Tennis Freaks

“1821: Nadal, I’ve noticed, has a problem with his shorts, in that they keep on getting stuck up his jacksie and he has to pull them out before every point. Not sure why he doesn’t just get a size up, he’s probably loaded.”

Williams-Bartoli as it happened

Wimbledon women’s final result: V WILLIAMS (US) 23 v M BARTOLI (Fr) 18

6-4 6-11559: And that’s it – as the players parade the trophies around the ground and the press corp and crowd get their photos – I will bid you adieu and remind you to rejoin me tomorrow for the Federer-Nadal match. I’ve been predicting one all week, but THAT might just be a classic… Laters people.

1557: Venus, struggling to follow Bartoli’s Oscar-winning speech, dishes out a list of thank-yous as long as your arm and then thanks the All England club for bringing the women’s’ winnings in line with the men. Well, you would, wouldn’t you.

1554: Bartoli – the new darling of Centre Court – thanks the crowd, “the best grass-court player in the world” Venus and her father in the crowd, prompting huge cheers and tears from her dad in the stands. Wonderful stuff, I’m actually getting a bit choked – tart that I am.

1552: Marion Bartoli, eyes red with tears, comes up to collect her runner-up plate and is greeted by a wonderful, and deserved ovation. But the biggest cheer is saved for Venus, the new Wimbledon champion.

1550: As the Duke of Kent makes his way onto Centre Court in order to present Venus the trophy, Venus’s little sister Serena gets the camera out… ah, bless her.


Williams 6-4 6-1 Bartoli
That’s it. A brave, brave effort from Bartoli, who certainly earned herself a few more fans on Centre Court, but Venus Williams’s power and accuracy always looked like it would prove too much for her. A 125mph service winner highlights the power of Venus’s strokeplay and she holds to 30 with a couple of forehand winners and a massive service winner. That’s the American’s fourth Wimbledon title and what an SW19 champion she is.

Williams 6-4 5-1 Bartoli
Oh dear, that is more than likely curtains for Bartoli as she goes down to deuce on serve. Venus continues to drill through the line of the ball with awesome power and Bartoli fails to cope, going long and then hitting the net to go down two break points. Somehow the Frenchwoman saves both with brilliant backhands but Venus brings up a third with a volley and forehands home to move to within four points of the Championship.

Williams 6-4 4-1 Bartoli
Impressive from Venus, who is nearing the finish line in this second set with some big hitting. Bartoli hangs tough with a couple of big backhands, but the American, with her left thigh heavily strapped now, is starting to hit the corners with awesome regularity and the end could be near…

“…obviously not.”
BBC Sport pundit John McEnroe

Williams 6-4 3-1 Bartoli
Bartoli may not win this match, but she has certainly won the crowd’s affection. First she joins in the Mexican wave, then she laughs and plays along good-naturedly when someone calls out to her just as she is about to serve, and then she serves out a love game with a big fat smile on her face. Go on girl.

“The break clearly favoured Bartoli more you have to say and you wonder if Venus has lost her edge right now.”
BBC Sport pundit John McEnroe

“She did the Mexican wave with the crowd, she’s was relaxed and laughing (during Venus’s injury break), and maybe it’s loosened her up a bit.”
Five Live’s Michael Stich on Bartoli

1530: And here comes the Mexican wave, which ordinarily I would find loathsome but as both the contents of the royal box and Bartoli herself join in, I guess it’s ok. And we’re back under way…

1527: Venus, not wanting to be out-done, responds by calling for a massage and a spot of treatment herself. It’s quite technical treatment, consisting of a woman waving a bunch of tissues at Venus’s groin – I kid you not. Is having a warm groin reason enough to call for a trainer?

1521: We have a trainer out on court as Bartoli calls for a change of bandages on her left foot, apparently because of blisters. Call me a woolly woofter, but I always find it icky when physios or trainers have to mess about with sportspeople’s feet – the smell alone would make me heave, let alone picking sock fluff out of blisters and what not. Eeewww.

Williams 6-4 3-0 Bartoli
A glimmer for Bartoli, who goes 30-0 up against the serve, but Venus takes a huge step towards the title with a series of brutal serves to win four points in a row and hold.

Williams 6-4 2-0 Bartoli
Venus has upped her game again and displays terrific athleticism to recover from a slip to bludgeon a forehand winner to move to 30-15 up. Bartoli somehow fends off brilliant Venus defence to level but then throws up another double fault – her fifth – to go break point down. The rally of the match ensues, Bartoli sending Williams all over the court before forcing the error on the 21st stroke to go to deuce, but a forehand error gifts Venus another break chance. It is saved again, but Venus brings up a third with a sensational overhead backhand winner and then sends a terrific forehand down the line to seal the game. Unbelievable quality from both players in that match, but you wonder if Bartoli’s hopes are fading here.

Williams 6-4 1-0 Bartoli
Venus holds to 30 to kick off the set, holding off renewed Bartoli aggression and producing a superb forehand slice into the corner to seal the game.


Williams 6-4 Bartoli
Venus senses an opportunity and screams – literally and metaphorically – groundstroke after groundstroke back at Bartoli. Two massive backhands put her 30-0 up and Bartoli’s fourth double fault hands the American two break points. Bartoli digs in to save the first with a fine backhand crosscourt, but Venus makes the most of the second with a backhand volley and that’s the set.

“Venus was the overwhelming favourite coming in, and you’d have to think after that first set that she will relax even more. She can sense the finishing line now and, as much as a fighter as Bartoli is, I’m not sure Venus will crumble like Henin did yesterday.”
BBC Sport pundit John McEnroe

Williams 5-4 Bartoli
Just what the doctor ordered as far as Venus is concerned, holding to love without alarm. Daddy Richard looks unmoved in the cheering section. Daddy Bartoli is sat directly behind him, just about resisting the urge to make bunny ears behind Williams’s head every time the camera focuses on them.

Williams 4-4 Bartoli
Great work from Bartoli, bringing out the big berther on serve and forcing Venus long on her returns. The Frenchwoman holds to 15, sealing the game with a thumping backhand. Any thoughts that Venus would overpower her opponent have been utterly silenced out on Centre.

“Bartoli has found her game now, no doubt about that, and the confidence is rising in her.”
BBC Sport pundit John McEnroe

Williams 4-3 Bartoli
You can tell Venus is looking to get things pumping because she’s brought out the Williams grunt. It’s not yet hitting the heights on the Richter scale, but it’s getting there. Bartoli responds by going on the all-out attack to varying degrees of success, twice smashing winners, but more often than not either going long or seeing a Venus return fly by her feet. The American holds to 30.

Williams 3-3 Bartoli
Now we’re cooking baby. Bartoli sends a sensational forehand winner down the line to gain the early initiative before Venus responds with a fantastic crosscourt backhand of her own that grazes the line and pulls her back to 30-30. A couple of big Bartoli serves see out the match and there’s a sense that we’re in for some magic today.

Williams 3-2 Bartoli
A first glimmer of the match for Bartoli, twice forcing the error to move to 30-15 up on Venus’s serve and the American then double faulting to hand her two break points. Venus saves one but then sends a forehand long to hand Bartoli the break. We have a match ladies and gentlemen!

“Much better from Bartoli, who is sensing that Venus is a little vulnerable on the second serve and the forehand side. Venus doesn’t have the aura she did when she won in 2000 and Bartoli might sense an opportunity here.”
BBC Sport pundit Tracy Austin

Williams 3-1 Bartoli
With Johnny Mac and Tracy Austin rabbitting away like a couple of OAPs at a bus stop in the Comm box, poor old David Mercer can barely get a word in. I wonder if he’s asleep? If he is, the cheer of the Centre Court crowd ought to wake him as Bartoli gets her first game on the board. The Frenchwoman double faults twice and has to fend off another break point, but she pulls a couple of big forehands out of the bag on her way to a precious hold.

Williams 3-0 Bartoli
Venus consolidates with a good service game, Bartoli snatching the odd point with a couple of big groundstrokes but, otherwise, the American dominates. Venus’s serve is already ticking over nicely and that does not bode well for Bartoli.

“So often the nerves can hit, the feet don’t move and you start to struggle. Venus is such a big hitter that Bartoli can’t get away with that if she wants to get into this match.”
BBC Sport pundit Tracy Austin

Williams 2-0 Bartoli
Bartoli gets her first point on the board as Venus pushes a forehand long, but is fortunate to draw level at 30-30 when the American finds the net with a simple return of serve. The Frenchwoman comes out on top of the first rally of the match with a crosscourt winner, but Venus takes it to deuce with a forehand and goes on to break thanks to a Bartoli double fault. Whoopsie daisy Martin Hayesy as my good friend Mr Ben Dirs would say.

Williams 1-0 Bartoli
Bartoli, who lost the toss despite the tried-and-tested ‘tails never fails’ approach, receives first and Venus Williams holds to love, mixing powerful groundstrokes with the odd delicate drop-shot or slice. Judging by the cheers of the crowd, they’re backing Bartoli the underdog too – will the 18th seed be able to rise to the occasion?

“I’d love to be able to measure Bartoli’s heart-rate right now – it’s got to be tipping 250 bpm.”
BBC Sport pundit John McEnroe

1414: Rather amusingly, Bartoli seems to be getting somewhat annoyed that Venus keeps zipping groundstokes past her into the corners, rather than engaging in the usual easy-does-it knock-up. An early attempt to gain the mental edge from the American? That’s just not cricket. They say Britons love an underdog, well I’m going for Bartoli to produce one of the greatest stories of these magnificent Championships today…

“Bartoli has got to press her game early and try to get into the match as soon as possible. If she does, she’s got good hands and a good eye, and she might just cause an upset.”
BBC Sport pundit Martina Navratilova

1407: With plenty of the crowd grabbing a fresh Pimms, the two girls bounce onto court, bouquet of flowers in tow, and receive a decent ovation. Venus looks ridiculously mean and focused, like big Clint Eastwood in his prime, while Bartoli adopts the usual lost-dog nervy look. Just as she did before dispensing with Henin last night…

1404: Few people will have predicted this match-up at the start of the tournament but I reckon this might surprise a few people and turn out a classic. Venus Williams has been in supreme form all fortnight, but Marion Bartoli was unbelievable last night against Justine Henin. Picture desk Jez, who tipped Bartoli against the odds last night, thinks the Frenchwoman has had her day in the sun and Venus will win in straight sets. Blooming turncoat.


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