For many of the people in the queue for day one, Wimbledon is tennis. Though they may play the game regularly, their viewing of the sport tends to be centred around the All England Club and does not stray too far towards Paris, New York, Melbourne or the regular tours.
So it is a nice contrast, then, that on day one of the Championships, a few hundred miles away in Manchester, underprivileged kids should be trying the game for the first time. StreetGames, a national charity which lays on sport for young people in deprived neighbourhoods, aiming to reach the most disadvantaged communities, has developed a Street Tennis Activators course, trying to educate project leaders and coaches how to introduce tennis in a way that connects with those kids.
StreetGames has LTA approval and tries to give the project leaders and coaches the fundamentals of touch tennis, tennis freestyle, short tennis and street tennis so that they can help develop young people’s racket skills. The first course is today, at Manchester Powerhouse, a community venue in Moss Side, Manchester. What could be a better way to spread the game around the country, to some of those who might otherwise get the chance. More information can be found at www.streetgames.org
Wimbledon fortnight is always a great opportunity for some of the bookmakers to come up with some more outlandish odds, especially concerning the British players. 2012 is no different and of course there is plenty of interest surrounding Andy Murray, Britain’s best bet to end 76 years without a male grand slam champion.
Ladbrokes make him long odds-on at 1-20 to get past Nikolay Davydenko in round one but that’s about it. He is 10-1 to win the title, on the drift from 8s and they are so sure he won’t win that they make Murray 1-2 to marry his long-term girlfriend Kim Sears before he wins any grand slam title (no pressure there, then). Maybe he could combine the two – it’s 66-1 that he brings Kim out of the crowd and proposes to her this year.
Oxfam may not be a name associated with tennis but they will have a bigger interest in Wimbledon than normal as they stand to win more than £100,000 should Roger Federer win the title for a seventh time.
Nick Newlife, from Oxford, bet that Federer would win the title seven times and when he died, he left the bet to Oxfam. Federer has until 2019 to win the title to land the bet and Oxfam will win £101,840 should he manage it. As Graham Sharpe, of William Hill, said in his initimitable style: “Federer is 4-1 third favourite for this year’s tournament despite not having won the event since 2009 – so he could yet prove a literal dead cert for the late Mr Newlife and Oxfam!’