Wimbledon Revisited

This weekend saw me glued to the television for the gripping final of the men’s Wimbledon tennis tournament. I may have missed the opportunity for a British spectator hat trick by not following the Royal Ascot horse race (I see some of the ridiculous hats in the gossip section of the papers, however!), almost hitting up all of the top three British sporting events after my glimpse of Henley last week but without question, the Wimbledon final stole the show.

As I mentioned, to say I’d followed the tournament closely would have been an understatement. Wimbledon radio was my permanent soundtrack during work and when I got home the television would be on before the door had shut behind me (although that could have more to do with the size of our flat than my enthusiasm for the game. It’s a tough call there). While I was relatively fickle in my loyalties during the preliminary matches – Hewitt, Roddick, Murray on occasion all receiving my support – there was no question in my mind that Federer would take the top spot, a richly deserved honour after last year’s painful defeat. Plus I didn’t really want to see him cry again.

So it wasn’t with much fear for Federer’s title that I followed the Twitter updates from Alex, who had scored seats to the historic final event, prepared my strawberries and Pimms and got comfortable on the couch for what I imagined would be a clean win for Roger.

It was with surprise but some excitement as well that I watch Roddick break first in the game, taking an early lead and the first set. No nerves yet, just the promise of a more evenly matched set than I had anticipated. The second set confirmed Federer’s strengths as he saved four set points in a tie break to come back and pull the set from the jaws of defeat.

Of course it was the fifth set, after a nail-bitting display bringing the men to two sets all, that brought every tennis fan across the world to the edge of their seat. Federer hadn’t yet broken Roddick’s serve, while Andy had broken Roger twice. The each seemed to be waiting for the other to break down, but they waited in vain as the set, which due to Wimbledon official rules can’t end in a tie break to decide the match, stretched on longer and longer. It was the thirtieth (that’s 30th) game of the set where suddenly the tide turned in Roger’s favour as Andy netted serves and lost points he had been winning earlier in the game.

With a final error from Roddick, the more than four hour game finally came to an end with Federer crowned the champion. The tennis greats were there to see him, the now world-record holder for most grand slams won, take that historic title.

I’m definitely sad Wimbledon has ended, it was a fantastic two weeks. Again I didn’t make it to the tennis grounds, and in fact have yet to visit the courts at all, but hope that some day I’ll be in the centre court crowd and when I am, I hope the match is just half as stunning as the final between Federer and Roddick on 5 July, 2009.

Independence Day in London has traditionally (well, the one previous time I’ve celebrated it here) been a strange combination of British and American elements coming together to create a unique multi-national celebration unlike anything I’ve ever known. Last year, I visited the British Museum for a tour of their British artist’s exhibition, to look at their stunning collection of British artifacts and to take part in their American independence day celebration which was marked with, of all things, Krispy Kreme donuts, quilt-making and American football demonstrations. To cap it off, I was spending the day with my British flatmate and a friend from high school in California.

This year seemed as if it would be a bit of a wash in the American department as I had already spent the day watching Wimbledon while eating strawberries. In an effort to regain some sense of the homeland I dressed myself up in red, white and blue, made southern-style chili and thought superior and revolutionary thoughts at all the British people I passed.

The evening of the fourth, however, another American friend here in London encouraged me to join the multi-national group that was celebrating our independence not too far from where I live. Without needing much more encouragement, I made my way to a New York style pizza joint decorated with red, white and blue balloons to spend the evening with my American friend, a El Salvadorian who had spend over a decade in the States, his Irish wife and our British friend. It’s unlikely there was a more mixed group anywhere celebrating independence day but of course, that’s what America is all about.

Happy 4th of July!


It’s been a fairly epic weekend and although I’ll probably spend most of this week trying to verbalise the last few days, in the meantime I’ll leave it to Alex Will to recap the incredible Wimbledon final on his blog:

Wimbledon: My Lifelong Dream

I may not have been there, but I felt like I was!

On 1 July, the product launch day for my friends over at Sonnet Models, the team had a small unofficial launch party (a little celebration to preempt a bigger upcoming launch party) and I got invited along. The location was set for the banks of the Thames a ways outside London in a town called Henley-on-Thames, famously home of the Henley Regatta – one of the top three UK sporting events along with Wimbledon and the Royal Ascot horse race. To my great excitement, the evening’s launch party would coincide with the regatta itself so five o’clock saw me beating a hasty retreat from the Spoonfed offices, racing across town to change into my British summer best, and hopping a train from Paddington Station towards the previously unvisited town of Henley-on-Thames.

The evening hit an unfortunate bump early off as signal failures locally had delayed every train leaving the station. After an hour sitting on the unmoving train I had been worried I’d miss, I began to wonder if the 75 minute ride would be worth it. The train finally began moving but my misgivings increased when, at the junction where I needed to change trains, I saw hordes of well-dressed revelers leaving the regatta which had ended some hours before.

Given that my only other option was to turn around and find someone to shout at in the train station I had just left, I carried on towards Henley where I finally discovered the adorable little river-side town and the Sonnet Model’s celebratory group who welcomed me with a much needed glass of Pimms. The weather in Henley was stunning and we spent the evening wandering the banks of the river, indulging in ice creams and Pimms and taking in the post-regatta calm that was probably much preferable to the chaos of the day’s main event.

While I only had a few hours outside of London in Henley, the mini break reminded me how much I enjoy getting out of the city, especially with a friendly, fun and social group of people. While of course I’m looking forward to the Sonnet Models’ official launch party, I’m not sure much could be the great weather and relaxed evening on the banks of the Thames in Henley.

It’s the big day for Sonnet Models, a very clever Facebook application that I’ve been beta testing and incredibly impressed with. While they’ve been in a private beta for the last few months, they’ve finally launched to the world today at 11am GMT.

I’m generally very wary when it comes to anything related to modeling – not because it’s not an exciting, appealing and strangely fascinating industry but because I, like the majority of real women in the world, just don’t fit a stereotypical model profile.  Sonnet Models, however, seeks to match individual looks with the model agencies and clients who need them.

Here’s a bit more info about the company:

The ‘Sonnet Face of the World’ competition will allow any aspiring Kate Moss to be voted by the public into the attention of top modelling agencies around the world; Sonnet currently has partners in 33 locations. All finalists will secure contracts with leading agencies like Elite, Diva, Scene and Click. The winners will fly to one of the fashion capitals for a shoot with a top photographer to launch their modelling careers.

Although simple and intuitive, the application is also incredibly powerful. By gathering millions of consumer opinions from around the world, the patent-pending sorting algorithms will allow modelling agencies to instantly find the best models – even if they have to meet very specific criteria. For example, a scout from an LA-based agency may be looking for new face to meet a client’s request – a female who is at least 5’11”, aged 16-18, living in California and considered beautiful and elegant by men aged 25-35, living in New York, who are interested in technology and fashion. This may seem like an impossible task – but a simple search on Sonnet will locate the best candidates in seconds.

You can also find more about Sonnet Models here:

We know you think of yourself as a bit of Betty (and don’t be modest, we certainly don’t mean the Ugly one). But when it comes to getting the recognition you deserve, it can be tough. Fortunately new Cambridge, UK based startup Sonnet Models knows exactly how to catapult you to the front cover.

Read more about Sonnet Models from Sonnet Models on Techettes.

Knowing one of the guys behind the project and having seen it for myself, I’m quite excited to see where Sonnet Models can go, and the opportunities it can provide for men and women who might not otherwise have been able to break into the modelling industry.  It’s free, it’s fun and it’s a great application – check out the Sonnet Models Facebook application today!