First of all, an honourable mention to the Williams sisters, who made their return to the tour this week in Eastbourne. Venus, who only played in Grand Slams in the last year (apart from the last Roland Garros, of course), won her two first matches - against Petkovic in three sets and against Ivanovic in two. Judging by today's match, she's good to go all the way. Serena, whose last tournament was Wimbledon 2010, won her first round against Pironkova (in three sets), but lost against Vera Zvonareva today, after serving for the match in the second set. I didn't see most of it, unfortunately, but from what I read - she got pretty tired by the third set. Even though, I still wouldn't bet against her, at least until the second week of Wimbledon.
The Wimbledon seedings were announced today, and the main news here are also about the Williamses. The Ladies' seeds are determined by a committee, and so - Serena will be seeded #7, and Venus will be #23 (while their current ranks are #26 and #33). They were supposed to be 8 and 24, but unfortunately, Kim Clijsters is out of Wimbledon with another injury :(
The Gentlemen's seeds are calculated by a fixed formula, and if you want to, you can find all the seedings here.
On to different matters entirely.
In the beginning of the week, the last Wild Cards to the Championships were announced. I was immensely glad to hear that Dudi Sela, Israel's #1 racket, was one of those to get a WC into the main draw. This was a direct result of him winning the Nottingham 2 Challenger, which was his third straight ATP Challenger title. That means he now has a little streak of 15 matches going on. But I'm not suggesting anything, you know ;) It's only challengers, after all.
Still, Sela is now back to being the main hope of the Israeli tennis in the upcoming Grand Slam, the one in which he had his best Slam results - reaching the round of 16 (and losing to one, Novak Djokovic). Gaining confidence from his previous wins and playing on grass - his favourite surface - the current #81 might hope to proceed a couple of rounds in the tournaments. Or, at least, I hope that he might.
Other Israeli hopes are not that high - both our qualifiers, Amir Weintraub and Julia Glushko, lost in their first qualifying matches. Shahar Peer had 4 first-round exits in her last 6 tournaments (I ecxlude matches against the elusive Ms. Bye, who never wins anyway) - since parting ways with her coach in Indian Wells, basically. That includes a first-round loss at the Roland Garros. So I'll be surprised if she makes it anywhere near the second week. Or the second round. Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich had a shaky season so far, but they ousted two-time defending champions Fyrstenberg/Matkowski in Eastbourne yesterday, so there's hope for a good run here and in Wimbledon.
Last, but not the least - you can't write anything on Wimbledon and not mention that Isner/Mahut match from 2010. If you're playing James LaRosa's drinking game, take a few swigs now (if you're not - better start playing now). In fact, I originally intended to write mainly about this match, but somehow got carried away.
So, first of all - there's an absolutely wonderful article about that match, going behind-the-scenes of it all (Did you know that Isner texts Mahut twice a week since then? Yeah). I very much recommend reading it.
This match is pretty much the only thing I remember from last year's Wimbledon (I already mentioned that in the opening post of this blog). Seeing it, you could just feel history being made before your eyes. At the end of the match, I was sure that they were going to put up a sign saying "The longest match ever took place HERE" on court 18. When I was on a tour of the Wimbledon grounds last August (highly recommended if you're looking for something to do while in London), we were taken to court 18 as a part of the tour. And I was a bit disappointed not seeing such a sign anywhere. You can clearly see the disappointment in this picture.
Anyway, it's there now.
I think we're officially ready for Wimledon 2011 now!
(Photos: Wimbledon official site, Getty Images, Me, Wimbledon facebook page)