Robin Scott-Elliot: Barker is left to turn off the lights at the end of the longest day

View From The Sofa: Wimbledon, BBC 1

You could tell it was getting late because one of the Rs and the A from the group wearing T-shirts each sporting a letter of Andy Murray's name had disappeared. Either that or their spelling is atrocious. Still M, U, R and Y and the rest went home happy from Centre Court on Saturday night, leaving Sue Barker to turn out the lights in the All England Club.

By the end of the tournament's longest day, Barker had been abandoned. There was no one else in the studio – although at least it was indoors. The highlights show earlier in the week had taken British TV stoicism to new heights as John Inverdale and guests sat under umbrellas on the roof.

Barker earned her money on Saturday, pointing out she had been at it for nearly 12 hours. Wimbledon suits her and it's where she is at her relaxed best as a presenter. Wimbledon also suits the BBC – on TV and radio – although there remains a tendency to begin each day by numbers: "Hello, lots of exciting tennis coming up and here's a montage with plenty of slo-mo grimacing set to a track which shows our producer knows his tunes."

There is a good mix of pundits well used by the presenters and then there is John McEnroe. The annual dose of McEnroe, with his wit, no-nonsense approach to sport and life, natural mischievousness and character accent, has become a summer staple in British sporting life. Richie Benaud is dead – we're talking figuratively here – long live John McEnroe.

Wimbledon commentary boxes have become an American home from home this summer. On 5Live Jeff Tarango is entertainingly prickly, while our own Nick Bollettieri has plenty of admirers. Bollettieri has the best accent in sport, a New York drawl created by gargling on a gravel and wasp cocktail. He is the Godfather of tennis. Which makes McEnroe the Capo – the guy who gets involved at the business end.

When Murray hit a down section of his usual Wimbledon rollercoaster, gingerly feeling his groin after another tumble, McEnroe suggested drily that "he's going to run out of body parts".

In the players' box, Ivan Lendl sat and scowled, adapting that Kipling line for his own use. Murray broke; Lendl scowled. Murray broken; Lendl scowled. Ball falls out of Murray's pocket; Lendl doubles up in fit of giggles. That last one did not happen. When Murray finally won and the crowd rose to him, Lendl remained noticeably on his seat. After a moment's consideration, he patted one giant hand on the wall in front of him a couple of times. It may have been a ringing endorsement of his charge or perhaps he was overwhelmed by a deep feeling of Wimbledon weltschmerz. Why are you standing, you schmucks? It's futile, a Briton will never win here.

Garry Richardson stayed to the bitter end, too, to grab Murray as he came off court. Being a pro, Richardson crowbarred in the requisite joke about Murray adjusting his balls better in his pockets, and, as they say across the pond, when you've got them by the balls, the hearts and minds will follow.

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

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

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible