Bacon’s Bites: Andy Murray and Johanna Konta – a Wimbledon British double? Why not?
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It’s that time of year again - and what are the chances of an historic British Wimbledon double for Andy Murray and Johanna Konta?
Two weeks of strawberries, grasscourts, Sue Barker and of course... Andy Murray.
Oh, how I love Wimbledon, and I know I’m not alone.
I used to work with a keen tennis player who used to take two weeks off this time every year to watch Wimbledon – admittedly most of the time in his front room.
He was happy enough.
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Wimbledon continues to thrive, not just because of the recent success of Murray, but because the sport has seen the bigger picture and not sold its soul to the satellite companies.
The Beeb provide excellent coverage and almost all of us can enjoy Wimbledon in the comfort of our homes – or a sneaky 10 minutes in front of the company television, should you have such luxuries!
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While Murray fronts it up as his favourite Slam, Wimbledon must also be his most nerve-wracking.
Like other Brits before him, Murray knows the nation’s hopes are on his shoulders. He has handled it well, is a two-time champion at SW19, but still we want more.
He may well enjoy the comfort of walking home, putting out the bins and pruning his hedge, but it’s a pressure cooker out there for him and the British players.
It’s always been the same.
Roger Taylor was my mum’s favourite, he came along well after Fred Perry.
The dark-haired, handsome Yorkshireman achieved success at several Slams, reaching the quarter-finals of the French Open in 1973 and the semi-finals of Wimbledon the same year.
He was the closest Britain got to a mens’ finalist at Wimbledon since Perry’s victories, and not until Tim Henman came along did Britain get close again.
John Lloyd was another who made women go weak at the knees and he was a fine player too, going one better than Taylor and reaching a Slam final – the Australian in 1977 – where he lost to Vitas Gerulaitis.
However, throughout the ‘70s it was the British ladies who stole the show.
Sue Barker won the French in 1976 and Virginia Wade won Wimbledon in the Queen’s Silver Jubilee year, 1977, having won the Australian title five years earlier
The 1970s were halcyon times for Wimbledon as a whole, with Bjorn Borg dominating the men, while Americans Jimmy Connors and then John McEnroe burst onto the scene, their arguments and expletives, especially McEnroe, now legendary.
The Sex Pistols were smashing it up in the British pop charts with ‘God Save The Queen’, from their aptly named Never Mind the B*****s, Here’s the Sex Pistols album – it was all happening!
As the decade turned, British tennis had less success, especially at Wimbledon, the likes of Annabel Croft and Jeremy Bates, teasing us with some fine displays, but rarely going deep into the second week at SW19, as Martina Navratilova dominated the women’s game.
And then ‘Tiger’ Tim came along.
Let’s be honest, the nickname ‘Tiger’ never really fit him. A fantastic bloke and a super tennis player, Henman reached six Slam semi-finals in his career – four at Wimbledon – but alas never made a final.
Along with Greg Rusedski, a Canadian who became a favourite British import (he did reach a Slam final at the US Open), the pair of them gave us plenty of fun throughout the ‘90s, as the new millennium dawned.
The pressure, especially on Henman’s shoulders, knew no bounds, as Henman’s Hill was born!
But the ‘Tiger’ couldn’t get over the finish line... and then came Murray.
If ever a sporting moment was celebrated more in this country than his 2013 Wimbledon victory, you may have to go back to 1966, in England anyhow, to find it.
Murray is a legend. What he has achieved as a British player on the world tennis stage, especially at Wimbledon, will take a long time to beat.
British tennis is on the up.
We won the Davis Cup in 2015, while Johanna Konta, who represented Australia until 2012, is now the British No.1 women’s player and in great form. She has a superb chance to do well at Wimbledon and is our best hope of success in the British women’s game, since Jo Durie.
A Wimbledon double for Britain... Konta and Murray?
It’s not impossible, although Murray hasn’t had the best preparation for Wimbledon.
But hey, the fact I’m even mentioning it, albeit in a whisper, says much about how far British tennis has come in recent years.
So, pull up the chaise lounge, crack open the Prosecco and pass the strawberries.