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.
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…
Who uses these stupid things, huh?
It’s never with anything less than utter elation that we hear from a member of the throbbing, bulbous Interestment family, and today Rory thought he’d drop by to tell us a few interesting tennis facts. It’s a total pleasure. He had this to say…
We all know what Wimbledon means – strawberries, cream, rain, cream mixing with rain, Cliff Richard, Sue Barker in a sexual frenzy, John Inverdale striding around the grounds flanked by massive security guards, that funny little man Andrew Castle from GMTV being on the TV more than usual…
But there’s probably loads you don’t know about it too. Like when a Briton last won it, what colour the sanitising tablets are in the urinals of the men’s changing rooms, or what year someone last used a wooden racquet. Well, wonder no more, dear reader. The answer to at least one of those questions is to be found below, in our round-up of strange and mildly diverting Wimbledon facts. Sit back, relax, unbuckle your belts, and learn.
– In 1995, Tim Henman became the first person in the 120-year history of the tournament to be disqualified. After losing his temper, he smashed a ball away in anger… straight into the face of an innocent young ball girl. He gave her some flowers and licked her face to say sorry (above).
– It is illegal for married women to win the singles title. An exception was made for Chris Evert in 1981.
– Two-time Wimbledon finalist Andy Roddick now counts a London cabbie among his best mates. They first met when Roddick was a passenger in his taxi during the tournament six years ago, and they’ve kept in touch since. Stephen Little was even a guest at Roddick’s wedding earlier this year. To this day, Little can often be heard asking his friends “You know who I had in my cab the other day?” before going on to tell them all about how he and Stiffler out of American Pie are now top mates…
– During World War II, a bomb struck centre court, doing huge damage. Unfortunately, Cliff Richard was only a toddler at the time and he was nowhere near the scene.
– Competitors at Wimbledon must adhere to an all-white dress code. However (much like schoolkids who attempt to subvert uniform protocol by wearing their ties the wrong way round with a ridiculous oversized knot and stumpy tail), players often look for quirky ways to get around the strict ruling. In 2007, Tatiana Golovin (above) made a mockery of the rule by donning pair of red knickers under her dress.
– A man dressed as the famous Womble (of Wimbledon) Orinoco once attempted to gain entry for free on the final day, citing his status as a local dignitary as justification.*
* This one might not be true
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.