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The Courting Lives of an Ageing Tennis Player: meet the creative team

“Tennis belongs to the individualistic past – a hero, or at most a pair of friends or lovers, against the world.”  (Jacques Barzun)

What we’re raising funds for

Having successfully published our first book, Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player in 2021, we are now following this up with the book’s sequel, The Courting Lives of an Ageing Tennis Player,  which follows the trials and tribulations, the dreams and delusions of the central character, Lord Andrew John Paul George Ringo Murray of Kirkintilloch.

We’re building on the successful creative collaboration with our illustrator, Paul Warren, and further develop our audiences and readers and build a series of ‘Confessions’ books which simultaneously entertain and provoke audiences across the world.

One day, we’d like to see the books cross over to film or television: and we’d love it if you were part of that journey!

But we need financial support to turn our text and images into a professionally designed and produced high quality, full colour paperback book, utilising the services of our designers, Creative Triangle and their printing team.  Financial support will also enable us to promote the book to existing and new audiences and help catapault the books into an exciting new future!

If you’d like to invest in the project, please visit our Kickstarter crowdfunding page here.

There are plenty of rewards available, whether you want to invest just a fiver or push the boat out and name the launch of the book after yourself or your loved ones!

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The Courting Lives of an Ageing Tennis Player: launching on 1 February 2022

We’re delighted to let you know that the creative team that bought you Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player will be launching the sequel on 1 February!

Get ready for The Courting Lives of an Ageing Tennis Player!

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Court Life: Last Plane to Transcentral!

I awoke with a start. My flight to Melbourne was finally being called and the assembled herd of tennis goats who had been kicking around impatiently in the waiting lounge finally stirred their stumps and joined a ramshackle queue, nudging, snorting and shuffling their way forward, keen to get on the plane before anyone else.  Even off court, they could not resist the competitive urge to be first on board, first in their seats and first to order their free inflight Pimms.

“Let’s face it, nothing can substitute for just plain hard work. I had to put in the time to get back. And it was a grind,” complained Andre Agassi to Billie Jean King.  She nodded, sympathetically, kicking her tennis bag along the floor as the queue slowly shuffled forwards.

(More here…)

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Court Life: one trial, many tribulations

Continued from Court Life: the best of enemies, the best of friends?

May it please your Lordship. Gentlemen of the Jury, it is my duty, which I am called upon to discharge with more pain than I have ever executed any professional duty in the course of my experience, to explain to you the facts, and to explain to you the law by which a capital offence is to be imputed to the prisoner at the bar.

Gentlemen, undoubtedly when any body contemplates such a wretch as that is, of so tender years, and recollects that he stands at this moment, one may certainly state on the brink of eternity, to be rescued from inevitable ruin only by your verdict; the sensation of such a person must be undoubtedly very painful.

Read more here…

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Court Life: the best of enemies, the best of friends?

Continued from Court Life: it’s No Vacc for Novak!

Noli’s disingenuous claim that somehow our long-standing animosity could be interpreted as amiability grated all the way to the airport.  Ever since we had encountered each other across the net of Wimbledon’s Centre Court all those months ago, he had never fully come to terms with how his game fell apart on that fateful Sunday afternoon in sunny SW19.   He had been up by a set and a break but then it all unravelled.

“Terrible. I feel terrible.” He was heard gasping as he stumbled off court whilst I basked in the affection of the world’s press and its pooches.

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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.