Rolling Stones at Wimbledon

Did you know Jerry Springer was a ball-boy at Forest Hills’ US Championships in the 60’s?

Guess what? The most prestigious event in tennis is about to start, and thanks to a recent Serena Williams profile in Rolling Stone magazine, it feels more like we’re getting ready for a taping of “The Jerry Springer Show.” Just a day before strawberries and cream, proper whites, traditional reverence and polite respect of the oldest tennis tournament in the world, Serena is launching apologies like aces in a final.

In the article, she offered thoughts on the Steubenville rape case; thoughts many interpretted as Serena placing blame on the 16-year-old victim for putting herself in that situation. She has since publically apologized – an apology accepted by the family.

She also offered an unflattering opinion of “a top-five player” and her boyfriend. To most, it was quite obvious the comments were about Maria Sharapova, and during Saturday’s pre-Wimbledon presser, Maria took the chance to fire back: “If she wants to talk about something personal, maybe she should talk about her relationship and her boyfriend that was married and is getting a divorce and has kids…She has so much in her life, many positives, and I think that’s what it should be about.”

During her press-conference on Sunday, Serena refused to react to Maria’s comments, but did claim she apologized to Maria during the player party a few nights before. Serena spent most of her Sunday “chat” vocalizing her appreciation for the cadre of tennis reporters who professionally report on her game, claiming she should have known better than to think her “off the record” comments wouldn’t make it into a Rolling Stone article: “I’ve been in the business for a little over 200 years, so I should definitely, definitely know better. I should know better, to always have my guard up.”

Okay, enough. I get it. Congrats to Rolling Stone for selling a ton of magazines and boosting web-hits over the past week. Congrats to Wimbledon and the networks for drawing interest and awareness from the casual fan who typically only watches the Men’s Final. While this has been a complete pain in the ass for Serena, it has actually been a win-win-win for everyone else, thanks to Springer-like exposure with reporters focused on Rolling Stone comments rather than the game itself. Let’s play.

Congrats to Feliciano Lopez! He won his first grass-court title Saturday in Eastbourne with a 7-6(2), 6-7(5), 6-0 defeat of Gilles Simon. Oddly enough, they drew each other in the first round of Wimbledon, so they will play again on Tuesday.

On the ladies side, Elena Vesnina won her first Premier-level title with a 6-2, 6-1 win over American Jamie Hampton. Surely Jamie felt great making a Premier-level final before Wimbledon…until she realized that she has to face fellow American Sloane Stephens in Wimbledon’s first round on Monday.

In s’Hertogenbosch, Nicolas Mahut – ranked #240 in the wolrd right now – defeated Stan Wawrinka in the final 6-3, 6-4. It is Mahut’s first ever ATP World Tour title, at 31-years-old – a player best known for his marathon, 3-day loss to John Isner at Wimbledon a few years back. A wildcard this year, Mahut plays Czech Jan Hajek on Monday at the All England Club.

Romanian Simona Halep’s playing well! After a win on clay in Nurnberg last week, she rolled into the grass at s’Hertogenbosch and took out Roberta Vinci and Cara Suarez Navarro before dominating Kirsten Flipkens in the final 6-4, 6-2.

Wimbledon starts Monday. It’s a tennis tournament.