Thursday, June 18, 2009

Time for Strawberries & Cream, Umbrellas and the BBC

Yes, Wimbledon time is nearly upon us once more: thirteen days of tennis, rain, ball boys and girls, long queues and of course strawberries.

The tennis tournament is the oldest in the world with its origins dating back to 1877. It is the only one of the Grand Slam tournaments played on grass.

The BBC has been covering Wimbledon for 60 years now, and the dulcet tones of Virgina Wade as commentator have been accompanying the live pictures for practically all of that time. Or at least that is how it seems.

Virgina Wade was the last British woman to win the Ladies' Singles title back in 1977. Funnily enough, given my current Dutch connection, she beat Betty Stöve in the final, the only Dutch woman ever to feature in a Wimbledon Ladies' Singles final.

The Dutch men have fared a little better. Richard Krajicek won the Gentlemens' Singles title back in 1996, knocking Pete Sampras out on his way to the final. He is, however, the only Dutch person to have a Wimbledon Singles title to his name.

That said, the modern Dutch tennis achievements in the men's championship outshine those of the British by a long, long way. You have to travel back to 1936 to find the last British man to win the Singles title. Seriously! We have of course had a few 'exciting' moments over the last few years but even those never resulted in a Brit reaching the final.

How about this year? It's all looking quite promising: a cover over centre court and Andy Murray has just won the Queen's title. He is now ranked three in the world and feels he might just be ready to grab that elusive Wimbledon title!

I am not actually a huge tennis fan, but something about Wimbledon attracts me every year - must be the very "Britishness" of it all. So come on, get those British flags waving.... and let's hear big cheers for Andy Murray.... 2009 may well be the year.

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