Confessions of an ageing tennis player: Gutted. Roasted. Fuming.

You would have thought after all I have done – my surprise wild card entry to Wimbledon this year; my subsequent tussle for recognition with the guys in the locker room; my ‘back-to-the-wall’ heroic endeavours against the forces of bureaucratic inertia; my radical stance against Hawkeye, BBGs and the state of the grass; and ultimately the fact that I beat Novak Djokovic to become the first Englishman to win the Wimbledon Champions Final of 2013 at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club – you would have thought I would have merited at least a nomination in our club’s Sports Personality of the Year Competition of the Year.


You would have thought – having brought fame and recognition to our modest club; new generations of enthusiastic bright bushy tailed young tennis things to our courts; and sponsorship in the order of tens of pounds – you would have thought that the committee, in all its puffed up glory and self-importance, would have said to itself:

“Fair play. The boy done good. We shall take the extraordinary step of awarding him a special nomination that reflects his tremendous achievements.”

But no. No such recognition is forthcoming.

I’m not disappointed about not receiving a nomination from the ordinary members – not in the least.

I understand how bitter and cynical and envious and aghast many of them felt at seeing my almost superhuman achievements over the summer. Their lack of respect for me now is a shame – but understandable. I would act in exactly the same way as them if I saw one of my peers plucked from middle-aged obscurity to a glistening future of signing tennis shorts, being interviewed by Russell Brand (my God, I was funny) and whining and dining with the likes of Princess Margot of Luxembourg and The Sheikh of Araby.

But the committee? They should know better and so are worthy of my most bilest of bile.

This is why.

As well as passively sitting back and just watching votes drift through their letterbox as and when the voter decides to pass by and exert their democratic duty, they have instituted an absolutely mind-boggling approach to local democracy. No longer is it enough, apparently, for the democratic process to be seen to be working. It must also be seen to be in need of repair, given that it is so obviously broken.

To this end, votes are not just added up and counted, they are judged and assessed by the committee members for their appropriateness. According to the committee, voters are clearly short of a few bob when it comes to their stocks of common sense in the voting department. They evidently need guidance as to who vote for. And if they don’t make the right decision, then they need to have their vote adjusted to reflect what they really meant to say.

Not only that, but as well as being advised (or, dare I say, instructed) by the committee burghers to vote for the candidate of the burghers’ choice, we are also being instructed to vote for a candidate OF THE OPPOSITE SEX – even if we have never come across any lady tennis players – or football players or rugby players or indeed any other activity which the Club deems to be sports like – in our time at the club.

This is like Robert Mugabe insisting that I vote for his third cousin twice removed just because she happens to wield a mean lacrosse stick.

And to cap it all – and this is the final straw that made me realise that Russell Brand is not a pouting show off with a mouth bigger than my tennis racket but a genuine democrat who has the health and wealth of this country at heart in all his media endeavours – the Committee, heaven help us, have decreed that voting shall be done in full view of all the committee members, AND instead of using a short stubby pencil as is usual in the Western Democratic process, we shall use our blood to mark an X on the ballot paper!

Rigged ballots? Directed voting? A mandate forged in blood?

These are not the signs of a healthy amateur tennis club but a wicked, corrupt and financially wayward nation who’s last four letters end in -STAN.

I have, needless to say, submitted my resignation from this once glorious community resource. They may well have spurned me at the Annual General Meeting as well as the Dinner Dance, Gentlemen’s Evening and subsequent Sports Personality of the Year but I am not bitter, not in any way, shape or form. Not a wit, not a jot. NA-DAL.

Speaking of which: Rafa has just called me for a game of mixed doubles with ladies from the tennis club across the park. I shall be delighted to join him and his grown up compatriots and shall look to impart my wisdom hewn from the rocks of my 2013 Wimbledon’s Men’s Finals experience to their eager youth team.

I already sense a return visit to that august institution in 2014.


(You might like to know that you can follow Andy Murray’s journey to fame and infamy in the recently published, ‘Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player’ on Amazon.  You can see it here. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it!)

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