Anorak News | No Saint Andrew

No Saint Andrew

by | 4th, July 2006

HOLD the blue felt-tip! There’s no need to alter your flag of St George into a Saltire. Andrew Murray is out of Wimbledon.

The Scot’s Wimbledon dream ended with a 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-2) defeat to France’s Marcos Baghdatis.

Murray is ranked No. 44 in the world. Baghdatis is at number 55. In football terms, this is Serbia & Montenegro losing to Zimbabwe.

Not that football has much to do with tennis. Since Goran Ivanisevic retired from the game, we struggle to remember any player who has kicked a ball on court, let alone attempted to juggle it on his toe, as the affable Croatian was wont to.

Boris Becker has commentated on the “beautiful jackets” in both sports, but this we feel has less to with his sporting knowledge and more with his role as our favourite German; a condition aided by the fact that the only other German we are supposed to like is Jurgen Klinsmann, and he’s too busy leading his country to World Cup supremacy to talk to Sue Barker about umpire’s blazers and Comfi-Slax.

Football and tennis rarely if ever mix. Which is why it was odd for Murray to say that he’d be supporting “anyone but England” at the World Cup.

And all the odder because tennis players – especially British tennis players – are as controversial as wet toast.

Murray’s error was not only to voice an opinion, and so make the kind of people who watch tennis – middle-aged, middle-class and middle management – baulk, but to look like he cared about football.

Football. Eu! That’s the sport for sweaty oiks and thugs. Tennis is so much more refined, less a sport than a chance to discuss Gavin’s promotion at work and Lucy’s custard tarts.

And here was Murray talking about football. In a single comment he had alienated many of us.

England football fans noticed him and did not like what they saw. Tennis fans thought him crass and vulgar. Unsurprisingly, Murray’s blog has attracted over 1,000 unflattering comments and no little abuse.

Pete Wishart, of the Scottish National Party, said in the Commons that his “sickening hate mail” has to stop.

And so it should. Hate mail in tennis? How so? Football has the tabloids mutating men’s heads on turnips, sticking players’ faces on dartboards and likening games to war. Football has wives and girlfriends who dance on tables and tell Germans to “f*** off”. Tennis has Lucy Henman in a silk scarf and bob.

Thankfully, it is now all at an end. Murray can disappear until next summer. He is out. As, of course, are England.

Indeed, defeat is perhaps the one thing that unites both sports and their sets fans. And balls.

Posted: 4th, July 2006 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink