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Five things to look out for on Saturday

Petra Kvitova practises for the London 2012 Olympic tennis event.
by Mark Hodgkinson
Friday 27 July 2012

The aftermath of the Opening Ceremony, the recovery of the grass courts and the influx of colour will all be apparent on Day One of London 2012.

1) The spectators will see for themselves whether the players going out the night before – to Danny Boyle's Opening Ceremony – have had their performances on the grass affected. The referee has rightly decided that all eight players who have been chosen to carry their countries' flags around the track will not play on Saturday. But there are still going to be a fair number of non-flag-bearing tennis players who attend the Ceremony on Friday evening and who will be on court just a few hours later. It would be a shame if those competitors ended up regretting that choice. To walk the track or not to walk the track would have been a particularly tricky choice for the eight British tennis players. But it would appear that the octet decided against being in the Olympic Stadium (or that someone else decided for them). That's because they are all playing on the opening day.

2) Players swapping pins between matches. Competitors have reported that there is a new form of greeting during the Games. 'Hello, how are you?' has been replaced by, 'Hello, do you have a pin?' The other day, Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych were swapping pins after practice, and Kim Clijsters and Francesca Schiavone have also been seen exchanging pins.

3) Welcome to the grass-court shoot-out. Well, a shortened version of the game. The men won't be used to playing best-of-three-sets singles matches at the All England Club, and that is bound to put even greater emphasis on the start of matches. The last time that Roger Federer played Alejandro Falla in London, in the first round of the 2010 Wimbledon Championships, the Swiss dropped the first couple of sets. Do that on Saturday against Falla and he will be out.

4) The mauve, and all the other colours, now that the Wimbledon palette is no longer restricted to green, purple and pressed white. Assuming that all the seeds survive the opening day – see first item above – most of the interestat the All England Club will be on what the players are wearing, and how the mauve looks. Especially how it looks on Centre Court.

5) Be impressed by the grass. The groundsman and his team have had less than three weeks to prepare the courts for the Olympics.

The London 2012 Olympic tennis is taking place at Wimbledon. Visit the ITF Olympics site for full scores, draws and the London 2012 site for video content, venue and schedule information.


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