Hey, hard luck Rodders!
Ahh gutted, no more Wimbledon, which means no more chances to poke fun at the Inverdale/McEnroe/Henman bong smoking reggae circle. Ho hum. Still, it’s great to hear from our tennis correspondent Rory, who had this to say…
The moment you saw Pete Sampras in the Royal Box yesterday, having just flown in to see his buddy Roger Federer overtake his record of 14 grand slam titles, you couldn’t help but wonder whether the Andy Roddick might just poop the party. But no. Nothing was going to stand in the way of Federer and history.
Sweat pouring off the brim of his cap, furiously adjusting his shirt sleeves in between sending down ace after booming ace, A-Rod did everything in his power to halt Federer’s march towards the indisputable title of Greatest Of All Time. Took them a while to get there though, didn’t it? It’s as if they played a fifth set, called it a draw at 6-6, then played a sixth which Fed went on to win 10-8. Any longer and it was in danger of getting boring.
And so we were left with the classic sporting conundrum – one the one hand you felt pure joy for Fed at reaching the milestone but on the other… well, only the stoniest of hearts wouldn’t have been shot through with sympathy for the sweaty American. He may never get another a chance like this and the look on his face afterwards told you he knew it.
So that’s it folks – Wimbledon is over for another year. Interestment now has literally NO idea how to fill the next 351 days until it all starts again. For now, we’ll just have to pass the time by giving out a few random awards to recognise this year’s outstanding performers.
The Sartorial Dedication Award
Boris Becker. Fed gave him a good run for his money with le-jacket-waistcoat-combo, but there could be only one winner. No heatwave was too intense to get B-Beck out of his swish gentleman’s jacket.
The Fonz Award
John McEnroe – a very cool man indeed. A passing resemblance to The Simpsons’ Mr Burns, but Interestment definitely wants to be more like him.
The Rocky IV Award
Gisela Dulko for her win over Maria Sharapova – petite Argentinian beauty overcomes towering Russian grunt machine. Just a little bit like Rocky IV.
The Slightly Annoying Award
The BBC, for overusing that slow-motion close-up thing. Oh look, there’s a ball about to be picked up by a ball boy… yep, he’s just picked it up. That was great. And what’s this? Oh, it’s the twentieth close-up in an hour of Andy Murray’s box-like mouth contorted in another shout of “come on!”. I hope we get to see that again really soon. Ahhh…
The Tourette’s Award
Andy Murray. Do you really need to shout “come on!” every time you win a point? No, you don’t.
The Unintentional Comedy Award
Only one winner here – Philipp Kohlschreiber. In case you missed it first time round, check out his website (and make sure the sound’s up).
Including one of these men, but which?
It’s always a complete joy to hear from a member of the growing Interestment family, and today, after a very placid 2009 tournament, Rory looks back on some angry highlights from Wimbledons gone by. He had this to say…
Ever notice how tennis players are just way too well-behaved these days? Well, cast your mind back to these, the best Wimbledon tantrums of all time. Even Tim Henman gets a look-in…
1. Jeff Tarango, Wimbledon ’95
If John McEnroe was master at delivering a line and working the crowd, Jeff Tarango was the complete opposite. His 1995 meltdown was a perfect lesson in how to alienate an entire crowd with the most pathetic, childish outburst. After the umpire Bruno Rebeuh made a series of decision he disagreed with, Tarango refused to continue. Storming off the court, he screamed: “That’s it, I’m not playing”, before turning to Rebeuh and yelling: “You are one of the most corrupt officials in the game and you cannot get away with this.” He then made matters worse by shouting at the crowd to “shut up” when they jeered him off the court. It didn’t end there though – as he was leaving, his wife Benedicte decided to get a taste, walking over to the umpire and slapping him in the face.
2. Greg Rusedski, Wimbledon ’03
Poor ol’ Greg. Tiger Tim had everything – the hill, the legions of Henmaniacs with their feeble “come on Tim” cries, the fist-pump, even a Persil ad campaign. What did Greg get? Hordes of people queuing up to question his right to represent GB. No wonder he snapped while playing American Andy Roddick at Wimbledon ’93. When a spectator (probably one of Timmy’s fans) called “out” during a rally and the umpire refused to replay the point, Greg let it all come flooding out. “I can’t do anything if the fucking crowd calls it. It’s absolutely fucking ridiculous. It’s frigging ridiculous. Some wanker in the crowd changed the whole match and you allowed it to happen. Well done. Absolute shit.” Note the great use of the word “wanker” in attempt to bloster his British credentials there.
3. John McEnroe, Wimbledon ’81
This one was never in doubt – Interestment‘s favourite afro-sporting, racquet-smasher and poop-mouth extraordinaire, Johnny Mac. If Mac was the King of the tennis tantrum, then Wimbledon ’81 was certainly his crowning glory. It’s tempting to dismiss him as little more than shouty buffoon but that’s to miss out on the fact that there was a definite artistry to the way he dlivered his expetive-ridden tirades. His first ’81 blow-up came in his second round match against fellow American Tom Gullikson and resulted in his most oft-quoted monologue. Outraged by a dubious line-call, he erupted at umpire Ted James: “You cannot be serious! That ball was on the line! Chalk flew up. It was clearly in. How can you possibly call that out? He[Gullikson] was walking over, everybody knows it’s in in the whole stadium. And you call it out? Explain that to me!” he finished off with the disimissal: “You guys are the absolute pits of the world, you know that?” You’d think that would have been enough for one tournament. Not so. A few days later, he branded another umpire “an incompetent fool” receiving a $1,500 fine for his troubles. See him in full flow here.
4. Tim Henman, Wimbledon ’95
Tarango-gate should have been enough controversy for one year, but then the Tigerish one had to go and get involved. That’s right – unlikely as it seems, Timmy H made himself the first player in 120 years to be disqualified from Wimbledon when he smashed a ball into a ball-girl’s face after losing his temper and hitting it away in disgust. He apologised with flowers from Sainsburys.
Is this the coolest man in Wimbledon?
It’s a big day for Muzza, as he sets out to one-better Tiger Tim – who, incidentally, appears to spend the evenings casually with his tie off, listening to reggae in a field with Johnny Mac and that hippy Inverdale. How we long to be in their little gang, sitting around – probably stoned out of their minds – digesting the day’s tennis. Great guys.
Viewers who saw yesterday’s action will have witnessed one of the greatest semi-finals ever, when Serena almost got done by the Russian in a tennis-based remake of the Cold War. And about ten minutes after their epic, Venus was already showering herself off and shaving her astonishing legs having just humiliated the world number one in about eight minutes flat. It all kick-started a very heated commentary-box debate about quality versus quantity, before Sue Barker butted in to tell the nation how much weight Andy Roddick has lost in the last year.
Elsewhere, we enjoyed a peak at Andy Murray in training, where he likes to play a strange version of football, using a tennis ball and the net. Most startlingly, he appeared to be smiling and having a great time while dicking around with his training chums. And then the BBC microphone was thrust into his face, and once again, this cheerful young Scottish lad morphed into a grumpy little goth who didn’t ask to be born, alright. Someone needs to cheer the hell up and join the Inverdale/McEnroe/Henman bongo circle.
Ex-Champion inherits hilarious nickname
It’s always completely delicious to hear from a member of the bulbous Interestment family, and today Rory – a wonderful writer – rode in on a big motorbike to talk tennis. He had this to say…
Some important business to discuss in this morning’s Wimbledon Watch, and business which requires your input, lovely readers. Does anyone know who this military gentleman in the bottom right of the picture is?
Every time they show the scoreboard between games on the Beeb, there he is, casually strolling past, bold as brass. Maybe he’s constantly walking past it, over and over, all day every day, and cutting away to a shot of the board inevitably means catching him in the act. Maybe he’s been detailed with the task. “Private Guthrie, your job, throughout the tournament is to walk past the scoreboard every time the BBC point a camera at it… Don’t ask why, just DO IT!” Maybe there’s an altogether more prosaic/disappoiting explanation for this scoreboard obscurement. One of you out there must know the answer to this most crucial of questions. Share the knowledge below.
So, what else is new? Not much… apart from it being men’s quarter-finals day! The always-underwhelmed Andy Murray prepared yesterday by getting back into a spot of Twitter action. And for all you Muzz-haters, sniping about the comments he made about in the roof after his Monday five-setter, he had this to say: “one last thing…i loved playing under the roof even if you’ve read different! the atmosphere was amazing, just very humid. bedtime for me.”
Consider yourselves told people. In uncharacteristically jocular mood, the Muzza also caught up with his Beeb friends to discuss a selection of comedy tennis snack names. John McEnrolo anyone? Andy McFlurry? Strap on the corset with one hand and use the other to click on this link. IF YOU DARE.
One last thing. Massive props to Boris Becker, pictured here. First things first, just look at that lustrous hair. Not for the first time this Wimbledon we’re reminded of Ice Man from Top Gun, and that’s definitely a good thing. But what we admire even more than that is the way he’s leading a one-man defiance of the heat wave. While all about him are dressed in little more than sandals and sun-burnt skin, here he is laughing in the face of the current heat wave, dressed as he is in a tweed coat. What’s not to love about this man?
Another pay out for this slacker…
It’s always wonderful to hear from a member of the bulging Interestment crew, and today Rory – a terrific writer with wit galore – is back with his tennis update. He had this to say…
Day Two, and dear oh dear. A sorry day for the home-grown hopefuls yesterday as a whopping six Brits were knocked out Wimbledon. Of course Andy Murray won, but that was no huge surprise. Among the losers was number one British female, Anne Keothavong, who was reduced to blubbering mess when she threw away a 5-3 lead to go tumbling out. Dry your tears, woman. Dry your tears.
Worse still is the plight of Alex Bogdanovic (pictured) – for the eighth year in a row this plucky fella rocked up and got dispatched in the first round. In straight sets this time. “I’m getting better and stronger each year and that is giving me confidence,” he lied yesterday, his cheeks reddening and nose sprouting a matter of inches in the process. Now, you might be wondering why he still bothers to turn up for this annual humuliation ritual. Well, believe it or not he’s earned £75k in the process. That’s £75,000 for being really quite poor at your job.
Another player who went out yesterday was Jelena Dokic, the former world number four with the mental dad. His latest act of lunacy, making death threats against the Australian ambassador in Belgrade, saw him, Damir Dokic, jailed for 15 months earlier in June. After the match she said: “Now and forever, there is no way that I would ever reunite with him or ever have a relationship with him. So this is the last sentence ever you guys will hear from me (on the subject) and that’s the way it is.” Interestment was a touch baffled at the time – was this a reference to her dad or that wart she used to sport on her face but has now mysteriously vanished? Hmmmmmm….
And then, the row over grunting in the women’s game went up a notch yet again. Past champions John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova have been among those calling for a clamp-down on the grunt girls. Portuguese teenager Michelle Larcher De Brito is at the centre of the row, after her ludicrous outbursts at the French Open where she reached a staggering 109 decibels or something, causing one of her opponents to lodge a complaint. Haven’t had the pleasure yet?
Clearly as mouthy off the court as he is on it, she’s told everyone if they’ve got a problem they can, like, shove it. “I’m not here to be quiet for anybody. I’m here to win. If people don’t like my grunting, they can always leave.” You can see the crowd-pleaser in action again today…
Not including these mega-dudes…
Wimbledon. Delicious Wimbledon. People sitting around eating fruit cocktails on Henman Hill, or Murray Mountain, or in the Jeremy Bates Sandpit. Inverdale and his goons watching Sharapova with beads of sweat forming on their top lips, the commentary box steaming up to Turkish Bath proportions. Sue Barker giggling and feverishly licking her lips off-camera whenever she comes into contact with Andy Roddick. Of course, the tennis itself has all become a bit boring since Sampras and Federer took out a monopoly on the men’s title, but that hasn’t stopped us assembling our top four all time champs. No sir. Federer and Sampras not included…
1. Fred Perry
Fred Perry tops our list for a number of reasons. He was the last Great British gentleman to win the men’s title, back in 1936, after also winning in 1934 and 1935. But more than all of that, he spawned the excellent Fred Perry fashion label, a big favourite amongst 1950s/60s Mods and 1970s non-racist skinheads. That fact alone nudges Rene Lacoste (1925, 1928) and Stan Smith (1972) out of contention. We also like that he played the game wearing trousers. Below is an indecipherable clip…
2. Boris Becker
It’s nearly impossible not to love Boris Becker. When he burst onto the Wimbledon scene in 1985, he was an eight year old boy with a massive ginger bouffant and legs crafted from matchsticks. And yet, he shocked the world by dancing through to Wimbledon glory, in a fairytale story up there with Peter Pan, or The Little Mermaid. He won again in 1986 and 1989. Since then, he’s gone through various image changes – at one point sporting a startling red beard and Christopher Walken hair – and he is now one of the finest commentators around. Not least because he always sounds like he might be chatting you up through the television screen when he talks. On the downside, he once impregnated a waitress in between courses.
3. Martina Navratilova
There are some wonderful lady champions out there – Venus Williams (2000, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2008), Serena Williams (2002, 2003), Chris Evert (1974, 1976, 1981), but Martina Navratilova gets our vote, for being a bit like a female version of Arnie. She won the thing nine times (1978, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1990), like Arnie she was a European who became a US citizen, and she was as hard as nails. Plus, like Mr Schwarzenegger, no one can confidently spell her surname under pressure. Quite possibly the greatest player – man or woman – to play the game, she is a shining example to Czechoslovakian lesbians all over the world.
4. John McEnroe
McEnroe (1981, 1983, 1984) just beats Borg, Connors, Cash, Edberg and Agassi to the final spot, mainly thanks to his outrageous tantrums. For some children, watching the American become increasingly furious throughout a match was an exhilarating experience, especially when he finally unleashed his barrage of colourful and exciting swear words at a nervous umpire. But all the shouty-shouty stuff aside, he really was quite brilliant.
Why do tennis players wear headbands?
It’s like a warm breeze caressing our womanly thighs whenever we recruit a new writer into the Interestment flock, such is the gentle buzz of satisfaction and joy. So, today, let us introduce you to Rory, a man with an enormous funny side, great hair, and a big chocolate microscope focussed on the sports pages. He wanted to talk a little about tennis fashion. He had this to say…
Hands up who wants to be Roger Federer? Of course you do – for starters you could go to parties and say things like “You know, I really am the best person at what I do in the world. Ever. And that’s a fact.” Obviously he’s a bit too classy to actually say anything like that but, you know, he could if he wanted.
Better than that though – you could get away with wearing a headband. Look how he sports it. Effortless isn’t it? Have you ever, once, seen this man on the telly and laughed at his headband? Of course you haven’t. Because it’s one of sport’s unwritten rules – tennis players are allowed to wear headbands and no-one else is. Rafael Nadal even wears a yellow one, while simultaneously sporting a hot-pink jersey. Yet no-one laughs at him.
John McEnroe (pictured) used to wear one – he may even have started the trend- but most people now believe he needed it to keep that comedy afro on his head. During his 80s heyday, the obligatory headgear became as much a trademark as his dirty little potty mouth and broken rackets.
Pat Cash then came along and took the whole headband thing to a new level. Not for him the boring old elasticated towelly version. Oh no. Mr C went and got himself a trademarked black and white bandana-style headscarf. One that he had to tie up, with fashionable dangly bits at the back. Like Rambo.
So what it is about tennis that requires such pinpoint perspiration control in the cranial area? By asking that question, you probably assume I’m about to go on and answer it. I’m not, I’m genuinely perplexed – but perhaps you know the answer. If so feel free to enlighten us all below.
And one last thing. Don’t go thinking that, just because you enjoy the odd knockabout at your local municipal court, you can get away with it. Why not try it out next time you pop down for a spot of mixed doubles. As everyone’s limbering up, stretching out their glutes and lats, dip into your bag, grab the band and casually announce, almost as if it wasn’t even worth mentioning, that you’re “just going to pop this old thing on”. If you don’t get laughed off the court, we might just send you new tennis racket*.
* We won’t