Posts Tagged ‘Tennis’
It’s been a better World Cup than four years ago. Nobody has died this time. Nobody has been wrongly accused of murder. Nobody has been wrongly accused of being murdered.
The cricket has been marginally better. Hardly the grandest boast. The ICC could have squeezed more entertainment out of a month of me mindlessly twatting a tennis ball against a garage wall than what transpired in the Caribbean. To be fair wall-twatting kept me amused for hours on end as a child, if not getting the neighbours flocking over to watch the action. That wall proved to be a tough but respected opponent but also became a cherished friend. Perhaps my only friend.
The greatest distinction between the two tournaments lies in that ring of people gathered around the edge of the pitch. They make noises. Wave a flag or two. Get a bit shirty if they can’t get a ticket. They care.
It definitely adds a little something to the atmosphere when the referee has to toss the coin again because no-one heard the call over the crowd.
I was going to write a post about the tedious coverage of Liverpool’s journey to Madrid, which was essentially just a really bad commute.
But there was a signal problem at Queen’s Park which caused severe delays on the Bakerloo Line so I had to walk to Euston to get home from work this evening and had to very quickly get changed for tennis and now I am tired.
So I won’t.
Who was the last British tennis player to win a Grand Slam title on foreign soil? Sue Barker. Sue Barker. I know. Suuuuuuuuuue fucking Barker. It actually hurts my head a little to comprehend the fact that Sue Barker was a top-level athlete, and not a gardening expert on a regional news magazine show. Or a someone who iced cakes for a living. Or just someone’s very nice mum.
Virginia Wade is the same. She just looked like a ballet teacher. It just goes to show how much the women’s game has changed. I wonder how Barker would fare today with her balsa wood racket against the likes of Serena Williams. She might actually die out the court. Or at least start crying.
The best reason to talk about Barker is as an excuse to show this photo, in which Cliff Richard pulls off the neat trick of making a sparkly zebra-print jacket look halfway cool. Which it very obviously isn’t. But that’s Cliff for you. I often muse on what happened between these two lovers that made Cliff feel like he could never sample female flesh again. Makes you think.
I can’t think what appalling revelation Andre Agassi is going to come with up next, but the confession that his luxuriant barnet was in fact a wig will take some beating. Happily it gives me the excuse to show this baffling but brilliant clip again in which Agassi attempts to show his rebellious side by advertising a popular brand of camera.
And what was once a shot of a cool dude razzing down the Vegas Strip while stroking his impressive mane now becomes one of a desperate man clinging on to his hairpiece while cursing the foolhardy purchase of a convertible.
While we are entertained by this clip, we should remember all the ponies that were involuntarily shaved in the making of it.
I reckon Andre Agassi is a bit like that kid at school who asked everybody to call him Spliffo because he smoked so much doobie where in fact he had only done it once and was immediately sick into a dustbin. Agassi is now claiming he nostrilled up some crystal meths and lied to the doping agency and never liked tennis anyway. Sure Agassi was a bit crazy in his younger days with his rocking-horse hair and short-lived refusal to wear pristine whites at Wimbledon. As tennis rebellion goes even Tiger Tim could do better. At least he twatted a ballgirl in the face.
And as this clip shows, Agassi has spent a career trying to persuade everybody he’s really cool. And failing. You’re not fooling anyone Andre.
I wondered when it was all going to end between the Saintly Roger and Anita Roddick yesterday. Judging by the size of Mrs Federer it was a small miracle that the champion wasn’t presented with his first child to accompany his fifteenth Grand Slam trophy. I felt for her. Apparently my mum was pregnant once and she says that it can become quite uncomfortable in the heat.
Up in the Royal Box gazing on, Pete Sampras definitely fell asleep at some point during the fourth set. To prevent myself from doing the same, I kept spirits up by pressing the red button for further live tennis in the parallel universes of Wimbledon. Having drifted aimlessly for a while among the boys singles and some wheelchair action I stumbled across the final of the senior mens doubles tournament.
Competing in the final were none other than Mansour Bahrami and Henri Leconte. Bahrami and Leconte are less a tennis partnership, more an ageing comedy double act. A bit like Cannon and Ball, but slightly less funny. Leconte is probably the most French man in the world, and plays upon this from time to time with a Gallic shrug of the shoulders. He almost certainly smells of hot chocolate and smokes Gauloises. He normally plays the lugubrious straight man to Bahrami’s buffoon, whose clownish antics include girly grunts, pointless lobs and even sometimes, hilariously, sitting down on a line judge’s chair. Bahrami has single-handedly accounted for approximately 40% of all the clips used on the What Happened Next round in Question of Sport: he’s the human equivalent of a dog running onto the pitch.
To be fair to the duo, although their lame brand of humour is lost on me, their act has an enduring popularity among tennis fans. Although it should be said that Wimbledon is probably the easiest crowd for a budding comic. Any venue where a ball hitting the wooden netpost raises a titter in the stands seems like a place where people are dying to laugh at anything.
Leconte and Bahrami were pitted against Anders Jarryd and our very own Jeremy Bates. Bates is a man with his own intrinsic comedy. Not only because he used to play in a sleeveless cricket jumper, but also because for years he was the flagbearer for the ‘Great Britain is Shit at Tennis’ movement. A golden age where a fourth-round exit to Guy Forget was considered the zenith of this country’s achievements at Wimbledon. Of course Bates has passed the torch onto hoardes of similar losers to continue on the good work, but it has been dropped in latter years by Tim Henman and postively hurled out of the All England Club by Andy Murray.
Perhaps Bates has got wind of the change in the tennis zeitgeist. He and his partner won the senior mens doubles yesterday. So, Mansour and Henri, who’s laughing now?