July 13, 2012
What has happened to Wimbledon? A public crying jag would surely have embarrassed Baron von Cramm, a three-time losing finalist, as well as Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, and John Newcombe, all multiple crown winners. Back in my time, Lew Hoad won it and I took him to Les Ambassadeurs nightclub. No one recognized him, which was fine with Lew. So he repeated in 1957, murdering Ashley Cooper in the process, and once again we went out and got smashed near Hyde Park Corner.
Not even the women cried back then, especially in public and on the telly. Angela Mortimer, Ann Haydon-Jones, and even Ginny Wade during the Jubilee Year would not dream of it. All three are Brits and all three are Wimbledon winners. Angela’s hubby made mincemeat of Taki at Wimbledon doubles in 1957 and I remember him looking at me with amazement as I kept wiping my very red and swollen eyes. I told him it was hay fever, and he sighed with relief.
When did the crying start? I remember when Pete Sampras did it after a 1995 match, but his coach was battling cancer, so he had a valid excuse.
Then the greatest of them all, Roger Federer, cried in Melbourne, and it’s been downhill ever since.
Although I’m not an Andy Murray fan, I totally understand his emotional state after a great final. He had really given it his all, so he was drained of everything, including emotional control.
What really peed me off, though, were not the players crying, but the fact that the ordinarily nice Sue Barker gave a platform to the likes of Serena Williams to play the eternal victim and thank everyone under the stars for helping her win her fifth title. What the hell is this—the Oscars?
The recently retired chief racket-stringer of the All England Club went on record saying that the two most horrible human beings he knows were the Williams sisters. They were rude, treated him as an underling, and never said thanks. Par for the court. I still know a few oldies connected with the game, and they have more or less told me the same thing. The Williams family has a lot to learn where manners and sportsmanship are concerned. Solipsism is an essential part of being a great athlete, but the Williams girls, especially Serena, also like to play the victim. Sweet and jolly Sue Barker facilitates them.
Sue also said that first-round loser Agnie Radwanska was not feeling her best. The brave Polish girl had a fever and had been sick for days. Never had I rooted more for anyone than I did for her, but it was not to be. I love Poland and the Poles. I have always had a crush on Poland’s foreign minister’s wife, but that’s another story altogether.