Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Hero ... for Being a Gallant British Loser

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Hero ... for Being a Gallant British Loser

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Jones

[bar] HERE was a buzz around the Pimm's bar adjoining Centre Court at 1.28pm yesterday afternoon. Chaps in red trousers and suede loafers escorted elegant hard-bodies in summer dresses. Middle-aged ladies with union jack umbrellahats pottered near the draw boards.

At Fred Perry's statue, Greg Rusedski was giving a television interview. Among the gathering crowd, a Scottish accent rang out: 'Oh, it's Greg! Ah've goat tae git ma photo taken wi hum!' The speaker was not, alas, a member of Andy Murray's family. But their words said something about Wimbledon. To have played well at SW19 is one thing. To have been a British man and played well there elevates you to the sporting aristocracy.

Rusedski's record at the All-England Club was nothing special: his best run ended with a quarter-final defeat by Cedric Pioline in 1997. His accent smacks more of the Quebecois than south-west London. But once upon a time he gave Wimbledon a slender reason to dream of a champion under the British banner. For that he will be forever lionised.

When Murray hangs up his racquet he can safely expect the same treatment. Since 2005, when he was a scrawny 18-year old, he has carried all British hopes at Wimbledon. Some of the time he has done so uncomfortably. Yesterday, in contesting a final -- even one that he lost fairly comprehensively and walked away from in floods of tears -- he did so heroically.

Murray-mania is a tiresome phrase. But it captures the obsession. Yesterday was Murraymania at its height: crowds of people without Centre Court tickets packed Court No2, where big screens were showing the final, and mobbed the hill in front of the screen by Court No1 (right).

During the first two sets they scorched in a rare window of sunshine; for the final two, when the rain came, they hunkered down beneath the inadequate cover of Barbour jackets, ponchos and extremely large umbrellas.

Occasionally a voice would shout 'come on Tim!' -- the favourite joke of the Wimbledon wag -- and the crowd would titter. It was a scene. Wet middle-class people sitting around soggy picnic blankets, getting drunk and cheering on a plucky loser during a downpour: could there be anything more British? …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.