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Wimbledon 2019 • Qualifiers Finalized As Action Concludes At Roehampton

Photos by 10sBalls



By Ricky Dimon


Some of the most intense days of every calendar year in tennis are the final rounds of qualifying at the four Grand Slams. It’s an all-or-nothing ordeal, with the loser going home without anything to show for his or her victories earlier in the week and the winner advancing to the biggest stage in tennis. As almost everyone involved in qualifying is outside the top 100, successful qualification also represents a huge, potentially career-changing payday.


With such stakes on thee line, 2019 Wimbledon qualifying concluded at Roehampton on Thursday afternoon.


Among the men’s qualifiers were Alexei Popyrin, Thiago Monteiro, Salvatore Caruso, Marcel Granollers, Ruben Bemelmans, Marcos Giron, Dennis Novak, and Gregoire Barrere. Novak reached the third round last year as a qualifier; Barrere beat Liam Broady from two sets down on Thursday.


Among the women’s qualifiers were Coco Gauff, Yanina Wickmayer, Caty McNally, Kristie Ahn, and Arina Rodionova. At 15 years old, Gauff becomes the youngest participant in a Wimbledon main draw since British wild card Laura Robson in 2009.


As intense as Thursday was, there was no shortage of emotion on display earlier in the competition.


Take Wednesday, for example. A three-set thriller between Bemelmans and Akira Santillan was a fiery one, mostly to the effect that Santillan incurred two unsportsmanlike conduct violations during the third set (the second of which resulted in a point penalty) while often screaming at the top of his lungs following the loss of a point.


But the 22-year-old Australian reserved most of his anger for the aftermath. After losing to Bemelmans 6-7(5), 6-3, 12-10, Santillan walked briskly to a secluded spot on the vast fields of Roehampton. He proceeded to take out each of his five rackets one by one and methodically destroy them either on the ground or with his foot. Santillan smashed the first one in normal racket-breaking fashion, but on forgiving grass it took him six attempts to succeed. He thus resorted to stomping on the last four, essentially breaking them in half at the throat.


Few survive Roehampton, players and apparently rackets alike. Both the men’s and women’s draws begin with 128 competitors, to be dwindled down to 16 left standing and into the main draw when it’s all said and done.


The dust has now settled at Roehampton. It’s on to the All-England Club.


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.


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