Thursday, June 23, 2005

Time After Tim

So Tim Henman has been knocked out of Wimbledon in the second round. I have to say it's quite a relief to me. I always found the whole Henmania thing a tad embarrassing. Henman Hill and all those painted grannies. And a more unlikely hero you'd be hard pushed to find. A geeky swattish lad from Oxford with a sensible hair cut and a screechily clean provider of less mileage for the rude lewd tabloids and mags than the Singing Nun. And the ever-present parents Tony and Jane, who surely would have been priceless fodder for the old Spitting Image team - perhaps presented in monochrome outplaying knife-scrape-pea-pushing John and Norma Major in tick- tock shattering silence. In the house with Mr Dull and Mrs Mousy Church Mouse, who may or may not have, a suppressed, lively side.

Tony H: "Thought Timothy played rather well today".
Jane H: "Yes Dear".
Tony H: "It would be nice if we could..."
Jane H: "Yes". (looks up full of hope)
Tony H: "If we could, well if you could, share those peas you can't manage."
Jane H: "Oh. Yes."(coquettishly) I could give you . . . "
Tony H: "Yes dear"
Jane H: (Thinks better of it) "I'll leave some. I'll leave some of my peas. For you."

Or some such blinding repartee.

And Tim. Then there's Tim. 'There are amoeba on Saturn with greater charisma than our Timbo', as Blackadder might have put it. True he is/was a doughty performer - great resilience and courage, but not really someone worthy of half the nation's fanatical worship for the first couple of weeks of every summer. A decent player but flawed. Forever getting whacked by players with greater flare and more chutpah. Except for Pistol Pete Sampras who could bore his opponents to defeat, but at least had an air of invincibility. Tim was never invincible. A skinny toff who happened to be a Brit, who knew how to hang on in there limpet-like. Talented, yes, but no superstar. Not really worthy of a nation's adulation and investment in the desperate belief of great white hope-like deliverance.

And now he's gone. And the stage has been left for the young pup, Andrew Murray - who it has to be said, seems to have something about him. Seems a stroppy young sir. Upsets people when he opens his mouth and has none of that exaggerated respect for tradition and convention. Prefers the US Open to Wimbledon, prefers clay courts to grass. And seems to have an expressive single mother in tow, all gappy toothed whoops and bingo-wing hand-claps, which provide welcome relief to a TV audience weary of a decade of looking up and seeing the impassive somewhat regal Henman seniors. Both family's seem to share a similar view on the importance of dental aesthetics -with young Andy happy to show a couple of rows of tombstones during his TV interviews though even that provides a new slant on the Tim fangs for the memory look. And perhaps that's what Tim will be now.

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