June 29, 2011

Bronco Tennis Player and English Native Zaniewski Experiences Wimbledon

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Rising junior Alex Zaniewski is a member of the women's tennis team and is a London, England native.  After a successful tennis season with the Broncos, Zaniewski has returned to her home country this summer for an internship and also to play.  Zaniewski worked a pre-Wimbledon Tournament, the Boodles, and has since been watching the tournament and also went a couple days.  Below she blogs about her experiences.

WHERE I WORKED THIS SUMMER: The Boodles

 After a long 11-hour flight back to London after finals at Santa Clara, I had one day to recover before my internship started at 'The Boodles'. This is a prestigious pre-Wimbledon event that involves many exhibition matches in a tournament form in the outstandingly beautiful grounds of Stoke Park. This tournament included the likes of Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Fernando Verdasco, David Ferrer, David Nalbandian, Viktor Troicki, Gael Monfils, Gilles Simon, Juan Martin Del Potro, Mike and Bob Bryan, etc. This can be seen as practice for these players before Wimbledon as they play on grass courts all week.

I read about this internship opportunity online through a tennis page and immediately was interested. I liked the idea of being involved in tennis media/PR so i applied for it to 'The Emilia Group', and was lucky enough to get it.
I was very excited to start working as it is something I am very interested in. I was told to come dressed smartly in office-like clothing (business attire) and report to the media press office. I arrived not knowing what to expect at all but soon settled in well and began to love it.

The Boodles event involved the guests enjoying themselves at the champagne bars, having a sit down lunch and then off to the courts to watch matches, this event lasted for five days until the final took place on the 18th.

At the daily luncheon there was a question and answer session between the guests and the players. This was always entertaining, as some guests would ask the most outrageous and daring questions, all for entertainment purposes. I could really tell that everyone who attended everyday would leave saying how great his or her day had been. It was a very formal, smart event that also had the Boodles diamond collection on show and for sale at very expensive prices.

My job at this event was in the press office, where I worked with other media photographers, conducting interviews, press cuttings and making sure that the players are at interviews on time. I really loved working there, being able to see what it is like 'behind the scenes' of large tournaments in the media office and dealing with all the press as well as being involved with the players. It was very fun for me and a great experience to be able to see how important it is to be organized and how much work goes into all these tournaments and press coverage of them.

I met so many new and interesting people that taught me a lot. On the final day there was a match played between David Nalbandian and David Ferrer, where Ferrer was crowned the 2011 Boodles Champion.

It was the Boodles 10th Anniversary and the final held a little surprise for the audience as there was singing performances and speeches. You could really tell that the crowd was having a wonderful day at this tournament. Each day I was there I could tell how much fun people were having and enjoyed being a part of this entertaining atmosphere. Each day I learned more about the whole process of working at such events and enjoyed doing different jobs daily.

MY BEHIND-THE-SCENES LOOK: The 125th Annual Wimbledon Tennis Championships

Wimbledon is one of the oldest tennis tournaments in the world and considered one of the most prestigious events with the most tradition involved, as all the tennis players are dressed in white sports clothes from head to toe.

Even though everyone is in white tennis clothing it does not stop players from dressing up in some outrageous outfits like Bethanie Mattek-Sands did this year in her white jacket that was covered in white tennis balls down the sleeves.

Every summer for two weeks (June 20 – July 3, although these dates can vary some years) people pray for warm sunny weather as the championships commence in SW19 London.

Thousands of people attend this great event whether they are lucky enough to have tickets or are determined enough to join the 'famously long' queue. Many thousands of people pitch up tents opposite the grounds in the park as they prepare for the long tedious wait to be able to buy those center court or court number one tickets that they desire, while others settle for ground passes. Tennis fans from all over the world unite to experience Wimbledon whether in sun or usually pouring rain (London summers!) to enjoy the spectacular tennis from the world's best players, as well as to eat all those amazing strawberries and cream and enjoy some Pimms and champagne with their friends.

Center Court fills up fast as keen tennis fans take up the tickets, but that does not stop the thousands of others all gathering on Henman Hill to watch the action on the big screen. For those who love tennis, Wimbledon is an amazing experience and a great place to be.

I personally try and attend the event as much as I can over the course of the two weeks by buying tickets. I am also lucky enough to be able to go a lot with my friends. Wimbledon has a special atmosphere to it and you can tell you have arrived as soon as you get of the tube at Southfields. As soon as you leave the station you are swarmed with free products on your walk to the grounds, advertisements, people dressed up for tennis, noticeable fans as they paint themselves and bring flags... and of course worse of all you feel sorry to have to pass the huge queue of people who are waiting to be able to go into Wimbledon and buy their tickets at the gate.

Wimbledon has historical moments and moments that people remember for life.  Last year the John Isner (American) vs. Nicolas Mahut (French) match that lasted 11 hour 5 minutes with Isner winning 70-68 in the 5th set is one that will go down in history. This match was historical and Her Majesty the Queen's to the All England Club in a long time.

Wimbledon has a lot of merchandise that is sold during these weeks and onwards, such as the Ralph Lauren outfits that are worn by the ball girls and ball boys or the Links of London Wimbledon jewelry line.

MY OWN VENTURE: Wimbledon on June 20!

I attended Wimbledon June 20 where the weather was typical London weather, meaning continuous showers, so very little tennis was played throughout the day. I was lucky enough to get onto center court so I was able to be part of the action thanks to the new roof that center court now has, so nothing can stop the tennis there. (I was there with my Bronco teammate Maggie McGeorge who was in London for a few days this summer).

From such extreme weather came the heat wave on Monday with 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit). Apparently the local shop next to Wimbledon sold its entire stock of sun block within one hour after opening. The English tend to burn a lot in the sun, and we are definitely not used to such extreme heat. I arrived and was able to enter promptly as a ticket holder, we had a few hours to spare before play began so we walked around the grounds enjoying the hot weather and the shops and general celebrity spotting around the players/members enclosure. This was the day that Wimbledon had the Royal Couple visit - Prince William and Kate Middleton. I was not lucky enough to see them, however many of my friends did. They watched the match between Andy Murray and Richard Gasquet on Center court, enjoying their view from the royal box along with Jay-Z who also attended Wimbledon on this day.

We had a great day watching Roger Federer's match on court number one after randomly being given some tickets for free on Henman Hill by a couple who were leaving early (this happens a lot). I also watched the Bryan Brothers play doubles and the British player Elena Baltacha play her mixed doubles match. I enjoyed watching a lot of other matches too and generally being there with my friends and bumping into many old tennis friends.

I was ridiculously hot in the heat and actually wouldn't have minded a short rain delay to cool down. People tend to go through Wimbledon having many food breaks because the food is just so good, the strawberries and cream are amazing. This delicious treat is served in punnets of no less than 10 berries+cream. 8,615 punnets are consumed per day and 28,000Kg consumed over the tournament served with 7,000 liters of fresh cream. This just proves how famously delicious they are!

WHAT ENGLAND LIKES: Wimbledon Championships ... Fun to attend

Wimbledon is a very social grand slam where friends and families come together to enjoy this high level tennis on these perfectly trimmed grass courts of SW19. Many people unite together to be part of this famous event, it is a perfect day out (as long as the weather is good, otherwise you end up standing under umbrellas and trying to find dry areas to wait for the rain to stop) where you can spend time with you friends, enjoy the tennis, eat the great food, celebrity spot and be able to say that you attended Wimbledon Tennis. It is a great time for the public but I have also heard in interviews that it is many tennis players favorite Grand slam because of the way the whole tournament is organized. "For me if I close my eyes and think about Wimbledon, it's the moment when I lift the Wimbledon trophy. That's the picture I see the strongest," said Swiss player Rodger Federer. "It's funny. The first time I hit at Wimbledon on Monday, within ten minutes it felt so natural for me to play on grass."

The players get great treatment in great facilities and really enjoy this competitive tournament in attempt to be crowned Wimbledon Champion. Before Wimbledon begins there is a WTA Tour Pre Wimbledon Party that is held in London Kensington Roof Top Gardens where the players gather for an evening of relaxation and dinner with their friends after taking the red carpet surrounded by media. It is an event that attracts many famous people and all the Wimbledon players. This year my friend and I managed to get into the party through a friend, which was a fun experience and a great place to be at.

CHECKING IN: My thoughts on Wimbledon so far (June 27) 

I have been twice so far and managed to watch some high level tennis, while the rest of the time I have been watching it on television. It has been hard to predict who would win this year but now with the William sisters and Caroline Wozniacki out, I predict that it will be Maria Sharapova. She is really playing well as she progresses through the rounds into the semi-finals where she will face Sabine Lisicki.

On the men's side, the questions are will the great four be in the semi-finals: Nadal, Murray, Federer and Djokovic? It is hard to tell who will win the men's title this year. As a Brit I am routing for Andy Murray to win, along with the rest of Britain. The tennis has been high level from everyone, especially Federer who is playing well so it is hard to predict who could win. Only time will tell over this last week.

JUST IN CASE YOU ARE WONDERING: My own summer tennis plans!

I myself have tennis plans this summer in order to keep playing and get back into shape after my long injury. I am entering many British Tours and WTA 10ks and a 25k.  I'll be traveling around England playing these as well as possibly abroad. I am very excited to play all of these events, but I must admit it is strange to be back on the road alone without a big team of eight great friends supporting each other through all the matches and being together. It is strange to travel alone or with a single friend instead of a whole team, nevertheless I am excited and hope to do well.

Go Broncos!!

 

CHECKING IN JUNE 29!

A big upset at Wimbledon ... and the continuing of keeping the British dream alive!

The bi-polar weather of Wimbledon continues ... from thunderstorms and continuous rain to heat again on the day of the men's quarter-finals.

I was not able to go to Wimbledon today but my friend who works in the shop, Hannah, said that 'the centre court Wimbledon shop is having a great day enjoying the sun for once but of course there is always a chance of rain at wimbles'. 

Instead of giving you, the reader!, actual in-stadium analysis, today I will give you some thoughts on the men's matches.

Once again the Wimbledon grounds were crowded and filled with thousands of people as the British hope Andy Murray played today in his quarter-final match against unseeded Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.

Henman Hill, "Murray Mount" as some people may call it now, was filled with keen tennis fans who were all routing for Murray to win. This big match attracted the likes of Pippa Middleton, sister of the Princess, but the list of all the celebrities in attendance is too long to write.

It was predicted that the big four would reach the semi-finals however that wasn't entirely true after a big upset today as the six-time champion Roger Federer lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in five sets. This came as a big shock to many people as it was not expected at all. 

Tsonga played very well. After being down the first two sets Tsonga came back with some of his best tennis he claimed. 'I played amazing, everything was going in, it is never easy against Roger and i came back after i was 2 sets down, I'm so happy, it is amazing'. 'I did a good game of return and then served unbelievable and played great...now i have the semi finals' - Tsonga was very happy post match.

This was the only really big upset of the day as Djokovic and Nadal battled to get their spots in the semi-finals.

The hope of a British Wimbledon champion has not died yet either as Andy Murray also won and reached the semi-final. The whole nation is depending on him to win, and this can be seen by some very enthusiastic fans who are dress outrageously in all British flags and colors.

Another match that I thought was interesting was men's doubles match where the British Bryan brothers won a close third match with the score being 16-14 in the fifth set. They too continue to the next round in hope of this year being their year to be crowned doubles champions.

As you watch Wimbledon, in the evenings on television they highlight most matches of the day and have live tennis of all the evening doubles matches. Another good day of Wimbledon has passed and onto day 10 – the women's semi-finals!

 

Another Day At Wimbledon : 30th June
 
I woke up this morning hoping that the weather would be good as I was going to Wimbledon again. For once London pleasantly surprised me with some hot sunny weather that we all hope for during these two weeks of the Championships... and all of summer if that is not asking for too much.

My friend and I went to Wimbledon today to watch her German friend play against Liam Broady.

It was a funny situation as Liam is a British junior so I was obviously bound to be routing for him while she was routing for her friend... during this match we managed to get on television as we were sitting near the umpires chair, I only know this because of the texts I received being told we were spotted on t.v.  This match was a very intense long match, with both players playing outstanding tennis and ended with Liam Broady winning 13-11 in the third set.

During this battle, on Centre Court we had the women's semi-finals in progress, and determined that the Women's Wimbledon final will be between Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova. I think this match will be a good match however I have a feeling that Sharapova will end up clinching it to be crowned the 2011 Wimbledon Champion.

Apart from that there were a lot of doubles matches today and junior matches. The Bryan brothers have secured their place in the doubles semi-final after beating the No. 5 seed in straight sets.

As the day passed my friend and I were lucky enough to get player visitor passes from her German friend and from my friend Ruth, so we were able to go into the junior players lounge to hang out there. One of the funniest moments was when Ruth and I were leaving Wimbledon, and while waiting for someone lots of younger kids came up to Ruth to get her autograph and actually asked me for mine too very entertaining!

Tomorrow should be a big day for British tennis as Liam Broady continues onto the Boys' Singles Semifinals and of course Andy Murray has his semi-final match against Nadal, as well as the other semifinal between Tsonga and Djokovic. No doubt there will be some great tennis happening and a lot of British fans will be gathered on Henman Hill.

Let's just hope the weather continues to be good ... check back tomorrow!

 

BRITISH HOPE ANDY MURRAY OUT! ANOTHER DAY IN ENGLAND!

British hope Andy Murray is out..... 1st July Another day passed at The Championships with no rain delays which always means a great successful day.

Today (July 1) was the men's semi finals and of course the big day for British tennis with the nation hoping that Murray would be in the Wimbledon final. Unfortunately this was not the case as Rafie Nadal beat Murray in four sets. It was a good match but Nadal just played some unbelievable tennis that gave him the edge over Murray.

Nadal is a great and fair sportsman and said, "For me it's a dream for me to be back in the final. I feel sad for Andy he deserved to win too". Sadly this year will no be the year for Murray's chance to win Wimbledon.

In the Men's Final we now have Nadal facing the world number 1 Novak Djokovic. I think this match will be a close tough match for both players. Murray on the final : 'Depends who's playing better on the day, Rafa probably has more experience than Novak, but it depends on the day'.

I think it is hard to predict who will win this match and it will turn out to be a great final for both players with high level tennis.

However it was not a total upset day for British tennis as Liam Broady won his match and is now in the Boy's Singles Final against Australian Luke Saville. This match will no doubt attract a large group of British supporters cheering the Liam on to become the Wimbledon Junior Champion. 'Liam Broady took a massive step towards becoming the first Brit to win the Wimbledon Junior Championships since Stanley Matthews Jr in 1962 after a straight sets win over Jason Kubler'. It would be a big achievement for Liam to win and a great improvement for British Tennis.

Either way you could see thousands of people enjoying their day at Wimbledon today on Henman Hill and those lucky enough to watch the two men's semifinals on Centre court.

Wimbledon is never a disappointment and always a great fun day. After two weeks of rain, sun, strawberries&cream, Pimms, sun block, outstanding tennis, relaxing, white tennis clothing and celebrity spotting, The Championships have come to their last two days of 2011.

The two main finals are upcoming along with several other events such as juniors and all the doubles finals. Saturday is the Ladies Singles final where Maria Sharapova will be facing Petra Kvitova in the fight to be crowned champion. Following this match on Centre court will be the Gentlemen's doubles final with the American Bryan Brothers taking on the No. 8 seeds and then the Ladies' Doubles Final will follow.

 

AHH, THE LADIES FINALS

Ladies Wimbledon Final Day comes to an end ....

It has been an exciting day of tennis and the final result may have come as a surprise to those who were positive that Sharapova was going to win. Petra Kvitova played very well today and managed to beat Sharapova in straight sets to be crowned the Ladies Wimbledon Champion 2011. It was a very exciting day for her and she said it will take her a while to realize what she has achieved. Kvitova 'It's an unbelievable feeling, I am so happy, it's strange'.

Following the Ladies FinaL, the Bryan Brothers played in the doubles final that they won in three sets. Over on court number 1 the British junior Liam Broady unfortunately lost in the final to the Australian after a tough match.

There were a lot of fans out and about in Wimbledon today and enjoying the last two days of the Championships. Tomorrow is the Gentlemen's Final between Nadal and Djokovic along with other events as well as the last day of Wimbledon 2011, another year has passed by ...

 

The World's Number One Player Wins Wimbledon... and The Championships come to an end... 

What an unbelievable final, it was absolutely spectacular with some amazing tennis played and a dream come true for Novak Djokovic. Novak has been crowned Gentleman's 2011 Wimbledon Champion.

Djokovic joked how it was 'a couple of good days in the office'. He said that its "really hard to describe this with any words except for the best day of my life. This is my faveorite tournament and i have always dreamed of winning".

Nadal is a great champion and acted like a true champion congratulating Novak on his win, but on this day Novak was just the better player and had the edge to win. The great championships have come to an end, another year has passed and another successful tournament ... after the men's final many many people enjoyed the Wimbledon Common and in the Wimbledon Village. I am sure the players will be  celebrating their wins.

2011 Wimbledon has come to an end, another year of amazing tennis! Hope you enjoyed the updates from England -- check back soon and I will let you know of my own progress on the courts.