Keeping Tabs: July 3
I go to bed, roof problems. I wake up, more roof problems. When I see the now familiar face of Wimbledon referee Andrew Jarrett, with his walkie-talkie and his classy hair, lurking in the back of a court, I wonder who would ever be possessed to take that job. Or is it the All England Club’s way of punishing someone for bad behavior? I thought the U.S. Open's ref, Brian Earley, had it bad during America's version of Watergate last year, but Jarrett can’t win this fortnight.
There are whispers, though, of decent weather ahead. Hopefully we’ll forget all about Jarrett and the confounded roof soon.
The Mail sounds the main theme of the day, from a local perspective:
MURRAY UNDER A CLOUD: AS BIG GUNS REST UP ANDY COULD BE COURT UP AGAIN
When Novak Djokovic wrapped up his easy win in Centre Court yesterday, the crowd began to shout for Murray, hoping to get his suspended match with Marin Cilic moved there. Wimbledon didn’t bite.
“The problems associated with moving matches between courts," an official said, "such as the stewarding, and the wish not to play another late night, all conspire to say our best option is to come back tomorrow. It’s a traditional daytime, outdoor event.”
Those may not have been the best, or the clearest, words—“stewarding”?—but I like the idea that Wimbledon is trying to fight the slippery slope toward indoor, nighttime tennis. It's a tradition worth keeping.
—Crazed English tennis fans also made the paper yesterday:
SERENA QUESTIONS SECURITY AFTER SHE IS MOBBED BY FANS FOLLOWING WIN
“I was literally knocked over,” Serena said.
But she wasn’t. Not even close. Never gonna happen, according to Serena.
Asked if she were frightened, Serena said, “No, I wasn’t scared. Nobody is going to knock me over, for real. I’d like to see that happen. Maybe that’s why I got on Court 2, because they knew I could back myself up.”
Serena wasn’t the only victim out there yesterday. Andy Murray, as the Mail puts it, “got a bit more than he bargained for.”
“As a gaggle of excited women put their arms around him, one hand slipped a bit low, giving him a pat on the bottom.”
Equal Pay for Equal Value
Simon Barnes of the Times weighs in on the equal pay debate, and I’m happy to say that he agrees with me, and for the same reasons. The only problem I have is that he puts it more poetically than I did:
“I am baffled to find Gilles Simon going on about equal prize money for women at Wimbledon,” Barnes writes. “This lack of discrepancy is something that seems to offend some people to their very souls. They make points about women playing three sets rather than five and point out that the men’s final is invariably a hotter ticket than the women’s. What’s that got to do with anything? Wimbledon’s great strength is that men and women are in it together.
"Tennis was invented for that very purpose. [It] was devised as a garden recreation in which young men and women might dispose of the inconvenience of a chaperone. Wimbledon is all about men and women sharing the same sporting arena. The relative prize money is not about workrate or commerical value. It depends on the moral principle that men and women have equal value.”
As I type this, I’m giving that a round of applause.
Bad Views, Good Smells, (Possibly) Angry Birds
—The worst seat at Wimbledon yesterday? The Independent says it was behind either Dirk Nowitzki, who was at the AELTC to support Sabine Lisicki, or his fellow NBA-er Scottie Pippen, who showed up on Court 2 to cheer for Serena Williams.
—It’s safe to say that we’ve all wondered the same thing now and again: What does Goran Ivanisevic smell like? BBC radio's Clare Balding had the scoop yesterday:
Goran has, according to Balding, a “spicy, wooden” aroma, that is just “delicious.”
—The paper also reports on perhaps the happiest news of the day, the return of Rufus the pigeon-scaring hawk, who had been stolen from the back of a car parked on the grounds. Rufus was even interviewed on TV. Apparently he crushed Andrew Jarrett for his “bone-headed decisions.”
The Man from Easter Island
Ivan Lendl hasn’t wasted any time establishing his player box identity. He’s the man of stone, the one supporter of Andy Murray who doesn’t stand, cheer, dance, or even smile. What did you expect from Ivan the Terrible, the old Arsenio Hall gyrating fist-pump after every ace?
As the Mirror says, Lendl and Murray are:
STONEFACE AND THE SCOT
Sounds like a detective buddy show from the ’80s, a male Cagney and Lacey. Except that it would be canceled after two episodes.
According to the Telegraph, Lendl developed his impassive style while watching his daughters at golf competitions.
ICE MAN LENDL JUST REFUSES TO LET IT OUT
“I don’t show emotion when I’m watching,” Lendl says. “I’m not falling out of the box. That’s not me and I don’t see any need to change my style.”
“I’ve a lot of training with this with my kids in golf,” Lendl went on, “in the many times I’ve caddied or followed them. I never showed any emotion or nerves then because it simply transferred to the kids. This is a higher level but the principle is the same.”
Heather Watson’s run is over, and her last headline has been written for the fortnight. Over the course of the event, she went from "my dear Watson" to "Heather in clover" to a vicious “terrier.” How did she end up, in the eyes of the press and the public? According to an Independent headline it was an open question:
HEATHER WATSON: HERO OR VILLAIN?
Villain? Our Heather? Really? Tough crowd. To its credit, though, the paper sides with "hero."