Wimbledon diary: mothers, husbands and balls of iron but no boxers | Wimbledon 2023

new balance


In the shades

A blockbuster Wednesday at Wimbledon, including an intense rematch of the 2022 final between Ons Jabeur and Elena Rybakina, and a face-off between two guys not old enough to legally drink in America; the supremely talented Carlos Alcaraz and the also supremely talented Holger Rune, whose mother’s combination of cat-eyeliner and sunglasses-over-headscarf look I am rather obsessed with.

Punching volleys

Speaking of America, the surprise success story Chris Eubanks took on the No 3 seed, Daniil Medvedev. Just to be clear: Chris Eubanks, not, as I have heard multiple people refer to the Atlanta native, Chris Eubank. But any word on Eubanks’s boxing skills, and I’ll be sure to let you know.

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Him indoors

There’s been a noticeable absence during Elina Svitolina’s heroic Wimbledon run: her husband, fellow tennis player Gaël Monfils. “I don’t want to jinx a few things,” Svitolina said in her presser. “He’s looking after Skai [their daughter]. It’s OK. I let him stay at home for now.” As for Skai, she was nonchalant about her mother’s success on a FaceTime call. “She was really distracted with her ice-cream, so I was not the priority,” Svitolina revealed. In further husband-at-home news, Svitolina’s fellow semi-finalist, Marketa Vondrousova, was also sans significant other. Why? “He’s looking after our cat.” Fur enough.

Novak in his element

Novak Djokovic, no stranger to rather bizarre health fads and superstitions – but hey, the guy has won 23 grand slam titles, so who am I to argue? – was seen during his match against Hubie Hurkacz wearing an odd coin‑like thing taped to his chest, which made its first appearance at the French Open last month. When queried then, Djokovic wasn’t entirely forthcoming about what exactly it was, instead saying: “When I was a kid I liked Iron Man a lot, so I try to impersonate Iron Man.” This might also explain the copious nuts and seeds he eats, which are an excellent source of said element.

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Game, set and crotch

In the royal box on Wednesday, the sculptor Sir Antony Gormley, most famous for his iron body casts (and therefore, the true iron man – apologies, Novak). An exquisite artist for sure, but I do always wonder what it must be like knowing that a good chunk of the population is familiar with the exact size and outline of your genitals. A couple of years ago his self-figures, which make up the installation Another Place on Merseyside, were temporarily removed for maintenance. Or, to put it another way: new balls, please.

new balance



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