I have a couple of book reviews lined up but it is useless pretending I am interested in anything but Wimbledon this weekend and am totally unable to concentrate so holding over until Monday. Please bear with me O Random Ones and I will be most grateful.
Well he has done it. Andy Murray is in the Wimbledon final and his reaction at the end of the match just showed how much it meant to him. John Mac said he wished he had shown more excitement, but I disagree. Andy was overwhelmed with relief and the tears welled up and there was no room for shrieking and jumping - it is not his style anyway as we know. Time for that IF and WHEN and I am so hoping it will be When. The first two sets against Tsonga seemed to have the crowd in a fairly subdued mood - hey, he has won them with good straightforward tennis, this is not what we expect from a British player. Where is the cliff hanger, where is the tension, where is the roller coaster of emotions (gosh I hate that expression such a cliche but always used whenever a Brit is on court), why are our stomachs not being churned? Could it be that he will win in Straight Sets????? Don't be silly, it was clear that this was never going to happen - you may get straight set wins in the earlier part of the tournament, but no matter who is playing in the semis you know the players will not give in that easily.
And so it proved - Tsonga suddenly seemed to light up and started firing shots all over the court and trying to blast Andy into oblivion and for the third set it worked. By now the crowd were shooting on all cylinders (That's more like it - none of this three set nonsense, thank you) and the noise levels were escalating rapidly. At this stage I turned the television off and went for a walk. Yes, I did. My nerves could not take any more, I am still in recovery mode from the Ferrer/Baghdatis matches and I was feeling fragile. I have my own Simpson-Long theory when it comes to winning, fine tuned over the years of watching British sport. When watching cricket if England need a breakthrough and need to get somebody out, I go to the loo, I put the kettle on, I go out for a stroll. It always works, I return and a wicket has gone. Of course, this gets difficult when England are batting and I don't want them to lose a wicket, I then have to stick to the TV and my chair and not move at all in case my need for a cuppa causes a batting collapse. This can be quite painful after a while for obvious reasons.....
This all sounds very silly but I can assure you from years of experience, it works. So off I go for a run walk/walk through the woods. Am trying to get a bit fitter so decided it would help me as well as Andy. I wanted to return when the third set was out the way and he was regrouping for the fourth. Third was gone so let it go. After 20 mins came back, made cup of tea and switched TV back on and yes, the third set had indeed gone and we were well into the fourth. There was one moment in the match when Andy sat down during a game break and started gesticulating to his team in the old way and I thought Oh No No, calm down and keep Kevin the Teenager at home. Well he did - I can only assume he received a Look from Ivan. If I received a Look from Ivan it would strike me dumb (yes, really) as well as scaring the shit out of me and so with Andy and he quietened down straight away.
Well, he did it and the joy and delight from the crowd was simply wonderful to see. Andy did not scream or shriek, as I have already mentioned, but there was no doubt in my mind how much this meant to him. To win a Slam and this Slam, the most prestigious title in the world, would shut everyone up, would silence the nasty and unpleasant comments on the boards (and yes, despite his win they were out in force, small minded and nasty), would put to bed once and for all doubts about him and get this monkey off his back (sorry for the mixed cliches). We saw Tim Henman's reaction in the studio where he had been watching it and he was simply delighted and said to Sue Barker afterwards 'Not sure I could have handled a fifth set' to which she replied 'Well, now you know what you used to put us through'. Indeed.
I want him to win so badly but after watching Federer play such creamy, elegant and destructive tennis yesterday again Djokovitch, I am worried. Murray has beaten Federer on several occasions and knows he can do it and the only thing that will really stop him here is his mental steeliness. Murray was destroyed by Rog in an Australian Open final a few years ago from which he took a long time to recover. Roger was also less than gracious in his acceptance speech at the time, mocking the Brit by asking him HOW many years is it since a Brit won a Grand Slam Andy? which made me furious. He is not low on self belief is the Fed 'Oh yes I played a brilliant match' was his response yesterday. Well yes he did but there is a fine line between self belief and arrogance and sometimes Roger goes over it. The main reason I wanted him to win yesterday was because I felt Andy had more chance against him than Djokovic but now I am not so sure.
So the Nation Awaits and, no matter what the outcome on Sunday, Andy has played a wonderful Wimbledon. But he knows that nothing but a WIn will shut up the wingers and moaners and all I can say is C'MON ANDY!
It is Jubilee Year - do it for Her Maj.
PS -I shall not be watching the Ladies Final this afternoon for one reason and one reason only - Serena Williams, but I had better not turn this into a rant and tell you what I think of her.......