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Nadal leaves juniors with stars in their eyes

Mark Hodgkinson
July 1, 2014
Rafael Nadal is in serious demand from autograph hunters at Aorangi Park © PA Photos
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Decibel counters are wasted on the grunters; it would be far more interesting to measure the squeals and screams of excitement every time Rafa Nadal leaves the Aorangi Park practice complex and approaches the autograph hunters pushed up behind the fence. You wouldn't be at all surprised to hear that the noise causes them to stop play on the match courts on the other side of the grounds.

That's the hysteria of the tennis public. And that's to be expected. Here's what was surprising on a lunchtime visit to the practice courts. Some of those competing at the All England Club - the boys and girls in the junior events - are just as open about their admiration for Majorca's world No.1.

As soon as Nadal left his practice court on Monday - so before he stepped outside the complex to meet his public - he was surrounded by at least a dozen juniors, all asking him whether he would pose for a photograph. Generous as ever, Nadal smiled and posed for them all.

Still, it is just as well for Nadal that the juniors don't share a locker room with those competing in the senior events, and instead change at Aorangi.

One F in Fognini

Who says that no one misbehaves like John McEnroe any more? It emerges that Italy's Fabio Fognini, the wild man of this tennis vicarage, has received another fine. During his first-round victory over American Alex Kuznetsov, Fognini told an official he would smash a racket in his face, for which he was fined $27,500 (£16,000), the largest ever on-site punishment at Wimbledon. Now it has been confirmed he was fined an additional $2,000 (£1,200) for racket abuse during his third-round defeat to South Africa's Kevin Anderson.

The return of Stefan Edberg to Wimbledon, as Roger Federer's coach, is a reminder of one of the worst examples of McEnroe'e behaviour. McEnroe and Edberg were playing in the fourth round of the 1991 Championships when the New Yorker repeatedly used the f-word while ranting at a linesman: "F*** you, stupid f*****. Good f****** call, you son of a bitch. You f****** report me after the match and I'll f******..." and then he turned away, still cussing under his breath.

American decline hits new low

More than a century has passed since the Americans had a Wimbledon this rough. For the first time since 1911, no American men or women have made it through to the fourth round of the singles tournaments at the All England Club.

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