© Ella Ling

Net detail

Cameron, Obama and tennis at the White House


So now we know that the ‘special relationship’ between London and Washington extends to early-morning games of tennis. Not only is Damian Lewis the male lead in the best thing on television, Homeland, he has also been telling stories about life around the White House dinner table. And how David Cameron, a keen tennis player, challenged Barack Obama to a match during the Prime Minister’s recent visit to the United States.

Lewis, who was invited to an official dinner at the White House during Cameron’s visit, told the story while hosting ‘Have I Got News for You': “David said during the dinner: ‘Golf, Barack, I think you would take me. But, tennis, I think I would take you’. Obama, who had been politely looking down at his food, looked up and said: ‘Oh really, David? We have a few hours tomorrow morning if you want to play some tennis.’ And he gave Cameron a steely look. I was on a plane the next morning, at 7.30, and I was sharing the story with Mr George Osborne, and he said to me: ‘Guess where they are now? Thrashing it out on the tennis court’. History doesn’t relate who won.”

So how good is Cameron at tennis? We know that he once hit a few volleys with Andy Murray in a Downing Street reception room, and that no chandeliers were broken. And that he has invited Boris Becker to Chequers for a hit.

The Tennis Space spoke to Greg Rusedski, who has been on court with Cameron. “David’s got a good forehand, a chipped, sliced backhand, and his serve is okay. His backhand is weaker, and his forehand is stronger, and he looks like he loves it. He plays quite a bit,” said Rusedski, who was speaking at the National Selection Trial for the Barclays Ball Kids. “I know that Barack used to watch Billie Jean King play tennis in Hawaii, and Barack used to play a little bit, according to Billie Jean King. David against Barack would have been an interesting match.”