For two months in the year, this country, on the whole, goes Tennis crazy. Hours and hours of television time is dedicated to the sport of two people hitting a ball back and forth over a net.
Until fairly recently, the home fans didn’t have anyone of true quality to cheer for, then along came Tim Henman, and briefly, Greg Rusedski (remember him? The Canadian chap who took on British citizenship for some strange reason). Alas, neither ever really threatened to end the drought of a British winner of Wimbledon – something our British press love to obsess about. The less said about the female representation the better.
Then along came Andy Murray. In the beginning, he was a weedy little Scot with talent but no stamina. At one point, nobody would ever have dreamed that he could hold his own along with the likes of Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Yet here he is, number 2 in the world.
Last year, he got to the final, only to lose to Federer, and cry afterwards. Then he came back a month or so later and helped himself to a nice Olympic Gold Medal, courtesy of wins over Djokovic and Federer. Then, he teamed up with rising female star Laura Robson to win Silver.
And so, the first return to the All England Club since then and much has changed. Murray finally broke his Grand Slam duck in the US Open. There are two British females in the top 75 – Laura Robson and Heather Watson. In spite of this, the focus was still on Murray and whether he would finally end the wait for a home winner at Wimbledon.
It was probably after the Second Round matches when a friend of mine texted me to ask “is it ok to fancy Laura Robson?” To which I replied “Yes, she’s 19!” At this point, caught up in the fever of it all, I started watching more. Nadal, Federer, Tsonga all out in the men’s tournament, giving Murray a fairly clear shot at the Final, as long as he avoided his own upset! And then, to confound all the critics, Laura Robson became the first British female to make it to the second week for a bloody long time. This was when even the non-tennis fans sat up and took notice of the national hysteria leaking from this tournament.
Monday brought a bit of a reality check as Laura Robson was beaten, but fair play to the girl, if she carries on like this and makes some fitness improvements, she could well be a regular fixture in the women’s top 20. Murray, though, marched on to the Quarter-Finals. The real excitement was taking place in the women’s tournament however, as Serena Williams saw her hopes dashed by Sabine Lisicki, blowing the thing wide open.
It is at this point that I have to say how some of these women tennis players are actually quite fit. Take that how you wish.As I’m writing this, Andy Murray is 2 sets to 1 up on the giant Pole, Jerzy Janowicz, on the verge of a final against Novak Djokovic after he came through a 5 set marathon with Juan Martin Del Potro. The women’s final has already been decided with Lisicki up against Marion Bartoli, a French bird that drives my mum mental with her constant fist pumping and what have you! I shall be rooting for Lisicki because: a) she beat Serena Williams and deserves it; and b) she’s the hottest of the two. Let’s face it, on the latter criteria, it was either going to be her or Radwanska I was cheering for, because the other semi-final was the less attractive half of the draw!!
Anyway, that’s enough of my thoughts, I’ll leave you to get back to Andy Murray’s match – if you’re watching!