Let's not start out on Centre Court, let's begin next door, Court One, because this is a match that is going to attract attention for plenty of reasons, good and bad. Everybody is going to be looking real close at what's going on out there.
First, the bad. And this is what a lot of people will be looking out for after what David Nalbandian did at Queen's but I don't believe it will be an issue – and it had better not be. This is not your French Open or the US Open with its raw, bebop, "anything goes" atmosphere. No, this is Wimbledon. If there is any of that carry-on which Nalbandian has got up to in the past, like at Queen's, like at the Australian Open when he chucked water over an official, expect the umpires to be very strict – and expect the audience to come down on it as well. They don't like bad behaviour at Wimbledon.
I've been in this game a long time; we have had Connors, we have had McEnroe, Nastase, but those guys were in complete control of themselves at all times. Believe me, that's a big difference. They were actors and that's why the crowds loved them, got properly on their side. What happened at Queen's with Nalbandian, that's just not breaking down, that's losing it totally – losing control of yourself physically. This will have to teach him something – he's got to learn from it, especially at his age. One foot out of line for this guy at Wimbledon and the umpires will take very, very quick and strict action.
In some ways he is a lucky guy and if I was his coach I would tell him straight – thank the good Lord that you are having another opportunity to compete and take advantage.
So what about the match? What's going to happen on the court? Well, it has the makings of a fine game. It's first on Court One by right; eighth in the world against a guy who has reached the final here.
Janko Tipsarevic is a character. He's a great doubles player and a pretty damn good one at singles too. He moves around the court extremely well and is an aggressive player. He likes to go for big, crashing forehands, really throw everything into it – bam! So he's a guy who's not afraid of going for it, but because of his desire to hit the ball so goddam hard he misses a fair few of those booming forehands. It's a strength, but sometimes a weaknesses. The Serb also likes to play defence on his forehand too.
He's a good server, at times an exceptional one – watch how he looks to serve wide. Then if the return drops short he goes for it, period. He's aggressive and gets into the match emotionally – in short, he's a crowd-pleaser. But sometimes he gets nervous on the big matches and his record in the Slams is not impressive, although there are signs it's going in the right direction. He has lost the last two Wimbledons in round one, but reached the quarter-finals in the US last year and the fourth round in Paris this time around.
Nalbandian may at times be an emotional man but he doesn't make many mistakes on court, he's a good returner and his backhand is better than his forehand. The match pitches somebody who is explosive – we're talking in terms of playing tennis here – against somebody in Nalbandian who doesn't make too many mistakes
This match will be dictated by calmness. Tipsarevic has a "hey, I'm going to get you" approach to the game and when he's on song, great. But if it gets to four or five sets I believe Nalbandian will have an edge. Tipsarevic should win this contest but emotion sometimes sees him give a match away.Reuse content