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