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The BBC Wimbledon experts
Your questions answered from 26 June
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Your questions answered from 4 July
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The BBC Wimbledon experts
More questions answered from 26 June
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Wednesday, 5 July, 2000, 05:46 GMT 06:46 UK
Ask the experts
John McEnroe
Throughout Wimbledon fortnight Sport Online is offering you the chance to quiz BBC television's experts in the studio at SW19.

Sue Barker and John Inverdale are leading the team, putting your questions to a team of experts including former champions John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova and Pat Cash.

The team will be on air discussing the big matches as soon as they finish, and you can join in by emailing them through Sport Online.

Other experts such as former Wimbledon semi-finalist Pam Shriver and McEnroe's ex-doubles partner Peter Fleming will be in the studio to react to the action and your comments.

Your emails will be a hot topic of conversation whenever anything happens, or in the almost inevitable times when "rain stops play".

And BBC Sport Online will print and broadcast the best responses here every day of the championships.

So email us here and stay tuned to the coverage on BBC One and BBC Two throughout the Wimbledon fortnight.


E-mails from the programme on Tuesday 4 July were answered by John Lloyd and Sue Barker

Rebecca Waller of Kent
The tribute to the past champions was a wonderful idea, but where was the Duchess of Kent? Is she still the patron of Wimbledon? Even if she is not it would have been good to see her, after all she has presented many of the trophies.

It's because it's the LTA were presenting for Wimbledon and therefore she is the patron of the Lawn Tennis Association, but it was a great, wonderful idea.

It was fantastic. It would have nice to have seen her here, but it was a wonderful occasion. I loved it, I thought it was great to see all the old champions there and looking so well.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of choosing to serve at the beginning of the match and what sort of game does each choice suit?

Obviously on grass the tendency is to take serve first because you want to be that game ahead and normally on grass you are going to hold your serve. The big servers want to get that game ahead and put the pressure on the receiver . On the other hand, occasionally a good returner of serve may think to themselves the first game of the match is normally when a player isn't perhaps loose yet and maybe it would be a vulnerable time to break. So, generally speaking, the good returners will occasionally receive serve, but you'll see the big serve volleyers will always take the serve when they get the choice.

What did you used to do?

Depends on how I felt. There were some days where I didn't like the look of my serve in practice and I said I'll receive. I liked to have that game to get a few of those nerves out. I didn't want to go out and play a bad first service game and lose it, because you don't want to be down a break immediately on grass.

And if you are a good returner, the chance is you can break first game.


Caroline Morrison
I was wondering if you could tell me who the fastest woman server is in current years?

I can actually tell you who the fastest server here at the championships is so far. It is Venus Williams, not surprisingly, 119mph, that's 190kmph. Serena Williams is the second fastest 116mph. Then its Jennifer Capriati, Lindsey Davenport, Mary Pierce and so on and so on. Actually, Anna Kournikova's 9th, and they've criticised her serve, but it's the second serve really that is more of the problem.
Brenda Shultz was definitely a big server.

A little bit further back than that, Margaret Cort was a big server in her time, but Brenda was definitely one that I really remember. She had a huge serve, ten years ago now, when she was at her peak.

She got so many cheap points. What about the men's? Who do you remember from your era?

Well from my era there's Rosco Tanna who had that famous left handed serve that was right up there. Colin Dibley from Australia was another big server but nothing in comparison to the gentleman you're about to read off your computer.

The fastest man. Mark Phillipoussis is 137 mph, 219kmph. Then Greg Rusedski, Taylor Dent, Tomas Johanson, Pete Sampras, 133mph, that's the current champion

John Chester
It has been mentioned on TV that many players have to follow a special diet to achieve maximum fitness and speed. Could you explain the type of diet players follow - and whether they do this on a short-term or long-term basis?

I was a big believer in doughnuts, creams and all that sort of lovely stuff. Now it's totally regimented. In our day, people would say you should have a good steak about 3 hours before you play, but of course now its more the carbohydrates before you play. The pasta and that sort of stuff. Very light foods the day of the match, the night before you'd maybe load up on a bit of protein. But now players have these special drinks, in our day we were lucky to get water.

Edward Hazel (aged 11)
I would like to ask where Mal Washington's gone? I can remember that he was a beaten finalist a few years ago at Wimbledon, but I haven't seen him since. I thought he was a good player, but where has he gone?

Well, he's retired from the game because he had dreadful injures. Which basically happened after he'd got to the final. He had that great year and then he had terrible knee problems. He tried to make a comeback, but couldn't make it back because of the injures. Now he does TV commentating in the States, and he's very good.

Yes. On a full time basis.

Yes. It was a pity, because he was so fast around the court and he had a lot to offer the game but unfortuneately, what can you do?

Anne Sellick
Whatever happened to Ivan Lendl? Has he ever returned to Wimbledon as a spectator?

Well, Mr Lendl is try to be a professional golfer. He plays 6 hours a day. He's supposedly a scratch golfer, although I've played with him, and I don't think he is. He loves it and he's trying to play in the senior circuit, he plays in celebrity events. He doesn't play tennis which I've quite understood because he says that when he plays tennis he can't walk for 2 days because of his back which made him stop early on the professional circuit, and yet he can play golf 6 hours a day. But he wants to play senior golf and he's going to really have a go at it and he trains just as hard at golf as he did at tennis.

Mr C Beavis
I would be grateful if you or your team would be so kind as to let me know what the great Jimmy Connors is up to these days? You don't hear too much about him since he retired from the sport. I would just like to know if he plays the senior tour or if he still plays exhibition matches or anything at all?

He certainly does. He plays the senior tour which he founded about 6 or 7 years ago now. He actually played last year at the Albert Hall in the seniors event, so he did come back to England last year. He plays all the time, I see him all the time. I'm always very nice to Jimmy because he's the boss and if you're not nice to Jimmy you don't get on the senior tour. So I send him a lot of Christmas cards and presents regularly and see him all the time.

David Springham
Would you please tell me whether Tracey Austin is attending or commentating at this years tournament? It would be great to see her interviewed and asked for her opinion about this year's battle for glory.

Tracey's not here. She does commentating for the French but not here unfortunately. I see her regularly, she play corporate events. She has a family now, 2 kids. Hopefully one day she'll be back at Wimbledon doing some commentating.

David Aldridge
Can you tell me the name of the tune that is played at the end of the Wimbledon coverage TV programme please? It's an old tune in 6/8 march-time, and played by an orchestra, but I don't know what it is called.

Answer : "Sporting Occasions", composed by Arnold Steck, released by Chappell

E-mails from the programme on Monday 26 June were answered by John Lloyd and Pam Shriver.

Georgorio Di Pichizzini asked the panel who they thought the four female semi-finalists will be this year.

Pam: I think Hingis for sure, Davenport if her back is OK. I think one of the Williams sisters has a pretty good shot, obviously Venus is in the same quarter as Hingis, so it's probably Serena who has a slight edge over Conchita Martinez.

In the other quarter of the draw, Either Pierce or Tauizat. Mary Pierce, who has never been through to the semi-finals, has never come into a major with as much confidence and she just needs to figure out how to apply that confidence onto a grass court.

Sue: Pam we asked for four, you gave us seven there! Anyone she didn't mention in there John?

John: You got about everybody. I think it's wide open in the womens.

Neil Adams believes that the game would be improved if only one service per point was allowed. This, in his opinion, would lead to better rallies and would bring different champions to the fore.

John: I think that would be going too far. One of the suggestions was prehaps to limit the number of second serves you have in a game.

It would make the serve more of a tactical weapon rather than throwing the ball up and going for an ace. If you only had, say, three second serves for example, it would make you pick when to hit the big first serves.

But I think if you put it down to one, there would be a lot of double faults and the game would be too much from the baseline.

Pam: I thought one rule change that they did experiment with in team tennis is eliminating the net call on the serve, which I liked a lot. But I went into that rule pessimistic and I ended up liking it.

Frankly Neil, think of another one!

Andrew Courtney from Northern Ireland asked why there is such a lack of very good players emerging from Britain, especially in the women's game.

Pam: Maybe it's because you are unlucky sometimes, or maybe you don't have the prospects. You have to look at the system and see where it is vulnerable.

Are courts accessible to people that are little disadvantaged, do you have good coaching, do you have equal coaching?

John: I think it has to come down to the coaching. I think a lot of our money is not spent the right way.

We have as good as facilities as anybody else in Europe, but why are we not producing the players?

You don't have to be a brain surgeon, it has to be because the coaching is not right.

If you take out Greg Rusedski, other than Tim Henman, our men are also struggling, lets be honest about that.

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Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
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See also:

11 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
Sue Barker
27 Jun 00 | Wimbledon2000
The best party in town
11 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
John Inverdale
11 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
Pam Shriver
11 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
John McEnroe
11 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
Martina Navratilova
11 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
Pat Cash
11 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
Peter Fleming
11 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
Virginia Wade
27 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
Shriver tips Hingis for glory
27 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
Lloyd slams seeding committee
24 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
Novotna tips Tauziat for title
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