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).
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.
No more Aussies…
It’s was a gutsy Hewitt showing, out there, slugging it out with Roddick, but in the end the man with the astronomical serve put paid to the little surfer-looking chap at the other end. Still, it’s not all bad, Wimbledon’s loss is every Walkabout pub in London’s gain, as their yellow t-shirt brigade returns to drinking as usual. They now need only wait for a few days before they can squeeze back into their sweaty unwashed t’s and bring down the quality of Ashes support a notch.
Elsewhere at SW Whatever-it-is, Federer made Goliath look like a chump, as he swatted away his gargantuan serves in the manner of a juggernaut smashing into an ant, and Andy Murray wafted around the court with a look on his face more in tune to an awkward teenage boy reluctantly attending a gay wedding. Still, both men won, and both men will presumably be going toe-to-toe in the final. In all of the crazy Andy Muzza frenzy, people appear to have forgotten that Federer is still there, and he’s got a relatively good record here.
Anyone who had the pleasure of the BBC highlights might have noticed Inverdale treating his pals McEnroe and Tiger Tim to an evening glass of cool fruity Pimms. Come finals day, there’s a good chance they will be sitting around a sunset bonfire sharing a joint.
Meanwhile, over on the lady’s side, everyone will be hoping for a Williams final, even though Serena appears to be up against a Russian woman with thighs like big metal oxygen cylinders. It’s slightly reminiscent of Ivan Drago versus Apollo Creed. The whole thing cheerfully enjoyed by Cliff Richard and Cilla Black, who join Jimmy Tarbuck in the list of magnificent British celebrities who love watching tennis.
Will one of these women win it, by any chance?
It’s always with a warm breeze of joy that we hear from another member of the growing Interestment family, and today Rory – a totally brilliant writer – returns to continue his great tennis-based observations…
Ahoy racquet pals, week two of Wimbledon is thundering towards us like a colossal Federer forehand.
As far as the ladies’ draw goes, Interestment expects only a small prize for predicting that the likelihood of someone without Williams for a surname winning is extremely remote. In fact, should either Serena or Venus not win, we will sit down and eat our old, splintery wooden racquet.
The men’s draw is a little more tasty. Monday sees the two fancied contenders in action – first Federer, then Murray.
With temperatures soaring, we can’t help wondering whether Fed will opt for the full jacket ensemble or just the waistcoat. His timing being what it is, that choice of tailoring is starting to look more and more like a perfectly-executed Jacko tribute, isn’t it? Sadly, probably no glove or chimpanzee (pictured), but you can’t have it all.
A quick mention for Federer’s beaten third round German opponent, Philipp Kohlschreiber. If you’re anything like us here at Interestment, you’ll be the type of person who is easily diverted by a comedy Tuetonic accent. If so then you’re in for a treat. Make sure the audio on your computer is on, and have a look at his official website. Be sure to hover over the mouse links.
As for Murray, today he’ll be facing Stanislas Wawrinka, and he’ll be taking into the match the best wishes of legendary compatriot, Sean Connery. The laconic Scotsman dealt with the big-up in typically downbeat fashion. He Twittered thus: “Had a phone call from sean connery-he called to say well done yesterday. Much nicer than someone trying to sell you a phone upgrade.”
Andy can thank him in person today, as the elderly statesman will be there to cheer on Muzzle all the way. All of which sets us up perfectly for a little topical joke to wow your colleagues and friends with:
Q What time is Sean Connery expected at Wimbledon today?
You can have that one for free.
Is that a ball in your pocket…
It’s always with a massive rush of euphoria that we hear from a member of the growing Interestment family, so when Rory got in touch this morning, we damn near fainted with joy. Here’s his tennis update…
Day three and Wimbledon found a new sweetheart. Against the shrieking Sharapova, a little-known Argentine woman called Gisela Dulko pulled off the most unlikely victory. Classic Wimbledon it was, too – everyone cheered Sharapova onto the court, welcoming her back from a long injury lay-off. Then as the match went on, everyone got bored of the pinched face along with the incessant grunting and squealing and got behind the not-British-for-once underdog. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that she happens to be pretty nice looking, so in the post-match press conference she got probed with all sorts of insightful tennis-based questions like “Have you got a boyfriend?” Felicitaciones Senorita Dulko. Bienvenidos a la big time. Just so you get the idea what all the fuss is about, that’s her up there (pictured).
Less popular was Victoria Azarenka who felt the full force of the anti-grunt backlash. The normally mild-mannered SW19 crowd put down their strawbs and cream, removed the knotted jumpers from around their shoulders in protest and started imitating her grunts in between points. That’ll teach her.
Elsewhere, Roger Federer was back in the waistcoat, which he removed for just long enough to crush his second round opponent, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. Strolling from one side of the court to the other, throwing down bombs at will, the Fed looked so relaxed you half expected him break out a cigar at any moment.
Someone else in super-chillax mode was Andy Murray. So chillaxed in fact that he even took time out to do a spot of Twittering. “Got a putting competition going with Daniel Nestor. They’ve put a putting game in the lockers. Could get interesting. Just done the ice bath.” Now that’s cool – Top Gun’s Ice Man (pictured) would be proud. Let’s see how it all helps in his game today.
Also in action will be the only Brit left in the women’s draw, Elena Baltacha, who goes up against Alona Bondarenko. “It’s another tough match but I’m looking forward to it. If I play good tennis and just keep believing, then I’ve got a very good chance of getting through to the third round,” she said, beautifully setting up an inevitable defeat.
This man started well…
As ever, it’s a complete joy to hear from a member of the ever-growing Interestment family. Rory – a masterful writer with a dry wit – popped in with this to say about Wimbledon…
Wimbledon is officially under way. We know this because, as has become the custom in recent years, Roger Federer strolled out onto the centre court wearing the kind of clothes you might more usually expect to see someone wearing on cruise ship in the Caribbean. Looking resplendent in shimmering white, he managed to pull off what snooker players have been attempting for years – looking cool in waistcoat.
In similarly ice-cool fashion, he didn’t even bother to break a sweat as he crushed his opponent Yen-Hsun Lu, 7-5 6-3 6-2.
Elsewhere on the courts, Queen’s runner-up James Blake packed his headband and headed for the exit having been defeated by a man called Seppi, Maria Sharapova grunted her way past Kutuzova and an assortment of British players you’ve never heard of lost (most of them in straight sets probably).
One who did lose but in somewhat more exciting fashion was embryonic tennissette Laura Robson. The reigning Wimbledon Junior Champ was beaten in her grand slam debut by Daniela Hantuchova – although couple of twists, turns and serves going the other way could have seen her win it.
You have to feel sorry for her – not because she lost but because of the inevitable tide of expectation that now threatens to engulf and overwhelm her 15-year-old world. To put it in perspective, Roger Federer won his first Wimbledon title aged 21. That’s six years on from where she is now, which is a long time (assuming she ever gets to the level where she might win) with people asking, praying, expecting you to win.
But then, the very fact that she hasn’t turned into one of these loathsome little oiks is pretty good going already.
Have you ever found yourself wondering what those curious little packets are that tennis players seem to be ingesting between games? Here’s Novak Djokovic‘s opponent Julien Benneteau tucking into what might be a Happy Shopper ketchup sachet at 5-0 down in the third set.
In fact, it’s an energy supplement (here’s where you can buy them). Unfortunately he hadn’t reckoned on Djoko, who upped the ante a touch, and totally outmuscled him in the energy supplement stakes.
Not only did the microphone-haired Czech have a seemingly-unending supply of Lucozade tablets to chomp on, he also had an energy patch on his arm. No wonder he won the match…
Murray-mania kicks off in earnest today, with the bedraggled racquet-smith up against American Robby Kendrick. Not got a ticket to see the Muzza in action? Like ballroom dancers? Why not join the queue anyway, and see if Alesha Dixon challenges you to a game. For some reason she was doing exactly that yesterday, despite the fact she has absolutely nothing to do with tennis. Odd.
Can this hippy really win the thing?
As ever, we welcome Interestment contributors with big open arms and glasses of delicious moonshine, and today Rory joins us as our Wimbledon expert. For the next two glorious weeks, he will be guiding us through the best weird stuff going on at SW whatever it is. He had this to say…
Hello Interestmenters and welcome to the first installment of Wimbledon Watch.
As you’ll already know, watching Wimbledon takes quite a long time – more often than not, up to two whole weeks. But don’t worry, we know how busy you are. That’s why we’ll be doing a little round-up every day to keep you abreast of everything that’s going on down at SW19.
No fist pump will go unnoticed, no tantrum unchallenged. In fact, Cliff Richard won’t be able to so much as wipe his strawberry-coated fingers on the grass floor of the royal box without you knowing about it. We might even bring you a bit of news from the tennis action itself.
So what’s been going on pre-tournament?
Well the big news is Rafa Nadal won’t be playing, which has paved the way for everyone in the land to get carried away with all kinds of Murray to win nonsense.
It has also prompted every paper in the land to cash in with the headline Advantage Murray. Conveniently this overlooks the fact that some bloke called Roger Federer is still playing, and he might just be the best player of all time.
Never mind that though, no doubt we’re moments away from seeing a giant saltire painted on the crest of Mount Murray, or Murray Mount, or Mountain Mr Murray ahead of his inevitable second round exit. It’ll always be Tiger Tim’s Henman Hillock to us.
It’s not all bad for the dour Scotsman though – win, lose or draw he’ll be looking a little more suave than usual, having just unveiled a new range of Fred Perry clothes, all of which he’ll be sporting with his customary panache at this year’s event.
Other big, shouty-type news comes in the form of an outspoken attack from top tennis coach Nick Bolletieri. He reckons players should be penalised for grunting too loudly. Fair enough, but it’s a tad rich coming from the man who coached the jumbo-grunt brigade Monica Seles, Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams (pictured).
Tune in again tomorrow to find out what happened on the opening day…
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