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It's aces high.


strange couple of days ensued this week when football took a little break.

As those still in the World Cup were treated to a well-earned rest, millions of TV viewers across the country were suddenly at a complete loss.

Some played FIFA, others watched repeats of Doctor Who and one or two even picked up a book.

Personally, I decided to immerse myself in tennis.

The incessant popping of the ball, the occasional shout at the umpire and the never-ending gasps from a crowd so riddled by sunstroke they look like they're out on the lash in Benidorm.

Wimbledon is the only time of year where it's socially acceptable to watch a sweaty Russian woman grunting and panting on a Tuesday afternoon.

There's something about this magical event that just sucks you in.

You think, "Why the hell am I watching this" and suddenly three hours have past.

But we're still enthralled by it - who we might see in the crowd, the famous faces with their beaming white smiles and designer sunglasses.

Yes it's all a little pompous and we h y, d r d r-do have to put up with Sue Barker but hey, thanks to the good weather her former squeeze Cliff Richard hasn't made an appearance this year.

e For that at least we should be thankful.

g ll s at There is one thing tennis and football share that makes armchair viewing that little bit more attractive - the lecherous cameraman.

Whether it is the World Cup, the US Open or the Champions League final, an eagle-eyed spotter will be employed to find the most attractive woman in the audience and beam her smile to millions across the world.

It's funny we can't seem to focus on anything else for more than five minutes without wondering where that blonde from the third set is now. Is she still happy and smiling? t Apart from the talent on show, Wimbledon has traditionally been an event where us Irish folk can tune in and have a laugh at the downfall of the Brits.

otr ecla th lt p For years their pain was palpable as a succession of great white hypes came, saw and were conquered.

pocco c It got so bad at one stage they even started claiming Greg Rusedski as one of their own - and he's Canadian.

Tim Henman came close by reaching four Wimbledon semi-finals but couldn't quite manage to scramble his way out of Pete Sampras's pocket Of course the smug smiles were wiped off our faces last year when Andy Murray clinched his first Wimbledon title. The Dunblaneborn Scot became an adopted middle-Englander when he landed the Holy Grail.

Normal order was resumed this time around though as a devastated Henman Hill lamented the early elimination of the defending champion.

One part of the tournament I particularly enjoy watching is the line judges getting continuously pelted by rogue forehands.

These hardy souls must train for years to catch a speeding ball in the lower midriff without screaming in agony.

As a kid, Wimbledon used to inspire all the children on the road to take up tennis.

It wasn't the superb rallies we were out to emulate though, it was the temper tantrums from the hot-headed players.

This reminds me, I owe Mr O'Reilly down in number 23 a new bumper.

Those Wilson rackets have some serious bounce when you fling them to the ground in frustration.

The tennis served up a welcome distraction but in truth it was only a warm-up to the main event.

World Cup or Wimbledon? Easy - advantage Brazil.

Apart from the talent on show we get to watch the downfall of the Brits


Noisy: Maria Sharapova

Mixed bag: Murray lost in quarters while Eugenie Bouchard, right, was a beaten finalist
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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion Column
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 6, 2014
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