The joys of attending the world’s greatest tennis tournament, (even if you do have to camp overnight to be first in line for the show courts)
A golden era of Borg, Becker, Curren Lendl, Cash, Edberg, Connors and McEnroe has long gone. So too has the time of Navratilova, Evert, Graf, Hingis and the tragic Jana Novotna. Now we have an admittedly-aging Federer, Nadal and Djokovic – the Williams sisters, Kvitova, Kerber and Naomi Osaka.
The exquisite groundstrokes, the punishing volleys, the crippling serves are all still there. So too are the strawberries and cream, champagne and the instantly-recognisable faces in the Royal Box. Well, sometimes.
Other significant things have joined Connors (seemingly retired) and Novotna (who died of cancer in November 2017) in the annuls of the tournament’s history. Nothing more so than addressing women players as Miss, Mrs or Ms. Djokovic, the men’s world No1 and five-time champion Venus Williams have voiced their disappointment to this and some people have backed their stance. One cannot imagine Ivan Lendl, being too bothered but none the less.
Tournament chiefs insist they want to keep up with the times. If that that was the case, they would forgo their insistence on the ban on coloured clothing (whites are mandatory) for players in matches outside of the practise courts.
It took me more than 30 years to watch Lendl play (in London as it happens but not Wimbledon) and almost the same number to see McEnroe (at the Royal Albert Hall).
My favourite Wimbledon highlights? Seeing the mesmerising legs of Agnieska Radwanska and Vika Azarenka. Quite seriously, seeing Federer and Nadal play in one day on Centre Court. It’s as good as good as anything you are likely to see. But, at a price.
- British Airways fly direct to London from Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban