Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

Billy on the Box: Quite a lot of Argie bargy from David Nalbandian

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 17: David Nalbandian of Argentina (R) looks on as he injures a Line Judge's leg during his mens singles final round match against Marin Cilic of Croatia on day seven of the AEGON Championships at Queens Club on June 17, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

I don't wish to be alarmist but I fear that it is time to batten down the hatches, stock up on penguins and Jim Davidson videos and prepare for the hell that is war.

Those pesky Argentinians are up to no good again, if it’s not bad enough that their President, who I thought was Margarita Pracatan, is giving Mr Cameron nasty letters, they sent over a sneaky early raiding party to wreak havoc at the heart of London society.

The pomp and circumstance of the tennis at the Queen’s Club on Sunday was rudely interrupted by an unprovoked attack by David Nalbandian on the unsuspecting shin of a line judge who was not so much Goose Green as black and blue at the end of it.

It was an entertaining, if unspectacular end to the pre-Wimbledon tournament, although the Wimbledon we thought was more Vinnie than Ann Jones as Nalbandian got a tad miffed at losing a game.

A poor advertising board bore the brunt, but the British Army should abandon any plans to go into battle in beige Farahs as they clearly cannot withstand the full force of a cardboard-piercing guttie at high speed.

It gave Andrew Castle the chance, like he needs one, to be overbearing and annoying, so he was in his element, quickly spotting that ‘we’ve got a serious issue here’ as the poor, yelping linesman rolled off his chair in pain.

“This is such a shame, it wasn’t malicious. He’s gone a step too far here and drawn blood from one of the officials on court,” he added.

A step too far ...drawing blood from an official is only permissible under ATP rules during the Transylvanian Open.

Then again, it’s hardly the most harrowing chair-based pain that Castle has presided over as he inflicted suffering on untold millions on a sofa every morning for years, but what we needed was an explanation.

“People who are wearing blazers with anchor buttons on them are booing,” raising an issue that Lorraine could maybe look into some morning about how wearing a blazer somehow stops you from booing.

There was more to come, Sergeant Major Sue Barker braving the frontline to interview a very awkward looking ‘winner’ in Marin Cilic.

“Congratulations on winning the trophy but not in the way you would have wanted it,” simpered Sue, to a chorus of boos, blazered and otherwise attired, only to be met with a chorus of shooshes from Barker, whose bite is worse than her boo.

But then it was the one we all wanted. Nalbandian beckoned from the naughty step to face Sue.

“David, what do you want to say?,” asked Paxman, sorry, Sue and we got a garbled apology and a wee rant at tennis’ authorities.

Castle was furious, saying that there was a time and place and although not in Eric Cantona’s league, this simply wasn’t cricket. Or tennis.

But, as Nalbandian should have said, ‘when the peacocks follow the yacht, it's because they think strawberries and cream will be thrown into the sea.’

Away from rowing and onto rowing as there was more messing about in boats as John Inverdale was our guide to the World Cup in Munich.

“We’re not bad at athletics, pretty handy at cycling and sailing, but in six weeks time it could be the rowing that is Team GB’s crowning glory at London 2012,” said John as he walked, but not in Germany’s green and pleasant lands but much closer to home.

“We are here alongside Sir Steve Redgrave beneath a blue, grey, white and mottled skies on the banks of the Thames,” he continued as the effects of the Beeb’s cost-cutting took hold. Well, there’s a war on, we all have to make do.

This is akin to covering the British Grand Prix while standing on the Westlink, but given their propensity at the moment to move everything up north, we were lucky Sir Steve wasn’t sitting beside Manchester Ship Canal surrounded by shopping trolleys and Richard Hillman’s body bobbing past John’s shoulder.

There was the bizarre sight of Sunday morning walkers strolling past the presenters as we switched to a mixture of live and recorded action from Munich, where we found Garry Herbert and Dan Topolski discovering that Grade Briddin no longer rules all the waves.

And with the possibility of a flotilla being needed very shortly, the Olympics can’t come soon enough, just watch out for any boats with Malvinas written on the side of them or it’ll all kick off again.

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