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Wimbledon Diary - Murray Challenges Serena; Serene Novak

Wimbledon, England

Murray© Getty ImagesAndy Murray challenges Serena Williams to a showdown. takes a look at the news and talking points at Wimbledon on the first Thursday.

Murray Challenges Serena
A couple days ago, a fan tweeted Andy Murray that Serena Williams could beat him on grass. Murray responded, “me too! Maybe we can set it up one day and see how close I get”. 

In his blog for BBC Sport, Murray revisited the issue, inviting a showdown with the WTA No. 1.

“I'd be up for it, why not? I've never hit with her but she's obviously an incredible player and I think people would be interested to see the men play against the women to see how the styles match up. It's happened in the past with Jimmy Connors and Martina Navratilova. How about Las Vegas as a venue?”

Novak Djokovic added that he’d also be up for the challenge of facing a top women’s player. “I'll play Sharapova anywhere she likes.”

The Zen Master
Being the top seed at a Grand Slam tournament comes with its fair share of pressure. Djokovic said Thursday that he finds his inner calm by visiting a local Buddhist centre during his stay at Wimbledon.

“Obviously there is huge amount of pressure and stress and everything involved, so you need to have a place where you know you can switch off and recharge your batteries,” he shared. “I can't talk much about that. I guess it's private, in a way. But I just can say that it's a very calm and very beautiful environment where I like to spend time.”

Federer’s Travelling Life
Roger Federer spoke in depth about his travelling life, sharing details about dream destinations and trips with his family, in an interview with the Telegraph

“I am a sucker for those old traditional places, and Rome is as good as it gets, particularly when you throw in Italian food,” said Federer, explaining why the Italian capital is his favourite city. “Last time I was there, I went on an open-top bus ride with my children, which was wonderful.” 

But as a high-profile athlete with two three year olds, his perfect holiday spot is currently, “A place where I can get away from it all with my family and enjoy some peace and privacy... If I did a non-physical office job, I would probably want to be a little bit more adventurous on holiday – but, for now, I just want to relax and feel the sand between my toes.” 

The Swiss’ recent vacations have been in the Maldives, the Seychelles, the Caribbean and Thailand. “As you can tell from that list, I like beautiful places with quiet beaches.”

Berdych The Rock Star
In an alternate reality, you’d think Tomas Berdych would be out on the ice playing hockey for the Detroit Red Wings or perhaps tending to patients in the hospital, following in the footsteps of his mother. But rock star?

“I think besides the tennis, probably the rock star is the best one, no?” said the Czech, when asked which other profession he’d choose. “I don't know that I can be. But I'm saying, besides the tennis, the other best job is the rock star. You're singing in front of 100,000 people. That's probably the best thing, no?”

He smiled as he anticipated the media’s request for him to sing during the press conference: “No, no. Of course, I was waiting for it.”

Duchess of CornwallA Royal Visit
Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall visited The Championships on Thursday, greeting ATP World Tour players past and present including three-time former champion John McEnroe, Vijay Amritraj, Richard Gasquet and Tim Henman on the competitors’ lawn.

The Duchess of Cornwall last visited the All England Club, with His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales as part of the 125th anniversary celebrations, on 22 June 2011.

Team Player
Michael Llodra retired from his singles match with a hamstring injury, but refused to withdraw from the tournament altogether, citing the importance of playing alongside fellow Frenchman Nicolas Mahut.

“We have a goal to play here and try to win,” he said. “In singles it's too difficult and dangerous for my hamstrings. I prefer not to take any risks to play doubles. Doubles is easier. You play half court.”

Llodra and Mahut narrowly missed out on claiming the Roland Garros crown, edged out by the top-seeded Bryans in a third set tie-break in the final. On Thursday, fortune favoured the Frenchmen as opponents Jan Hajek and Jaroslav Levinsky retired from the match towards the end of the first set. 

“It's good sometimes to be lucky,” admitted Llodra.

Groundsman Defends Surface
Wimbledon’s new head Groundsman, Neil Stubley, reacted to criticism of the grass courts by saying, “We are still confident this morning coming in that we are still producing the best tennis courts in the world.”

On Wednesday, seven players joined the casualty list in what was a record number for one day at a Grand Slam championship. 

“We are fully confident that we have prepared them how they should be prepared every year,” said Stubley. “By day four, as far as I am concerned, they are wearing exactly how they should be.”

Boris Becker, the three-time former champion, said, “The grass is always going to be slippery in the first couple of matches. That has been the case for the past 100-plus years.”

Red, White and BLUE
The last time no American man reached the third round of Wimbledon, back in 1912, there were none in the draw to begin with. Bobby Reynolds, the last standing of the 11 that began the week, was unable to extend America’s century-long streak of third round appearances, falling to top seed Novak Djokovic on Centre Court Thursday evening. 

“I had no idea,” said Reynolds of the statistic. “I don't feel like I'm carrying the U.S. flag, I'm the lone guy left. I just happened to play last match on today.”

While he spoke optimistically about the potential of his young compatriots on the tour, he pinpointed the global nature of tennis as a factor for less Americans in the later stages., “Every country has top guys playing tennis. I think that's more of what it is rather than the lack of talent coming out of the States.”

Tweet Of The Day
Tommy Haas got in some quality time with father-in-law, Grammy winning record producer David Foster, during Thursday’s rain delay:

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