Tag Archives: Ukraine

Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player: 2nd set, how to win at Wimbledon (8th game).

Ukrainian magic is no match for English guile (6-2)

I have to admit to some unease about Andy (M)’s result and my unseemly response on his doorstep yesterday.

He didn’t need to hear that from me, and I should have been back in the laager (as the guys call SW19) hitting my balls against the BBGs instead of berating his dogs and declining career.

But I wasn’t and I wasn’t. Instead, I paced around the outside courts, trying to comprehend what happened during that fateful ‘Wimble-weird’ Wednesday.

I became wracked with guilt as the super-moon assumed ghost like proportions and memories of my early days on the club’s mini courts surrounded by traffic cones and bean bags overwhelmed me. I felt possessed. A tennis legend in his own lunch time but out of his depth. Owls flew out of the nearby poplar trees. I saw skulls of dead tennis players turn to look at me accusingly as I stalked the pathways around Court 2.

Before I know it, I’m faced with an awesome sight: not the expected lanky Bosnian, Djelko Djelkovich pacing around the court, but the Ukrainian, Sergiy Stakhovsky who just the day before was responsible for Andy (M)’s premature ejaculation from the tournament.

How could this be possible?  Matches at Wimbledon couldn’t just disappear, could they?  It was all beginning to feel like a crazy dream.

If Sergiy was hoping to keep a low profile after his jaw-dropping victory over Andy, you certainly wouldn’t know it. He had draped a huge banner over the railings which featured a Ukrainian flag and the message: “WELL DONE SERGIY – THE MAGIC WORKED”.

So that’s what’s going on I said to myself as we warmed up. The Ukrainian summoned up the spirits of Kiev and this is what had done for Andy (M). This fellow from the Urals and his magic potions was now loudly proclaiming to a nearby camera crew:

“The night before I played Andy, the kids left a pot of chocolate spread in front of the door to our room with a sticker on it saying, ‘magic recipe for Sergiy’. I had a little bit of it in the morning, so the kids were happy, and it worked. That’s why I said it was magic and now I’m taking it every day because they believe in it.”

I was determined that whilst he might have dispatched one of the (alleged) tennis giants of all time and fiddled with the fixtures to boot, there was no way that his hocus pocus was going to derail my ambition.

I promptly set about dismantling Stakhovsky’s service and all-round game. Before too long I had won the match 3 sets to 1 (6-2, 2-6, 7-5, 6-3) and Sergiy was dispatched back East with his magic potions slung over his back and his tennis racket wrapped around a lamp post in a nearby cul-de-sac: a sobering reminder of the rapid rise and even quicker fall of one of the giant killers of our tennis times.

I was on my way to the fourth round: not knowing who was next on my list but determined to make up for my part in avenging Andy (M)’s downfall.  Ukrainian chocolate magic my arse.