Friday, 1 July 2011

Divided Loyalties........?

Do not phone me this afternoon.

Do not call, e-mail or otherwise contact me, not if you want an immediate reply, anyway. Do not show up on my doorstep, either - well, not unless you turn up clutching a bottle of Pimms, strawberries and cream and your TV spectacles. Yes, it's the Wimbledon men's semi-finals, and I'm excited already.

Well, I'm excited up to a point, that is - the point where everyone assumes I'll be rooting for Andy Murray for no other reason than we're both Scottish. I hate to disappoint you, but nationality is the last reason I'd be rooting for anyone.

This whole 'we need a British tennis champion' thing is getting on my nerves! And the most annoying thing about it is that I don't believe for a moment that real tennis fans give a a hoot about the nationality of the champions. They're about the least partisan of all sports fans.

It's only the media who stir this nonsense up, and what's more, they only stir it up when it's time for Wimbledon. If they really knew anything about tennis, they'd know that Andy is a champ already - Wimbledon isn't the only tennis championship in the world, people. He's played in - and won - major finals before, so lay off the pressure on him and let the best player win, regardless of their nationality.

As it happens, I'm a big Rafa Nadal fan, and I have been for years. I have no particular allegiance to Spain, I couldn't care less where he's from and it matters not a jot to me - why would it? I just think he's the most fabulous, inventive, player I've ever seen, and I go back to the days of Borg, Becker, Connors, etc etc. I know, my dewy, youthful appearance belies that, but it's true! I admire the way he plays every single point and how he never gives up, never whinges, and is a thoroughly decent guy. You want an ambassador for tennis, you got one in Rafa for sure.

As for Andy - he's playing magnificently right now. The best I've ever seen him. We are in for an amazing match this afternoon - actually, two amazing matches, because Djokovic and Tsonga will be a ding-dong too, I'll bet.

So, I'll be rooting for Rafa just because I'm such a fan, but I'll be rooting for Andy too if he plays anything like he's been playing up till now. This REALLY is a case of 'let the best man win,' cos the best man will, and let's leave all this nationality nonsense out of it.

New balls, please!

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