Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player: 2nd set, how to win at Wimbledon (11th game)

The signs, signifiers and signatures of tennis semiotics (8-3)

The tension’s mounting as we head towards the last few days of the epic tournament that is the Wimbledon Championships of the All England Club.

The signs of my potential progress through the next rounds are encouraging and I feel I am finally being treated with the respect that is due a wild card who has achieved more than anyone’s wildest imaginings could have foreseen.

The groundsmen tug their collective forelocks as I pass them by. The guys in the locker room go silent when I enter (a sure sign of respectful awe). And even my one-time adversaries, Gerd Fistingburger and Alois, have taken to stepping aside when I approach them, their heads bowed, eyes averted (both gestures, significant signifiers of shame).

I sense a victory of massive proportions on the horizon.

Even Mrs Lady Chairman, to my great surprise, phoned late last night ostensibly to ask how the courts were behaving themselves, although I knew this meant that she was dying to ingratiate herself with me.

I was able to point her, without the slightest hint of sarcasm, to the list of casualties those accursed surfaces have been responsible for over the first week of the competition. She didn’t listen, as per, and even had the effrontery to ask if I could get Andy (M) to sign her grandson’s tennis shorts for her. I assured her that my signature would cost a lot less. But she was having none of that either, made some rude remark about my attitude (again) and swanned off the phone (again) no doubt to start constructing a well-executed complaint (again).

So, whilst there are many pointers to my impending resurrection in my local club, there is still a job to be done at the top of the political pile. My mission will not be complete until I have the trophy in hand, the cheque in the bank and Mrs Lady Chairman waving the white flag of surrender.

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