Wednesday, July 02, 2008


With the passing years it becomes ever harder to take an interest in Wimbledon. I didn't have much interest when I worked on the Wimbledon News and it's been downhill ever since. This year I have not seen a single game. But I do note that we seem to have replaced one national stereotype with another. Previously there was the reserved, inhibited Englishman Tim Henman. Now there is the flailing, angry, demonstrative Scot Andy Murray. The improvement would appear to be, at best, marginal. The great national festival of mourning known as Henmanout will be replaced, this afternoon I gather, by Murrayout. What endures is the venerable tradition of the not quite good enough tennis player. It is a consolation of sorts.


  1. I think by the law of averages one day Britain will find its champion. I mean, what is required to play tennis? The ability to move from side to side, forward and backwards, and hit a ball into a fairly sizeable plot of ground avoiding a low net. Okay, you have to do this better than the other guy on the day but that's about all, isn't it? chimps and typewriters....

  2. You can't produce winners unless you play the game, and it is a painful truth that tennis barely exists here, save this fortnight. The continuing scandal of the LTA's misuse of the £millions available to them, the wild targets for playing numbers (500,000 juniors was the target for this year, set in 2006. The figure stands at less than 20,000 today), and the somewhat ambitious aim, stated a couple of years ago, of locating five men/women in the top 100. We have, as all must know now, just one, and the Scot could hardly be described as one of us and, just to rub salt into the wound, he learned his trade on the baking clay in Spain.
    And as if you needed any more discomfort on the subject, look at the populations, the budgets, and the playing facilities in countries like Croatia, Serbia, Belgium and France. Then check how many players they have produced, men and women, who currently reside in the top 100.
    No Bryan, internalizing your feelings (Borg/Sampras/Henman/Federer) will not be helpful here, any more than letting it hang out (Nastase/McEnroe/Murray). We just need to play tennis

  3. Bit negative. That post printed on a spectator's T-shirt and cap, wouldn't help much, now would it.

  4. Or you could take the more realistic view that Murray's achievement in reaching a world ranking of 11 at the age of 21 is rather impressive - for him, for Scotland, Britain or whatever.

    Likewise Henman was ranked in the top 10 for five years. But as always we take out our national frustation on the good ones, for not being the best.

    Every year, every country except Switzerland fails to produce a winner of the men's singles at Wimbledon. What are they all doing wrong?