The Wimbledon experience: Smaller the court, bigger the charm!

Jul 02, 2013, 00:15 IST | Ranjona Banerji

"You'll have to wait three games if you don't sit down now," suggests a friendly usher on Court number 12 where Jurgen Melzer and Jerzy Janowicz (24) were locked in battle with Janowicz up two sets to one.

The smaller courts allow for an intimate viewing experience which offer a charm the larger courts cannot possibly have. Fans and players’ teams closely mingle on Court 12.

Jerzy Janowicz
Jerzy Janowicz

It’s almost like Davis Cup as screams of “Yo yo” are immediately followed by yells of “JJ”. Yo Yo is Melzer’s nickname and JJ is for Janowicz although Polish supporters call him what sounds closest to “Yuri”.

But who cares about a present or absent ‘j’? The intensity is all pervasive and the players play up to it. In the fourth set, every mistake by the other player is met with fevered “come ons” by the point winner. Janowicz dances back to his seat after he wins a game. Melzer pumps his fists when he wins his.

Whichever part of the world tennis players come from English is the sport’s lingua franca. Which is why when a cry for tomato sauce goes up in the air, listen closely. People are not crying for “ketchup”. Instead, they are urging which player is losing the game to “catch up” with the score.

There is an occasional anti-climax – like when the umpire from the next door court is a little more enthusiastic in the way he shouts out scores or when the applause is louder from the other side.

But this is just usually fodder for fans to really get into it. “Let’s go” is the chant of the moment then, although since both sides are advocating this forward movement, destiny may well get confused.

As it happened, the match went a bit yo-yo-ish. Melzer won the fourth set. But he got broken early in the fourth and could not play “ketch up”.

Janowicz held his nerve to hold serve and serve the match out. JJ held the day, in spite of Poland’s flag being held upside down by an eager fan. As for Yo yo, he will surely be back. Whatever Sergiy Stakhovsky may hope.  

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