The phone has been ringing constantly on this supposedly quiet Wimbledon Sunday. Many club members (woman chairman excepted – surprise, surprise), have been offering their support in the unlikeliest of ways. Some have offered to carry my racket; others have offered to stitch their logo into my t-shirt. One wise crack offered me a day’s intensive training.
Me and training! Imagine that!
But they’re all asking the same question: What do you rate your chances in the 4th round?
And they then proceed to tell me the potential matches I could be facing should I, by the wildest stretch of their imaginations, be successful tomorrow when play resumes.
They talk in hushed tones of finals with either Rafa or Noli. They summon up huge successful lottery applications for the club itself. They imagine fending off the press on a daily basis. They even rashly devise plans to improve our own grass courts. It’s at this point I know we have entered a quantum universe where nothing is what it appears to be.
I then tell them in no uncertain terms that every player has their own superstitions to get through a tournament and mine is a simple one – don’t look at the draw, don’t plan to play anyone in particular, but just turn up on court at the right time and see who turns up. The habit I have developed is based on Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle of the more I know, the less likely I am likely to win. Conversely, the more ignorant I remain, the greater the likelihood of my success.
This strikes many of the committee as being a bit foolhardy but in comparison with other Wimbledon superstitions – shoelace colours, number of steps from court side chair to the baseline, jumping up and down in front of your opponent when the umpire’s tossing his coin – not knowing the draw is as logical as any of them.
And let’s face it, if any tennis player believes their little acts of superstition and habit can influence a result for the positive, then my superstition is no better or worse than theirs. One thing it does prove is that the tennis universe is no longer Newtonian. We’re into parallel universes, relativity theory and time-space continuum warps complete with Einstein-Rosen bridges, Black Holes and String Theory to boot. It’s no accident that quantum theory describes so accurately what it’s like to play on grass.
Not knowing the draw allows for the random and the unexpected, and one thing I do know, is that I’m going to need plenty of quark, strangeness and charm to progress through the second week at Wimbledon this year.
So, to all you committee members and followers out there: please keep me in the dark about the supposed logic of the draw and allow for a little bit of relativity theory to make its mark on proceedings this week.