UPDATE! The Australian Open fourth round is upon us and there are a host a mouth-watering match-ups.
Probably the pick of the bunch is the men’s quarter-final between defending champion and world number two Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray, who has not dropped a set on his way to the last eight.
Elsewhere the Australians, who will have a public holiday on Tuesday in honour of Australia Day, will be primed to watch Lleyton Hewitt take on top seed Roger Federer and Samantha Stosur play Serena Williams.
In Wimbledon-related news, here is John Eisner answering a question about whether his game would be suited to the All England Club. “You know, I played in it two years ago. I didn’t play it last year. I had trouble with it two years ago. Never in my life stepped foot on a grass court up until Wimbledon. That’s still only one time. But I have the right coach in my corner to learn how to play on grass. It’s definitely a different game. It should suit me well, as long as I can grasp the concept of how to play on it.”
* The presence of Prince Williams sparked a line of royal-related questioning in Federer‘s press conference, including this exchange:
Q. Have you met other members of the Royal family before at Wimbledon?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, the ones on court at the trophy ceremony. Do those count for you, or not?
Q. Yeah. (Laughter.)
ROGER FEDERER: Because those you should know. I mean, but not…
Q. But chatty‑wise?
ROGER FEDERER: Chatty‑wise, no, I don’t recall. No. Chitchat, no. English breakfast tea? No, not yet.
In his post-match on-court interview, Federer also answered personal questions from former pro Jim Courier. He told the Rod Laver Arena crowd that he and wife Mirka found out at the 2009 Australian Open that they were expecting twins. He described fatherhood as “beautiful” and “amazing” and when asked about the issue of nappy changes, Federer said: “I have done it before and I will probably do it again tonight”.
* Roger Federer was asked what the wind conditions at the four Grand Slam tournaments. “I think most windy is maybe New York usually. It’s just the strongest winds. But it’s pretty ‑‑ it’s not so swirly, you know. I think maybe at the French Open and Wimbledon you get sometimes more the swirly winds. Here, normally it’s easiest to play because it’s the most covered center court we have on a Grand Slam level. So usually it’s pretty good. There was a slight breeze, a comfortable one today. Still, it makes a huge affect on how you play from one side and the other side. Yeah, you always got to adjust. It’s not easy. But I quite like playing in the wind. I think it’s more challenging than just playing the opponent himself.”
* After her first round exit, Maria Sharapova wrote on her website that she was concentrating on The Championships. “Wimbledon is always the most special, the most important, and the one I look forward to playing to the most,” she wrote.
* Read the following exchange from Lleyton Hewitt‘s first-round post-match press conference.
Journalist: “Where is the cap this year, the baseball cap? Is that something new this year?”
Hewittt: “Yeah, I won Wimbledon without it.”
* During the Kim Clijsters match there was a lot of discussion by the TV commentators about how Clijster’s involvement in the Centre Court Celebration had inspired her comeback.
* Andy Murray was asked what it was like to play under the roof on Centre Court and at Melbourne Park. “The conditions are similar to Wimbledon with the roof. It actually slows the court down. You know, it gets quite humid in there, whereas it’s pretty dry heat normally, and it’s just quite heavy. It slows the court down a bit, so that was a bit different.”
* Fabrice Santoro, who is 37 and turned professional in 1989, was asked to name the greatest player he has seen. “It’s always really difficult to compare generation. But when you look at McEnroe, was a genius on the court. What he was doing on the court was amazing. Uhm, but when you look at the matches, we were lucky to see in the past two years with Roger/Rafa, the big Grand Slam final we had, Wimbledon, here last year. When you look at Sampras. It’s very tough to make a ranking. But I will say that the best opponent I ever had is Federer.”
* Australia’s Peter Luczak said his goal for this year was to reach the main draw at Wimbledon. ” ‘Cause my goal was to just play in the main draw of Wimby, the only one I haven’t played the main draw of. I think after last week in Sydney, I don’t think I can drop outside the top 100. I’m not defending too many points in the first four or five months, so I think that’s already safe. So I’ll get to play that.”