James Corrigan: Tiger lost in natural habitat where Super Mac rules

View From The Sofa: Wimbledon, BBC

Expectation and Tim Henman never were ideal doubles partners so perhaps it was no surprise to discover that he who was once Tiger Tim had failed to do the research expected of a man receiving thousands of licence-fee payers' pounds. I don't care who you are, or which noble beast has the honour of prefixing your Christian name, you don't turn up to add your voice to the unfolding story without knowing the story.

Hammerhead Henman – as he might very well have become known if the headline writer had enjoyed a particularly big night on the grog – had not read the morning's papers, seen the morning telly, listened to the morning radio, or been within 100 feet of the morning's worldwide web, so could not pass comment on the "war of words" between Andy Murray (Anteater Andy as they will doubtless soon christen him) and Ernests Gulbis (old Earwig himself). But he could sit there and just be Tim Henman. Which is what it's all been about these last few years.

It's not been: "Oh look, there's Tim Henman, I wonder what fascinating insight he can give me into the pressures that poor dolt Murray is operating under." It's been: "Oh look, there's Tim Henman. Blimey, it's Tim Henman. At Wimbledon. How poignant." And now those shivers down our nostalgic spines have worn off, with what are we left? "Oh look, it's Tim Henman. At Wimbledon. Hmmmmm."

Still there is John McEnroe. Thank all that is holy for Super Mac. It really doesn't need yet another Sport on TV column to point out that this chap is rather adept with a microphone wedged under his snout; or, indeed, that in the land of fine sporting punditry he is not only without equal, but without company. But he isn't and I will. It's my right.

What defines McEnroe from the rest is neatly summed up in the aptly named L.O.V.E acronym – Learned, Observational, Valid, Entertaining. Of course, the third of these is the most important, as any Tom, Dick or Buster could make people laugh, while making them think and understand. But only John McEnroe can be John McEnroe. Because of who he is the antennae twitch that bit more frenetically and the words are taken in with almost fanatical fervour. McEnroe the intellectual affords the sport its substance, while McEnroe the punk rocker somehow manages also to give it some edge.

The old boy – 50 now – is at his best on radio. Any broadcaster who can make a phone-in bearable, never mind listenable, must be some sort of genius. It may seem odd, weird even, but I like to tune in to "6-Love-6" on the net and watch McEnroe on the webcam. It just wouldn't be the same without his continual fidgeting and repeated scratching of the nose as the responses brew for the dullards on the line. If you didn't hear his comparison of Murray and Henman last year – one orchestrating the crowd like a master conductor, the other barely able to pick up that wand – it is, blessedly, on YouTube.

As, of course, by now will be Saturday's unfortunate piece of commentary when Andrew Castle said just the wrong thing as a young lady's bosom came into focus. McEnroe keeping it together at that moment was deserving of an award in itself. But hey, when all said and done this is still tennis and this is still Wimbledon. You cannot be delirious.

The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
Life and Style

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album