SW19 Diary: Murray divides opinion into two opposed camps
Monday 29 June 2009
The campers in the park opposite the All England Club yesterday included a mother and daughter, Viv and Natalie Keen, part of the 13-strong group that heads the queue for today. The fans, who all know each other from previous years' queuing, began to assemble at 11am on Friday.
"We've been doing this for 20 years and I've never seen it so busy," said Viv, 58, a wedding video editor from Stanmore, north London.
The SW19 Diary asks whether this is down to the "Murray effect". Viv says: "A lot of our group aren't supporting him, in fact actively supporting whoever he is playing. I'm not a big fan of his myself. I didn't like his comments about not supporting England. Why should we support him? I admire good tennis, though, and he does play good tennis."
Natalie, 35, a sales trainer from Edgware, London, does support Murray. "I claim him as British," she says. "I want him to do well, although I'm not actually going to see the tennis."
Eh? "The queuing, for me, is the best part of it," she adds. "When the others go in the gate, I'll go home. It's 72 quid to get in [Centre Court] and if you don't like the tennis itself that much, it's a lot. I've had a great time, though."
Viv and Natalie tell the Diary about queuing etiquette, and how one pair of "campers" will be shopped to the stewards for erecting a tent and then not sleeping in it. "Against the rules," says Viv. "People power will get them thrown out the line when they reappear," says Natalie. "The democracy of this place is an amazing part of why it's so special," says Viv.
The Diary soon locates Murray fans. A few places up the line, we find Colette Bennion (below, on the left in front of the Saltire) and Susan Pennington (right). Both English, they live in Cheshire and Edinburgh respectively. Colette teaches radiography and Susan is a sonographer. "I'm British more than English, and Andy Murray's British too," says Colette. "He's our best hope of winning Wimbledon in years; he's committed, his work ethic is amazing. Where he needed to improve, he did it, technically, physically, mentally. He persevered. He's motivated. Why wouldn't you support him?"
The Diary could not agree more.
Just what do the English have against Andy?
The Diary is inundated with press releases plugging trash and selling rubbish.
Such products won't ever get mentions here unless: a) your PR guff is accompanied with a hefty cash bung in a brown envelope, or; b) your bumf is just so out there that it begs inclusion. Sunbaba's "really great-looking scrim" last week fell into this category. Today, though, we seek all or any PR puffery (especially from universities/ psychologists/behavioural researchers) that might help us answer the following. Why is Andy Murray seemingly not as appreciated by Britain at large as Chris Hoy? Is it really because of one long-ago quip – and a wholly understandable one, at that – about not supporting England? Answers in a thesis to email@example.com
Have-a-go hero sees honour is upheld
More hero news from the Honorary Stewards: one of them broke up a big fight between youths in Car Park 10 one night late last week. He put one kid who had been badly bloodied in the recovery position, called the police and an ambulance, and restored peace single-handed. This is stiff-upper-lippery of the highest order, and one of the reasons that Wimbledon is such a class event.
Judy's vehicle to success
On the subject of Murrays, Andy's mum Judy has had her car searched by security men in Car Park 10, where it costs £25 a day to park. Double whammy or what?
Judy, like Oscar Wilde, had nothing to declare but her genius.
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