Morning all. Over the coming weeks, under brighter skies (according to the forecast), a hugely exciting summer of sport gets under way. Here, for no good reason, are some predictions.
Next Thursday at Lord’s is the first day of the Test against Sri Lanka. Later in the summer England play India too. It’s a time of transition for our cricketers, who were on the wrong end of a drubbing in Australia that many of them would prefer to forget. Nothing beats having a seat for the first morning at Lord’s, with its wonderful buzz and the ancestral roar of the crowd ahead of the first ball. My tip: 1-1 against Sri Lanka, and 2-2 against India.
Nothing, that is, except maybe being at the first match of the World Cup: next Thursday, at the Arena de Sao Paulo, Brazil play Croatia at the start of football’s greatest tournament. It promises four weeks of drama, excitement, convulsion and dismay. It also launches two years in which the whole world turns Brazilian, culminating in the Rio Olympics of 2016. Our brilliant team of writers and editors will produce a daily 16-page supplement with all the detail and analysis you could want. My tip: Belgium to make the semis, and an ageing Spain to beat Germany in the final.
Luckily, by the time England are knocked out on penalties, Andy Murray should be on course to defend his Wimbledon crown. He’s looked very good at the French Open, despite not having a coach. But my tip is the Czech World No 6 Tomas Berdych, who reached the final in 2010.
Another highlight will undoubtedly be the Tour de France in Yorkshire. That’s right – Yorkshire. There are three stages of the world’s greatest cycling race on our shores: Leeds to Harrogate, York to Sheffield and Cambridge to the Mall. My tip (or actually Simon O’Hagan’s): Chris Froome to retain his title.
What with the British Grand Prix on 6 July (my tip: Nico Rosberg to win) and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow starting on 23 July, it all adds up to a thrilling schedule.
By the way, your newspaper’s redesign picked up a couple of prizes over the past few weeks. At the Design Week Awards, we took the prize for best editorial design, which the judges described as “masterfully done”. And at the D&AD (Design and Art Direction) awards, we picked up the coveted yellow pencil for the specially created fonts in your newspaper today, invented by Henrik Kubel. My personal thanks to him, and to our great design team – led by Dan Barber and Matt Willey – for their efforts.
And to you, of course, for giving it the thumbs up each time you buy this paper. We also won Newspaper of the Year at the Consumer Choice Awards, so it’s been a jolly good week. Have a great weekend.