Shari Tagliabue DRA­MATIC SERVE

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

WHAT with Wim­ble­don and the Tour de France screen­ing well into the wee hours this week, in­ven­tive ac­tions have been re­quired to keep the eyes open.

My pre­ferred method for these all- nighters is snack­ing, the repet­i­tive el­bow ac­tion re­quired to con­sume boxes of BBQ Shapes and TeeVee Snacks makes doz­ing off tricky; plus an up­side of mind­lessly munch­ing on this calorific combo is that my serv­ing arm gets a pretty good work­out, de­spite the fact I can only serve un­der­arm, and the last time I tried was last cen­tury.

Torn be­tween the ten­nis and cy­cling, I’ve been flick­ing be­tween the two in the hope of avoid­ing my pet hates; ad­ver­tise­ments, pigsquealer serves from spe­cific fe­male play­ers, and the Tour’s reg­u­lar foodie seg­ments. All are dis­trac­tions that are a true test of an arm­chair sportsper­son’s tol­er­ance lev­els, and any in­ter­rup­tion to the ac­tion sees the “I’m just rest­ing my eyes” ex­cuse come into play, which we all know is the one- way ticket to Slum­berville, and the couch- re­lated fall­out; the cricked neck, the un­brushed teeth, and the sud­den jolt awake at 4am in a lather of sweat to find that de­spite the hours put in, you’ve missed see­ing who won the match or the stage.

I blame you, Gabriel Gate, and you too, Maria Sha­parova, and ev­ery ad un­less they’re clever or funny, so pretty much all ads ex­cept the meerkat ones.

The ul­ti­mate aim of suc­cess­ful chan­nel surf­ing dur­ing these sport­ing marathons is to seam­lessly flick from a tie- breaker in the ten­nis to an un­ex­pected break­away in the cy­cling; both of these events halt the doz­ing- off process; the sight of a spin cy­cle of tum­bling cy­clists gingerly rac­ing on af­ter los­ing lay­ers of skin and Ly­cra is pure drama, as is clas­sic see­saw­ing bat­tle of tie- breaker ten­sion.

But the ten­nis has been some­what hi­jacked by our Aussie young guns be­hav­ing badly.

You could ques­tion when ten­nis be­came pop­u­lated with badtem­pered brats, and the an­swer would be way back when McEn­roe was a Lit­tle An­nie looka­like and had a mega- hissy fit when­ever a call didn’t go his way.

He’s long out­grown the tantrums; these days he’s a con­ser­va­tive com­men­ta­tor wear­ing a con­ser­va­tive sports jacket, which would have been unimag­in­able back when he was scream­ing at the um­pire.

Which brings me to my point – peo­ple change, they grow up.

Promis­ing Aussie play­ers Bernard Tomic, 22, and Nick Kyr­gios, 20, have done them­selves no favours with their an­tics, but while not all play­ers go down this track ( like my all- time favourites, the im­pec­ca­bly be­haved Pat Rafter and Mats Wi­lan­der — sigh) we need to re­mem­ber these two boys are 22, and 20. Sure, they look like young men, they play like young men, but the re­al­ity is that they are barely out of their teens.

Ten­nis is a sport that re­quires un­wa­ver­ing fo­cus, but it’s not in their skill set, yet.

They only need to take a leaf out of Roger Fed­erer’s book. You won’t find him crack­ing a tanty, ever – that’s be­cause he’s too busy win­ning.

Pic­ture: GETTY IM­AGES

IM­MA­TURE DIS­PLAY: Nick Kyr­gios still has time to im­prove his on- court be­hav­iour.

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