It's that time of year again

by Suw on June 24, 2003

Oh yes, June is here, and suddenly we all start paying extra special attention to the weather forecast for SW19. I, along with millions of others around the world, have now undergone my seasonal mutation from Person Who Knows Bugger All About Tennis to Instant All-Knowing Tennis Pundit.

It happens every year, and I just can’t help it. It’s like I wake up one Monday morning and suddenly I’m McEnroe’s Smug Twin Sister, all full of comments like ?Well, that was a typical Henman game? and exclamations like ?Straight down the line!?. I know, I know, it’s really quite risible. But it’s kinda like being stuck in a traffic jam on the M25 during rush hour – unpleasant for everyone involved but entirely unavoidable.

So yeah, Henman.

For a while there, in the second and third sets, I did wonder if Henman, who’d played a good first set, was going to go down his usual route of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, but I think he’s saving that one up for later on in the tournament. Instead he came back in the fourth set really strongly and ended up taking it 6-2 7-6 3-6 6-1.

I love Henman, I really do. He’s quite cute, has a lovely voice and has freckles. I’d really like to see Henman win – he’s come close, but he just seems to lose his focus when he’s under pressure and before you know it he’s lost when maybe he could have won. He said something really quite sad today, though, in the interview after he won against Zib: “I haven’t progressed past the semi’s [before] because I’m not good enough, I think that’s the bottom line.”

Don’t know about you, but I find that a little heartwrenching. I want to just grab him by the shoulders, shake him about a bit and make him repeat loudly “I am good enough! I can win! I’m not going to come over all British about it!” until he starts to actually believe it.

Still, Underdog of the Tournament has to be Ivo Karlovic, the 6ft 10ins Croatian who thrashed the pants off that arrogant whiny Aussie prick, Lleyton Hewitt. Not only did he put the defending champ out in the first round, but he did so in his debut grand slam match.

And my, didn’t you just want to take Ivo to one side and give him a really big hug in that press conference afterwards? It must be bad enough to have to deal with something like that when English is not your first language, but when you have a stutter too, that has got to be a nightmare. Yet he handled it well, with a degree of stylishly startled aplomb, and when asked if his parents were tall he replied, “My parents are average height. I don't know who is tall. Postman maybe.”

Ah, you gotta love the tall cute Croatian guy, eh?

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