Wimbledon opened and the Portuguese kid shut up.
That made the story of the first day a non-story, really, leaving numerous journalists in the lurch. The press was ready to pounce on the kid, 16-year-old Michelle Larcher de Brito, following up on her loud and obnoxious behavior at the French Open. There, she screeched and tried to unnerve opponents with various unsporting gestures.
She’d be a piece of cake for the numerous newspapers of London if she pulled that stuff at hallowed Wimbledon, and a corps of reporters, photographers and TV camera folk made their way to distant Court 17. They were ready for her, ready with their barbs.
But she was ready for them, giving them nothing juicy to write about or photograph. Michelle was almost as quiet as the proverbial churchmouse, except for a few squeaks.
A product of Nick Bollettieri’s Florida boot camp, she showed big groundies in beating Klara Zakopalova, 6-2, 7-5, and is sure to improve on her No. 93 ranking.
Cool and feisty at her press conference, she said the press had been “unfair” in picking on her in Paris. “Nobody can tell me to stop grunting,” she said. “If they fine me, go ahead, ‘cause I’d rather get fined than lose a match because I had to stop grunting.”
But in the reporters’ view she was the unfair one, refusing to give a Paris reprise to roast her with. She outsmarted them in winning round 1 silently – but how long will she be a noiseless non-story?