Posted by: Paul | January 20, 2010

Tennis returns (ho ho)

Tennis is my favourite sport. There’s very little that keeps me glued to the sofa for such extended periods as a tense five-setter. I am therefore extremely glad that the BBC are giving the first major tournament of the year, the Australian Open, some high profile coverage (to be followed in May by the French Open).

Not that I can watch much of it – it’s come two weeks too early for me. Being 10 hours ahead, much of the coverage is on overnight and into the early morning, which makes for awkward viewing. So suddenly, having an early-rising toddler would not be so much of a drawback after all!

Not many shocks in the tournament so far – unless you count a British woman getting through to the 3rd round. That’s right – Elena Baltacha is doing well and fingers crossed has some momentum behind her now. And as I write, Andy Murray has also just beaten Marc Gicquel to progress. So the burning question for many tennis fans this year, and not just British ones, is can Andy Murray win a Grand Slam? For me, the answer is a firm yes – but not Wimbledon.

Wimbledon is a law unto itself. The only grass court major remaining of course, it usually throws up some surprises – but rarely a surprise winner. For that, you have to go right back to 2001 and my favourite men’s winner of recent years, Goran Ivanisevic. He was the nearly-man, the Jimmy White of tennis, the break in the monotonous dominance of first Pete Sampras and now Roger Federer. That final will live long in my memory, as being the day when I raced home from work, diligently avoiding looking at the back page of any papers for news of the result, in order to watch the repeat (the last sets had been held over to Monday from a rain-interrupted final day, which made for an amazing atmosphere on one of those rare “people’s” days when they let all comers into the ground).

So good luck Andy and Elena, and any of the other Brits left in the draw. I will watch bleary-eyed on Saturday and Sunday morning as Adam charges around my ankles shouting “Breakfast! ‘Nana!”

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