Tag Archives: Tennis

New from the White House: the alternate truths historical timeline since 1946

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Some hoary old myths of World and American history have been dispelled since President Donald J Trump moved into the White House, and that process is continuing with the ongoing alternative truths campaign initiated by the President’s loyal staff. Below, we summarise the alternate truth historical timeline as it is now understood.

Donald Trump was born in 1946, and by the tender age of ten had already gained first class degrees at both Harvard and Yale, reflecting his phenomenal IQ of 276. During his teens, he became a test pilot and then the leading combat pilot in the USAF, recording 65 kills in the Korean conflict alone. Moving into his twenties, Donald took up fighting and tennis, becoming undisputed World Boxing champion at four different weights simultaneously, as well as winning the tennis Grand Slam for five consecutive years. His sporting career went from strength to strength, culminating with a late bid to become a soccer star. He subsequently helped the USA win soccer’s World Cup in 1962, 1966 and 1970, scoring a hat trick on each occasion and being lauded by Pelé and Bobby Moore as their “most difficult opponent”. Trump rounded off his club soccer career by joining Manchester United in time to win them the 1968 European Cup, scoring all four goals at Wembley.

Moving on from sport into business, Donald founded ICI and the IMF and became a multi-trillionaire in the six months after European Cup glory. This enabled him to take up responsibility for the funding of the continuance of the Apollo program, in which he took an active part, becoming the first man to walk on the moon in July 1969. Not content with this, Donald not only became the first man to hit a golf shot on the moon, he also actually achieved a hole in one, finishing 24 under par in history’s first extra-terrestrial round of golf and putting one lost ball into permanent lunar orbit. 

Back on Earth, Donald’s achievements continued apace. In the early seventies he returned to combat duties for the US Air Force, reducing Vietnam to a vanquished enemy with his 754 successful fighter sorties, knocking down an average of 2.54 MIG fighters per mission.

Having become the first American to win two wars single handed, beating Errol Flynn’s record by one, Donald Trump somewhat belatedly entered the world of entertainment, winning best actor Oscars for his first seventeen movies. He is particularly remembered for his bravura performance as Darth Vader in Star Wars, Danny Zuko in Grease and the shark in Jaws.

The historical achievements were mounting up, and there seemed to be few fields left for this remarkable man to conquer. Becoming bored with sports, space exploration and movies, it was time for Donald to tread the boards of the world’s greatest stages, creating roles such as Lear, Othello, Lady Macbeth and the Grinch.

Throughout his life up until the end of the seventies, Donald felt that his incredible singing ability had been rather masked by his mastery of acting. Now though, his gift as an operatic tenor came to the fore as he performed all the great roles in a decade of virtuoso vocal displays. Perhaps his greatest triumph was his definitive version of Nessun Dorma, which became the most widely admired operatic performance of all time, providing the theme to the Italia 90 World Cup in which Donald also made a sporting comeback at the age of 44, scoring another hat trick to win a fourth title for the USA as Germany were trounced in the Final by 5-0.

In the next two decades, Donald relaxed slightly to concentrate on his personal life and establish a reputation as the world’s greatest lover and most attractive man. During this time, Donald was heavily in demand by all of the world’s most beautiful women, all of whom wanted to bear him a little Trump to improve the planet’s gene pool. It is estimated that Donald took 12,000 lovers in this period, whilst remaining a good and faithful family man and also becoming the first swimmer to conquer the Atlantic and the Pacific. In response to doubters, Donald later swam both oceans again, in one day, followed up by a solo trek across Antarctica.

Finally, for the crowning achievement of this extraordinary life to date, it was time for the Donald to bestow the gift of himself on politics. Starting out humbly as the power behind the Reagan and Bush dynasties, Donald also seduced Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain to ensure that the USA had a strategic platform off the coast of Europe and single-handedly causing the collapse of communism. Later, Donald became the Governor of every state barring Florida and Hawaii, reserving these for golf projects. When the time was finally right for him to run for President, Donald’s global reputation and skilfully developed power base would ensure him a landslide victory to eclipse any in history.

And this greatest of all triumphs is what we have just witnessed. Donald won all the states to romp home to the White House, gaining 99.86% of the popular vote and attracting 60 billion adoring fans to his record-breaking inauguration. In so doing, he has established a new American domination of global politics which is expected to last für ein tausend Jahre.

Hail to the Chief! Hail Donald Trump!! Hail, hail, Heil!!!

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Is This Amateurish Tennis Hack Leeds United’s Silliest Troll? – by Rob Atkinson

Harry Wall, ineffectual Leeds-basher - "It's like being savaged by a dead sheep"

Harry Wall, ineffectual Leeds-basher – It’s like being savaged by a dead sheep…

The latest in a series of increasingly bitter and skewed anti-Leeds articles under the byline of Harry Wall appeared today, seeking to capitalise on the current Russell Crowe rumours. Harry writes – on tennis, mainly – for the pisspoor online outlet “Give Me Sport” – otherwise known by exasperated persons of taste and discernment as “Give Me Strength“. The GMS output is characterised by lack of depth, an absence of any real research and a tendency uncritically to publish bile-ridden rubbish written by hopeful kids seeking to gain entry to a world plainly beyond their capabilities. Harry has settled on tennis as his main area of incompetence – but he just can’t resist having the odd ill-directed and misconceived pop at Leeds United from time to time. It’s like an itch he simply has to scratch – and he’s not shy about making a fool of himself in the process. Sadly, as someone once said about Geoffrey Howe – “it’s like being savaged by a dead sheep”. History shows that Geoffrey bit back – but poor Harry simply lacks the teeth.

If you trace back Harry’s online GMS portfolio just a few months, you will find (interspersed among his clueless tennis stuff) many articles – for want of a better word – about his football obsession, Leeds United. The tone of these pieces is invariably uncomplimentary; we are left assuming that Harry is one of that sad, lost legion who “all hate Leeds” – but have no idea as to why. Usually, it turns out that Daddy told them to. Should you, perchance, be a victim of insomnia, I would invite you to trawl through these articles – you’ll almost certainly find a temporary cure for your condition and the relief of blessed sleep. Otherwise, perhaps, you might be content with my potted summary further on.

Our beloved Whites have, it seems, kept young Harry quite busy over the past three months, as he attempts to refine what is a one-dimensional and ineffective writing style. If frequency of output counts for anything, then perhaps he’d be due an award of some sort – but sadly, the lack of any real quality makes it overwhelmingly likely that he’ll have to seek a living elsewhere. Meanwhile, as an aspiring thorn in the side of a great football club, he does make a mediocre tennis correspondent.

So what has beginner scribbler Harry had to say? In truth, not a lot – but he’s had a good few cracks at his favourite target. All of his attempts share the time-saving advantage of the headline having more content than the article – once you’ve read the banner, that’s pretty much it. If we go back three months, we can count 23 spiteful little sallies against Leeds among Harry’s stock-in-trade tennis rubbish. That’s a lot, even for an obsessive – or maybe young Hal simply knows what it takes to catch the eye of people who might otherwise be tempted to give his stuff a wide berth. Mention Leeds in a negative sense – and the Leeds-hating thousands will gather, buzzing about eagerly, as flies do in the vicinity of dog-crap. 

Starting those three months ago, Harry first inserts his foot in his mouth with his verdict that Leeds made a mistake selling Ross McCormack for £11m. Riiiight. Shortly afterwards he explains how the Whites were wrong also to sack a “top manager” … in Neil Warnock, believe it or not. Well launched now on a path of foolish fantasy, Harry goes on to advise that the Leeds promotion plan should involve the sale of their young stars. This is Harry in optimistic mode; he seems to believe that somebody might be listening. Next, he’s eagerly predicting relegation unless “big money is spent”, along with his opinion that Neil Redfearn is “not the right man for Leeds”. Then there’s an upset silence as far as United is concerned, which coincides with improved form for Leeds – but just over a month ago, Harry is back with a hopeful piece opining that the Whites’ relegation worries are not yet behind them: a “serious test” awaited – apparently. Then, there was his laughable opinion that United deserved punishment for their “poor treatment” of Millwall fans (he is silent on what happened when Rotherham United treated them rather more leniently – and suffered a riot as a result).

Lately, Harry has sulkily abandoned any hope that Leeds might yet go down, and has focused his woefully meagre talents on trying to drum up interest once again in the club’s young diamonds. Alex Mowatt, it seems, is “playing his way towards an Elland Road exit” and is also “Just what Man Utd need”. Mischievous, maybe – but the tone and standard sadly still fail to rise above that of a spiteful schoolboy. The next club Harry was trying to sell Mowatt to was Liverpool – and then, this morning, he concludes that the Russell Crowe talk is irrefutable proof that Leeds are now “a joke”.

Twenty-three pieces of time-wasting guff – probably a total of five minutes of blandly forgettable content; five minutes of my life that I will now never get back – but at least I’m getting a blog out of it and having a little giggle to myself. As we can see from the picture at the top, Harry is a beardless, fresh-faced youth – and we can perhaps excuse him much on that account. He’s trying to make his way in the world, and he’ll be neither the first not the last to take his first few faltering steps down what is clearly the wrong path. Later in life, when he’s abandoned his pipe dreams and settled for mundane mediocrity in some other, less demanding field, he may look back on these fledgling efforts, and be glad he didn’t pursue those goals, courting inevitable disillusion and disappointment. But that, after all, is a matter for him.

Of greater concern is the fact that an online outlet that purports to be a serious source of sports-writing can rely so heavily on such inexperienced and naive contributors. Nobody’s best interests are served here – not the writer, whose inadequacies are cruelly exposed; nor his targets, who may find the naive out there actually believing some of this rubbish; definitely not the readership, opening articles under different headlines, only to find the same old repetitive nonsense – and, surely above all, not GMS themselves, who shall find that by the standards of their contributors shall they be judged. Long term, no online outlet can afford to compromise on quality – that way a fatal loss of credibility lies. You can’t fool all the people, all the time…

Meanwhile, it seems likely that poor little Harry will be chuffed enough with himself to continue having his infantile pokes at a club with whom he has no apparent connection. I’m aware that a lot of people will feel that this piece is merely drawing attention to an attention-seeker – and I’ll probably get and ignore the usual spam content in reply – but I think it’s worthwhile, simply to establish that there is a common factor in a series of Leeds-bashing pieces that have run on this particular excuse for a sports news outlet. At least now, if we see another such on the same substandard site, we can think to ourselves: “No need to read this – it’s just daft little Harry again”.

Which is probably best for all concerned.

Can Olympic Champion Murray Mint Himself a Wimbledon Winner’s Medal at Last?

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Two breathtaking, heart-quaking performances in this week’s Wimbledon quarter and semi-finals have seen British No. 1 Andy Murray through to the Final on Sunday, a progression many foretold from the start of the tournament, and all the more so following the early exit of both Federer and Nadal.  That formidable pair had loomed threateningly at the start of the Wimbledon Fortnight, promising to be Murray’s nemesis as they had each been on far too many previous occasions.  Their obliging co-operation in bowing out before any such calamity could strike has kept alive the dream of so many British tennis aficionados who have been yearning for a lifetime to see a British lad lift that famous trophy aloft.

Up to last year’s Final, Murray had been regarded by many with a sort of grudging respect which rarely if ever amounted to actual affection.  His slight tendency to taciturnity and the odd throwaway remark about his non-support of the England football team apparently did not endear him to many fireside patriots.  In the pubs and front rooms nationwide, as well as on the internet, you’d see many actively hoping for an early exit for our  only hope of ultimate glory.  Whether or not any of this was fair, it changed radically in a few tear-stained moments after Murray’s Final defeat to Roger Federer last summer. Trying manfully to fulfill his after-match obligation to speak to the crowd, Murray choked up with genuine emotion and palpable distress – and the stony old heart of England melted in a trice.  That iconic moment, together with the somewhat more relaxed and natural demeanour Murray displays since his happy partnership with coach Ivan Lendl began, seems to have converted the majority of the nation into supporters of our Andy. My wife, who is usually the best example of any feminine trait you might care to name, typified this sea-change.  She was a committed disciple before Murray’s first handkerchief was properly bedewed with manly tears, a complete volte-face from her position a mere few moments before when she had been relishing the Scot’s impending defeat.  Women, eh?

The thing is though, it’s not just the women.  Many blokes of my acquaintance and further afield – really, quite blokey blokes – now display positive support for Murray, and wish him well.  Apparently a few raw emotions, wrung from a stoic by the agony of defeat, can seduce even the proud male of the species.  I was a fan before, so I can’t really comment on the phenomenon, other than to observe that it has happened, and maybe just in time to stop the nation scowling sulkily at his ultimate triumph.

After last year’s Wimbledon, and the tears, Murray returned to the same venue shortly afterwards and carried off the Olympic Gold Medal, thrashing Federer in straight sets in a Final that he had reached – interestingly – via his only grass court meeting with Djokovic, his opponent on Sunday.  This also was a straight sets triumph.  An omen there, we may hope?  A first Grand Slam triumph followed too, with victory at the US Open where he beat Djokovic in the final. Another omen?  Murray is now very much “our lad” as he heads for his second consecutive Wimbledon Final on Sunday, and the vast majority will wish him success.

Murray can certainly seal himself in the affections of the nation for good this weekend. His demeanour on-court, and in his dealings with the press, still attracts criticism in certain quarters, but those people should remember that tennis is a game played, more than many others, in the head – the mental demands of a war of attrition over the best of five sets are gruelling at the best of times.  Murray will have learned from last year’s experience, and it seems likely that after his slightly less demanding semi-final, as compared to his quarter, or indeed to the epic semi that Djokovic had to weather, he should be in prime nick, both physically and mentally.  He’ll certainly need to be in order to beat the World No 1 again, and he’ll be aware too that in order to create further history, he now simply has to win the crown.  Last year, he wrote himself a page in the annals of British tennis just by reaching the final.  Now it’s time to take that last, decisive step.

Good luck, Andy Murray – we’re almost all right behind you.

Guest blogspot: BELT! Why a Black Eye Reveals More About Those That View You – by Hilary Robinson

(This article first appeared in The Huffington Post on 5th February 2013.  Hilary’s Huffington Post archive can be found here.)

In that great grand slam of life you could say I’ve achieved something Andy Murray hasn’t.

It wasn’t a particularly vicious assault, but last week I accidently, and forcefully, whacked my cheekbone with my own tennis racquet and, as a consequence, turned my blue eye black.

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Ace: Hilary’s shiner

Interestingly had I bruised any other part of my body the injury would probably have been deemed socially acceptable. But facing up to dinner party guests, mourners at a memorial service, the supermarket cashier as well as staff and children at a school visit in the week following the injury has enlightened me to a broad spectrum of colourful reactions.

So here, for those, forced to looking at strangers and friends through a “periorbital hematoma” or “shiner”, is the BELT – the Black Eye Litmus Test.

Black:

To some a black eye smacks of domestic abuse. It’s that dark, murky badge that screams out “victim!” It is the ultimate symbol of repression. It is the last taboo. Needing a new kettle my daughter wryly advised me to go to the local neglected town because “You’ll fit in well there mum.”

Sadly, a pupil with whom I had been working on an author workshop just days after my fate said “My mum gets them.”

Red

“I hope you hit him as hard as he hit you.” joked the supermarket cashier as he helped me bag up the frozen peas. Once again I explained how lunging for the same ball as my backhanded partner meant that if I hadn’t hit myself he might have hit me and then he would have been deemed the abuser.

Then the cashier turns it all into a joke and tells me I should be buying “black eyed peas” and “if you’d hit your nose you wouldn’t have to buy a red nose for Comic Relief.” Really funny that. Worth tweeting.

Yellow

“What have you been doing?” said a knowledgeable friend who, as an ardent squash player, frequently suffers the same fate. This is the sensible, enlightened response. It comes from those that have a broad appreciation for the range of accidents that can lead to the black eye and, in doing so, adopts an objective, enquiring, sincere approach.

Green

“Mine was worse than that.” No matter how bad your black eye you will always see the green eyed monster who claims to have suffered a worse fate, whose eye completely closed up for a month like when they “headbutted the dog by accident”, who “feared for their sight” and then suffered “recurring migraines” and has “been on the sick ever since.”

White

Like the colour of lillies this is the sympathetic, protective male keen to make amends for his primal kind effectively yelling out “We’re not all like that!” In my case this turned out to be a Greek waiter, who made an extra special effort by topping up my drink, “free of charge” or the lovely gentleman who told me to “hold on right there” when my satnav sent me into the gutter, disappeared for ten minutes, only to return with a photocopied map.

Opaque Rose/Pink

These are the people who talk to you while trying to pretend they can’t see anything is amiss. They tend to look at the white eye politely, occasionally glancing across to the black eye, then make an extra special effort to put a positive spin on anything that’s said, even the economy or Andy Murray’s loss.

But the best reaction and final word has to go to my dear Nigerian friend, Nick, who joked… “the colour just don’t suit you Hilary, leave the black eyes to me.”

Oh, and just a footnote; while everyone in my dark eyed moments seems to have felt sorry for me – I’ve felt sorry for tennis balls ever since.

Oh, and another footnote, just for the official social services record, my husband was at work the day it happened – but I did use his lethal tennis racquet. Zemblanity.

Hilary Robinson

Hilary Robinson was born in Devon and brought up in Nigeria and England. She is the author of over forty books for young children of which her latest, The Copper Tree is the first in a series of accessible picturebooks that tackle challenging social issues as they affect children such as bereavement, prejudice and adoption. She is also a freelance network and regional radio producer for the BBC having produced Aled Jones with Good Morning Sunday for Radio 2 as well as specialist documentaries for the network. Hilary is also a regular feature writer for regional and national publications. 

You can find out more about Hilary here