What else can I say? In fact, that is so good a word that I’m gonna say it again.
That’s 77 (or 26) years worth of WOW, thank you very much – and we are entitled to every letter of it. Wow, wow! And thrice wow. And wow again.
Yes, I don’t need to tell you why – it’s obvious. Since 1977 we have not known such deep and penetrating volleys of joy: such backhand cross-court drop-shots of happiness; such over-the-net-and-in-the-corner-of-the-court returns of euphoria. And there hasn’t been a British male winner of Wimbledon since 1936.
That’s right: before the war, when women wore long (or longer) skirts to play in; when men wore long trousers and everyone said ‘Oh, jolly good shot!’ in tones like Dan Maskell (in fact Dan Maskell may have been no more than a locker-room strategy in his mother’s womb); when commentators were rather sneering about Americans and foreign Johnnies – that’s the way tennis looked when Fred Perry won the best tournament in the world. Here’s some Pathe News highlights:
I have to say it doesn’t look anything like as energetic as today’s play – when they were playing I thought they were still warming up!
Anyway, since those days in the male half we’ve had Buster Mottram (reached 1/4 finals but was a fascist), John Lloyd (also 1/4 finals) and Tim Henman (semis but lacking killer instinct). But now we have Murray, the dourest of Scotsmen, who only just about cracked a smile when he won.
But oh, my god! What a moment!
He began well, taking the first set 6-4, but most people must have thought we were in for a five-setter. I hardly dared let myself believe he could win – and even when he took the second 7-5, coming from 1-4 down with 2 breaks of serve against him, I was sure Djokovic would fight back: but whether it was the Serb’s gruelling 5-set semi-final or whether he just didn’t find his form, in the end he couldn’t follow through and the third set saw Murray serving for the match. He had 3 points on his serve and lost them: it went to deuces – and finally he came through in straight sets! I could NOT believe it! The cheers were deafening, Murray cracked what could have been construed as a grin and Djokovic was commendably gracious in defeat.
Oh, joy! Deep joy!
So it was on a cloud of this joy that I floated over to Yesim’s. On being asked whether I had any poetry I responded: ‘The only thing I have in me right now is the sheer poetry of watching Murray win Wimbledon!’
Sadly no-one really shared my joy; and a second later someone said (and I quote) ‘I know a negative story about that.’
‘No!’ I said. ‘No negative stories!’ And I rushed to the loo.
Why is it that when you’re on a high some people’s first thought is to bring you down?
There’s a lot of philosophical stuff here, such as ‘What effect does having a national winner have on the national psyche?’ – not to mention why some people try to bring you down when you’re happy – but I shall save that for a separate post. For now, I’m just going to leave you with this moment, which I will be savouring for a long time to come:
Game, Set, Match and Championship!