SW19 Diary: Feelings, fruit and cheek – Federer faces his public

Nick Harris
Wednesday 01 July 2009 00:00 BST

Roger Federer, man of the people, has more than two million fans on Facebook and posted an open message to them on his page yesterday afternoon. "I spend a lot of time doing press with the professional 'questioners', but I thought today I would answer a few questions from my fans on Facebook," he wrote. "So write me some questions you want answered and I will do my best to pick a couple of them to answer!"

Within an hour, he had some 20,000 responses, ranging from the downright odd to the plain cheeky. One fan, Mostafezur Rahman, asked: "Whenever it comes to your mind that you are Roger Federer, how do u feel?"

Another fan, Da-Sheng Yang from Taiwan, wrote: "Hello! Do you like to eat fruit? There is a lot of litchi [lychee] in my country. If you have a free time, welcome to my country."

And then there was Rob Collins: "Can you post me your tennis racquet when you have finished Wimbledon, after you win it that is."

Time to shut the door on women's game?

Those who think there is a lack of strength in depth in the women's game gathered fresh evidence yesterday with the demolitions of the opponents of the Williams sisters. Yet even before these straight-sets victories, the esteemed tennis correspondent of one national newspaper, not a huge fan of the distaff game, was overheard saying: "I don't know about the roof, they should close the doors for some of these women's matches."

Icy response to a creamy query

The All England Club's classy image is down to many factors, including a refusal to discuss a subject as vulgar as money. The SW19 Diary asked how much the ice-cream firm, Haagen-Dazs, pays for its right to be an official supplier. Not only does the company rake in barrow-loads of cash from selling on site, but an official supplier can use Wimbledon's crossed rackets logo in its marketing to highlight its association.

The Diary actually happens to believe that the world's best tennis tournament and the world's tastiest mass-market ice-cream – Haagen-Dazs Belgian chocolate, yum – are a creamy match made in heaven. (Free ice-cream for the rest of the tournament, please). Yet when we enquired about the commercial bottom line of such partnerships, it's safe to say the response was not a million miles away from "Naff 'orf."

Quite right too. If we were in the All England Club's shoes, we wouldn't deal with plebs like us either. On the other hand, maybe the Club is dragging itself a little too swiftly into the 21st century. If you look closely at the scoreboards during women's matches this year, you'll notice the "Miss" is gone forever from next to the players' names. It's just plain old Venus Williams, Laura Robson and so on, from now on. Why? "To bring the scoreboards in line with the chaps," we're told.

Studio shenanigans or foreplay after airplay

Rumours persist about the after-hours usage of the box room at the back of Radio Wimbledon's on-site studio, not to mention what goes on in the broom cupboard after dark. "It's become the hot topic of the week," a RW insider tells the SW19 Diary. "Although we're not talking celebs of Boom Boom proportions," added the source, who is "hip to the groove", somewhat cryptically.

Grabber the second

The new Court Two and the temporary stands at Court 12 have a number of places where fans at the back have dropped belongings down behind the stands from a height. These include phones, iPods, Blackberries and a Panama hat. Luckily the All England Club has a "long grabber" that can be used to retrieve such items.

It has proved so successful that a second grabber had been bought for use in another area of the grounds, and an Honorary Steward, nicknamed "Grabber", we are told, "is now fully trained and experienced in its use."

Wimbledon quotes

"We could have got them [Murray and Wawrinka] on for 10 minutes and had a heavy shower and come off, which no-once would have liked. And there was a possibility of it being dark and bringing them off again."

All England Club chief executive Ian Ritchie explains the decision to keep the roof closed for Murray's fourth-round encounter

"I can't complain. The semi-finals at Wimbledon is right where I want to be."

Venus Williams makes it through, beating Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1, 6-2

"The serve is there, I just have to put the brain there, I know what I have to do, I'm just not doing it."

Dinara Safina managed to beat Sabine Lisicki without thinking

"I was Santa Claus on the court, serving so many double faults."

Safina, who received a code violation for aggressive behaviour, was giving points away

"The weather conditions were pretty tough. It was very hot out there."

Elena Dementieva comfortably beat Francesca Schiavone 6-2, 6-2, despite the uncomfortabe conditions

"I'm going to have the same amount of recovery time, but my body just feels stronger. I recover better from long matches. I'm not going to change my routines from other tournaments."

Andy Murray talks about his improved fitness since last year's tournament

"It was a magnificent display of power and accuracy. She looks like an absolute champion."

1977 champion Virgina Wade on Serena Williams' unstoppable progress


Today Hot and sunny, with clear skies and no rain expected. Maximum temperature of 3C

Outlook Tomorrow will continue to be clear and warm, with a maximum temperature of 3C, while Friday looks likely to brings heavy showers

TV times

BBC 2: 12.00-15.25, 17.50-20.00.

BBC 1: 13.45-18.00.

Highlights: BBC 2 20.00-21.00

Additional coverage on BBCHD and BBCi

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