"Come on the grannies," an SW19 wag cried two games into the ladies' invitation doubles match on Court Two last night. He did not indicate whether the exhortation was intended for the British pair in action: Samantha Smith, 38, and Anne Hobbs, 50. On the opposite side of the net were two Twentysomethings but the way Anna Kournikova talked in the press room afterwards you would have thought she and Martina Hingis were ancient wrecks at 29.
"Even to prepare for this tournament, the last two months I’ve had to have therapy, like real therapy, every day for an hour, hour and a half," the former Russian pin-up girl, now a US citizen, said in an accent somewhere between Mira Sorvino in Mighty Aphrodite and Tracey Ullman in Small Time Crooks. "I have five different things wrong with my back – from two herniated discs to four cracks. All kinds of weird stuff."
En route to a 6-2, 6-4 victory that drew a large pack of shutter-clicking paparazzi and a smattering of wolf whistles, Kournikova added another item to her catalogue of decrepitude. "Come and have a look," she urged the press conference questioner who enquired why she had called for the trainer in the second set. “It’s a blister that’s bleeding.”
For Hingis, who won the ladies’ singles as Swiss Miss of 16 back in 1997, it was her first appearance at Wimbledon since she tested positive for cocaine in 2007. Like Kournikova, she intends to remain in official retirement. “I’m going to be 30-years-old,” she said. “I think I’ve played enough tennis in my life.”
Golding takes his bows after straight-sets win
It was a good day for the Golding boy of British tennis yesterday. The unseeded Oliver Golding made it through to the last 16 of the boys' singles with a straight sets victory over 14th seed Juan Sebastian Gomez of Colombia, 6-4, 6-2. The 16-year-old from Richmond would appear to be a class act in the second career of his young life.
Golding started the first at the age of two, starring in a television commercial for Vauxhall Motors in 1996. He went on to bigger and better things as he matured from an infant actor to a child veteran, starring with Christopher Lee and Gina McKee in The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby. He also appeared in the Mike Leigh film All Or Nothing, alongside Timothy Spall.
Golding's third round match at SW19 could reasonably be described as an "all or nothing" job. He will be up against Jason Kubler, the No 1 seed from Australia.
Uhm, Robson is having to watch what she says
With a Wimbledon junior title to her name (from 2008) and a creditable appearance in the main competition on Centre Court (against Jelena Jankovic last week), Laura Robson could expect to have many a television and radio show appearance ahead of her if she manages to fulfil her considerable teenage promise. A guest slot on Just a Minute would appear to be unlikely, though. Following her second round victory against Krista Hardebeck in the girls' competition yesterday, the 16-year-old Briton was guilty of hesitation, repetition and deviation in her press conference.
Asked why there had not been "the normal smiling" from her on Court 12, Robson replied: "I didn't realise I smiled that much. I'm quiet anyway. Uhm, no, you know at the moment I'm just really focused on not saying 'uhm'. I read something on the Wimbledon website. The person that types it all in, they said that I start every sentence with 'uhm'. So right now I'm just trying not to do that."
For the record there had been only two uhms before that and there was only one more to follow. Not much of an umh deal after all.