Yesterday I had the agony of watching Tim Henman almost lose at Wimbledon again. How many years have I been putting myself through this? And today there’s more to come as he goes into the second round. I have a vast pile of ironing and will steady my nerves with green tea, hoping against hope that he’ll make it.
I can’t quite work out why it matters so much, I suppose except that I am mad about tennis and would love to see an Englishman win Wimbledon, or anything for that matter. When I was growing up I had Bjorn Borg to cheer. Then Stefan Edberg to fancy. Now there’s really no one that I support with any great passion apart from Henman. Although I admire Federer for his total brilliance.
The problem with Henman is he’s just too middle-class to win. As I watched him sipping something that looked suspiciously like home-made elderflower juice yesterday it struck me that he just lacks the drive and hunger to really make it. He never struts onto to the court like Nadal who looks like he’s about to fight a prize-winning bull. Yesterday for once he looked fired up and actually punched the air a couple of times. Sadly he looked a bit like Bertie Woorster would have done, rather silly.
I adore Tim Henman and won’t have a word said against him. He is just the kind of boy you’d want your girls to bring home and announce they were in love with. But that sort of character doesn’t always make a ruthless winner.
There is hope for the future though. Last night I spent an hour throwing a table-tennis ball to Leo who hit it back to me (and at me) with a bat. “I’m a genius,” he announced every time he hit a good shot. I have to admit he doesn’t look half-bad. And he’s left-handed which is great news.
I had a Bridget Jones moment (remember when after the first email exchange with Daniel Cleaver she fantasizes about their wedding day) where I saw myself in the VIP box at Wimbledon watching Leonardo win the title, the first Englishman to do so for several hundred years. The crowds were going crazy cheering, I was weeping, he looked splendid with his blond floppy hair and Ralph Lauren shorts. Then I got a table-tennis ball on my head.
But I am going to enroll him for the children’s Wednesday afternoon tennis sessions in Pezenas. You never know. Do you think I could bring my ironing and green tea to centre court?
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2007