Wimbledon diary: crowds are down and Nick Kyrgios

Matteo Berrettini has been ruled out of Wimbledon 2022 with Covid, while organisers want to get players’ names right

Crowd numbers below capacity
Yes, it’s only a smattering, but there are empty seats visible at Wimbledon this year. To confirm: this is not what was expected when the grounds were restored to full capacity for the first time in three years. Official numbers from the first day of competition recorded 36,603 on site on Monday, from a potential capacity of 42,000. The Tennis Podcast has reported this was the smallest opening day crowd since 2007. Smatterings were still visible on day two too and, in the case of show courts 2 and 3, a bit more than that.


The Queue also appears visibly down on previous years. Explanations as to why touch on a possible lack of sufficient marketing or the effects of the cost of living crisis. But at £27 for a grounds pass that gets you on to all courts bar four, there is barely a better value ticket this summer. And yes, Sue Barker paid The Diary to say that.

Kyrgios rails at underarm serve double standards
It seems that every Nick Kyrgios utterance is pretty much equal parts inarguable home truth and intractable self-regard. Following his win over Paul Jubb, the Australian offered several examples of the genre not just on the degrees of respect that should be afforded to tennis players and spectators, but also on Andy Murray’s underarm serve. The Scot had applied the tactic against James Duckworth on day one but for Kyrgios, whose trademark it is, the response it received revealed classic anti-Kyrgios bias. “I actually remember the first time I did it, was against Nadal in Acapulco,” he said. “The commentators were like: ‘What’s he done here? It’s so disrespectful.’ Now it’s like: ‘So smart. Andy Murray, so smart.’ Everyone does it now [and] it’s like they’re a genius.”

Covid makes its presence felt
Day 2 began with a big shock – the departure of Matteo Berrettini from the men’s draw with Covid. The removal of last year’s runner-up prompted a rapid gathering of the All England higher-ups to plot whether continuing the tournament with absolutely no provisions to counter the spread of the virus was quite the right thing to do. By happenstance Dr Jenny Harries, the former deputy chief medical officer and star of UK Covid press conferences was in the Royal Box on Tuesday. It could be possible she was consulted on her professional opinion during a lengthy break in play, like when Rafa Nadal was preparing to serve, for example.

Avoiding the Peniston pronunciation problem
There are often issues regarding pronunciation of players’ names in international tennis and, being the responsible organisers they are, the ATP put little sound files on the profile pages of all their male stars, to make sure you get it right. Unfortunately, however, there is no such file for British breakthrough star Ryan Peniston. The Diary contacted the ATP asking that this situation be corrected, lest it cause confusion. We will share any updates when we have them.

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pernando 2945

pernando 2945

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