Wimbledon Diary: She's on her way to Wembley as Durie service goes all wrong
Sunday 29 June 2008
The great Christine Truman has been inexplicably dropped by the BBC from its cast of hundreds but another elegant former player, Jo Durie, is still keeping the nation up to speed with events at SW19. But only just. The other day Durie was supposed to be whisked from her home in north London for a breakfast TV programme. "Where to?" said the car driver. "Wimbledon," replied Durie, who proceeded to focus on research. It was only when she noticed the Wembley arch and heard the driver ask a bemused pedestrian "Where's Gate 19?" that she realised she was in the wrong ball park. She eventually made it to the studio with seconds to spare.
Umpire's polished delivery
Without the Knowledge, the Cockney cabbie's mental satnav, it is not difficult to get your Ws confused. Sun visors off, then, to umpire Steve Ulrich who didn't commit a double fault when chairing the match between Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark and Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada, both of whom have Polish parents, although in every other respect they are poles apart.
The sun shines on our Andy
Andy Murray's makeover, from looking like the gawky hero in the film 'Gregory's Girl' to a more presentable version of the clean-cut British No 1, includes a haircut and the addition to Team Murray of the freshly minted PR man Stuart Higgins. "It's my job to cultivate a relationship between Andy and the media and emphasise how important it is," Higgins, a former editor of that tennis almanac, 'The Sun', told the diary. So how's it going? "It couldn't be better. Andy is an exceptional young man. I don't know of any other 21-year-old professional sportsman who can deal with such scrutiny and pressure with humour, maturity and intelligence." After such effortless top spin, perhaps Higgins should take up tennis.
Take the edge off security
Yes, Wimbledon is one of the last great British institutions that run like clockwork but it missed a few beats last week. Security, of course, is on high alert but dummy runs through the hi-tech check-in systems caused a major alarm precisely because it didn't trigger an alarm. A security man posing as a player but pretending to be a terrorist put a sword in a tennis bag, complete with rackets, and entered the All England Club without so much as a bleep. The diary got through with a Swiss Army penknife. As everybody knows, the penknife is mightier than the sword.
Jobsworth lets side down
There was also a bit of a hiccup/cock-up surrounding a doubles match at which the centre of attention was Jamie Murray who, unlike his brother, has yet to locate a barber's shop. Centre of attention but not Centre Court – it was tiny Court 19, where crowds blocked all five entrances and filled the stairways, which would not have pleased the health and safety executive. Wimbledon has more uniformed attendants than the Nuremberg Rally but for some reason there seemed to be no jobsworth on duty at Court 19, where the only reign of the day was chaos.
Collingwood goes to court
Overheard on Centre Court on Thursday, Paul Collingwood to Kiwi cricketer Jacob Oram: "Mate, if I were you I wouldn't be hanging out with me." The previous day, as the England captain against New Zealand at The Oval, Collingwood had been a central figure in the dismissal of the Kiwi Grant Elliott, a run-out that became a cause celebre. Collingwood had just learnt he'd received a four-match ban for another offence. If cricket needs a top umpire who is as cool as a cucumber in a jug of Pimm's, they should call for Steve Ulrich.
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