I’m no great patriot – regular readers to this blog know that. I’m critical when people do bad and proud when they do well regardless of national identity.
But every now and then, I’m proud to be British. Today is one of those days. Today, the event I’ve waited for my entire life has finally happened. Today a Brit won Wimbledon. It didn’t happen in my father’s lifetime. It happened in mine – and my children are old enough to remember it happening in theirs if we have to wait another 70+ years for it to happen again.
And, for one of the few times ever in five years, I wish I wasn’t in Bangladesh. The few TV channels available here did not show the tennis. We tried (as we did last year when Murray first reached the finals) to get the local TV guy to get the sat dish moved to pick up the right channel but it didn’t work. The internet is far too slow, breaks down every few minutes and we just can’t get the sites that do live feeds anyway. Nothing we did succeeded – we just couldn’t get the tennis.
Instead we relied on my good friends on Facebook who kept me posted with updates and sent me pictures of the scoreboard. Thanks guys – my family and I cried when you cried, bit our nails when you bit yours and cheered at the top of lungs (with apologies to the neighbours who were asleep by then) when Andy Murray won Wimbledon 2013. It isn’t quite the same as watching it live – but it’ll do.
The world won’t change tomorrow because of this historic win. Wars won’t cease; people will still die of cancer; the economy will still be bad. But at least, for one day anyway, Britain will be a happy place. There will be a lot of partying going on tonight thanks to Andy and a lot of sore heads in the morning.
For once, we can be proud. We’ve done it. After years of waiting; after years of disappointment with Henman; Murray has done the impossible.
He brought tennis home.
Some smart-alec (thanks Martin) has pointed out that Virginia Wade won the Women’s Championship in 1977. True – fair point – but not really the thrust of the post here though, if I was being pedantic, I’ll concede I should have said Men’s tennis. The fact is that I, like all the press and everyone talking on social media, consider the Men’s to be the main attraction – much though I love the women’s too and remember some fantastic matches especially during the Navratilova era. But Wimbledon’s Men’s is still considered the biggie. Sorry, this is my one moment of misogynist attitude (though wifey had exactly the same response when I pointed out Wade as a winner).
After all, why stop there? We have Jonathan Murray winning the Men’s Doubles last year with partner Frederik Nielsen; Virginia Wade also did us the honour of the Women’s Doubles in 1970 with Françoise Dürr; and in 2007 yet another Murray (Jamie this time – is there a connection here?) won the Mixed Doubles with Jelena Janković. I’m sure there are other Wimbledon stats I could find but there’s no need. The Big One was won, finally, by a Brit. That’s what we wanted…
I’ve just read one of those eerie factoids that Murray won after 77 years without a British (male) champion on the 7th of the 7th. Creepy…