Well, yeah, they play too ...?
I digress. I just finished watching Venus Williams and Francis Tiafoe stand around as groundstrokes and volleys whizzed by them in a second-round mixed doubles match. So while I'm wallowing in disappointment, let's talk about the trash that some of my predictions turned out to be.
But where to start with this first week? I think a countdown-styled approach is the right call!
No. 5 Moment that Torched My Wimbledon Draw:
Serena Williams making the quarterfinals: Yes, it is a bad idea to bet against Serena, no matter how jacked her footwork looks and how lackluster she looked at the French. But sure enough, as the other seeds toppled around her, she looks a little better with each match, although the surface has been giving her a little trouble:
I could watch that 100 times.
And to say the draw has opened up for her is an understatement. No more Angelique Kerber, no more Ash Barty and beyond, no more Petra Kvitova. Still, Alison Riske accounted for two of those seeds, which means she's a little dangerous, too. Am I picking against Serena again? My draw is still singed on the sides. No!
BARBORA STRYCOVA BARBORA STRYCOVA BARBORA STRYCOVA: (Does anyone remember how Kenny Smith used to say "Manu Ginobli" on the NBA pre- and post-game shows?) She's got that me energy on a tennis court and I hope she wins a major in singles one day.
What do you think she said to Kristina Mladenovic after she hit that overhead at her? You know it was saucy.
Did not quite see her taking out Kiki Bertens and Elise Mertens, but whatever. Draw's ruined. It's fine. Really.
Naomi Osaka out in the first round: It is hard to believe that there is more pressure to be had out there than winning her first Grand Slam over a legend in some heated circumstances, or to back up that first Slam with a second one right away. But obviously there is, and Osaka isn't coping with it well. It's hard to watch her break down post-match. I also think she'll adjust and will figure it out.
Alexander Zverev out in the first round: This looks bad to begin with. But the idea that he is right now having to deal with a dispute with his former agent while he has a veteran -- Ivan Lendl -- as a coach? What?! Lendl can't be cheap, and he's got no advice, no people who can put a layer between Zverev and this drama during a major? What?!
Venus Williams out in the first round: Now, if you look at my draw, it's clear that I had some denial issues about what was going to happen for Venus at this tournament.
And I picked her winning over Cori "Coco" Gauff, but, well, it wasn't to be. I want to spend a little tiny amount of time on Gauff, because for a 15-year-old, it is obvious that she (1) grew up watching Venus and (2) that she's only going to get better. Yes, I saw her lose to Simona Halep already today, and it wasn't pretty, but she needs some legit weapons. She'll get there. But before that, she beat three very experienced players, and that win against Polona Hercog was more impressive to me than anything else she did. I say I'm going to spend a little time on Gauff because as excited as she makes me for the future of women's tennis, I hope we let her live. I hope that we remember that Jennifer Capriati was young, and talented -- and unprotected from fame and its pitfalls. I hope she gets to 18 or 19 at least before she's shackled with unreasonable expectations. But man, she's gonna be good! But everybody cool it, OK?