Monday, June 25, 2007

Anyone for tennis?

It may be autumnal outside, but generally, when I look back from the vantage point of late August to assess my summer, this is where the starting gun goes off. We’ve just had Royal Ascot and Glastonbury, the Hoppings have arrived in Newcastle, it’s Plate Day on Saturday – and Wimbledon has started.

I am a big tennis fan. I am watching Tim Henman battling against Carlos Moya as I type. I like to think if the gods of tallness had been a bit more generous than 5 ft 3in and a bit, and I hadn’t grown so fond of Gordon’s and Silk Cut, it could’ve been me out there at SW19. I played a lot as a child – whacking tennis balls with a passion against the garage door when I couldn’t find a partner. The game brings out my competitive streak – and also on occasion, my temper. I can quite understand where John McEnroe was coming from.

I couldn’t at the time. I admire McEnroe immensely now, and enjoy his punditry, but as a child I loathed him – probably because he was of the same era as Bjorn Borg, whom I adored. It was the same with Martina Navratilova - I was always a Chris Evert fan and couldn’t appreciate Martina’s mastery of the game when she was at the height of her powers. I am old enough to remember Virginia Wade’s victory in 1977 – I rushed home from school to see who had won the semi-final between Virginia and my idol Chris Evert. “Oh no,” I said, when I heard Chrissie had gone out. But when I realised Virginia was one of us, I cheered up.

My favourite players have always been those with charisma and artistry, rather than those with brute strength. I have never been particularly a fan of Henman – his passion doesn’t seem real and he always seems to manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. He may not have been a ‘proper Brit’, but I much preferred Greg Rusedski. However, my favourite was always Andre Agassi – I screamed him to victory both times he won the men’s singles.

Roger Federer may be a sublime tennis player – but like Pete Sampras (is it a man, is it a monkey?) – he doesn’t possess that charisma and indefinable magic that does it for me. Where’s Goran Ivanisevic when you need him?

17 comments:

lady macleod said...

Oh I MISS Agassi!!! My total all time favorite. I am sorry but as the incurable romantic I love it that he and the German married, have two of the prettiest babies ever seen and appear to be blissfully happy. Huzzah! Two very hard working people.

I am sorry to be missing out on Wimbleton this year, but not as sorry as if my favorites were there.. you will keep us updated then? brilliant.

Gill said...

ah Bjorn Borg!! grin grin... and I agree about Henman- uncharismatic. I once dreamed that my husband had beaten him at tennis and instead of being proud of him I tore him off a strip for playimg at Wimbledon in manky old shorts.

Drunk Mummy said...

Yes - 'Tiger Tim' has got to be the most laughably inappropriate nickname for a long time.
I just hope it doesn't rain this year, so that we can all avoid being tormented by Cliff Richard again.

debio said...

So agree with your list of 'favourites', m&m. If Nadal doesn't win this year I shall be distraught.

Mopsa said...

You know, I used to love it, but with all this rain I'm rather beyond caring. Now, if the sun pokes out its rays, I may reconsider. Part of the problem is all those folks I cheered on in my youth are veteran men and women. That just makes me feel ancient. What a gloom monger I am today. Bah humbug.

Nunhead Mum of One said...

I miss Goran! It was the only reason I watched tennis to be honest, although Federer caught my eye as did that guy who's name I now cannot remember....blonde, Australian, not Pat Rafter....Anyone?

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Yes yes and yes. Agree with it all, particularly insipid Henman. and i could not take my EYES off ivanovich, the man was a beast, grrrrrr!
Pigx

Anonymous said...

eminem - reassure us that you and the grey mare haven't been flooded out..

muddyboots said...

used to got to Wimbledon regularly with school, actually saw bjorn borg play.....

Omega Mum said...

I'd certainly rather watch you that Timmie. See if you can make it there next year, would you?

beta mum said...

I was so happy when Goran won - I was watching with a mini-Ben and even he was shouting "Goran" in a compliant way he wouldn't contemplate these days.
Tim does seem to fake his joy at winning. He so restrained.
I love playing tennis, and I play to win, even if it means targeting the weaker of the opposing doubles team.

mutterings and meanderings said...

Can you believe Tim won today? I am staggered - thought he was heading out for certain ..

Anon, far from being flooded out, the Grey Mare and I have been cantering round some sunlit evening fields tonight.

Rain yesterday was bouncing off the roads but all find in north Northumberland.

IsobelMagsBuchan said...

Jimmy Connors.

Need I say more?

Brom said...

Tennis??... Pah!

Stay at home dad said...

I can't say I agree with you on Samprs/Federer. Sampras was v dull I agree, but Federer is another animal entirely. His tennis is just mind-blowing. He may not emote much but anyone who can hit the ball he can is alright in my book.

Winchester whisperer said...

Hurrah for your rave faves...also miss Nastase. Where are those jolly doubles of yester-year?

Marianne said...

They just don't make tennis players like they used to. Gorgeous Goran was always well worth watching with bated breath. Bt Federer is the nearest thing we have to magic now.

The Virginia moment seems to have stuck in the collective consciousness - it must be the rarity value. I can still remember the flat in Forest Hill where I watched the match.

I'm still struggling to try and identify the new crop of unpronouncables.