I’m not sure when my love affair with Wimbledon actually started. I know that it was one time that my Mum would sit in front of the telly for as long as she could get away with with 6 children, and it was something we bonded over. I remember making a scrapbook in the Bjorn Borg years – well, why wouldn’t I? – and as a teenager I was much more aware of who was playing. It was the era of Connors and McEnroe, Evert and Navratilova. Then there was Borg and a pretty Italian man called Panatta and then along came Pat Cash…I still get a bit unnecessary when he’s commentating! There was the genius playing and naughtiness of Ilie Nastase to get involved with too.
We had Silver Jubilee British Champion in Virginia Wade – huzzah! And that Summer when Boris Becker was the youngest Male Champion at barely 17 years of age. And Agassi with that silly hair, but great game and lovely smile. Steffi Graff was, to me, the most graceful and last ladylike Women’s Champion. I really can’t watch the powerhouse that is Serena Williams although you can’t knock the determination. And don’t get me started on Sharapova…if she really is one of the best in the world I think the game is doomed. Federer is, of course, the consummate Professional and seems to float and has a beautiful game.
I love the irreverence of the Commentators – quite a few now past winners, so they have the knowledge to make proper judgements. There is so much history and it’s wonderful that the players still think this London Tournament is the best in the World.
I love the Purple and Green uniforms of the Umpires, linesmen and Ballboys/girls. I love the All White rule for the Players…none of that multi-coloured new-fangledness for such a prestigious event.
I love that Royalty and Stars of Stage and Screen and Music all come to watch and cheer. I love that us British Audiences are appreciative and polite of everyone’s prowess…although, of course, if one of ours is playing there may be just a smidgeon of Jingoism – but only a tiny bit.
I love how rain delays do not perturb us…we are so used to rain.
The funny thing is…I’ve never actually been although it’s only about 10 miles away from where I live! I did go to Queens club once which was really good.
I don’t watch an awful lot of other Tennis tournaments either, and the Women’s game sort of leaves me cold…is it really because of the muscles and great thighs of the men? No, of course not! But I can’t be doing with all that screeching and noise the girls make.
It was always my Mum and I who would have great conversations about the Tennis and when I was at home with small children we would watch the matches separately but be on the phone discussing the matches. When Henman and Murray came along it made the game more interesting to be British, but any good Tennis is great to watch.
She would have been so proud of Murray becoming Olympic Champion in 2012 and finally Wimbledon Champion in 2013. But she didn’t see it. She hasn’t seen the greatness of Nadal, the jokiness of Djokovic. And it’s sad. It makes me miss her.
And so this year’s Wimbledon starts today…I shall be watching, and talking to her in my head.