Shahar Peer Wimbledon Blog | Wimbledon HomeBorn in the Bahamas, Mark Knowles captured five ATP doubles titles in eight finals to finish No. 3 in Stanford ATP Doubles Race last year. Pairing with Daniel Nestor, they have won the Australian Open in 2002, the US Open in 2004, and the French Open in 2007. They are looking to win Wimbledon to add their names to only a select group of great doubles teams who have completed the career Grand Slam.
July 6, 20079:45pm
Well the bad weather continues here, but we were finally able to complete our match against 2005 champ Wesley Moodie and Todd Perry. It was a tough 5-setter that forced me to spend a little extra time in the ice bath. With all this rain, some players are being forced to play two matches in the same day. Luckily, we're in the half of the draw that is basically on schedule.
As for my mixed doubles match, Zi Yan and I lost a really tight match to crowd favorite Jamie Murray and Jelena Jankovic. Doubles is always well supported in England, and when one of the players is from Great Britain, it is standing room only. Obviously, we like to play in front of large, loud crowds, so that was a fun environment despite the loss.
The past couple years here, I've had the pleasure of playing with Venus Williams in 2005, and the legend Martina Navratilova in 2006. They are very different players and people, but both are extraordinary partners.
Playing with Venus was a thrill as I always marveled at her skills. I knew she was a great player, but I got to know her and she's a super nice person and I wish we could've made a deeper run in the tournament. Now I'm rooting for her to win the singles titles again. That's what separates the Williams' sisters from the other players out here - they can play themselves into championship form during a Grand Slam.
As for Martina, I grew up watching her win titles, so getting the chance to play with her was amazing. I had to beg, plead, and buy that chance to play with her, but it was well worth all my groveling in the end.
Back to this year, it's deep into the second week and as players lose and go home, the locker room gets an eerie feeling as it's much more of a business approach. Without so many folks around, it does make it a bit more peaceful and manageable.
We're playing the Brazilian team of Marcelo Melo and Andre Sa who are coming off an epic 5-set win that was 28-26 in the fifth. That match lasted about 6 hours, so hopefully, they're out of gas.
Quick prediction for the singles before I go - I'll go way out on a limb and take that Swiss guy in the men's draw, and for the women I'm torn between Henin and Williams, I'll get back to you on that on Saturday.
-Mark July 2, 2007midnight
Breaking news from Wimbledon - It's raining.
Wimbledon is steeped in tradition and poor weather is part of that tradition. Players are never surprised to see rain and delays, but I've been waiting a few days to finish our second round match. We'll give it another go tomorrow - weather permitting.
It's tough to take off on Sunday, when you look outside it's one of the nicest days of the tournament. Dan and I were able to go to the courts and get in some practice time. It's an entirely different experience to play there when there are no fans around, no helicopters circling overhead, and not as much security. After about an hour on the court, I hit my rejuvenating ice bath and had a relaxing massage.
Later that night, I was able to celebrate my sister's 30th birthday with about 12 other family members who were in town. With my crazy schedule, you don't really get many opportunities to spend time with extended family, so that bit of normalcy was certainly welcomed.
We also all watched the Celebration of Princess Diana on TV. John McEnroe and Boris Becker were presenters, so it was cool to see tennis make it's presence at such a great event. There were about 90 thousand people in the new Wembley Stadium - not a bad turnout.
With my family around, it gives me a chance to catch up on my favorite team, the Yankees. I'm pretty die hard about baseball, so it hurts to see that bullpen try to get guys out. I watch most of the games online, and despite the fact the bullpen stinks, I still predict that they'll get the wildcard spot (which is good since most of the World Series winners seem to come from a wildcard). The only problem with that is it means Boston will win the division. Thankfully, there are no Red Sox fans in the locker room, but I do have to deal with James Blake and John McEnroe chirping about the Mets - the other, lesser, New York team.
Being a big sports fan, I was impressed to see San Francisco 49er tight end Vernon Davis watching some tennis. Apparently, he was a guest of the Williams sisters, and being a big 49ers fan, I was happy to see him out supporting what we do.
Wimbledon does seem like it attracts a celeb crowd. I remember a few years ago, I met Dirk Nowitzki - the NBA MVP - in the locker room, and this year I saw James Bond/Remington Steele, Pierce Brosnan hanging out.
It's getting late, I better get to sleep - I don't want to be too tired in case my match is not rained out.
-Mark June 28, 2007
Bad news...I wasn't able to see the Snow Patrol concert tonight. I thought I was going to play tomorrow and I have a strict 'no going out before the night before I play' rule. Then I find out we're not playing so I could have gone after all. Weak.
I generally like to play early in the day - either first on or second on, leaving the rest of the day to recoup and recover.
As for our first round match, we were of course happy to make it through against a tough Spanish team. Nicolas Almagro is one of the hardest hitter on tour - just crushing forhands harder than anyone I've ever played against. Dan and I have the advantage of knowing each other's moves and where we're going to be on the court and got better as the match wore on. Our match was interrupted by rain at 5-4 in the first (what else is new), but we came back today and played quite well in winning in straights.
The Bryan bros introduced me to the joys of post match ice baths and now I'm addicted. You hop in one of these for 10 minutes after a match, follow it up with a massage, and I feel like I can play another 3-5 sets. You don't want to walk around the locker room naked after one of these baths as it doesn't do much for your masculinity, but it sure does wonders for the body. I've seen a few other guys out here use the ice bath - Tim Henman, Max Mirnyi, but it's not as prevelent as you might think. When I played at UCLA, I noticed a lot of the football guys in these ice tubs.
Other than my ritualistice ice bath, other routines I stick with is making sure to shower in the same stall each time, and now that I'm married, I'm forced to shave everyday before I play. Some of the other guys have odd superstitions - I remember at the French, the Bryans ate at the same Chinese restaurant every night for two weeks. I need a little more variety than that. Speaking of which, I'm going to grab some dinner and check in later.
June 26, 20078:30 pm
Not a whole lot has happened since the last time I checked in. I'm still awaiting our first round match, but I have been out on the courts practicing and trying to stay dry. One thing a lot of the players do is hang out in the lounge and watch other guys play. There was quite a lot of us gathered around the tube watching that epic Tim Henman/Carlos Moya marathon. It's always fun to listen to the players comment on the action - predicting where they're going to serve and so forth. Both Tim and Carlos are great guys so the rooting was split. I'm happy my buddy Tim pulled it out (and he didn't even get tight).
There's a chance I might go see Snow Patrol in concert later in the week if my schedule permits. I'm not a huge concert goer, but I do enjoy the occasional U2, Dave Matthews Band, or Pearl Jam concert (if I can get hooked up with some tickets).
Most of the guys out here are big into music and you see everyone wearing their headphones, rocking the iPod. Being from the Bahamas, I enjoy some Reggae music - stuff like Buju Bantan can really pump me up for my match. I also like hip hop artists like JayZ, Akon, Eminem. I think if they played some music for my entrance into a match, I'd go with Walk Like a Champion
by Buju. They do play entrance music at a couple of events and I find it interesting to see who goes with the Opera and showtunes.
One last funny thing that I notice happening more and more - especially at Grand Slams. I'm being mistaken for the king blogger Dmitry Tursunov and vice versa. We do look similar I guess, but he told me that fans have been congratulating him on winning the French Open doubles title. Even the press has asked to interview him thinking he was me. I don't think anyone is going to mistake my blog for his though. Maybe I'll get him to play doubles with me at some point - we can play the Bryan bros and then nobody will be able to tell anybody apart.
Until next time...cheers,
June 23, 200711pm
Greetings from Wimbledon Village -
It's exciting every time I play here and after coming off a win at Roland Garros, Daniel Nestor and I have a chance to win the rare career Grand Slam with a Wimbledon title. We're hoping to ride our momentum into this tournament after winning Queen's Club last week.
It's certainly not easy after 8 weeks playing exclusively on clay to seamlessly transition to grass, but I think both Dan and I have the complete games to make us successful on all surfaces.
As for Wimbledon, coming to these hallowed grounds is majestic. While I am a true Bahamian, my mom is British and I even have a British passport, so I was brought up with a definitive respect for this tournament. It is actually the only tournament I attended as a kid and I can remember the epic Borg/McEnroe final that left me idolizing Borg ever since.
June is actually the favorite part of the schedule as it's the one month that allows for me to be with my wife and 21-month old son Graham. We rent a house in the village and I'm able to bring Graham - who carries his own racquet bag - into the locker room. That's a thrill for him to hang out with the other players, and they're always happy to see the kids running around.
All the tabloids are going crazy - pushing the Paris Hilton news to the back pages - with the news that Dan and I might be severing our partnership after Wimbledon. It's obviously a sensitive subject as we're currently playing some of our best tennis, but Dan has been thinking about playing with Serbian Nenad Zimonjic. Complicating matters is that Zimonjic is currently playing with Fabrice Santoro so it's a bit of a sticky situation. Maybe we should've started rumors of a breakup many years ago, since we haven't lost since this news broke. We're both actually very focused on the job at hand and are preparing for a deep run here at Wimbledon. (Of course if I do need a new doubles partner, I'm going straight to Roger Federer to see if he is bored with singles and is ready for another challenge.)
I'm a bit of homebody during tournaments, watching movies, hanging out with the family, but we did manage to make it to Richard Branson's party at the Kensington Roof Gardens. That was pretty cool - Maria Sharapova was there as were a bunch of other players. Certainly one of the better parties I've been to.
As for other activities pre Wimbledon, I played in an exo at Stoke Park near Heathrow airport with the Bryan Bros. There was a nice golf course there that was tempting me to tee it up, but I generally stay away from the links when I'm in a tournament to assure no back tweaks. When not in a tournament though, look out, I play quite a bit of golf. Tim Henman is a good player (although he tends to get a bit tight at times), Kevin Ullyett is also pretty tough out there, but I usually can hold my own.
I'm off to get some sleep, but I'll check in later to talk about the draw and ATP's Doubles Revolution promotion.