Saturday, July 03, 2010

It's all about the bird shit

Listening to: 'Self Machine' by I Blame Coco [The Constant]

So I was in London last weekend, and Shorty suggested that we try for Wimbledon tickets. For what I believe was the first time, Wimbledon was releasing a small number of show court tickets online every night, so we thought we'd give it a shot. Unsurprisingly, we missed out. We weren't willing to queue up at 4am, so we decided to drop by in the afternoon and have a snoop around, in case there were any return tickets. If there was nothing available, at least we could wander over to Wimbledon Common and lounge around in the sunshine.

We got to Wimbledon station just after 3pm, and decided to walk to the grounds. Along the way, we saw 2 Ferraris and at least 4 Bentleys! And OMG the houses! They were enormous! We were on proper 'rich people' road. No litter, no chavs, no nothing. Oh except for some incontinent birds, that is. We were happily walking down the road when suddenly one of my friends said "ha ha PR you just got shat on" and then almost collapsed in a heap of laughter :-|. Thankfully Shorty was far more sympathetic, and one wet wipe later, she had removed all traces of the poop from my head. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is what best friends are for - to wipe shit off your head.

So anyway, we carried on towards the All-England Club, chatting about how birds shitting on one's head was supposed to be lucky or something. Well, turns was! After walking for what felt like an eternity (actually only about an hour), we got to the starting point for the queue to get ground passes. The extremely helpful stewards told us that the wait would be about an hour, so we figured we might as well try our luck. We got our queue cards (I was the 12,745th person to join the queue that day) and hung about until the gates opened. When they did, we moved pretty swiftly - past the surprisingly clean 'toilet trailer' (the flush worked and everything!), through the airport-like security and on to the turnstiles. I think Shorty and I each gave a little squeal when we got our tickets...Wimbledon, baby! w00t! Dare I say I love having bird shit on my head? Hmm.

Since ground passes only provide access to courts 5-19, we missed Rafa, Andy Murray, Soderling and Sharapova. And the Williams sisters' doubles match. We did, however, manage to get up close and personal with a lot of other doubles matches. In fact we had pretty awesome seats for the first set of Sania Mirza/Caroline Wozniacki v Daniela Hantuchová/Cara Black. Mrs Malik and C-Woz played pretty well, but it was obvious that they were no match for Cara Black. The woman was amazing. Hantuchová just had to stand there and look pretty! Which she does anyway, to be fair.
[L-R] Caroline Wozniacki and Daniela Hantuchová: check out the different serving stances!
(click on image for corresponding fluidr page)
But back to 'my' experience of Wimbledon. We had a wander around the grounds - near the show courts (where we saw Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara), up onto Henman Hill/Murray Mound, and of course the now legendary Court 18. It's been a pretty special Wimbledon this year, hasn't it? Federer pushed for 5 sets by a random Colombian, Rafa pushed to 5 sets by a random Dutchman, John Isner and Nicolas Mahut mistaking tennis for test cricket...and that was just Week 1! Week 2 has brought its own surprises - Henin and Roddick out in the 4th round, Clijsters, Venus and Federer out in the QFs - and in almost all cases, the upsets have been caused by total nobodies. Unlike previous years where unseeded players would tremble at the sight of a big name, this year there seems to be this confidence, this belief that winning is an option. It's fascinating to see.

That said, some have crumbled. Like Tsvetana Pironkova against Vera Zvonareva, and Petra Kvitová against the mighty Serena Williams. And it's not just the inexperienced that freeze when playing 'the greats'. I think that's what happened yesterday with Andy Murray. He had definitely brought his A game, but so had Rafa...and anything less than a gutsy A+ is not enough to beat Señor Nadal on a good day. But what struck me as peculiar was Rafa's post-match interview. When being asked about Murray, Rafa praised his opponent and said he deserves to win a Grand Slam...the interviewer pounced on this and asked "so you think he can win a Grand Slam?". It's like he was seeking reassurance from the world #1. Why? We don't need reassurance from anyone that Andy can win a Grand Slam. We know he can...if only he believes it himself! It's an affliction of British sport - this lack of self belief. The influx of South Africans seems to have brought about that confidence in the cricket team, and they're doing well. But in almost every other sport - be it tennis, football or rugby, it's a big problem. All the talent in the world is insufficient if we're not convinced that we're good enough.

So yes, Andy Murray has to wait another year to aim for that coveted Wimbledon Final spot. And even if he does manage to work on that self belief, he'll need a lot of luck with the draw. Maybe some bird shit would do?


  1. 2010 is one unpredictable year and am not saying anything. buh srsly Zvonavera gave a good solid game.

  2. Apparently being shat on by a bird is good luck?

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