Letter from the editor: The ultimate contest


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The Independent Online

The editor-in-chief is off enjoying a few buggy rides spoiled, which pretty much sums up my views on golf. At i we are left to relish the first day of an eagerly anticipated Wimbledon tournament, and pray the weather holds.

The rhythm of summer’s sporting calendar is soothingly reassuring. From rain delays and bad light rows at the Test to Ascot’s drunken brawls and fashion faux pas, headlines are comfortingly familiar. So too for Wimbledon. Perhaps the strawberry narrative is different this year because of that distant balmy spring, but, thanks to Andy Murray’s Queen’s victory, the whole will-he, won’t-he debate has re-awoken.

But, we all know it doesn’t really matter. Wimbledon, like Ascot, Epsom, the British Open and the British Grand Prix — and unlike football’s preening, soulless Premier League — is an annual battle of the best of the world’s best in this country.

It’s the World Cup or Olympics here every summer. We don’t need a hollow spectacle of competitors kissing a badge to know they are desperate to win for honour and immortal status, not just cash. Nadal and Federer, its ultimate exponents, could belong to the era of gentlemen players — in demeanour, if not physical prowess.

So, instead of obsessing about Murray, why not sit back and enjoy the sheer escapist pleasure of being able to marvel at the supreme ability of Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and the Williams sisters and be grateful that in the sport where athleticisim, artistry and mental strength are of equal importance, the ultimate contest is on our doorstep.