I’ve had a lovely week not doing much writing, but watching the Wimbledon tennis championships instead on TV. I’ve been lucky enough in the past to have seen Billie Jean King, Virginia Wade, Evonne Goolagong, Chris Evert, Nastase, Connors and McEnroe in their prime, and I still enjoy a good match today 40 years on.
Back in 1976 when I lived in South East London I would finish school in the afternoon and then a friend and I would hop on the train to Wimbledon. We would arrive outside the centre court about 5pm, where spectators who’d had enough for the day would gladly give us their tickets. We saw some wonderful tennis matches, and it didn’t cost us a penny. Now I expect security is tight and nobody is allowed to just waltz in and wait patiently by one of the centre court’s exits. Visitor numbers have obviously mushroomed in the intervening years too, and no doubt somebody younger and fitter than me would grab any tickets going (if indeed any are available in the first place).
This afternoon I’m writing this blog whilst watching Andy Murray, Britain’s hope in the men’s singles, take on American Sam Querry in the quarter finals. Andy had a thrilling third round match earlier in the week against Italy’s Fabio Fognini, winning 6-2 4-6 6-1 7-5, limping a bit on his dodgy hip, but emerging victorious after nearly 3 hours. Yesterday I was cheering Joanna Konta on when I should have been attending to my WIP, but hey, life’s too short to worry about it. Roger Federer keeps marching ever onwards to the final, but the way they talk about him makes him sound like an old man – he’s only 35!
I enjoy watching the singles’ matches as I’m not a team player myself and prefer to follow one player’s struggle against another instead of a team of footballers kicking a ball around the field. Tennis is my sport of choice, and every now and then on TV the camera will focus on one of the veterans and remind me how much time has gone by. Yesterday I saw Virginia Wade sitting next to (I think) Ann Jones, as they watched Joanna Konta play. I’m looking out for Nastase and Connors, as I’m sure they’re about somewhere. John McEnroe is in the commentary box as usual, but I do miss Dan Maskell’s dulcet tones as he used to utter those immortal words.. “Oh, I say!”