Tennis players love soccer


LONDON -- It's the most glamorous time of year in tennis. The roses are in full bloom, the players' shirts are sparkling white and the tennis is as cutthroat as it is elegant.

With 42 acres of sprawling beauty, the All England Club is the place to be, especially if you want to talk ... soccer.

USA! USA! USA! Right, John Isner?

"It's very exciting," the American said after his opening-round win Tuesday. "I'm not going to say it means the same to me as it does to some of these Europeans in the locker room. I mean, we're not in America right now, but you see the highlights and all the big crowds and big cities watching the U.S. play.

"You click on the articles and see the ratings that they're getting when they're playing on TV. So it's pretty neat. Only comes around every four years. It is the biggest sporting event in the world, so it's a lot of fun to watch."

But the defending champ here isn't sharing Isner's futbol fever. So just stop asking him World Cup questions!

"I'm here to do my thing," Andy Murray said. "I don't think that the English football team get asked about me in their press conferences. So I'd appreciate it if that wasn't brought up when I was playing because I'm yet to hear Wayne Rooney talk about my matches at Wimbledon. I don't think it's fair."

Although Murray was mad, Serena Williams was, well, sad after the U.S.' last game.

"We could have been in first place, which really would have been awesome," she said. "Could have, should have, would have, doesn't matter. We're still tied for first technically. We're still trying to go on. I think U.S. soccer is coming a long way.

"I love watching the U.S. men soccer players play. I'm supporting the whole way."

As is Andrea Petkovic, who happens to be ... German. Seriously?

"If I'm watching the World Cup, I'm a big USA fan and not because of USA at all," she said. "Sorry. Just because I think -- because I like [U.S. manager Jurgen] Klinsmann, obviously. And just because I think they don't know what they're really doing, but they are fighting. Are physically so strong.

"[Against Portugal], it was so exciting. So I don't know. Sometimes you just don't know what happens and all of a sudden your heart is lost for one team. But obviously I want Germany to win.

OK, that makes sense.

"No, I want a tie," Petkovic later said.

Or not.

For Caroline Wozniacki, she'll happily answer any question that doesn't have hurtful words like "Rory" or "splitsville" or '"three-minute breakup over the telephone" in them. She's actually quite impressed with the level of soccer she's seen so far.

"Yeah, I've been following quite a bit," Wozniacki said. "I'm very surprised about the level of the teams. I think that the level is very high. There's a lot of the teams where I thought, 'They have no chance,' and all of a sudden the games have unfolded in a different direction.

"I think it's been interesting. Unfortunately, Denmark didn't qualify. That's always something that I love to watch, especially when your own team is playing. But I don't really have a favorite team this year. I'm kind of going game by game and seeing who I support."

Although Woz is unsure of her soccer allegiance, two-time Aussie Open winner Victoria Azarenka isn't.

"I've been a support of Argentina for last three World Cups," the Belarusian said. "You know, they even have pictures of me wearing Argentina shirt from maybe 2000. I love [Lionel] Messi. I think he's one of the greatest players of all time. He's so little, so cute. It's just fun."

Someone is a little smitten, to say the least. After a reporter asked her what goes through her head when she watches Messi, Azarenka perked right up.

"You don't want to know," she said. "You don't want to know."

As a service to you, our loyal readers, we'll just let you use your imagination.

Anyway, at least Azarenka, like her tennis cohorts, has a real passion for the game. It's fun to see.

Isn't that right, Robin Haase?

"I just won my match. I don't want to talk about soccer."

The guy has a lot of gumption wanting to focus on tennis, of all things. What a downer.