Is this sport?
Wimbledon has changed since we used to live within a tennis ball's throw of the Centre Court. There are fine new courts and Henman Hill, and if we were still living nearby we would be able to make enough in the fortnight by renting our apartment to stay in total luxury at a hotel of our choice anywhere in the world. Ah well! Wimbledon has also changed in more significant ways. The Men's Championship, for instance, used to be an event in which players competed with each other as individuals to win one of the most coveted titles in the world of tennis. This seems no longer the case - as I realised from a headline in a respected British newspaper which read: “Henman left to fight on alone”. Close perusal of what followed revealed that apparently this year's competition is a kind of Davis Cup event in which Britain is taking on the World - and Greg Rusedski's somewhat abject departure on Tuesday had left Henman alone. The profusion of Union Jacks and other bunting around the courts on which Henman plays bears out this concept of Wimbledon 2002. While understanding the hunger of the British people for a win at Wimbledon I wonder whether those who wave their flags and applaud the losing shots of Henman's opponents ever stop to wonder what this is all doing to Britain's reputation for fair play. It is particularly rerettable that Henman makes a point in interviews of thanking the crowd for “getting behind” him. This is not what Wimbledon is - or was about.

RAY FLEMING

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