In which the youngest in society are taught that that if they have malice enough to set fire to people’s tennis rackets, headbands and shoes, then their own lives must pay the forfeit.
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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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.
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!
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
Cameron Norrie, one of the best men’s tennis player in the world, produced one of the most predictable Masters 1000 triumphs in recent memory last night. From a set and a break deficit, Norrie recovered to comprehensively thrash Nikoloz Basilashvili and become the first British man to win the prestigious Indian Wells title. Ever.
In a NOP exclusive, Norrie gives a unique insight into his playing style and why he puts his entire success down to the hard wrought experience and wisdom of Lord Andrew John Paul George Ringo Murray of Kirkintilloch, currently being Pleasured by Her Majesty at a secret location somewhere in the depths of the Californian desert.
“When I was two years old, I used to watch the tennis on the TV and especially the guys like McEnroe, Borg and Nastase” confessed Norrie to Lord Andrew over a steaming mug of gruel.
“Round about Wimbledon time, my brother Decameron 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 as I was two and he was just beginning to get to grips with being swaddled. It was all done to the fact that I had a proper tennis racket and knew how to score properly. He had nothing and knew even less.
As I’ve gotten older, it’s become clearer that proficiency in tennis is not all about age but all about who you know and what inspirational illustrated comic guide books on how to play tennis you can read before breakfast. Your book, Lord Andy, if I may call you that…?”
At this point, Lord Andrew JPGRM of Kirkintilloch nodded sagely, giving the young buck licence to bare his soul, prostrated at his master’s bare feet.
“Your book, Lord Andy, offered me a veritable cornucopia of playing tips and tricks which helped me deal with all sorts of opponents of all sorts of sizes and shapes, playing all kind of strange shots in the oddest of circumstances. The Californian desert being one of them.
Part two showed me how to apply those skills and strategies to go on and win a major international tennis tournament. Last night of all nights!”
At this point, Lord Andrew’s security advisor arrived and informed the visitor that his time was up and there could be no more advice and guidance from the oracle. Cameron Norrie however refused to leave the company of Lord Andrew and protested vigorously at his imminent ejection.
“But I need some excellent advice on how to deal with the media interest and the furore around becoming an international tennis superstar and Sports Personality of the Year! Which is surely mine now that Emma has disappeared in a Transylvanian smog of her own making?” shrieked Norrie as the security advisor doubled in size and number.”
Lord Andrew of Kirkintilloch took pity on the young tennis buck and offered him these words of peace and harmony.
“My book, Cameron, is for everyone who has suffered at the hands of pomposity or institutional inertia and feels that the traditional English values of fair play, a stiff upper lip and self-deprecation are lacking in many areas of our public life.
With this in mind, part four offers some hard-fought wisdom about how to deal with the Machiavellian politics of the sports club and by extension our Great British society as a whole; something you have just witnessed firsthand. And for that ignominy, I am truly apologetic. Ours is not to reason but just to sit back and take it on our substantial Roger Federer inspired chins.”
As Lord Andrew has shown many times before, Britain is not as ‘Great’ as it might like to think it is and the treatment of Cameron Norrie is yet another example of how mighty empires rise and fall.
You too can become an international tennis superstar and be inspired by Lord Andrew John Paul George Ringo Murray of Kirkintilloch by joining him in a rare attendance at Westfields Tennis Club at 21 Eastfield Rd, Leicester LE3 6FE on Thursday 21 October from 7pm.
“It’s never too late to leave your mark on the tennis court of life” as he sagely remarks here.
My dear Emma,
To say I was hugely disappointed at your news this morning that you had fallen at the first fence of the BNP Paribas Open in Indiana Wells in such a miserable fashion would be an understatement.
I was devastated, distraught and filled with remorse that I was unable to guide you through those early baby steps outside the hustle and bustle of the Grand Slams.
I realised too late that I should accepted your request to be your coach once you had dispensed with the services of that previous no-hoper you employed. Tim did his tiny best I am sure but it should have been me on that aeroplane with you to California.
Too late, too little: such are the risks facing eponymous tennis champions and their coaches and failure is a tough lesson to learn for both of us.
But never-mind Emma: now is not the time to crow or wallow in self doubt and recrimination.
We will return in style and I will make it my number one priority to be court-side with you (albeit via a Zoom call as my current location doesn’t allow for personal visits) on Monday morning to pick you up off the floor, put that determined little smile back on your chubby cheeks and get that forehand swishing again properly.
Indian Wells will be but a distant memory on Monday afternoon as we prepare for your next great challenge: Frinton on Sea Lawn Tennis Club in November.
More insights from Lord Andrew John Paul George Ringo Murray here.