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Wimbledon Qualifying at Roehampton • A Tennis 10sBalls Extravaganza

By Ricky Dimon

 

I hear year after year from fellow tennis writer Ben Rothenberg that Wimbledon qualifying is a MUST-ATTEND event.

 

Having finally seen it with my own eyes…he is not wrong.

 

Played on the green grass of Roehampton, it is quite simply a tennis extravaganza. The setting is one giant field, with about 20 match courts, a couple of practice courts, and then just plenty of green space for players and fans alike to just walk around.

 

So if you’re big into intermingling with players, Roehampton is for you. You won’t always–if ever–run into the top guys, but diehard tennis fans will recognize a plenty of the competitors and diehards are generally the people that attend qualies. After all, it’s players outside the top 100 and it’s NOT easy to get to. Now it costs money, too (only 10 pounds), whereas it was free until last year.

 

You sometimes, however, will run into…well…someone like Dominic Thiem, for example. Yes, on Monday evening Thiem was practicing on a lonesome court in the middle of the giant field. Almost no one was around when the two-time French Open runner-up started his practice, but it quickly filled up. Filled up by Roehampton standards, that is. Even by the end of the session it was still only two rows deep.

 

As for the matches, I was hoping to see history–the first-ever 12-12 tiebreaker–as Alex Bolt and Jannik Sinner were deep into a third set. With Sinner serving to stay in the match in the 22nd game of the decider, though, Bolt broke to prevail 12-10.

 

“He’s ridiculous,” the Aussie said of the 17-year-old Italian. “For a set an a half he completely outplayed me. I really don’t know how I got through that. He played some quality tennis and I somehow just weathered the storm. I still really don’t know how I won that match.”

 

Bolt and his fellow Aussies went a combined 8-0 on Monday, including J.P. Smith’s upset of Nicolas Mahut–on the nine-year anniversary of the Isner-Mahut match.

 

Among the other winners was Dustin Brown, who beat Zhe Li in straight sets.

 

Dreddy alone is worth the price of admission, but you can see oh so much more at Roehampton. So Ben’s advice is now my advice: go to Wimbledon qualies!

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

 

Editor’s Note • Roehampton. The Bank of England. What a place. We’ve Been going for 35 years. They used to say bring your own “stump”. (seat). It was free to attend but basically you stood all day. The old lunchroom. Was an olde lunchroom. Not sure how many millions they put into the complete renovation. But it’s an amazing place now. World best quailes for certain. (LJ)

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