political commentator * author * publisher * bookseller * radio presenter * blogger * Conservative candidate * former lobbyist * Jack Russell owner * West Ham United fanatic * Email iain AT iaindale DOT com
Monday, June 26, 2006
Why I Don't go to Wimbledon Anymore
I love playing tennis. I once rented an apartment in docklands purely because it had access to a communal tennis court. I shared with an American friend for six months and we got seriously good. So good in fact that we occasionally used to emulate Mr McEnroe's tantrums. I also used to go to Wimbledon every year, but I haven't been since about 1994. Maybe I'm just getting old, but there just aren't the characters around the world of tennis compared to the 1970s and 1980s. And I'm just bored with the continual baseline whacking, rather than the more adventurous serve and volley game exemplified by the tennis giants of years gone by. God, I sound like an old git! One other thing that is bugging me is this ridiculous argument about equal prize money for women tennis players at Wimbledon. The womens' champion gets £625,000 and the male champion gets £655,000. I'm all in favour of equal pay and reward for women, and I'm happy to speak out in favour of it at Wimbledon as soon as the women agree to play best of five sets rather than the best of three. Sounds fair, doesn't it? New balls please...
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I'd take either prize. Hardly minimum wage is it.
Although I live just down the road,tennis was never my bag - too many prima donnas for my liking.
I hope those who do go will remember that Andy Murray declared himself as fervently supporting Paraguay in their opening game against England and give him the level of support or otherwise they consider he deserves.
Apparantly them wimin tennis players are happy to play 5 sets but the wimins tennis authorities won't let em.
Funny thing though. You never hear the wimins equality crowd speaking up for equal pay for male models do you?
or porn stars....
We discussed the Wimbledon pay structure in the pub at lunch today. Five men between 44 and 53.
We reached the conclusion that, were the girls to play their own tournament at Wimbledon without the men, they'd be lucky to scrape together enough telly and corporate money to pay the winner 100,000. Also that there is no point in the girls playing five sets until the quarter finals. Three sets of 6-0 or 6-1 would be an even bigger bore than now, and stand in the way of the next men's singles coming on court.
Warming to our task, we decided that the men were a boring lot as well, and that smaller rackets and slower balls would spice things up.
We voted the flag-furled Henmania crowd at Wimbledon (and Davis Cup venues) as Britain's most embarrassing sports fans.
Finally, Murray is a flaker. Too many strange injuries at critical moments. What a prat to go all chippy Jock when his earnings profile has more to do with English sponsorship deals than on-court prize money.
Not sure if the current crop of players does not include a true great by name of Federer. In decades to come he will be ranked with Sampras, Laver, Hoad and Gonzales. Now those last names date me. Wimbledon is serve and volley.
As for this equal pay bit, blame Billy Jean King(nee Moffit).
Surely at this level the pay has nothing to do with how hard people are working- as og says it's about television rights and corporate hospitality. In other words televised sport is a branch of showbusiness and, as with modelling and porn, the market will set the pay-rates...
And people call me a grumpy old man...
Og, you clearly know fuck all about tennis or Andy Murray!WTF is a flaker?Better keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool....
" Also that there is no point in the girls playing five sets until the quarter finals. Three sets of 6-0 or 6-1 would be an even bigger bore than now, and stand in the way of the next men's singles coming on court."
I find male tennis matches a bit boring. First the 5 sets are too long and when the match isn't well played, it's a nightmare.
Then with many players the service is so strong that you barely see any exchanges on fast courts.
Female tennis certainly rules for me.
And for a number of men of my acquaintance but I'm not convinced their motives are as pure as yours!
Each to his own, Iain. Personally I find the baseline craft of players like Roger Federer and Justine Henin-Hardenne much more interesting to watch than the three-shot rallies that predominated in the serve-and-volley era of Becker, Edberg and Sampras. That said, I don't think any of them compare to the great John McEnroe, either as players or characters.
Barbara, if they watch itjust when some blonde girl from East Europe is playing and they switch channel during a Mauresmo-Safina match, you're probably spot on! :wink:
Shocking! I agree with you Iain Dale...
Iain - that sounds like a MAJOR policy rift between you and Dave ;)
Didn't Wossie/Martina get Dave to agree to support immediate equal pay at Wimbledon (even with Martina picking up the 3 sets v 5 sets point) during THAT interview?
If I heard correctly, the man from the LTA told the Today prog on Radio 4 that the LTA would pay "whatever it cost" to provide Andy "Go Paraguay!" Murray with a coach of the standard of a Gilbert or a Cahill. What's that all about?
Tennis being a professional sport for individuals, I can't quite see why enriching Murray is a good way of generating a promising crop of young British hopefuls. No doubt foul-mouthed Malcolm could enlighten me, as he is an expert in all things.
No, you didn't hear correctly Og.Murray pays for his own coach.
Anon - A colleague here says I DID hear correctly, that the LTA man committed to it. Telegraph Sport S21 says "it is understood that the LTA could be persuaded to make a contribution towards the salary". Sounds as though Radio 4 persuaded them this morning at 7.30
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