SW19 Diary: Golding fails to banish spectre of Sir Stan's son
Saturday 03 July 2010
So, 48 years of hurt, then – and counting.
In falling to Ben Mitchell of Australia in the boys' semi-final yesterday, Oliver Golding ensured that Britain's wait for a junior male winner at Wimbledon still stretches back to 1962 – the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis – and Stanley Matthews' 10-8, 3-6, 6-4 final victory against Alex Metreveli of the Soviet Union. Or Stanley Matthews Jnr, as he was known.
Matthews was the son of the celebrated Stoke City, Blackpool and England winger, "The Wizard of the Dribble". Stan Jnr was one of the "Barrett Boys", a crop of talented British youngsters guided by John Barrett, the former BBC television commentator and a player at Wimbledon for 21 years in succession. His father would follow him in tournaments, attempting to melt into the background wearing dark sunglasses.
"There is no doubt my reputation did put some pressure on him," Stan Snr once conceded. "I know it worried him a bit, being in my shadow. I hoped he might overcome it."
Metreveli went on to play in the men's final at SW19, losing to the Czechoslovakian Jan Kodes in the boycott year of 1973. Unlike Bjorn Borg, Roger Federer, Pat Cash and Stefan Edberg, Stanley Matthews never made the transition from junior to senior Wimbledon champion. He moved to the United States to run the Western Connecticut Tennis Centre. Still, he has become to British junior boys' tennis at Wimbledon what Fred Perry has to the men's game – a historically haunting figure.
Oliver plays the 'naughty boy' in junior horror show
It could hardly be described as a horror of Hammer film proportions but Oliver Golding was heavily beaten in his junior semi-final, 6-2, 6-2. En route, the one-time child actor was given a warning for racket abuse, which probably came as no surprise to his co-star from the 2005 film The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby. Asked yesterday what he remembered of Christopher Lee, the Golding boy revealed: "The first time I saw him, he just went, like, 'You've got the face of a very naughty boy'."
Robson is not so wizard
While Britain's Laura Robson was trying to summon a magic touch on Court 12 yesterday – without success, as it happened – not every member of the capacity audience was gripped with her junior girls' semi-final contest against Sachie Ishizu of Japan. An off-duty court attendant sitting in row one, directly behind Robson's chair, spent the entire match with his face buried in a Harry Potter book.
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