Belfast Telegraph

Tennis leaves us all panting for more

By Billy Weir

I have to say the finals of the US Open tennis were an unlikely double climax to an event that rarely threatened to raise itself above ordinary over the previous couple of weeks.

The early exit of Andy Murray plus the not soon enough exit of his mother, now being served up as pundit on Sky Sports, meant I could tune in with less dread than normal.

I timed my entrance to the Women's final on Sunday evening perfectly just as Annabel Croft, perched unfeasibly on a stool, starting talking about one of the players being 'given a lot of mid-transitional balls' by their coach. No need to be rude, Annabel.

It got more bizarre as Serena Williams warmed up wearing a blazer, prompting presenter Marcus Buckland to probe fashionista Boris Becker for an opinion.

"The ladies look in the mirror all the time so they must like what they wear, but I've seen better tennis outfits before," bitched Boris, before adding, very worryingly, "I'm thankful I'm not a girl and I don't have to wear a skirt, I'd be so uncomfortable with everyone staring at my underwear." The mind boggles.

No such problem for Serena and Victoria Azarenka, daughter of big Cliff, with the howling gale at Flushing Meadow leaving nothing to the imagination, but as Buckland pointed out it was a 'skirt-raising final and an eyebrow-raising final.'

A man who was no stranger to either concept, President Bill Clinton was then spotted in the crowd, swigging from a can and prompting huge cheers, just as Serena was trying to save break point, incurring the wrath of Annabel, but at least with so many frocks flapping around he didn't say it was 'not appropriate.'

When the men came out on court the next evening, it looked as if Rafael Nadal (pictured) was having a bit of a problem in the under-garment section and for the next three and a half hours he was hoking around down there like someone looking for the keys down the back of the sofa.

Sadly he seemed to find Greg Rusedski, who replaced Annabel in the Sky team, but Boris was still there, insisting that the huge cash prize on offer was not the motivation.

"They don't play for money anymore, they play for pride, they play for trophies, they play the history books," he argued. Yeah right, if that was the case, Rafa would be playing Simon Schama in the final and not Novak Djokovic.

A classic ensued, commentator Mark Petchey remarking that 'it's brutal and breathtaking in equal measure," although that may have been Greg and Annabel, and only JFK appearing swigging from a can could have put Rafa off enough to save poor Novak, either that or his pants finally eating him alive.

Belfast Telegraph


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