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Anyone for tennis? – hell yes!

Cometh the hour, cometh the man

I think I’m supposed to vaguely connect this blog with the day-job, so: Tennis courts need building and, by implication, require building materials that have to be supplied and delivered by someone. A builders merchant, for example.

There, that’s the link done. Back to what I really want to say….

In 1977 I watched as Virginia Wade lifted the Wimbledon Ladies Singles trophy on Centre Court. If I’d known then that it would be 36 years before another Brit did the same, I might have paid a bit more attention.

Non-tennis fans reading this blog should look away now, but, oh wow, how exciting have the last two weeks been?

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that the British public loves nothing more than a plucky underdog. The nearly-man, who never quite makes it, but who gives his all in coming second (or further back), that’s our guy. See: Tim Henman for example.

We’ve also always taken a perverse pleasure in building people up and then tearing them down as they fail to achieve the targets we set them. See: England football team for example.

We also quite like a chap who cries when something really, really, really matters. See: Gazza (back in the day), Andy Murray after last year’s Wimbledon Final for example.

When we get behind a hero we really get behind them.

We’ve been piling on the pressure for Murray to be the first British man to lift the Wimbledon trophy wearing shorts, for years, especially since last year’s heartbreaking final and his triumphant Olympic gold medal. Millions of us all hoping and believing and putting our faith in the fact that this time, maybe, just maybe, we’ll have a champion.

And he repaid that faith in spades.

17.3m people tuned in to see Murray lift the trophy on Sunday at the end of a final that, although it only lasted three sets, felt like a five-setter. Hell, the last game felt like a set all on its own.

And that was after the nail-biters of the semi-final and that excruciating quarter final, when he fought back from two sets down. I can’t have been the only one whose nails were bitten down to the elbow.

Murray wasn’t even playing that well in the game against Verdasco, who produced some phenomenal tennis and didn’t really deserve to lose. Partisan I may be, but I’d say it’s the measure of the truly great sportsman that Murray has become that he can produce a game like that, even when not playing on top form.

It might be a bit of a cliché, but we all feel a bit better about the world, about business when we have something to cheer about. It may be my imagination, but things seem to be picking up a little.

House-prices are reportedly up, housing transactions, boosted by the Help-to-buy scheme are moving again, builders merchants are saying that they are getting busier, and bricks and blocks are going out on allocation.

Whatever is making a difference, let’s have more of it; we’ve been through enough in the last few years.

If it’s that we’ve just reached that point in the recession/recovery cycle, then so be it. If it’s just that we are riding high on the reflected glory of Justin Rose, the British Lions, the British cyclists tearing up the Tour de France and the redoubtable Andy Murray, then so be it.

Bring on the Ashes!

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Fiona Russell-Horne
Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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