Harris Sportsthoughts

Thoughts about Sport

Jongleurs SW19

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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?


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