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Wimbledon Groundsman's Olympics diary - day seven

An Olympic ball girl awaits play on Centre Court
by William Brierley
Friday 3 August 2012

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

Team GB made it to the quarter finals of the mixed doubles competition last night with Andy Murray and Laura Robson winning on a very patriotic court one. Union flags were flying and the chanting was deafening at points with the crowd really lifting the pair. They next take on an Aussie pairing of Hewitt and Stosur.

Back to today and it’s semi-final day here with the gold medal match in touching distance all the competitors will be striving to get there. We already have Maria Sharapova through to the women’s final beating fellow countrywoman Maria Kirilenko in straight sets 6-2 6-3. The match of the day though will surely be the first men’s semi-final featuring Roger Federer and Juan Martin Del Potro.

It was a marathon match with Federer beating Del Potro 3-6 7-6 19-17 in 4 hours 26 minutes. The match was longer in time than the Tsonga v Raonic match early this week, even though it didn’t go as many games in the final set, making it the longest match in Olympic tennis history. Currently Serena Williams is taking on Victoria Azarenka with the American taking the first set 6-1 and already a break up in the second. The final semi of the day will feature Team GB’s Andy Murray hoping to get to the final but with Novak Djokovic in the way it will be a tough match.

The work of a morning is dwindling down as match courts are becoming fewer with only Centre Court, No.1 and No.2 in play and Court 12 kept as a reserve court should scheduling fall behind. Courts 3 to 6 and 8 to 10 are still designated practice courts and are being mown and marked every other day.

The match courts still need to cut and marked out every day though and the base lines need to be billy goated to remove all the dead plant material debris to help avoid slipping. Luckily there is plenty of work still to do on the courts in Aorangi Park on the courts available for members so all the boys are kept busy.

Coming in to the final weekend everybody is definitely ready to get back to normal days to have the championships then all the work to get the courts back and then into the Olympics has been a very tiring experience. The Olympics have been a very different time for us than the championships but I know I will always remember it and I’m sure all the team will as a truly amazing one off experience.

The highlight for me today and for the whole tournament happened when earlier on we were given the chance to hold the Olympic torch and have photos with it. It was a great emotional event and not many people will get the chance to do that.

After a tiring week it was a perfect pick me up and spirit raiser for all and a lovely guesture from Shelley Blake our museum curator. Sometimes coming into Wimbledon everyday it can lose its wonder but it's moments like that that remind you how incredibly lucky we are all to work in such an amazing and special place.

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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