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Why Novak Djokovich is never going to win the Australian Open: the Jeremy Paxman Interview on Newsnight.

On Wednesday 5 January 2022 Jeremy Paxman interviewed the two leading contenders for the Australian Open, Lord Andrew John Paul George Murray of Kirkintilloch and plain old unanointed Novak Djokovic Esq. Below is a transcript of the programme. This transcript was supplied by an external organisation. The BBC is not responsible for its content.

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PAXMAN:       Good evening. In the first and only interview with the potential winner of one of the biggest sporting occasions ever, tonight we’re talking here in Melbourne to Andrew Murray and Novak Djokovic. You have both been out of favour since you went down to your last crashing defeats last year. Now, Andrew Murray, what makes you think you’re a serious contender this time?

MURRAY :      Because although my opponent may be well versed in village pump politics, bruised egos and sporty tantrums, he will be shocked to see that I, “Andy Murray” the GOAT, has become Sports Personality of The Year! The time for me to win, Novi, is therefore nigh! 

PAXMAN:       Excellent. Now, Novak Djokovic, what makes you think you stand a cat in hell’s chance of winning the Australian Open?

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From the Confessions to the Courting Lives of an Ageing Tennis Player

When I was younger, I used to watch the tennis on the TV and especially the guys like McEnroe, Borg and Nastase. Round about Wimbledon time, my brother Alex and I would play a kind of tennis out on our grandfather’s lawn. I would take on the role of John McEnroe and he would enact Jimmy Connors. I would invariably win.

Ah, these words, dear reader.  These dear, dear words, dear, dear reader.

Little did I know when starting my chronicles of my lifetime tennis achievements that such a modest turn of phrase would lead to such a momentous turn of events. How was I to know?  How was anyone to know?  And so dear reader, if these opening sentences find you bemused and perplexed, confused and convexed, then fret no further for I am about to regale you with a chronicle of ambition and achievement of modern times like no other which has left other commentators aghast and astounded.

There is so much to tell. From how I excelled at teaching tennis, to how my lucky wild card to Wimbledon led to a very public humiliation of Roger Federer and my very first Grand Slam Championship win at Wimbledon; to how I was propelled to fame and fortune by collecting –  in the face of some furious hostility from the sporting hoi polloi it has to be said – the coveted Sports Personality of the Year Award from the BBC, to the biggest accolade and challenge of my life time:  winning the public vote for the Chairmanship of the Dunblane Tennis Club, the Holy Grail of all serious tennis players.

If you have not been following that incredible story arc and the countdown to that final challenge dear reader, then fear not for I am about to reveal to you for the very first time what happened on the fateful first day of January when everyone in the club waited with bated breath for the results of the voting process.

Imagine the scene!

It’s icy cold out out on the cricket pitch. Stumps left there in August and which were never retrieved due to the wicket keeper Smyth’s inability to hold his balls and bails simultaneously have been frozen into the earth like 3 Excalibur Swords, daring all who pass by to try and extricate them from their stony embrace. 3 urchins try their best to release the stumps but are thwarted at every step. They soon realise the time and come scampering back to the clubhouse, ready for the announcement which will herald a brand-new dawn for club, country and yours truly. Cricket will be played there again but not in my lifetime.

Wandering in nonchalantly from underneath rugby posts steps Spoty, the club moggie, feigning disinterest in the proceedings but secretly harbouring a desire to wreak feline havoc amongst the membership.  Spoty has never forgiven the Club’s Handyman, Trefor, for mis-spelling his name when it came to writing it on the door of the cat flap which gives Spoty carte blanche to come and go as he pleases. Trefor demonstrates dyslexia, especially in the early hours when one too many Gimlets means he can no longer read or write in a straight line. So Spotty the Black Cat -so called due to its one black spot amongst all that black fur – becomes courtesy of Trefor, Spoty.  The vote for the Chairmanship is the opportunity he has been waiting for.

And deep in the inner sanctum of the Clubhouse itself, I am dressed to impress, invest and to gracefully accept everything that is about to be bestowed upon me.  I look in the mirror, fiddle with my bow tie, adjust my boater, cough discreetly.  There’s a knock at the door.

“Enter!” I call out magnanimously.

And in she crawls, sideways, Mrs Serena Williams, cap in hand, tugging her forelock and waving the results of the vote under my nose.

I have, not to put to fine a point on it, won the vote by a complete and utter devastatingly huge landslide.  ‘Landslide’ doesn’t do the scale of my victory justice.  This is more a case of ‘Annihilation’. ‘’Humiliation’ is another bon mot. ‘Total and utter’ isn’t even close.

I thank her quietly and with dignity and follow her out to the assembled hordes, ready to make my first speech of my reign as Club Chairman.  It is important to set the tone on these august occasions and I have prepared for this moment with due diligence and with an eye on the appropriate tone of phrase which pays due respect to my opponents whilst thanking all the officials in the time-honoured tradition of throwing bags of cashew nuts at them as they cravenly step away from their hallowed spot of propping up the club bar.

The rest of the day, I have to admit, dear reader is a bit of a blur.  Winning Wimbledon was something, succeeding at SPOTY quite another but claiming the crown of the club? Even I – yes, even I – was unprepared for the emotional roller coaster that followed that moment when I was handed the ceremonial tennis bat, a couple of fuzzy balls and a Nike baseball cap and shown the back door.

It was clearly time for me to stroll around the grounds of the club, shaking hands with members of the public who had so patiently been waiting for my appearance out in the Car Boot sale car park. To the massed cheering of those on the Club balcony, I waved. To the scruffy oiks who were practicing throwing up in the cricket nets, I reprimanded them in a good spirit which suggested that this would be the last time they would be doing that on my watch. And last but no means least, to the Tennis section who had laid on a guard of honour down at the entrance to the grass courts, holding their rackets up high to form a tunnel through which I processed; I thanked them one by one and stepping forward, received the golden pick axe.  The tennis player lines parted, and the smiling captain beckoned me forward, pointing to the base line. I stepped forward, swung the axe several times over and over and over again.  Briefly, there was silence.

And then a roar when everyone realised the enormity of my act.   The grass courts were no more. 

Astroturfing could begin and my reign as club chairman had begun in earnest.

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The All New Liverpool Daily Post: mystery arsonist found hiding on allotment

The search into the cause of the mysterious fires around South Liverpool Sports Centres was finally brought to a halt tonight when a middle aged balding Caucasian man wearing nothing but a Fred Perry singlet and a John McEnroe head band was found in an allotment shed sat on a makeshift throne of wooden tennis rackets.

Identifying himself only as Lord Andrew John Paul George Andrew Murray of Kirkintilloch (a small town in East Dunbartonshire, Scotland – editors’ note) police stated that the man denied any knowledge of the recent arson attacks in the neighborhood but could not account for the 79 plastic petrol containers which lined the shed’s walls and the oxy-acetylene torch which lay idle on the floor.

Mr. Murray – whose real identity is still subject to confirmation – is now helping police with their enquiries and is expected to appear on court in Melbourne for the Australian Open early next month and in court in Liverpool early next week to face charges.

Liverpool Social Services and the Lawn Tennis Association have been informed of the man’s arrest.

For full coverage of this extraordinary news story just click here.

What are your feelings about Ageing Tennis Players? Otterspool Promenade? Men in Fred Perry Singlets on ramshackle pyrotechnic rafts floating down the River Mersey?

You too can have your say about this story!  Here’s what our readers are saying:

A pataphysical collection of absurdities (David Llewellyn, Director, Tennis Player, Genius)

I thought it was real for about being selected for Wimbledon, literally through to the day before the semi-finals… I was coming into work saying Nick got selected, I can’t wait to read the next chapter. I loved it!  total funny journey.  (Jo McBean, Creative Triangle)

Nick Owen your book’s awesome (Rez Kabir, Artistic Director at Tamarind Theatre Co Ltd and Executive Producer at Mukul And Ghetto Tigers)

A rollicking good read that had me laughing out loud. It had me entertaining the idea of joining our local tennis club, and I’m rubbish at tennis (The Shed)

This is a riotous, rolling, rollicking read in the picaresque tradition. Eat your hearts out Henry Fielding and Herman Melville. As the hero hurtles through his ruthless pursuit of fame and glory, you too will probably receive an upgrade as you are laughing so much in your plane or train seat. Witty ( and wise) this is a cracking read. First in a series. (Liz Fincham, author)

I am at the ageing tennis player and this book hits the nail on the head with an insight and humour that made me laugh out loud. Great observation, no holds barred honesty through the arena of tennis that explores between our imagination and the actuality. (Mike Stubbs, artist, curator, consultant)

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The All New Liverpool Daily Post: New Year’s fires perplex local fire services in South Liverpool

South Liverpool fire chiefs and police have been perplexed since 2 January when over fifty large bonfires have been set alight between Speke and Dingle, all of them on the grounds or near to local sports clubs.

While there have been no casualties as yet, police are proceeding on the basis that the fires are the work of a local arsonist who knows the area well enough to be able to get access to the clubs without raising suspicions and that it will only be a matter of time before some serious injury is reported.

In a statement, Chief Inspector Murray said:

“Even more bizarrely, the fires tend to consist of used sports equipment such as tennis rackets, cricket bats, hockey sticks, rugby boots and other assorted items. We ask the public to keep vigilant and remove any old sports equipment from garden sheds or other outhouses which could attract the attention of the suspected arsonist.

Do you have any photos or CCTV footage that might aid the police? If so, please contact the news desk at the All New Liverpool Daily Post and we will pass it on to the relevant authorities.

For minute by minute coverage of this breaking news story just click here.

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The All New Liverpool Daily Post est arrivé! Strange sightings at Otterspool Promenade trigger public health concerns.

The early morning promenaders of Otterspool Promenade in Aigburth, Liverpool, were treated to a grisly sight on their first morning stroll after the festive season: a make shift funeral pyre floating down the River Mersey.

In scenes reminiscent of gatherings on the Ganges, a small flaming raft was pulled ashore by coast-guards  at about 6am on Sunday 2 January in the vicinity of Riversdale Campus of Liverpool City College. Close to the site of Liverpool’s International Tennis Tournament in 2021, the area was immediately cordoned off by police and a full investigation launched.

Police were unable to confirm whether or not there were any fatalities but described the funeral pyre as consisting of a collection of second-hand burning tennis rackets, a tennis court net and dozens of used tennis balls, the makes of which are still to be confirmed.

Police also confirmed that local tennis clubs were assisting them with their enquiries.

For minute by minute coverage of this breaking news story just click here.

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Emma Raducanu wins coveted BBC SPOTY 2021 Prize! What next? Emma for Prime Minister?

Our intrepid sports reporter Murry Andrews of the all new Liverpool Daily Post has recently inveigled himself into Emma Raducanu’s celebrations of her announcement as the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

In an exclusive interview with Murray, Emma spills the beans on what it took to add this highly prized trophy to her modest trophy cabinet.

“So, Emma, how does it feel?” asks Andrew in a manner which will surely have all sports correspondents trembling in their trainers with its derring-do, “Sat on the veranda of your penthouse luxury suite on the Thames, clutching your SPOTY 2021 trophy in your right hand and your Wimbledon Singles Tournament Ladies “Did-Alright-For-A-Wild-Card” urn in the other?”

Clealry taken aback at the lazer like precision of Murray’s question, Emma soon composes herself.

“Well, Murray,” she starts, “what I see behind me, quaffing champagne and sippling endless supplies of Romanian Țuică are the highest of the highest of the glitterati and celeberati.

Tyson Furey has just furiously slammed his sailor’s dinghy into the wharf at the end of my garden and waved to me with a traditional maritime greeting of respect, the two fingered salute made famous by the one and only Winston Churchill whose grandson, Winston Winston Winston Churchill, dropped by not five minutes ago to collect the rent.

I feel some moments of sympathy for my unlucky rivals in this year’s SPOTY competition. Adam Peaty (who he?) is floating from guest to guest at my party, trying to persuade them that they really do know him.  That’s the problem with being a swimming champion I guess: all the Great British Public see is your begoggled bald head and shiny torso slithering eel-like through a swimming pool.  No wonder everyone professes ignorance when he tries to regale them with his long list of World records (yawn).

And who’s sat over there on the kitchen barstool in a huff, her legs going round and round furiously in vain but getting no-where? None other than Dame Sarah Storey.  You can take the girl off the bike, but you can’t take the bike out of the girl as Raheem Sterling reliably informed me when we shared a bowl of twiglets together.

Tom Daley has continued to do what he does best: knitting.  ‘Tis a wonder he made it this far in life, never mind in the cruel world of tiddly winks.

There’s no getting away from it Murray: in order to win the most prestigious sports competition in the world, the Sports Personality Of The Year, on the world’s most prestigious broadcaster, one needs to have a bucket load of personality.

And that ladies and gentlemen, is why I, the Soon-to-be-Lady Emma Adele Laurie Blue Adkins of Auchtermuchty, have secured the prize in such emphatic style.

Now there is only one thing left to complete my universe.  Recognition of my achievements by my local club, which has, as you can imagine, been less than effusive in its praise in recent weeks. 

No matter.  The time is now right for the club secretary, Grace, to phone me and inform me that the club is ready to bestow the ultimate accolade upon me. 

The Chairwomanship.

At this point our intrepid reporter Murray Andrews was about to interrogate her political ambitions but he was unceremoniously shown the back door to Emma’s penthouse by her Ladyship’s security detail before he could hear whether she had designs on being the UK’s new Brexit Minister, the new Chief Medical Officer for England or even the next Prime Minister.

But dear reader, he will be back with all the news that is not yet fit to print.  See it all unravel here!

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Get Back! Lord A.J.P.G.R. Murray of Kirkintilloch takes a call…

When I am not toning my physique, tennis technique and body-electrique, I like to tune into the old song and dance routines of the fabbest of foursomes, my old muckers, the Rutles of Rutland.

So imagine my joy when I realised recently that rather than having to watch re-runs of The Little Mermaid every afternoon, the Disney Channel has now started to broadcast every single minute of the final 21 days of the Rutles in their bio-docu-sci-fi-schlock-horror-epic, Get Back.

And what viewing it has been!  Immeasurable stop-start-keep-missing-the-punchline of ‘Don’t Let Me Down’;  Long winding looks of George who seems to be about to burst into flame any minute now; exquisite camera angles of John’s chin and NHS specs.  I have been enraptured ever since the first chord was struck on the piano.  DONG!  It’s been a Hard Days Night sat here for sure, dear reader ever since that unfortunate episode on the Mersey all those years ago.

But the best was yet to come and it seems to me that the title of the 21 day documentary – Get Back – has assumed prescient proportions. Just take a closer look at the lyrics:

Andy was a man who thought he was a loner
But he knew it couldn’t last
Andy left his coach in Tucson, Arizona
And wondered who to contact next…

And guess what happened next?  Guess who phoned the very next minute? That’s right!  I received the call from the one and only (Sir) Andrew Murray (GOAT) to become his next coach, singing it in the only way Andy knows how:

Get back, get back  (he crooned to me)
Get back to where you once belonged  ( I will Andy, I will)
Get back, get back (no need to repeat yourself Andy)
Get back to where you once belonged…

And as the dear boys from Morningside once warbled to me over a pie and peas on Waverley station:

I’m on my way from misery to happiness today, (a-ha, a-ha)

And off I set to take heed of my calling: to become the next GOAT Head Coach for the tennis industry that is Andy Murray.

All you out there in the Tennis Fraternity of 2022: you have been warned.  We are Getting Back and no longer Letting It Be.

(More on Lord Andrew J.P.G.R. Murray of Kirkintilloch’s exploits here

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Out now on iBooks! The ideal Christmas present for the aspiring entrepreneur in your life!

Starting a business is much like working an allotment. You have a seed of an idea; you nurture it in a little clay pot until it struggles into the daylight; you stress about providing it with enough manure in the form of funding so that you can eventually transplant it into the wicked, wider world of the adult vegetable patch with all its attendant predators, parasites and pitfalls. With any luck your seed of an idea makes the journey from an innocuous looking seed into a strapping begonia which flowers annually with the minimum attention from you, allowing you to tend to other seeds or sit back and bask in the glory of your potato crop.

Often though, that process of business incubation is all too fraught and too many seeds of business ideas fall on the rough ground of customer disinterest or are devoured by the foxes of enterprises which are faster and more cunning than you when it comes to protecting the febrile business that is struggling into the daylight.

This book introduces various tips and tricks which are designed to help you start and protect that business of yours. It’s an allotment because your business – anyone’s business – cannot survive alone but needs other businesses of different shapes, types and flavours to flourish. An allotment allows for cross trading, cross fertilisation, mutual collaboration and the sharing of ideas in ways which might sound misplaced in the context of a cut and thrust, capitalist market place: but one thing all entrepreneurs know deep down is that they can’t do what they do alone.

They need the input of others, whether this be in the form of shovelling up the shite, digging protective trenches against the voracious slug or simply holding an umbrella over you as the sun burns down on your life long desires. They need manure – obviously – but also need a collection of sharp and blunt tools, good quality soil, an
absence of wasps nests and a good supply of that magical ingredient, water. So simple, so obvious and yet so mysterious – water is to the allotment what vision is to the business.

There’s no guarantee these tips and tricks will work; but if at the very least you can see your business start up as your very own allotment – and not your own private back garden – there is every chance your business will make it through the winter and be around next summer for you to sit in and admire your burgeoning brassicas.

Of course, starting up your business is also very much like trying to steer your life, irrespective of whether you’re in business or not. So, I hope this book helps you navigate your life as much as they are intended to help you tend your beautiful business idea.


Happy Allotmenteering!

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The Business Allotment: Forget the Clichés!

Carla slumped into the chair at the end of a  miserable day and looked despondently into her mirror. Her unique make up offer (Stickless Lipstick) was looking distinctly unimpressive: sales had slumped, her website designer had started to resemble the Jurassic Park Fat Controller and her overseas supplier had clearly decided to up sticks and move to the Himalayas for all the communication skills he was demonstrating. She wondered, not for the first time this week, this month or indeed this year, whether this new  business start up business was all it was cracked up to be.

But this is all in a day’s work for the aspiring entrepreneur. There will be many days when sales  suck, profits revert to losses and your products look pathetic. There’ll be days when the cliches fly thick and fast as you attempt to hold onto any motivational cliché you can summon up at two in the morning when the kids aren’t sleeping, your partner’s out boozing and the cash flow is freezing before your very eyes. ‘Dream It Large‘; ‘No Sleep Till Christmas; ‘Pull Out Your Hair Until Your Head Bleeds‘: will all come flooding into your consciousness and add to your general feelings of inadequacy and defeat.

But this is all fine and should be welcomed by the aspiring entrepreneur because after all, you’re allowed to have bad days: very bad days in fact. You’re allowed to feel a failure and not step up to other people’s plates and you’re allowed to disappoint as many people as  you can before breakfast. Building your business is not about pleasing  others but looking at yourself in that mirror and accepting yourself,  warts, beauty spots and peculiar skin blemishes and all.

After a long days night of trawling around the internet, Carla subsequently found her own source of aspirational aphorisms to slow her to sleep and face the next day with renewed vigour and purpose in the form of Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies.

‘Imagine a caterpillar moving‘ rekindled her internal locus of control; ‘Repetition is a form of change’ was a comforting reassurance that even  the biggest thinkers of the era aka Albert Einstein can sometimes get it disastrously wrong; ‘Pay attention to distractions’ allowed her to stop obsessing with the orthodoxy that expects obsession: and ‘Disconnect  from Desire’ jolted her into remembering that having a desire for your  business is one thing but that sometimes desire can get in the way of  allowing things to happen of their own volition.

Carla’s current fave track is Pharell’s HAPPY is fantastically infectious and a great incitement to keep your spirits up: but sometimes its OK to realise that there are very good reasons to be miserable about the state of your business. It won’t be the end of the world and it won’t be the end of your business, or indeed your life.

More tales from The Business Allotment here!

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Publish and Be Damned! Write your most damning review and win a prize!

“And there it is… the stupidest fucking thing I’ve read all day” says a reviewer of Confessions of An Ageing Tennis Player recently.

So as Christmas is fast approaching, we’re delighted to run our seasonal promotion campaign where you get the chance to win not one, not two but three – yes three! – signed copies of Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player. The really unlucky winner will also receive a copy of the un-illustrated version of Confessions of an Ageing Football Player! now available on Amazon.

All you have to do is send in your most negative, critical or damning review of Confessions of An Ageing Tennis Player to this website by midnight on Wednesday 1 December to be in with a chance of winning our top Christmas Confessions Prizes!

1st Prize: one signed copy of Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player plus one signed copy of Confessions of Ageing Football Player

2nd Prize: two signed copies of Tennis Player!

3rd Prize: three signed copies of Tennis Player!

To qualify, please post your review on this site and add your name and contact email address. The judges retain the right to remove your post if it’s offensiveness is based on racist, misogynistic, homophobic, disablist or any other forms of hatred. (Yes, you may feel you can publish what you like – but not on this site).

Prize winners will be announced on Saturday 4 December on this website and on all the usual social media channels.

The judges decision will be final and not open to appeal.