‘Andy Murray wins…” ran the tickertape along the bottom of the screen on BBC1. It was 5.49am, the Diary had just woken up on the first day of Wimbledon, and wasn’t yet fully Hawkeye-focused. Wins what? His fitness battle and so plays, bringing a welcome blast of Calvinist dourness to Ingerland, settling over the sun-drenched land of King Harold of Kane like the haar? The Diary dearly wanted to believe this, almost as much as The Scotsman’s accountants who’d okayed the jaunt down to SW19.
“ … wins first match since last July.” Pah, this had to be a headline from last week. The Beeb can get away with anything on that clunky news programme before the breakfast show because almost no one watches it. This seemed to be confirmed by what followed: “Henry VIII latest: wife No 5 loses her head over him, like No 2 before her.”
Murray’s absence may be a blow for the organisers but it avoids a clash with England vs Colombia in the World Cup. All of Britain’s leading players are due to start today, and while the tennis schedulers have stated they will try to accommodate players reluctant to go up against the football – and you might imagine Liverpool-daft Kyle Edmund will be among them – the All-England Club is steadfastly refusing to lift its long-time ban on showing what some call the national sport on its big screens. The Diary wholeheartedly supports this. Tennis is tennis. England in the World Cup is something else entirely, which the Diary would prefer not to think about.
Drugs have been a big talking point already. That is, the rigorousness of the testing players must undergo before tournaments. Said Roger Federer: “I think I’ve had seven tests [in June], quite heavy. The tester lives in my village in Switzerland so it’s very convenient [for him]. If he’s bored at home he probably just says: ‘Let me check in on Roger to see if he’s having a good time’!”
The Diary was grateful to the schedulers for seeking to avoid a pile-up involving three of its favourite women, and forcing a near-impossible choice of who to watch. Fine players, for sure, but the Diary, never afraid to be shallow, also loves this American triumvirate for the sheer fabulousness of their names: Sloane Stephens must have an alternative life as the star reporter on a stay-classy TV news channel; Madison Keys was the title of the supersoap Dallas spin-off show (Wrong, that was Knots Landing – Ed); and CoCo Vandeweghe simply has to host the best summer parties anywhere. Invidious to choose an absolute favourite but maybe dear old Dan Maskell, if he was still around, would be quoting Britpoppers Supergrass: I should Coco.