The Big Fourtnight

Beyond SW19

Sunday, June 30, 2013 /by
Photo by Ed McGrogan
Photo by Ed McGrogan

LONDON, England—What are the odds that these would be the odds for the “Gentlemen’s Outright Winner” of Wimbledon one week ago? How unlikely was it that Jerzy Janowicz would be the fourth-best bet in the field on Middle Sunday—and, more amazingly, that Fernando Verdasco would be seventh? Considering how the tournament has unfolded, it might not be a bad move to put a few quid on Bernard Tomic, paying a robust 80:1.

The consensus opinion that we are barreling toward a final between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray is unmistakably shown in this picture from a Ladbrokes betting window. Tomas Berdych, a former Wimbledon finalist, is given surprisingly little respect—or, some might say, enticing odds—with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal out of the picture. Then again, Berdych was headed to a fifth set Saturday against fellow heavy-hitter Kevin Anderson, before winning five straight games to recover from 5-2 down in the fourth.

Besides the gaming establishments, it was difficult to find evidence of Wimbledon outside the SW19 postcode area. Official Slazenger balls were being sold at a sporting goods store on Baker Street, and the papers talked up Laura Robson after her third-round escape, but The Championships appeared to be left where they are contested, many tube stops away from the city center. Not that that’s a bad thing—the event belongs to Wimbledon and its nearby village, just as football teams belong to their distinct neighborhoods in London. Clubs’ colors may as well be town seals, with purple and green the look for Wimbledon. (Especially since its former football team, Wimbledon F.C., dissolved in 2004.)

But back to the original topic: Who is going to win Wimbledon? I actually know the answer, having purchased this British GQ some time ago. Murray, his smoking jacket, and the surrounding flames—Man on Fire! was the headline—are tough to turn away from, but notice the message at the top-right corner.

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