I may be one of the last to offer my congratulations to Andy Murray in print, but they are no less well meant. I had the privilege to be at Wimbledon on that momentous day and witnessed the tremendous struggle between Andy and a very game foreign gentleman. I had been asked to bless their balls before the match but felt that on this occasion at least, the coming together of the secular and the divine would not be appropriate.
But what a match it was – swinging this way and that until both players were visibly perspiring! I was seated quite close to our youthful Prime Minister and was heartened at the way he was able to set aside solemn matters of state and cheer and clap, and at one stage when things had become very tense and the foreign chappie had the upper hand, loosen his tie. By far the noisiest occupant of our box was a Scots politician by the name of Salmond who invoked the noble war cries of William Wallace with his, “Oh ye want some, do ye Jimmie?” In his excitement he seemed to have quite forgotten that the foreign gentleman’s name was in fact Novak.
As representative top class tennis is of The Game of Life, to my mind at least, it is only a runner-up to that most noble of human activities – cricket, and as I type our brave eleven are preparing to face the old enemy, Australia.
Quite why there is so much enmity between the nations is beyond me. Perhaps it is because Australians do not like being ruled over by a woman. After all, their record in terms of sexual equality, as witnessed by the treatment of their only female Prime Minister, is less than exemplary. Or it might be because, as the Aussies maintain, we are a bunch of elitist toffee-nosed pooftahs. Whatever that might mean.
Mention of the ladies does however remind me of how far we have come in terms of sporting equality – and how heartening it was to see the young no-frills French girl triumph over what would appear today to be the archetypal blonde, would-be model professional female tennis player. A blow for the ordinary. And Jesus was ordinary, you know. No panoply, no robes of silk and definitely no screaming when he served.
It certainly makes you think, doesn’t it ?