Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Anyone for tennis?

One of the (many) upsides to dating YKW is that he manages to wangle tickets to some of the best events in town. And so on Saturday we had ring-side seats at the Ladies Wimbledon final. Since he had procured the tickets I agreed to prepare the picnic lunch. This doesn’t sound much of a chore. However, one of the (few) downsides to dating YKW is that when it comes to food he is like a 9 year old. He is the most unadventurous eater I’ve ever met. I packed cherries “I’m not really a cherry person”; I packed mozzarella “I’m not really a mozzarella person”’; I packed Green and Blacks biscuits “I’m not really an organic biscuit person”. So I enjoyed a picnic lunch that made the National Trust couple sitting on our picnic table green with envy while YKW munched on a banana, Dairy Lee triangles and Jammy Dodgers. Honestly, he's really just a big kid.

I was disappointed that Venus Williams wasn’t playing because she is so inspirational, so athletic and such a powerful player. YKW was disappointed that Maria Sharapova wasn’t playing because she is blonde, beautiful and has legs up to her arm pits. But instead, we had to make do with Amelie Mauresmo versus Justine Henin-Hardenne. Or, as it seemed to us, a man versus a midget.

The atmosphere was fantastic. There was a brass band on the corner of the court playing the usual brass-band favourites – Theme for Grandstand and Is this the way to Amarillo. The audience clapped along, although personally I was slightly puzzled as to where the band had come from. Do they have coal mines in Wimbledon?

At one point, just before the match, John McEnroe came onto the court to be interviewed by the BBC and he got a louder cheer than the two players did - when they eventually arrived. After a brief warm up the match began and for the first few moments it all felt very odd. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something felt different. I then realised that there was no commentary. Watching a tennis match without the commentators is a totally different experience. And a much more exciting one. There is nothing more annoying than following a point of tennis, only to be interrupted by some old BBC bod who is wittering on about the days of wooden rackets and Fred bloody Perry. Or John Lloyd, who never got further than the 2nd round of an ATP championship, remarking “What Federer needs to do is come into the net a bit more”. I’m sure Roger will be rushing home to write down your advice, John. On the down side though, there were some shots that were so fantastic that I’d have loved to see them again. But there is no action replay at a live match.

I hope I’m not making myself out to be a tennis expert. I very rarely play and Wimbledon is the only tournament I follow. So I can hardly claim to take the experience too seriously. In fact, at one moment on Saturday, I thought YKW and I would be thrown at. At a quiet lull in the match, someone called out (as they do) “Come on Justine!” and then someone else replied “Come on Amelie!” at which point YKW called out “Come on Henman!”. The serious couple to his right tutted audibly. At the next lull, when the “Come on Justine!” started up again, I called out “Come on Eileen!” to which the French lady to my left leaned towards me and said “It is pronounced Ah-Meh-Lee”. Obviously, Dexy’s Midnight Runners didn’t make it to France.

After the three-set match and the presentation of the gold shield, YKW and I decided to go home rather than stay for the mixed doubles. Well, we had important stuff to do (i.e. we had to be back in time for the Doctor Who series finale). So I missed seeing Venus Williams play live. And Andy Ram – the first Israeli player to win an ATP event. Instead, I sat on the sofa with YKW and Scrappino and I blubbered like a baby as Rose and the Doctor were parted forever. Now who's the big kid??


Blogger Blogging is Pointless said...

Obviously the lesson is that the UK tennis woes can be solved by a Tennis wave of Aliyah. Once an annual 5 billion dollar subsidy has been successfully lobbied for from the USA, we can then defy reality for the next couple of decades, or at least ‘til the oil really starts getting expensive and they have to be really really nice to those nasty Arabs and take away our toys. In the mean time the best course of action would be to park some tanks around Wimbledon, stopping everyone but Brits from entering the championships, maybe occupy Putney for the fortnight, take over a few houses there and mount a few patrols to try and look hard, and only let Brits take part in the championships. Then we'll always win. There, easy.

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