Fans on Henman Hill watch Murray and Konta at Wimbledon
LONDON (AP) — Henman Hill? Murray Mound? Konta Cliff? At Wimbledon on Monday, it was all three.
For the first time since 1973, Britain will have players in the quarterfinals of both the men’s and women’s singles draws.
Johanna Konta defeated Caroline Garcia 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-4 to become the first British woman to reach the last eight at Wimbledon since Jo Durie in 1984. Andy Murray then beat Benoit Paire 7-6 (1), 6-4, 6-4 to progress to the quarterfinals for a 10th consecutive time.
Yet the fans at the All England Club’s Aorangi Terrace, which was etched into the British public’s consciousness as “Henman Hill” in the late 1990s in honor of four-time semifinalist Tim Henman, didn’t get to see the end of Konta’s match.
With Garcia on the verge of leveling the match at one set each, the big screen cut to Centre Court to show Murray and Paire warming up.
“I’m not impressed by the decision,” said Diane Clayton, a fan from nearby Woking sitting on the hill. “Granted, Murray’s a good player and he’s No. 1, but they should have given her the benefit of the doubt and let her finish her match. We definitely didn’t have to watch them practice.”
The decision outside didn’t affect Konta. She won the third set and kept alive her hopes of becoming the first British woman to win the Wimbledon title since Virginia Wade in 1977.
“I don’t know, because I wasn’t on Henman Hill. I was on Court 1 playing,” Konta said when asked about the change on the big screen. “I think that’s a broadcasting decision.”
And she was right.
“The broadcast department uses editorial judgment in order to determine which matches are shown on the big screen on The Hill,” the All England Club said in a statement to The Associated Press. “We also keep spectators updated with scores from key matches from around the grounds via graphics.”
Murray joined Roger Federer and Jimmy Connors as the only men to record 10 straight quarterfinal appearances at a Grand Slam tournament, but Konta’s progress comes as more of a surprise.
The seventh-ranked Konta had won only one match in her five previous Wimbledon appearances. She will next face Simona Halep in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.
“It’s great that she’s doing well. Hopefully she keeps going the next few days,” Murray said. “It’s important to have various different role models in the sport, players competing for the biggest events. I do think it makes a difference to the interest in the sport, because a lot of people who follow tennis in this country won’t enjoy watching me play.”
But many do, and they will be looking forward to Murray’s next match against Sam Querrey on Wednesday.
“I think everyone would rather see Andy Murray, to be honest,” said Chris Macdonald, a fan from Scotland who now lives in London. “Everyone’s happy to see the Murray game.”
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