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Wimbledon: Just two weeks of self-indulgence; Roger's RANT.

Byline: ROGER CLARKE

IT IS as if it never happened. The tears, the drama, the greatest match since ... well the last greatest match headline. Tennis is now over until Wimbledon next June.

Unless, of course, Andy Murray bravely battles back, puts heartbreak behind him, etc, and shines in the Olympics to extend the usual two-week season.

Not that tennis should be in the Olympics in the first place. The Games are the pinnacle of achievement and in tennis, like football, they are merely a sideshow - but that's another argument.

Back to Wimbledon and The Championships and why is there such a love affair with one sport for just one tournament? Our interest in the other three grand slams only surfaces when a Brit reaches the semis and we usually have to be told even that fact as so few of us are following the event.

There is little interest in the sport - just in flag waving - and as for the ATP tour, it has about the same mass appeal as the Uzbekistan goat shearing championship's qualifying rounds.

Yet for two weeks we are the greatest tennis nation on earth with papers working themselves into frenzy as Murray reached the promised land of a final.

Page after page before and then even more after with Roger Federer elevated to the status of greatest ever so Murray wasn't beaten by a mere mortal, and the Scot becoming the bravest and, despite a cheque for pounds 575,000, the unluckiest player the world had ever known.

Although, he was unlucky in having to give a TV interview immediately after losing.

That was not good television, it was intrusive and cruel; for once people felt for the lad. No-one should have to endure that sort of indignity.

As usual during Wimbledon the municipal courts that have not been flogged off for building, still have nets and potholes not too deep are packed, and there will be the usual talk of a renaissance, a surge in youngsters, the Murray effect.

I suspect it will cause as big a ripple as the Henman and Rusedski effects and probably the Mike Sangster and Roger Taylor effects before them.

Little will change. Tennis will remain a largely middle and upper-class sport centred on a social club. And the next big thing? A roof on Court One.

ROGER CLARKE Read Roger's blog at www.birminghammail.net
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jul 12, 2012
Words:397
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