At approximately 5:24pm on Sunday evening, the entirety of the 15,000 people in the crowd of The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club’s Centre Court were in complete silence, along with the masses of people sitting on ‘Henman Hill’ and the millions of people watching from home via a television screen – as Andy Murray served for the championship. As Novak Djokovic’s forehand return struck the net, it is fair to assume that the country erupted. While there was a minority of people, myself included, who weren’t particularly bothered about the monumental win for Andy Murray and British tennis, this win will surely have ramifications, mainly good, for the country as a whole.
It is quite clear that many of the people who watched Wimbledon do not pay much attention to tennis for the other 50 weeks of the year. It is seen as a novelty, something that only occurs once a year, and for some, a fantastic excuse to get very drunk. However, it has been predicted that the buzz created by this year’s competition will last after the US Open and well past the end of the tennis season. The obsession will spread to tennis clubs across the country, with men and women everywhere assuming that if an otherwise normal bloke from central Scotland can do it, then surely they can too. They’ll believe in their ability so much, that they’ll blindly pour money into sports club memberships and equipment that gets advertised by giants such as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, giving a false impression that the talent comes from the racquet and the shorts. As much as I dislike the idea that these actions are good for the country, the fact remains that money will be poured into council owned tennis clubs, with Sports Direct making a bit of cash on the side. It’s bound to happen, you only have to look back eleven months, when Bradley Wiggins rode his bike pretty fast and suddenly Halfords’ sales went through the roof. Obesity rates might even drop. Imagine if our rates were actually similar to that of other countries!
Personally, I worry that everyone is taking this a bit far. It is no exaggeration that this is an immense accomplishment for Murray; he himself admitted that he’ll probably never be able top the feat of winning Wimbledon for the first time, and it’s perfectly justifiable for him to be over the moon. However, when I walked into my local shop this morning, I couldn’t find a newspaper that didn’t have Andy Murray’s face plastered on its front cover. Call me crazy, but I was under the impression that newspapers had a sports section for a reason. Almost every major paper in the country had dedicated most, if not all of their front page to Wimbledon, with exception of the London Evening Standard, who focused on Boris Johnson’s sauna buses, and The Daily Star, who published a large, rather unflattering photograph of Rita Ora’s bum. The Daily Star’s Murray article was about him going for a drink after the final rather than the actual game – as though no one knew that Scottish people like alcohol. Perhaps it was a slow news day, but this story really should’ve been confined to the back page.
The thing that amazes me the most was comments made by our beloved Prime Minister, father of the century, Mr David Cameron. Personally, I think it’s outrageous that someone should receive a knighthood at the age of 26, especially just for playing a sport. Maybe it’s acceptable after retirement, but frankly, it makes a mockery of the other knights who actually earned their title, by serving their profession and earning it over many decades. In fact, if Andy Murray receives a KBE for winning Wimbledon, I should’ve at least earned an MBE for my triumphant win at Swingball in 2006 against my cousin. Andy may well deserve it one day, but for now, he should be allowed to just get on with his career in tennis. Besides, as much as I’d love to see a fellow Murray obtain such an honour, giving him a knighthood right now is pretty much admitting that he’ll never do any better than that in his career.
So if everyone is finished celebrating an accomplishment that is unrelated to their own day to day lives, I’d really appreciate the opportunity to walk into the shop tomorrow morning to buy my blueberry muffin and not have to stare at a picture of Andy Murray or read a clichéd headline about how perfect the man is. I would rather read about budget cuts or the ‘bedroom tax’ or Afghanistan; at least they’re interesting to read about. Anything but tennis.
By David Murray
David can be found on twitter: @ac1dnati0n