Commentary

Mattek-Sands dons another doozy

Updated: June 20, 2011, 2:54 PM ET
By Ravi Ubha | ESPN.com

WIMBLEDON, England -- This is Wimbledon, so everyone should be in good spirits, especially on the opening day.

Not so for one elderly man, who could be heard telling a woman who appeared to be his wife -- and in an annoying fashion -- to "hurry up, already" as she waded through the mass of humanity between Courts 14 and 18. She was trying to catch a glimpse of a few players, thus slowing her pace considerably.

There were smiles, though, at Wimbledon's outdoor practice pavilion, where former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic and her familiar laugh surfaced in a conversation with coach Andrei Pavel. Victoria Azarenka's patented grunt lingered in the background, blunting the sound of balls coming off rackets.

Just in case anyone needed a wake-up call.

Ready for a marathon with Mahut

John Isner tuned up for Tuesday's rematch with Nicolas Mahut by practicing with Tobias Kamke. Isner was habitually getting the better of the German, who has struggled this campaign after being named the ATP's newcomer of the year.

Conspicuously missing was Isner's coach, Craig Boynton.

Has Isner's slide down the rankings -- he's barely inside the top 50 --led to a split?

"No," said Isner, intermittently sipping a chocolate-colored concoction handed to him by his trainer, Kyle Morgan. "He couldn't make the trip. It's a bit unfortunate. We're going to start up again in the summer, in Atlanta."

Isner, not content with his prep thanks to the weather, hit twice Monday. Rain late last week and into Saturday disrupted plans. He bypassed Queen's and Halle immediately after the French Open, where he stretched eventual champion Rafael Nadal to five sets in the first round.

"Today was the first day I felt really comfortable," Isner said. "The courts are actually dry. I felt good. I'm done with all my preparations for tomorrow's match. I'm going to chill out the rest of the day."

[+] EnlargeMattek-Sands
Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images Bethanie Mattek-Sands sure has a knack for picking out unconventional attire.

One with the tennis ball

Justin Sands, sporting his habitual dark cap and sunglasses, cut a relaxed figure as he took in a part of Isner's session with Kamke. His wife, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, turned more heads at Thursday's WTA pre-Wimbledon player party, wearing a yellow dress that incorporated real tennis balls, racket string and pieces of grip. The design came courtesy of Alex Noble, who works with Lady Gaga.

"Obviously she had her harsher critics out there, but if you win 80 percent of them over, you're fine," Sands said. "It was fun. They're talking about putting it in the Wimbledon museum after the tournament. I think it'd be better if they do it during the tournament so people could actually enjoy it, and see it. It's like being at a Hard Rock or Planet Hollywood. You have to see that stuff."

The dress, according to Sands, might be sold for charity one day.

London-based Ravi Ubha covers soccer and tennis for ESPN.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

London-based Ravi Ubha covers soccer and tennis for ESPN.com.