Yesterday, the Chairman, having despaired at England's useless bowling attack (Stuart Broad? Is this a joke? The bloke is just terrible. It's an absolute scandal he is playing international cricket) decided to cast his eye over Wimbledon. And Lo! The mighty Nadal was playing.
It was during this game that I saw something I had never seen before, and it got me thinking about how tennis has degenerated into the most frustrating, pampered sport on the planet. Hence I have downgraded it to "game".
And what was it that so caught my attention?
The valiant Michael Russell, Nadal's unfortunate sacrificial lamb, actually thanked a ballboy for holding his towel. All these years of watching tennis, all over the world. Hundreds of different players. Not once, NOT ONCE, has any of these preening ponces had the plain common courtesy to thank a volunteering ballboy for holding his ghastly sweaty towel. Most point nonchelantly, demanding the towel between every point, like they are a fourteenth century monarch.
Tennis is a rubbish sport. Let's start on that frankly offensive joke that is wimmin's tennis. The standard is so lamentably bad it is ludicrous. Clijsters and Henin retired for three years to have babies. They saw how the standard was still so bad, they played a few sunday league games and promptly came back to win majors. This is just ludicrous.
Most "professional" female tennis players are simply out of shape. In fact, while you're there, let's not beat about the bush. Most of them are fat. I was watching the lovely Schiavone play that borderline psychotic wierdo Dokic last night. Dokic was shuffling round the court like a fattie doing some exercise on a Saturday afternoon in SW London. I thought it was a joke. Only Sam Stosur and Schiavone look anything like athletes. It is regrettable Sam is out, again.
How can it be possible for the highest paid female sport to tolerate this? How on EARTH can wimmin justify equal prize money? This isn't just ludicrous (yes, that word again, but this is wimmin's tennis we are talking about), it is downright offensive. Serena Williams, hardly in shape herself, can win a major and drop about 20 games, if that. Wimmin play about a quarter of the game time as the blokes, if not less, but still want equal prize money? Give me some credit.
And what is this having a rest every 2 games? I just cannot believe in 2011, professional athletes, some of the hightes paid on the planet, still want to have a blow after 2 games. No wonder fatty ladies can still succeed. They get to take a blow as soon as they run out of puff. Hahaha, it's just laughable. Tennis is a game, not a sport.
In what other sport do you see wimmin with their entire leg strapped up, like that will make a plain bit of difference? They always have some tredious tiny injury to moan about. Well get in shape then love and stop moaning. Its not just the wimmin. Andy Murray is always using his bogus ankle injury as an excuse. Novak Djokovic has often just given up, blaming some spurious injury if he cant be bothered. They're all at it. Every match someone turns up with a piece of black sellotape on his/her knee, like it makes the blindest bit of difference...
It now takes 5 minutes for most players to serve. They go through a whole tube of balls before they finally find one they deem good enough to hit. This shouldn't be allowed. Its a sport, not a "find the nicest ball" competition.
And why do players need a towel EVERY POINT? What are sweat bands for? Again, all these things have crept in over the past 10 years. It slows the game down. It negates the advantage a fit player has over her opponent. This is precisely why in the women's game, patently unfit players can stil beat those who have bothered to go for a jog. Tennis is not an aerobic test of fitness. It is a game.
Tennis has entirely degenerated into the most absurd game. The quite dismal standard of female tennis is but one problem. It keeps me awake at night wondering how the grotesquely well funded LTA fails year after year to find a British female player of any ability, though I do of course recognise this has as much to do with our bone idle female population in Britain, as it does about the rank incompetence of the sport's governing body. The same goes for the men. Henman, Murray are exceptions to the rule. We are a global laughing stock.
I'm sick of tennis. I even find myself sniggering at the irritating, smug antics of the Wimbledon crowd. I uased to defend the whole englishness of it. Now even this irritates me. Why, for example, when a player sneezes does the entire crowd burst out laughing like they've just seen a peter kay sketch about garlic bread? Why should all those D-list celebs get to go to the Royal Box? Terry Wogan sat there like the cat that got the cream, and he still didnt need to dip into the 10k he got from the BBC for presenting Children in Need did he?
Tennis isnt a sport. It's a game. And until the women's game starts treating the paying public with respect and presenting players that can run 400 metres without collapsing, and until the men stop needing to take a breather every 2 games, while towelling down their entire body or having a 10 minute internal debate about which bloody ball to hit, I shall continue treating it with the contempt it deserves.