By Shoaib Hashmi
You may have been
watching Wimbledon, but then you may not have been
looking, so let me put the record straight for you.
Venus Williams did not win the women’s title!
In fact she tried every ruse in the book not to.
At crucial moments, like set-points in the tie breakers,
she made double-faults; she made silly unforced
errors, she threw lobs into the next court and she
stumbled over her own feet to miss sitting shots.
In face she did everything to offer the match to
Davenport on a tray - and Lindsay simply didn’t
have the gumption to take it!
And to drive home the point, she’d come to
the match wearing an ugly big bandage on her thigh
which showed under the hem of the skirt! In fact
she always does. In any case the fact that she wasn’t
going to win was obvious by the second set, which
is when I put my two rupee bet on Venus and signed
Because if I’d stayed to listen to one word
more of that idiot Vijay Amritraj’s moronic
commentary, I would have killed myself! For one
thing he has that irritating and grating high-pitched
voice. I am as tolerant as the next man, and if
nature gave him it, he is welcome -- but he should
have more sense than to stuff it down our offended
ears on a public medium. What is more, he has nothing
I think that is the bane of our times. Some man
of charm and attraction makes a name for himself
doing something, and it becomes a fad, and every
village idiot, and former player with nothing to
do wants to get on the bandwagon. Richie Benaud
started it, and we have had to suffer the manure
of a string of cricket commentators, and now it
is Vijay’s turn.
A charm of manner, or an attractive turn of phrase
are gifts, and they can be honed and perfected --
but they cannot be forced. You cannot bring excitement
to an event by mugging up what you think are expressions
of excitement and mouthing them when you think they
might be needed -- especially in a grating voice.
I am going to be vicious and say that there are
few things more aggravating than a man without charm
putting on a charming act!
I shouldn’t be cribbing because they have
been mucking things up for me on a wide canvas,
probably as a conspiracy. Sports are meant to be
displays of human excellence, and above all showcases
of the beauty and elegance of a well-toned human
body at the height of its powers. We seem to have
reached an age when the endeavor is to make everything
as ugly as possible.
First in cricket they exchanged the elegance of
white flannel for the clown uniforms and gutter
colors of one-day cricket. Now they have got at
the most flowing and graceful of sports. I don’t
know if you are old enough to have seen the beauty
of Pancho Gonzalez playing tennis.
I assure you it was very different from what they
have made of it. A tennis match today, especially
in men’s tennis is an exercise in repugnance.
They come to play in ugly baggy knickers and even
uglier t-shirts, with ugly headbands and wristbands,
and they show off their hairy tummies, and above
all it seems to have become a hallmark of fashion
to come to play a Grand Slam final not having shaved
for a week, and not having washed either!
Let us not stop at tennis. Have you seen one of
those pop singers, or the men who show off the latest
fashions? I think they take lessons, and then work
at it for weeks to come on looking dirty and ugly.
I would have thought it was not the rule of a game
but simply good manners, if you appear in public,
to be clean. I guess I am old fashioned. Okay, I’ll