Tipsarevic, Kudryavtseva turning heads with play and rhetoric
From a stealth Serb's coming-out party to a rhapsodic Russian's spunk, it's been a roller-coaster ride at Wimbledon.
WIMBLEDON, England -- It was a week for understudies, upstarts, unsung veterans and up-to-now underachievers of 2008 here at the All England Club. We think the unusually sunny weather might have altered the climate in this corner of the tennis universe.
The more Tipsy we get from here on in, the more we may enjoy this party. "Maybe I'm being a little bit too honest with the press now, but definitely the reason is when I play against big guys, top 10 players, world No. 1s, ex-world No. 1s, in my head there is this thought knowing that if I don't play good, I'm going to get killed on the court,'' he said last week. "That leaves me with no option, and I rise to the occasion.''
Asked for the millionth time whether this has anything to do with early deprivation, Tipsarevic answered with our quote of the week: "No, I don't believe in Rocky Balboa stories and this. We don't have money when we were kids and now we fight more than the British. This is complete Hollywood story, which I don't believe in.''
Meanwhile, on the women's side, Jelena Jankovic upstaged recently crowned No. 1 Ana Ivanovic in making it to Week 2.
Unsung veterans: Thailand's alliteratively named Tamarine Tanasugarn, who holds dual U.S.-Thailand citizenship, reached the Wimbledon round of 16 five out of six years from 1998 to 2004 and cracked the top 20 in 2002. But she was largely forgotten until she came out of something like nowhere at age 31 to win the most important title of her career on grass at the Ordina Open in Holland the week before she arrived here. She now has won 10 straight matches on grass and survived a sore hamstring to upset No. 13 Victoria Azarenka in the second round. In the over-30 men's category, Rainer Schuettler of Germany, who eliminated James Blake in the second round by TKO in five sets, now has won nearly as many matches here (three) as he has at the ATP level the rest of the season (four).Upstarts: Two days after ousting Maria Sharapova, a chastened Alla Kudryavtseva seemed to want to retract her spontaneous comment that she was motivated to beat the No. 3 seed because she didn't like her tuxedo outfit. "Oh, my God, can you get over it?'' she asked when reporters brought it up on Saturday. "Let's talk about tennis, yeah? I was surprised when I saw the newspapers. I didn't think it was going to be such a big thing.'' We hope she hasn't lost her sense of humor or her spunk. The Sharapova win was impressive, but we also give major credit to A-Kud for getting over the emotional bends that must have afflicted her when she had to play the equally unintimidated Shuai Peng of China in the next round on an outer court. The 20-year-old Russian fought back from a subpar second set to win that match. Marin Cilic, Croatia's Next Big Thing (Do they make them any other way?), also 20, reached his second Slam round of 16 this season. Bethanie Mattek isn't new to the scene at age 23, but she's newly fit and is playing the best tennis of her life, so we'll include her, too.
Bonnie D. Ford covers tennis and Olympic sports for ESPN.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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ESPN Classic will replay Rafael Nadal's epic five-set victory over Roger Federer in the men's final on Monday at 7 p.m. ET.
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Day 13 • Women | Scores
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Day 11 • Men | Women | Scores
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Day 10 • Men | Scores
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See all stories from Week 1