Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

How we can rely on Wimbledon to serve up a few treats

There are a few annual events which always remind you that, for all the grumbling, life's basically good: the breaking of that insane New Year's resolution, the first M-amp;S Christmas ad, the bombing of a Matthew Mc Conaughy/Jennifer Aniston rom-com.

But none gladden the heart more than the prospect of Wimbledon fortnight, carrying with it the promise (and I do emphasise promise) of scorching hot days, strawberries and cream and football shuttled off to the margins for a bit.

For me, the tournament is soaked in childhood memories. My mother locked in front of the old Decca TV, curtains closed to keep the sunlight off the screen, washing piled up and barely a meal cooked for a fortnight as Martina, Yvonne, Ginny, Chris and Pam battled it out. Those epic encounters between Borg and McEnroe. It's also cheering in its inevitable repetitions - the east European (usually) unseeded female player wearing something so daring that thousands of Bufton-Tufton types go into shock (while closely examining all photographic evidence), the first newspaper article complaining about all the uncalled grunting of the players, the BBC fending off attacks that they seem to favour coverage of pretty female players rather than, you know, good ones.

And, of course, the greatest ritual of all - the search for a British winner, replete with references to the last British men's champion Fred Perry in 1936 (when the Second World War was just a gleam in Herr Hitler's eye). Now that 'C'mon Andy' (left) has replaced 'C'mon Tim' it looks more probable that it may happen - until our boy meets either Federer or Nadal.

Comforting, exciting, sometimes downright maddening - that's Wimbledon, right now, on the very cusp of summer.

And if we get proper sunshine, it's more than that - it's a little bit of heaven.

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