeat completed a wretched year for the 31-year-old, where she has failed to reach a quarterfinal at any of the four majors. In addition, she is currently without a coach and her lack of direction has become apparent, none more so than in this listless display.
As for her unseeded opponent, Mladenovic will be looking to improve upon her 2015 US Open, when she made the last eight before losing to eventual finalist Roberta Vinci.
Mladenovic will play her compatriot, Fiona Ferro, in the second round after she defeated Australia’s Daria Gavrilova, 6-3, 6-4.
Wimbledon is the world’s oldest tennis tournament and is held annually at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet club in Wimbledon, London. In 2009, its Centre Court was fitted with a retractable roof to lessen the loss of playing time due to rain. There are 18 courts used for the Championships (and 22 practice courts) and it takes 15 months and nine tonnes of grass seed to prepare the courts.
In modern sports, where advertising dominates team kits and color is everywhere, there is something brilliant about the fact that the kits of Wimbledon players must be 90 percent white. White does not include cream or off-white, just white. Originally, it was to avoid sweat showing. Andre Agassi’s wild taste was tamed in the 90s, while Roger Federer’s orange-soled shoes weren’t part of the code.
It might look like good fun being a ball boy/girl at Wimbledon, but training for those in charge of the balls and the towels is perhaps tougher than any other tournament. The 14 to 18-year-old school children train for five months and from 700 applicants, only 250 end up on the coveted grass. The average age is 15 and most spend two years as a ball boy/girl.
Apart from the green of the grass and the white of the kit, the other color often seen at Wimbledon is red. Strawberries and cream are the tournament’s favorite dish. During the tournament, 28,000 kilograms of strawberries and 10,000 liters of fresh cream are eaten. Add to that the 320,000 glasses of Pimm’s, 29,000 bottles of champagne and 25,000 scones then it’s no surprise Wimbledon is awesome.
One thing about grass that other tournaments can’t offer is more remarkable shots. A 17-year-old Boris Becker made it famous when he won hearts and the Wimbledon trophy in 1985, but his famous dive carried on even after he stopped played. In 2011, Novak Djokovic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had an incredible rally of diving shots, while Dustin Brown did the same against Lleyton Hewitt in 2013.
Both the men’s and women’s trophies are some of the finest in sport. The Rosewater Dish, the trophy for the women’s single champion, has a mythological theme and has the Roman goddess of wisdom and strategic warfare (Minerva) etched around the rim. The champions receive a three-quarter size replica with all the previous champions engraved, as well as the $2.8 million both winners receive.