Another fortnight of tennis played on the green lawns of Wimbledon, SW19 is now over and I am not sure that it can be classified as a vintage year. No great tennis, no huge peaks of wonderfulness this year, but there have been upsets along the way. Here are my thoughts which I am sure you are all breathlessly awaiting...
First up - the ladies tournament. I am sure I am going to outrage a lot of people here, but I am sorry I totally disagree with the equal prize money paid to the Ladies Champion. The disparity between the male and female game has always been obvious but the Wimbledon Committee bowed to the hollering and shouting of Mesdames King, Casals, Navratilova et al back in the 70's and 80s and decided they deserved the same pay as the men. I disagreed then and I disagree now. Most of the ladies tennis matches have been lacklustre and pedestrian and SHORT. Oh yes we have had some goodies, not that many but some (Bartoli v Lisicki being an example) though these have been few and far between. I am all for equal pay for an equal job but tennis is not a good example.
Watching the grunting Williams sisters is not exactly an aesthetic pleasure and their ungraciousness and consciousness that they are The Best and everyone else is lower than the dust beneath their chariot wheels, grates. Serena put in a complaint that she and Venus were not on the main courts enough and that she found pushing her way through the crowds to get on Court 2 or 3 'uncomfortable'. Well, hey welcome to the real world lady. Those horrid sweaty proles are the ones who buy the tickets and pay your prize money. Not surprising that when her defeat was flashed up on the Centre Court during a break in a match the crowed clapped and cheered. Nice - no, understandable - yes. I know she has a hard year, in fact we know all about it as it was raised and aired at every single interview and press conference and must have been seriously scary to be so ill, but time for Venus and Serena to learn that the world at Wimbledon does not revolve around them.
Heavens I was even wishing Sharapova would win just to keep them out, shows how bad things have got.
And the grunting and the screaming and the shrieking and no, I am not talking about the spectators, I am talking about the women players. Sharapova makes no noise when she is practicing so we are left to draw our own conclusions as to why she does it when playing. It was a pleasure to see a nice, QUIET girl come onto the court and wipe the floor with her and we have a new champion. But that match was two sets of pretty mundane tennis which lasted just over an hour and a half and for that they get the same money as the men. This year the men's final was not a classic but four sets of good tennis, nearly three hours so tell me why do the women get the same? OK, better shut up now I suppose.
Delighted that Djokovic won the title, I am not a fan of Nadal as I find his time wasting tactics between points acutely irritating. He regularly takes longer than the time allowed but is never penalised because of it and I think he should be. Other players are. I know everyone says what a nice guy he is and sure they are right, but he has a really nasty mean look in his eye all the time which really puts me off and yes I know he is trying to win a match and I am being illogical but there you go.
Andy Murray - well what can one say? He has the skill, he has the talent but until he stops behaving like Kevin the Teenager and getting all sulky and irritated when he makes a bad shot, he is not going to fulfill his potential. Nadal, Federer, Djokovic - make a bad shot. Bugger. Forget it, don't do it again. Murray ponders and pouts and slams his racket and winges and by the time he recovers a set has gone by and Nadal is thundering shots round his ankles and past his ears. And I know I am going to sound like a fussy mother here, but really get a shave and a decent haircut and don't turn up looking like you have slept on the sofa all night and have not seen a brush or a comb for days. If you turn up looking immaculate and taking pride in your appearance, it all helps. This is Wimbledon for heaven's sake not the local Rec.
Andrew Castle said a shocking thing on the BBC the other day when asked about Murray. He said that 'perhaps he just wasn't good enough'. Blimey, somebody actually coming out and saying so. He is good but he is not as good as the top three and he is going to have problems in the next few years as there are other stars lurking who will soon eclipse him. The next two years are his make or break years and I have my doubts. I would love him to win the US Open in a few weeks, I would love him to prove me wrong. I really would.
Enough I think but cannot close with my moan (yes another one) about the BBC's obsession with slo-mo. After every single shot we see it again in slow motion and as this usually means somebody shouting YEEEEEEEEES, clenching their fist and opening their mouths as wide as the Mersey Tunnel, it is not a pretty sight. Sweat flying off Nadal's hair in slow-mo also pretty revolting. This sort of filming is getting very cliched now BBC.
Final word - in papers this morning news that loads of complaints have been made about the constant banging on about celebrities in the Royal Box. Ok I can see that is irritating and I don't really want to see a parade of sportsmen or women who take part in a sport in which I have no interest, but appreciate that others do. I don't really want to see Sir Cliff Richard again, though thank goodness he wasn' not singing this time, and I found the sight of the newly Knighted Sir Bruce Forsyth laughing and giggling with the Duchess of Cornwall quite fun. What I DO NOT WANT TO SEE is another bloody close up of Pippa bloody Middleton who is in the Royal Box because she is the sister in law of the future King of England. She has done NOTHING of note or merit thought she looked rather fetching as she walked up the aisle behind her sister, but the BBC seemed obsessed with her and when Andy won one of his matches the camera zoomed in on her, not the Murray family, and out comes the comment 'Oh there's Pippa, bet she's pleased'
Pass the sick bag.....