60 Second Comment: Snooty Wimbledon?

The end of June once again saw the annual pilgrimage of the union jack donning middle classes to the hallowed lawn tennis association of SW19, following on the tradition of generations of the well to do, who flock to the Wimbledon Lawn Championships year after year. Many see this particular ‘Grand Slam’ as one of the few last examples of great sporting heritage anywhere in the world.
Lush green lawns and suit clad staff amidst a leafy green south west London suburb, this two week-long event is ‘a cut above’ the partisan dominated football, or even rugby, equivalents. None of the modern football stadia, or even the lavish Olympic Park can quite come close to its’ aesthetic charm.
Reflective perhaps of this being a quintessentially British event, there is a permeating privileged character and snobbery about the tournament, and the crowds it attracts year after year are decidedly privileged too – as far as their finances and background are concerned. The distinct absence of ethnic minorities, bizarrely overlooked by the otherwise often vehement politically correctness shoving press, is curious.
Largely white and middle class crowds infamously delight in being part of this status symbol of a sporting contest; for those who both have the time and money to spend working hours spectating sport one would think, amidst economic decline, are a dying breed.
To be fair- the sport on offer really is world class, and some of the protracted duels on Centre Court peculiarly mesmerising. Perhaps the tournament deserves credibility and (genuine) popularity not for the archaic principles for which it appears to stand, but for the superior entertainment it offers.
Alas this potential blockbuster will go unfulfilled. Our national hero for the fortnight? A dour Scotsman with all the charm of a wet British summer –not quite a Beckham-esque man of the people.
Truly inescapable, it soon colonizes the telly – the annual constipation of the BBCs TV schedule with exhaustive coverage and commentary of the tournament is truly exasperating. The reality is that there exists a stark apathy for this tournament in the wider public…something that not even the isolated yet vocal outbreaks of Murray mania within this enclave of south east England, can hide.


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