I'm covering Wimbledon for Five Live – it's just about the most agreeable assignment that I've ever had. I turned up last Thursday for my first day and it took me a little time to adjust. Twenty-four hours earlier I'd been in North Korea, where tennis is not really that big a thing. They're more into mass public displays of tae kwan do, using thousands of rather frightening-looking soldiers. Wimbledon, on a sunny day, was about as polar opposite to smoggy Pyongyang as was possible.
The first thing that hits you about the place is just what a maze it is. Quite apart from the public spaces there are loads of rat runs, hidden alleys and buildings bustling with journalists that you would not normally see. I kept getting very lost as I was ferried from watching matches to trying to find Scottish people on Murray Mount. I'm still not sure if it has officially become Murray Mount, or Murray Mountain, or whether the defenders of Henman Hill have managed to defend their peak. Certainly, when I was there on the day of a Murray match there weren't too many Scots. I think that if Murray does manage to win, he will certainly claim it as his. Who knows? It could even become a new Munro, an extra hill true Scotsmen have to climb.
I was thrown straight in at the deep end and squeezed into the tiny commentary booth on Centre Court. Simon Mayo was hosting his show along with two tennis commentators. With my arrival the box was starting to feel very full – there was certainly no room to swing the proverbial cat. I scanned the crowd – to my left was the obligatory group of tipsy Australians, decked out in yellow and looking very much like they'd turned up to the wrong event. During a break in proceedings they started a hesitant Mexican wave. They got it going, but it doesn't really fit Centre Court and is more of an excuse to boo the dignitaries in the royal box when they sit stiffly ignoring proceedings. Everyone in the royal box had been given a free Wimbledon panama hat that made them stand out even more from the hoi polloi.
The last straw was when the new roof was used for the first time. Not to cover the court but it was closed by a metre or so to provide shade for the pampered guests. I scoured the box for BBC executives but they were all keeping their heads down and had stayed away. How they must have quietly jumped for joy when the news of Michael Jackson's demise came down the wires. I expect to see many more of them this week.
Back in our sweaty box, Simon Mayo turned to me: "So, Dom, what do you make of the game so far?" I love tennis and have watched it since I was a little kid, but it's different when you have to sound knowledgeable live to the nation. "Uuummm, well, it's a good game ... both look like ... good tennis players but ... one is definitely looking better than the other ... the short one ... with the cap..." It was not an auspicious start and I started to worry that I'd see my name in the papers soon as a definite waste of licence-fee payers' money. I tried to think hard what I could say next time the microphone was passed to me. All I could think about was the curious pattern on the back of an Argentinian player's shirt, barely visible dots that made him look like he was undergoing one of those allergy tests where they stick loads of plasters on your back. I couldn't talk about that – think of something technical, quick...
"Dom, what's on your mind?" Nothing was the honest answer, but I found myself talking about how one player had his baseball cap on the wrong way round while the other had a sleeveless shirt that I found offensive. What was happening? Not only was I starting to sound like a middle-aged fogey but I was turning into the equivalent of the fashion correspondent at Ascot. This commentary lark was not nearly as easy as you might imagine. It was with some relief I was released to go on to the roof to appear on Michael Stich's programme. He had no idea who I was and asked me how I relaxed when not competing? "Greco-Roman wrestling" I replied for no reason whatsoever. Things can only get better.
World catches on to Murray's crazy racket
I'm glad that the tabloids have finally caught up with my Andy Murray Tweet Watch and appreciate his love of the forfeit. This week, however, he's moved on to trying to think of tennis players' names that can be turned into food – "Cod Woodbridge" and "John McEnrolo". It's a crazy world, the world of tennis.Reuse content