I was shocked earlier tonight when I was hanging around the locker room (as the guys calls it) to find that, contrary to my belief that everyone (i.e. the guys) would be pleased for me and my early wild-card success, that there are certain tennis players (so-called professionals) who are actually quite dismissive of my achievement so far.
I heard one of them muttering rudely about the wild-card system and using words like ‘loser’ and ‘amateur’ and ‘tosser’ in the same sentence. When I tried confronting him with a hard stare, he just stared back, spat out his chewing gum at me, and fiercely pulled on his tennis hat backwards, in that irritating Leyton Hewitt style. And no, it wasn’t LH – he’s much too much a sporting gentleman to drop his standards so far.
No, I think it was a mate of the person who was my prospective doubles partner, Gerd Fistingburger, a Frenchman called Alois. He may have taken offence at my earlier jokey attempt to engage him in some ‘Allo ‘Allo banter (‘allo ‘allo Alois, how’s life in Rheinland Pfalz?) but I can’t be too sure. I’m pretty sure though I saw the two of them in the showers whispering to each other and casting me baleful glances in between washing each other down.
But his hostility has certainly been a wake-up call and has shown me another side to the green and pleasant lawns of Jerusalem.
I’ll have to tread carefully tomorrow in my second-round match – which, incidentally, I’ve just found out, is against the Croatian, Milos Milosovich, a very handy player I’m told, who specialises in long baseline rallies but is terrified to get too close to the net. I’ll need to get some more practice in tonight. I’ll just finish this pint and get on court with the guys until the sun goes down. Wish me well!
But if you’re Alois – you can go stick your racket up your arschloch.