July 13, 2012

Venus Williams

Venus Williams

Even that terrifically gifted commentator who tells it like it is, John McEnroe, lost his way when it comes to la Williams. He called her the greatest ever, which is a bit premature. The greatest ever until now is Margaret Court, with 24 Grand Slam singles titles to her credit, followed by the best-looking pair of legs ever to hit a tennis ball, Steffi Graf with 22. Then comes Helen Wills Moody with 19, Chrissy Evert and Martina Navratilova with 18 each, and then Serena with 14.

No one ever mentions Margaret Court anymore because she has devoted her life to the church and is against all the things we now embrace—basically homosexuality and gay marriage. Once that story got out, la Court became a nonperson overnight. Such are the joys of political correctness: One can win 24 majors and become utterly forgotten if one opposes the idea of Sir Elton turning David Furnish into Lady John.

Incidentally, what’s the ruling on mixed doubles? Can two gay men who are married play together in them? I think a ruling is due, and the quicker the better.

Federer is my man because he comes from a country half the size of Scotland which is not in the EU, is a Luddite (he still uses a racket head of 90 inches with natural gut), and the man still shrinks the court by playing close to the baseline and going to the net. He also uses only one arm to hit the ball.

But back to the mawkishness that television coverage brings to sport, especially in tennis. Whatever happened to the phlegmatic Brits? I know times are a-changin’, but John Lloyd sounded like a spiv selling used cars at times. He picked Murray to win, and the match was much closer than the score indicated. Greg Rusedski said the one who wins the first set wins the match, which proved that no one can predict the outcome of a match between equals. When asked to predict the outcome of a match between equals, I remain a cunctator. (Look up the word; an editor at the Spectator gave it to me.)

This article originally appeared in the The Spectator


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