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Wimbledon Groundsman's Olympics diary - day five

A British fan shows his support
by William Brierley
Wednesday 1 August 2012

The famous tweeter @WimboGroundsman will be writing a daily diary during the Olympic tennis, talking about courts, players and more...

Last night saw the end of Team GB’s women's singles tennis attempts as they both lost to Russian opponents, Laura Robson lost to Maria Sharopova and Heather Watson was comprehensively beaten by Maria Kirilenko. Laura will still have a chance of a medal as she is competing with Andy Murray in the mixed doubles tournament.

But today Andy Murray kept Great Britain’s singles medal hopes alive though by beating the likeable Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis. A great match for the spectator with a to and fro of breaks in the first set which Baghdatis took 6-4. Andy rallied thought to swiftly take the second set 6-1, and carried that form into the third to come through to face Spaniard Nicolas Almagro.

The weather for today was forecast to be dry all day which meant covers down and off first thing and the mornings jobs carried out. The outside courts receiving doubles matches have certainly taken more of a beating and the baselines are reflecting that, although the courts are still playing very well and we’ve managed to regulate the hardness of the courts to Championships standard.

Unfortunately we get news that the weather could turn and there is a chance of showers in the late morning early afternoon. Still 11:30 comes and although there is a little cloud the court is dressed for play but at five to 12 the drizzle comes in and starts to get a little heavier, our first match is Roger Federer versus Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan.

The players walk out to their chairs in the light rain, put down their bags and then pick up their bags and walk back off court as the team race out to cover with the rain getting heavier still. The shower passes through quickly and we take the cover off and get the court back fit for play. As the roof is on Centre a few of the ground staff, Scott, Tom, Darren, Conrad and Ben (Lurch), come over to relieve myself, Rick, Karl and Ben so as we can go get some lunch to energise us for the afternoon.

No sooner than we return from lunch, the showers start up again and it's straight on to cover, never good on a full stomach. Again a relatively quick rain delay takes place and it's not long before Federer and Istomin resume battle with the Swiss master taking the match 7-5 6-3. A considerably shorter first match today than yesterday's Tsonga v Raonic epic which ended up finishing 6-3 3-6 25-23, the longest three-set match in Olympic tennis history.

There have been big cheers around today from elsewhere with Team GB getting 2 gold medals and 2 bronze. The first gold and bronze coming on the water, with Helen Glover and Heather Stanning taking first place in the Women’s Pair and the guys achieving third in the Men’s Eight.

The big story of the day though will surely be Bradley Wiggins taking gold in the time trial just a matter of weeks since he was crowned the first Brit to win the Tour De France. His Team Sky and Team GB team mate, Chris Froome, also took the bronze in the same race.

So day 5 will have come and gone and we’ll be into the home stretch of the Olympic Tennis Event and some big matches coming up. Having this tournament so close to The Championships has been very tiring but it is also very special.

Also, after hearing so much about this pin trading I’ve finally got my first pin of 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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