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Wimbledon Groundsman's Olympics diary - day eight

The Union Jack waves among the Olympic nations' flags.
by William Brierley
Saturday 4 August 2012

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


Today is the first of the finals days of the Olympic tennis event. Medals to be decided today are the women’s singles and the men’s doubles competitions. Only Centre Court and No.1 Court are in play for the games this weekend with the exception of last nights mixed doubles from Court 12 to finish there with Azarenka and Mirnyi of Belarus beating Mirza and Paes of India 7-5 7-6 (7-5 in the tie-break).

As there are less courts to work on today Rick and Ben (Lurch), with his stringers Rob Holt and Ben Sidgwick, are only doing their jobs on Centre, mowing and marking respectively, leaving myself and the team I’ve worked with on No.2 Court and 12 to mow and mark No.1 Court. Joe Briggs who has mown No.2 Court and Court 12 for the last couple of years along side me marking but for this tournament I’ve had a different pair of stringmen/moppers in Brad Young, who is here from the Roehampton Club for the nine days of the tournament after having previously done two years as a summer temporary member of staff before joing Roehampton, and Karl Ballard who comes to us from the RAF every year for the two weeks of the tournament.

First up before the final of the women’s singles is the women’s bronze medal match on No.1 Court with Victoria Azarenka beating Maria Kirilenko 6-3 6-4 to claim Olympic bronze to add to her Australian Open title this year. That isn’t the main attraction though as Team GB’s Andy Murray and Laura Robson were taking on Hewitt and Stosur of Australia on Centre Court. The match went down to the wire with GB taking the win 6-3 3-6 10-8 in the champions' tie-break.

Then it was onto the gold medal match Serena Williams from America taking on Maria Sharapova of Russia. Both girls had won a major this year with Sharapova winning the French and Serena taking our own title just a few weeks ago and so a decent match was in prospect. Unfortunately it didn’t turn out to be a classic with Serena winning 6-0 6-1 to become the first woman to win all four grand slam titles and gold medals in both the singles and doubles Olympic competitions.

As I’m sure you all saw from the television the flag ceremony didn’t go totally to plan but at least it’ll give A Question of Sport a new what happened next question. Elsewhere the French team of Benneteau and Gasquet defeated Ferrer and Lopez of Spain to claim bronze in the men’s doubles with the final taking place currently on Centre between the Bryan brothers of the USA against Llodra and Tsonga of France, the Americans secured their teams second gold of the day beating the French 6-4 7-6 (7-2 on the tie-break).

It can’t be described as a bad day for France though winning silver and bronze in the men’s doubles. But that isn’t all the Team GB pair are out again as the schedule was behind and they played their semi final against the German pair of Lisiki and Kas winning on another champions tie break again 6-1 6-7 10-7. That guarantees Team GB two medals in the tennis but will they be silver or gold?

Tomorrow will soon be here and the Olympic tennis will come to a close. Can Federer achieve the same feat as Serena or will Andy finally beat Roger in a major final? Will Murray and Robson take gold in the first ever mixed doubles competition for the Olympics? I guess we’ll all wait with baited breath but still secure in the knowledge that Team GB have done a wonderful job here.

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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