Time was, Wimbledon would be on the telly and you’d look out of your window to see inspired children with improvised racquets playing in the street.
And this is why we have no world class players now.
All our promising youngsters have been run over.
Except Tim, of course. Now, I have nothing against Tim.
Granted, he is the Stereophonics of professional sport - terribly professional but unlikely to ever trouble the emotional half of the brain. Oh yes, and you want to punch his fans.
Tennis is odd, isn’t it? Millions of people tune in to Wimbledon, whereas in the whole of the United Kingdom there are precisely five people who follow tennis for the rest of the year.
I guess Wimbledon is both the big positive and negative. Positive because it raises a lot of money. Negative because you take one look at it and want to crawl into a big hole and hide underneath some tennis balls.
I have a plan for next year. That is, I am going to sneak past security and balance a big bucket of horse semen above Tim Henman’s dressing room door.
Then, as he staggers onto the court, dripping and blinded, and the crowd gasp in appalled shock and disgust, I’m going to stand up and shout at the top of my voice:
“Come on, Tim!”
(note to self – may not be practical. Will need to find somebody with a horse (male) close to the complex. Check logistics before committing).
Without even mentioning the Cliff situation, there are two reasons why Wimbledon makes my skin crawl.
Firstly, it is attended by people who STILL THINK THE MEXICAN WAVE IS AN AMUSING AND SLIGHTLY REBELLIOUS THING TO DO. Such people should be gassed. DEATH IS TOO GOOD FOR THEM.
And secondly, there is this whole concept of ‘People’s Sunday’. I was gobsmacked when I read about it and absorbed the sheer SMUGNESS and SELF-SATISFACTION of this. Let me get this straight. For one day, weather permitting, you sell tickets on the door to people who want to buy one. What? That’s it? This is what you’re so pleased about?
Which brings us back to the LTA and their hopeless and doomed quest to spend the Wimbledon cash cow on creating conditions for a new British champion.
Well most kids I know are better adjusted than that, and know very well that spending five hours a day practising topspin won’t bring them happiness and fulfilment - whereas an hour a week followed by a can of fizzy pop might be quite fun.
British kids lack a ruthless ambition and will to win.
And we should be proud of that.