There were 3 Brit women before Murray, not 1

There were 3 Brit women before Murray, not 1
So Wimbledon is over, and the British finally have their champion. The first in 77 years (which they got, by the way, on the 7th day of the 7th month), the first since Fred Perry won it for the third time in 1936. I liked Salman Rushdie’s comment: “First British champion in shorts ever!” (Perry, as was the norm those days, played in full length white trousers, while women wore full length skirts since it was deemed indecent to show your legs). Another parenthesis needed here: Fred Perry was not only a smashing tennis player, he was also a smashing looking bloke, who went to the US, dated many Hollywood stars and married four times. He also had a line of clothing, whose brand symbol was a laurel wreath.

Manjul Misra made an interesting point in an article in this paper on Wednesday (The Woman the World Forgot). Murray, she pointed out, was the first male British player to win Wimbledon after Fred Perry. The woman the world forgot, according to her was Virginia Wade, who was, ironically, sitting in the BBC commentary box. Wade was British, and won Wimbledon in 1977 (the sevens again!). So she, and not Murray, came after Perry.

But there are women even Manjul Misra forgot, and I remember them well: Ann Haydon Jones, who won in 1969 and Angela Mortimer, champion in 1961, both British born and bred. 1961, in fact, was a sterling year for Britian because the woman Mortimer beat, Christine Truman, was also British.

The sum total of all this seemingly obscure information which actually every tennis lover should have had at his fingertips (especially if he was British) is that not one, but three, Britons won the Wimbledon Singles crown before Andy Murray. Different gener­ations, of course. And different gender too. But British Wimbledon singles champions nevertheless.

Now here’s a significant point which everyone, but everyone, has overlooked: Fred Perry was English, Angela Mortimer, Ann Haydon Jones, Virginia Wade (and Christine Truman) were all English. Andy Murray is NOT English. He is Scots. So no English man has won Wimbledon since 1936. And by the looks of it, will not do so for years to come. The 77 year wait just got longer. People from Scotland should be saying it, but Murray is the first Scot ever to win Wimbledon, man or woman. So English newspapers, stop your crowing.

Speaking of Wimbledon, everyone has come down like a ton of bricks on the English radio commentator’s stupid comments over Marion Bartoli’s looks. As it happens, Bartoli is quite pleasant looking, though her routine before each shot is really comical. (Merely comical, I should say. Nadal’s routine, on the other hand, is downright disgusting).

Is everyone being too politically correct in criticising John Inverdale, the BBC comme­ntator? If you think so, ask yourself why he didn’t say that Andy Murray looks like a vampire on the court when he stands to receive serve with his lips drawn back ? And why didn’t he say that Nadal looks like a vicious street fighter with his sideways snarl? Let’s face it, we are only bothered by women’s looks.

Let’s also face the fact that all of us are human and we would ideally like great sportsmen — and especially sportswomen — to not just play well, but look good too. That’s why we prefer Roger Federer over Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova over Petra Kvitova, Chris Evert over Martina Navratilova, and anyone over Serena Williams.

There, I have said the ultimate politically incorrect thing.


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