See me? See Tennis? Hate it.
Wimbledon, in particular, has always got right on my thruppennies. Because of the crowd mainly, the Union Jack Waving, laugh-at-anything Henman Hill lot – though I’m sure I’m not alone there. I mean come on, who doesn’t hate them?
To be honest, I’ve never been that fond of Andy Murray either - a big dour bugger, I’ve always thought. A bit of a moaner with a definite propensity to girn under pressure. (Then there’s that thing with his Mum. The way he eyeballs her, when it’s all going wrong. Like it’s her fault.)
So given all of this, why did I find myself - from a distance of 12,00 miles away in Australia, at 4 o’clock in the morning, in my Y-fronts and socks - giving it "Yes, big man", and "Ohhhh, that’s a winner, by the way" like some sort of weird fusion of Dan Maskell and Tam ‘The Licensee’ McGraw?
Because Andy, is one of us. And that’s what we do.
Who would have ever have thought that Scotland would produce a world class tennis player? I don’t know about you, but where I came from, tennis was always thought of as hopelessly effete, a game for people called Cecil or Cedric, the likes of whom you were only really likely to know through their occasional appearances in Oor Wullie.
There was a tennis court at the local park and we even had a racquet, but to be honest, it was more likely to be used as an ersatz guitar than it was for booming winners down the line courtside.
But tennis it is. In Andy Murray we have produced – and I mean we: he’s Scottish, not British – one of the best. A contender. A genuine prospect.
Oh, we knew he was up against it. For one thing Federer, the ice-cool Swiss was looking highly dangerous all week.
Big Andy was - as per usual - inconsistent. Brilliant one minute, duff the next. And we know he has a tendency to crack under pressure. Does he ever. It’s his middle name.
But we had hope. I certainly did. We all did. He made us proud. Even if I hate tennis. There’s no logic to it but I’d support a Jock in any sport. Even big dour buggers.
It was looking so good, at first. Andy started brilliantly and Fed was nervy. First set in the bag and favourite for the second. On you go, big man!
Then, somehow while looking in total control, Andy lost the second set. Then the rain came.
Then he fell over. Then he started to get crabbit. And – uh-oh - started eyeballing his mum.
Then, after that marathon game in the third set, his serve was broken. At that point, we all knew. The ba’ was, well and truly, on the slates.
It was torturous stuff, thereafter. Andy was beaten but somehow we hoped he’d pull it off, start serving like a demon, play trick shots, step up another gear. Or Federer would get injured.
But no, we thought it was all over and soon it really was. Andy got done. In the final. Again. Drained. Gutted. A spent force, empty and dejected.
And Big Andy probably wasn’t feeling that great either.
But he’ll be back. Possibly. Eventually he’ll do it. Possibly.
And even if Andy Murray is eventually consigned to the sporting annals as a great player who just wasn’t great enough, the tennis equivalent of Devon Loch, the horse who inexplicably belly-flopped with the Grand National at its mercy, even if he’s fated to be remembered as that most derisive of sporting epithets, a choker…?
Well, at least he’s our choker.
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