Breakfast and Wimbledon, Day 2

Dan Kitwood

Come for the food, stay for the tennis. Today, it's Nadal vs. Grass, the United States vs. the field, old age vs. time, and Anthony Bourdain vs. Frank Bruni vs. Paula Deen.

What I'm Watching

Gentlemen's Singles (Round 1)
Juan Martin del Potro [8] v. Albert Ramos (Match No. 1, Court 1)
Sam Querrey [21] v. Bernard Tomic (Match No. 2, Court 3)
Jeremy Chardy [28] v. Ryan Harrison (Match No. 2, Court 12)
Tomas Berdych [7] v. Martin Klizan (Match No. 3, Court 1)

Ladies' Singles (Round 1)
Heather Watson v. Madison Keys (Match No. 1, Court 2)
Serena Williams [1] v. Mandy Minella (Match No. 1, Centre Court)
Maria Kirilenko [10] v. Laura Robson (Match No. 2, Court 1)
Mallory Burdette v. Urszula Radwanska (Match No. 2, Court 7)

Big day for Americans!

What I'm Eating

(Because Steve Darcis is Belgian and Rafael Nadal is Spanish, you see.) Challenge accepted! I'll be attempting a waffles, peaches, brown sugar, and ham combination of some sort. Pictures forthcoming.

Today's food debate/entertainment/discussion: Frank Bruni vs. Anthony Bourdain vs. Paula Deen. In response to the week's Paula Deen drama, Bruni, a food writer for the New York Times, wrote this:

There’s almost always a larger context like that when someone falls as spectacularly as Deen has fallen, and there’s almost always a prelude: a first strike.

Hers was in early 2012. That’s when she lost the benefit of the doubt, not racially but in terms of her character, by revealing that she had been diagnosed three years earlier with Type 2 diabetes, which is abetted by the calorie bombs on which her empire thrived.

This disclosure was timed not to benefit her fans, who were continuing to follow her fatty counsel, but to benefit her: one of her sons had a new healthy-cooking show that needed promoting, and she herself was stepping out as a spokeswoman — a paid spokeswoman — for a diabetes drug.

What’s more, the triumphant cynicism of this situation seemed lost on her.

Bourdain's response:

In that piece, Bruni wrote this (and yes, I am using a couple of your free NYT clicks):

The latest to be slashed [by Bourdain]: Paula Deen. For the uninitiated, she’s the deep-fried doyenne of a fatty, buttery subgenre of putatively Southern cooking. And Bourdain, in an interview with TV Guide published last week, branded her an outright menace to America, scolding her for “telling an already obese nation that it’s O.K. to eat food that is killing us.”

To this he added a gratuitous schoolyard-crass putdown of Deen cuisine. […]

[T]reating Deen, Lee & Co. with anything that smacks of moralizing and snobbery isn’t likely to move them or their audience toward healthier eating. It’s apt to cook up resentment. And we’ve got enough ill will and polarization in our politics. Let’s not set a place for them at the table.

Bruni's two columns aren't necessarily contradictory in content, but reading them side-by-side does make Bruni's 2011 column seem like the kind of political tut-tutting we've gotten used to from the newspaper that employs David Brooks and Maureen Dowd, where a shrill tone cancels out even a perfectly correct argument.

The latest Deen controversy was really not even much of a controversy -- say certain words, and you don't get to be paid millions of dollars to be on television anymore. The end. But until the last week, Deen was a source of conflict for me, for an obvious reason: Southern food is really, really good. Most of the Deen dishes I've tried through the years were predictably delicious (because butter), so I found myself simultaneously resenting her for promoting the things she has and wanting to eat most of what she was cooking. Bourdain's anti-Deen rants annoyed my mother, but I understood them, and her later claim to have "always promoted moderation" was complete crap. Other than calling her Krispy Kreme burgers (ahem) a "once per lifetime" meal, I never heard her suggest anything regarding moderation. Hey, maybe I just missed it.

The diabetes thing just ended it for me, though. Not only will eating her food give you diabetes, but it gave her diabetes, and she didn't reveal it for quite a while, instead continuing to churn out exactly the same food as before. After quite a while -- she said she needed time to process it herself, which is fine, but damn -- she finally acknowledged her disease while simultaneously promoting a drug for the disease. And more recently, she announced that she didn't want to be known as the queen of butter, then announced her own line of "finishing butters" for sale at Wal Mart.

I've never thought of Paula Deen as cynical or exploitative, but she was clearly opportunistic and contradictory, seemingly willing to sacrifice some principles for money. And tut-tutting Bourdain because of his tone in telling the truth was both very New York Times-ish and silly. Bourdain said three years ago what a lot of people are only comfortable saying now because she has admitted to using the n-word and is therefore okay to hate.

But I digress!


7:05 a.m. ET

I guess all you can hope for from a telecast is to learn something. ESPN's Day 2 coverage began with a discussion of Rafael Nadal and knees, basically, and it was interesting. Darren Cahill spoke from experience in describing how grass court tennis is actually the worst surface for your knees despite being softer. You aren't as certain when you plant your feet, and early in the first week, it's even more slippery than it will be later in the tournament.

So for Nadal, who has wonky knees to begin with, that's an issue, as is the simple fact that he has to bend his knees so severely on grass anyway, just to get his absurd, Nadal-patented top spin on the ball. So yeah, while it would be silly and presumptive to pronounce that Nadal's grass court success is solely a thing of the past, I don't think it would surprise any if that ended up true. As was pointed out in the discussion, there will be a longer grass court season in future years, but by the time that falls into place, Nadal will be a 28-year old with 60-year old knees. Might be too late.

7:20 a.m. ET

They just did a close-up of the spot on the practice court where Vika Azarenka should be practicing but isn't. Production value! While discussing how Azarenka was screaming and sobbing when her awkward slip and injury happened yesterday, Chris Evert points out that she took an injury timeout for anxiety at the Australian Open and raises a skeptical eyebrow. She will only get cattier and more enjoyable as the fortnight unfolds.

7:30 a.m. ET

It's old folks day at the All-England Club! Kimiko Date-Krumm, a spry 42, just crushed 18-year old qualifier Carina Witthoeft, 6-2, 6-0, while James Blake, 33, just went up two sets on 24-year old Thiemo de Bakker.

7:55 a.m. ET

Goodness! Blake closes out a 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 massacre of de Bakker with a crushing return of a de Bakker overhead. Blake's beard makes him look his age, but his game was straight out of 2008 today. Meanwhile, an American woman barely half Blake's age looks good as well: Madison Keys just closed out a strangely easy 6-3, 7-5 win over British youngster Heather Watson. Keys is going to be really, really good someday. She's already playing at a nearly top 25 level.

8:55 a.m. ET

Ugh. Sam Querrey blows the first-set tiebreaker against Bernard Tomic with some late errors. Querrey has top-10 strokes and power but just suffers too damn many glitches.

9:10 a.m. ET

Is it bad that it feels like Serena Williams 'struggled' because she 'only' won the second set, 6-3, versus Mandy Minella? Is that how high my expectations of her have risen?

9:30 a.m. ET

And Querrey dumps a backhand into the net to drop the second-set tiebreaker to Tomic. He has ceded the title of "mentally stronger player" to the Australian version of Mario Balotelli.

9:55 a.m. ET


Sauteed a little (A LITTLE!) butter with brown sugar and some Elijah Craig, dumped in peaches, slapped down a piece of ham, laid it all over a couple of waffles that my wife made for the kid and froze. Efficiency!

10:00 a.m. ET

Yeah, I'm going to be eating cereal for lunch. And dinner. And next week.

10:05 a.m. ET

So my cable just froze as Novak Djokovic was getting ready to serve. Only, I didn't realize it had frozen for about 45 seconds … I just assumed Djokovic was bouncing the ball 118 times before serving like he did in the olden days.

10:35 a.m. ET

And we're back! And I see that Querrey very quickly evened things up (or Tomic went Tomic) on Court 3. It's now 3-4 in the fourth...

10:40 a.m. ET

...and Tomic, having lulled Querrey to sleep over the last hour, hits the gas and wins the fifth, 6-3. Meanwhile, Djokovic is getting a fight from Florian Meyer -- it's 5-5 in the second (Djokovic won the first).

10:42 a.m. ET

And as soon as I hit publish, Djokovic breaks Meyer and will serve for the second set. I am completely out of rhythm today, evidently. I blame the ham.

10:50 a.m. ET

Oh, hey, look, Ryan Harrison lost to Chardy in four sets. Good day for Americans. Meanwhile, young Laura Robson took the first set from Maria Kirilenko and apparently looked incredible doing it. I wouldn't know, because I was trying to keep up with the Harrison match, and I stink at live-blogging today.

11:05 a.m. ET

And we're back again after the computer froze up. Paula's wrath is fierce and swift.

11:20 a.m. ET

Holy smokes, do you think the British media want a good British female player to cover?

(Meanwhile, Robson, up 40-15 and 4-1, makes a series of tight, nervous errors and has her serve broken. 4-2.)

11:35 a.m. ET

Robson serving at 5-4 in the second set, and ... eep. Three of Robson's first four serves feature poor tosses. Her second serve at 0-15 looks out, but there's no call and no challenge. Robson hits a forehand winner to even the game at 15-15, bombs a service winner for 30-15, then screws up another toss and hits a first serve with the frame of her racket like I used to periodically. And then she goes and wins the point anyway. Two match points. After another mis-toss, she wrong-foots Kirilenko on a forehand winner. 6-3, 6-4, Robson, and there was no doubt about it!

12:25 p.m. ET

Not much going on right now. Bethanie Mattek-Sands, so good on clay, didn't have much to offer in a 6-3, 6-4 loss to No. 7 Angelique Kerber, and fellow American Mallory Burdette put up a fight but lost in three sets to Urszula Radwanska. Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens both looked great in first-round wins (as did James Blake, of course), but not many Americans have advanced on the men's or women's sides of the draw. Meanwhile, Tommy Haas and Djokovic won in straight sets, David Ferrer took his first set with ease, and Tomas Berdych is serving to close out the first set.

12:40 p.m. ET

We have drama (maybe)! Ferrer drops the second set to Argentina's Martin Alund. Or, in Gilbert-ese...

12:55 p.m. ET

Different kind of drama.

Ferrer and Alund are on serve in the third, Berdych is up a break on Klizan in the second, and Milos Raonic after pegging a ball girl, just closed out an easy, straight-set win.

2:10 p.m. ET

Hello! As great as Monday was at Wimbledon, Tuesday has been almost equally dull. Ferrer and Berdych closed out their matches with little drama, Juan Martin del Potro cruised, so did Sam Stosur and Na Li on the women's side, and a bunch of Americans lost, basically. But hey, if every day were as crazy as Monday, we wouldn't appreciate it as much.

There is not much going on in the evening matches, either. Bobby Reynolds and Steve Johnson, both Americans, have split the first two sets on Court 4, and American Michael Russell has done the same against Grega Zemlja. Sabine Lisicki and Francesca Schiavone just started, and Gilles Simon (who almost beat Roger Federer at the French Open) is down two sets to Feliciano "The One Spanish Player Better on Grass than Clay" Lopez. Oh, and Agna Radwanska (the No. 4 seed on the women's side) is cruising early. And I still haven't eaten lunch. I might not, actually.

2:45 p.m. ET

The first "wow" moment in hours comes not from action on the court, but from a tidbit that commentator Pam Shriver just shared during Sabine Lisicki's ongoing throttling of Francesca Schiavone (Lisicki took the first set, 6-1):

Interestingly enough, Sharapova's scheduled out on Court 2 against [Michelle] Larcher de Brito, who was known four or five years ago as the loudest screamer of all-time. She's toned it down just a touch, but I think that's the reason why the Club scheduled Sharapova on Court 2 -- an extremely loud opponent.

Sure enough ... a YouTube search confirms. Wow.


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