Time to rethink grass as a tennis surface

There’s been a belief in professional tennis over the past 40-50 years that grass is yesterday’s surface. Out of respect for Wimbledon’s heritage, grass is tolerated for 4-5 weeks a year with a handful of tournaments, but basically tennis these days is played on hard...
Novak Djokovic and the theory of relativity

Novak Djokovic and the theory of relativity

Over the past 10 days or so, I’ve had an old adage repeating itself in my head: ‘In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.’ In other words, it’s all relative. The past 10 days have been characterised by the saga of whether Novak Djokovic will be let into...
King Richard – surprisingly good and very valuable

King Richard – surprisingly good and very valuable

With the benefit of the hindsight provided by more than 22 years of the Williams sisters winning Grand Slam tennis titles, it’s easy to feel Venus and Serena were always going to achieve greatness. But there was nothing inevitable about the two women’s achievements,...
Vera Lynn and the power of music to change a national mood

Vera Lynn and the power of music to change a national mood

It was the summer of 1975. I was 14 and was somewhat surprised to see Vera Lynn be made a Dame, so I asked my mother whether she deserved it. My mother didn’t always give praise lightly. “Goodness yes,” she said. “She went out with the forces and put herself in...
Plenty of socio-political topics for a debate in the tennis club bar

Plenty of socio-political topics for a debate in the tennis club bar

It’s reassuring to know people are still publishing books on tennis despite the lack of any tournaments at which to promote them. In general, the run-up to a Grand Slam or Christmas are the best times for tennis books, as interest is always greatest as a major...
A 73-year-old warning about the need to be in the present

A 73-year-old warning about the need to be in the present

It was somewhat provocative, I admit, to stand in the queue for the supermarket – the statutory two metres behind the man in front and two metres ahead of the woman behind – reading a copy of The Plague. At one stage my reading was interrupted by a chuckle. I looked...
There are now three halves in British politics

There are now three halves in British politics

One of the unsung heroes of British politics is Dave Brown. Never heard of him? It’s amazing how some of the most gifted and talented artists don’t get the recognition they deserve. Dave Brown is the principal cartoonist of The Independent, which still exists as a...