ANDY Murray limped out of Wimbledon on my laptop. I was meant to be writing at the time, but kept flipping onto the BBC website to check up on Andy.
His departure leaves all British hopes resting on Jo Konta, and the papers have got themselves into a Jo-Jo-ing frenzy this morning, as exemplified by the Sun’s: “Give us hope Johanna.” The same newspaper, you may recall, claimed credit for Andy’s earlier success after asking readers to rub his hip on a front-page photograph.
Now it’s all about Jo. Konta is certainly thrilling to watch – and here’s hoping that she can beat Venus Williams this afternoon.
All the patriotic frenzy stirred up by this fantastic 26-year-old woman is understandable, if a little silly – as such flurries so often are. Konta grew up in Australia and arrived in Britain at the age of 14. Now the Australians want her back, with the Australian High Commissioner trying to reclaim the British number one as an Aussie. This leads the Telegraph to declare: “Hands off Konta!”
Konta declares herself to be British, and that should settle the argument. But really, she is a child of the world, growing up in Australia with Hungarian parents. Are the Hungarians wanting a piece of her, too?
She’s ours for now, but belongs to everyone in a sense. Mostly she is a woman of great skill and unshakeable determination and dedication. And if she wins, of if she loses, she will be doing so as herself – as well as cheering up her adopted country, with its shabby habit of sports-mad patriotism. Remember that Murray is either Scottish or British depending on how well he has been playing?
Interestingly, today’s Express joins the flag-waving fray, declaring at the top of its front page: “Murray out, now come on Konta!” Below this there is a massive headline reading: “Britain’s wide open to illegal migrants.” Ah, the usual double standards, then. The ‘right sort’ of migrants are proclaimed as proud Brits, as British as our (partly German royal family) – while the ‘wrong sort’ are proclaimed a threat and a menace.
There is strength in coming from everywhere, and a country has strength in attracting people from everywhere, or such is my idealistic belief.
As for Konta, here’s wishing her the best of luck, but I won’t be laying my hand on parts of her body as that isn’t seemly.