Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Rusedski’s picks for Wimbledon


With Wimbledon starting on Monday, all eyes turned to the event in Eastbourne. It became very interesting because of Serena and Venus Williams participation. Serena has not played since winning Wimbledon last year because of a freak accident in Munich, were she stepped on broken glass while walking to her hotel room after a night out. She was walking bare foot and cut ligaments in her feet as well as cutting her feet up badly. It took her nearly a full year to recover.

On the other hand her sister Venus hasn’t played much due to a hip injury this year. I believe this is only her third event of the year. Serena played really well considering her lay off and beat Pirokova in the first round in 3 sets after starting very poorly. Pirokova was a tough match because she has made the semi-finals at Wimbledon and plays well on grass. Due to the long layoff Serena was not seeded at Eastbourne, because she has lost all her ranking points from last year. The ranking works on a 52 week calendar and if you don’t defend your points, your ranking disappears.

In the next round Serena lost to the top seed and world number 3 Vera Zvonerava. Serena actually served for the match in the 2nd set, but unfortunately did not come through. She is not that far off in her game considering she has been away for so long. Expect a good Wimbledon run from Serena and if the All England Club seeds her, she could be very dangerous. Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam that is allowed to seed players however they like because they say grass is a specialist surface. It is also based on your last 3 years’ performances at Wimbledon. I totally disagree with this and believe the seeds should be based on official rankings. Grass courts are not a specialist surface anymore because they have slowed down the courts by getting rid of the thistle in the grass, and changing it to rye grass a few years ago. They have also slowed down the balls through ball pressure and the cover on the ball. Grass plays more like a medium hard court and is slower than the French Open.

Venus looks very good at the moment even though she lost in the quarter-finals at Eastbourne. She will be a threat at Wimbledon. A lot of people’s favorite is Sharapova after her great run to the semi-finals at the French Open and also because she has won Wimbledon before. It is wide open on the women’s side again with other threats; Li Na, who became the first Chinese player to win a singles grand slam at the French Open two weeks ago, Petra Kvitova, the talented left handed Czech player, Victoria Azarenka from Belarus, and last year’s finalist Vera Zvonerava all contenders.

Button still has the Brawn after car modifications


buttonFree practice for the Spanish Grand Prix took place on Friday with most teams bringing modified cars to Barcelona as they attempt to catch the high flying Brawn-Mercedes team.

Brawn’s Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg of Williams set the fastest laps in the two practice sessions but despite having opportunities to upgrade their cars, Ferrari and McLaren were well off the pace.

Diffuser confuser for F1 opener


f1driversThis week’s Australian Grand Prix diffuser controversy was more of a confuser for the casual spectator, even if it was a classic of its kind.

Never mind the talk of air flow and aerodynamic interpretations. The bottom line is that it may be weeks before we know for certain who won Sunday’s Formula One season-opener.

More chaos in Formula One


The Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams Formula One teams have been cleared by stewards to race in Sunday’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix after protests by three rival teams over the design of their rear diffusers were rejected.

Red Bull, Renault and Ferrari had lodged protests on grounds the rivals’ cars did not comply with technical regulations. The three will appeal the protest’s rejection.