Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Sir Andy Murray lifts the wait of expectation

Andy Murray of Great Britain speaks with Sue Barker as he holds the Gentlemen's Singles Trophy

So there you have it, another year at Wimbledon over, Orinoco, Great Uncle Bulgaria, Madame Cholet and Lawrie Sanchez can venture back onto the Common without fear of being smacked across the back of the scone with an errant Slazenger.

And, you may not have heard, but Great Britain ruled supreme. Former Scottish tennis player, Andrew Murray, upset the odds to beat some nasty eastern European and win tennis' greatest title (unless you're French, American or Australian) for the first time since Fred Perry 77 years ago. What do you mean you hadn't heard?

Tennis fever has swept all four corners of this sceptred isle, not another sport matters, and quite frankly why they're even bothering to play the Ashes or plan for a new Premier League season is beyond me.

But before the £3.99 racquet you bought from that shop just up from Barry's in 1985 is chucked back into the roofspace, let's relive some of the highlights from 77 halcyon days (or did it just seem like that?) at Wimbledon, and remember, in 2090 that we'll be asking, will anyone ever follow in the footsteps of Andy Murray at SW77. And who was that funny wee French lady who beat that greetin' German girl?

A is for Andy: Who else but the main man himself. The first British man to win Wimbledon in short trousers according to Andrew Castle but only because on the morning of the final his mammy relented and cut the legs out of his romper suit. Fred Perry, of course, wore a hoodie.

B is for Becker: Part tennis pundit, part Bond villain, part-time cupboard enthusiast, old 'boom, boom' shook the room, well, the commentary box during the final with some extraordinary outbursts. Nonemoreso than when Rolling Stones legend, Ronnie Wood, 77, dandered in. "Jumping Jack Flash," he blurted out. Just be thankful it wasn't Cliff Richard, who knows what he would have shouted.

C is for Castle: "The waiting is over," was how it was summed up by Andrew Castle. We were left hanging as to whether he meant Murray's win or his personal injury claim had come through, but he soon added 'Andy Murray is Wimbledon champion.' He apologised to Novak Djokovic but sometimes sorry isn't enough.

D is for Documentary: Okay BBC, you made a decent documentary in 'Andy Murray: The Man Behind the Racquet' but did we really need to see it again on Monday night? A preview of a tournament that had just finished posing the question would Andy Murray end the famine? Yes, yes he will, it's not like 77 years has passed since he won.

E is for 'Er indoors: Or rather, outdoors, as Andy's other half, Kim, appeared in more boxes over the past fortnight than a nosey necrophiliac in a graveyard. Every time Andy was in trouble, she appeared, every time he won a crucial point, she appeared, every time anything happened, she appeared. Thankfully at the end when Sue spoke about Ivan Lendl, she had the good grace to appear.

F is for French: Ah yes, destined to be the 'who won the women's title in 2013 when Andy Murray was crowned champion?' question in pub quizzes for many generations, Mademoiselle Marion Bartoli is now the most famous Marion in the world taking over from Marion Ross, better known as Mrs Cunningham, mother of Richie and Joanie. Happy days.

G is for Gurning: If you thought a Brit winning Wimbledon was enough to turn the world on its axis, then who would have guessed a German would surrender in such tame fashion to a French woman. Such scenes have not been witnessed since Herr Flick lost control of himself with Michelle and waved goodbye to the Fallen Madonna with the big Wilsons. John Inverdale has expressed an interest in producing a remake but only if Sabine Lisicki can stop crying for five minutes.

H is for Hollywood: I have to hold my hands up here and admit that I am no longer 'down with the children' but was anyone else wondering who the hell the two blokes in the blue suits were they kept panning in on Sunday? Boris tried to help by saying 'Ah, Hollywood is here,' but I hadn't a clue who Gerard Butler or Bradley Cooper were. I hadn't heard of Butler since he was in On The Buses.

I is for Inverdale: For years I've called him Inversoft and finally I was proved right as he caused all manner of self-inflicted fan damage by insinuating that Marion Bartoli was 'not a looker'. A silly thing to say, but let's hope his replacements for next year, Richard Keys and Andy Gray, do a better job. Smashing it will make for an interesting conversation on Today at Wimbledon.

J is for Judy: Bizarrely a tad understated at the final, Mammy Murray finally saw all her dreams come true when her wee lad finally claimed the big one. She is also now said to be delighted to be able to take a backseat and continue presenting This Morning with Holly Willoughby.

K is for Knighthood: The big question is being asked, is Andy Murray now up among the greatest British sportsmen of all time? No, no he isn't. Does he deserve a knighthood? No. Next question.

L is for Lendl: My favourite evil tennis player when I was growing up, did anyone else get a bit suspicious that when all those players were going down with mystery injuries and ailments that there was a scowling, eastern European man cackling in the background?

M is for Minister: Nothing quite like Wimbledon to get the politicians crawling out from under their various stones. Prime Minister David Cameron, described as a 'useful leftie' by Andrew Castle, appeared, as did Ed Miliband, who isn't.

N is for Nadal: Anyone else getting a little cheesed off that tennis is now dominated by just two men? Funny, it only seems a few weeks ago that a Snr Nadal was giving everyone a pummelling on clay the likes of which were last delivered when Tony Hart got fed up with Morph eating his crayons.

O is for Orienteering: In 1987 Pat Cash, overcome with emotion and a few sneaky Fosters hidden in a Robinson's Barley Water bottle, climbed up into the players' box to celebrate with his family and friends. This was touching, moving and amusing. It is now boring, tedious and predictable. Please desist forthwith.

P is for Perry: Picture the scene in 2090 when you're travelling down to the shops on your hoverboard that when you pass a community centre you will be harangued by young hoodlums dressed in Andy Murray tracksuit tops.

Q is for Queen: Despite all the '77' links, it was sad that the big royal visitor of the fortnight was a Camilla Parker-Bowles, a woman destined never to achieve the 'big one'. Or doing a Henman as it's better known.

R is for Robson: For a glorious week, women's tennis held its breath that a British girl could finally be considered a contender for the title. Then Laura Robson returned to type, lost and became that Australian. Or doing a Rusedski as it's better known.

S is for Sue: No Wimbledon would be complete without Ms Barker standing at the side of a court asking inane questions and giggling like a schoolgirl whenever John McEnroe gets within a 10-mile radius. Bizarrely came dressed as a mushroom to the women's final, where she was joined by Mac, who really is a fungi. I'll get my coat.

T is for Tim: "Have you ever met anyone who has had their arm broken by a swan?". Surely the strangest question ever asked by any pundit during a Wimbledon final. I suppose the clues were there in 'hen' man.

U is for United Kingdom: Try telling Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond that 'oor Andy is British as he reached down his trousers and whipped out a big Saltire when Murray clinched victory. That was fair enough but flicking battered strawberries at David Cameron and belching Flower of Scotland after a pint of Irn Bru and Pimms was taking it too far.

V is for Villain: I was going to use this for Xenophobia but I wasn't sure how to spell it. Anyhow, the build-up to the final was cringeworthy with Djokovic, who seems to be one of the nicest Serbs you could ever wish to meet, being portrayed as the arch enemy of mankind. We all know that's Andrew Castle.

X is for X-rated: I could have used Xenophobia here I now realise but hey-ho. That horrible day when player after player limped, cried or was carried out of Wimbledon in agony, something not witnessed since John Fashanu and Vinnie Jones were in their pomp.

Y is for Yanks: They do make great pundits for tennis, Lindsay Davenport, the world's tallest woman, a class act, McEnroe a legend and Tracy Austin falling under the guilty secret category that you won't admit in public. Not doing a Sue Barker as it's known.

Z is for zzzzzz: The Sports Personality of the Year is going to be an even bigger non-event than usual. Graeme Swann will need to take 100 wickets and score a 1000 runs in the Ashes to even challenge. As long as Henman doesn't break his arm.

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