Keeping Tabs: July 27
These are the golden days for the London press, the days they'll reminisice about with their grandchildren. Not only does the media have two weeks of Olympic spectacle ahead, it also has the widespread whinging and accusations of incompetence that have thus far surrounded those Olympics. Yesterday, Fleet Street received the perfect sour cherry to top it all off: Mitt Romney. In case you haven’t heard, Mittens had a bad day. Or, as the Mail's Toby Harnden puts it:
MITT ROMNEY’S TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY IN LONDON
First words of the story: "Oh dear."
Mitt really is a gift, though, because his criticism of the organizers—now popularly known as “Romneyshambles”—appears to have united the country behind the Games. It’s one thing to bash your fellow Brits, it’s another to listen to a slicked-back American moneybags lecture you on your shortcomings. Elsewhere, the Mail wonders, “Who Invited Party-Pooper Romney?” and happily reports on his turnabout this morning:
“'London IS Ready': Romney completes humiliating u-turn in new UK charm offensive after Olympics gaffe”
The Sun, meanwhile, comes out swinging:
MITT THE TWIT: Wannabe President in Games Insult—but Cam Insists: We’ll Show You.
So, now that the enemy has been identified, it’s time to let the Games begin.
Let’s Tell It Like It Is
There was sadness in much of the tennis world when Rafael Nadal announced that he wouldn’t be coming to London. But no one has captured it quite like the Sun:
IT’S A KICK IN THE NADS FOR RAFA
Nadal, who was due to carry the Spain flag, has a knee injury
But hey, the paper finds an upside to the story:
“With Nadal crocked,” the Sun claims, “[Andy] Murray has a sniff at landing a big one.”
The Sun quotes Murray talking about how the Olympics have helped keep him from wallowing after Wimby (Wait, “Wallowing after Wimby”? Am I starting to sound like a London headline writer?):
“It was good for me that the Olympics came so soon after Wimbledon,” Murray says. “It gave me an extra push and extra motivation to get back on court and not think too much about what happened.”
Speaking of Waterworks...
The Sun previews Andy Murray’s opening-round this way:
TEAR WE GO AGAIN!
Andy Murray will get a chance for instant Wimbledon revenge...as he goes for gold against Switzerland at SW19
This time, of course, it isn’t Swiss Roger Federer that Murray will face, but Swiss Stan Wawrinka. If you’re looking for a first-round upset, that may be the one to follow.
Breaking: Murray Cracks Smile
The Independent has the scoop on what Muzz did with his time off:
MURRAY: KARTING AND PUPPIES CURED ME OF SW19 BLUES
In the story, Murray makes a bold but as-yet-unsubstantiated claim about himself:
“I laugh a lot—just not in front of you guys," he says. "Your questions normally aren’t that funny. I go to quite a lot of comedy shows. Laughing is normally the best way to get over most things.”
After Wimbledon, Murray says he went back to pick up a few bags and spent some time inside an empty Centre Court.
“I just sat there for a little while thinking about the match and then thinking a bit about what it was going to be like at the Olympics. The whole venue had changed so quickly after the tournament. They already had all the London 2012 backdrops at the back of the court. It maybe got my mind to looking forward.”
Wait, Are You That Gymnast I Saw On TV, What’s Your Name Again?
Tennis players turn into fawning fans during the Games. Gisela Dulko had her picture taken with LeBron James; Laura Robson “bumped into” Michael Phelps; and Christina McHale managed what is apparently the biggest celeb get of all: a shot of her with Phelps’ rival, Ryan Lochte.
The Mail, calling tennis players “the most pampered of athletes,” has a story today about how these spoiled young people have had to make do with less during the Games. The All England Club essentially handed its grounds over to the IOC. The “scars” on the grass behind the baseline have healed, but food and towels are harder to come by. So are passes for entourages. One day Caroline Wozniacki reportedly had to choose between letting in her boyfriend, Rory McIlroy, or her hitting partner. She went with Rory, leaving the hitting partner, in the Mail’s words, “decidedly non-plussed.”
Worse, though, is the transportation. The Spanish team endured a five-hour journey from the airport to the Olympic Village. With the bus driver lost, David Ferrer and Alex Corretja tried to get out and hail a cab, but were told that it wasn’t allowed.
Jonny Come Lately
The Express has a story on the trials and tribulations of the country’s surprise Wimbledon doubles winner:
NOW JONNY MARRAY HAS TO MASTER FAME GAME
Marray seems to be starting pretty much from scratch. “This has completely turned my life upside down,” he says. “People actually know who I am now, and that’s something I’ve never had before.”
He makes it sound as if his own mother wouldn’t have recognized him walking down the street before this year's Wimbledon.
Setting the Bar Low
The Mirror admirably refuses to put too much pressure on its young doubles team of Heather Watson and Laura Robson. In fact, you could be forgiven for thinking that the paper isn’t taking their Olympic bid altogether seriously.
BRIT TENNIS STARLETS GETTING READY FOR A GIGGLE AT LONDON 2012
They’re off to a good start. Both Watson and Robson have received late entries into the singles after other players withdrew.
Now all that’s left to do is play the Games. Tennis begins right away Saturday morning, so early that many players, including Roger Federer, will have to skip the opening ceremony.
Have a good weekend. I'll be back Monday to pick up where we left off.