July 5th, 2004

Good Old Johnny Mac

Wimbledon is over and I'm missing it. For the past fortnight it has been the wallpaper of my life. An epic wallpaper- a bit like living with the Bayeux Tapestry.

The women's final was a disappointment. Sharapova beat Williams too easily. The women ought to play five sets like the men. It's nothing but a hangover from Victorian piety and condescension that they don't.

The men's final was better and more equal, though neither player was at his best. In the end Federer's skill topped Roddick's strength, which is how it ought to be.

But Wimbledon is about more than just tennis; it's part of the national conversation. Champagne, strawberries and cream, mile long queues, stoppages for rain. And Henman- a beautiful young man who feeds the national self conceit by looking and behaving like a subaltern from the 14-18 war. And every year, as befits the image, he gets mown down. Next year, we reassure one another, next year will be Tim's year- then next year turns into this year and -rat-a tat-tat- in Flanders fields the poppies grow.

Actually he played some good tennis, but with people like Federer and Roddick around he's never going to win a Grand Slam. My personal hero is John McEnroe- who now enlivens the BBC commentary box. What a self-deprecating charmer, what a living, breathing history book, what an anglophile! Why don't we do the decent thing and give him honorary citizenship or something?

And that way we'd finally have a Men's Wimbledon Champion who is British.


The boy came round- uninvited, unexpected, unannounced. I wish he wouldn't. I ought to like the boy better than I do, but he reminds me of  a person I miss- whom craftyailz and I both miss- a person who hurt us rather badly.

 craftyailz says that the reason I'm so grumpy and unsocial is that I'm still mourning my father. She also says that I'm grumpy and antisocial because I'm trying to BE my father. Hmmm. She may well have a point.

 I tell myself I'm over these griefs, but I'm not.