There are all sorts of omens flying around as we prepare for the men’s final here. When Virginia Wade won in 1977 – she is the last Briton to win a singles title at Wimbledon – it was the Queen’s Silver Jubilee; when Andy Murray takes on Roger Federer on Sunday it is, of course, the year of her Diamond Jubilee, even if she is almost certainly not going to turn up. The last time Britain had a doubles champion – before Jonny Marray’s triumph – was 1936, which was when Fred Perry won the last of his three titles.
A few days before the tournament, the Wimbledon trophy took a tour outside of Britain for the first time, travelling with ESPN to the United States, where it got picked up, fondled and passed around almost like a new-born baby. It did, however, throw up something I didn’t know before. The title of the men’s trophy reads: “All England Lawn Tennis Club Single Handed Championship of the World.” Now forget about the World Series-esque ludicrousness of it all. What’s more worrying is the “single-handed” bit – does that mean Murray, with two hands on his backhand, wouldn’t be allowed to win but Federer would?!
The grass of the All England Club is as traditional as the strawberries and cream and the green and purple colours found everywhere here. Any time anyone has the gall to have a go at grasscourt tennis, the hallowed turf is robustly defended. The idea of it ever changing would appear to be almost sacriligeous – unless you are willing to read far too much into the official Wimbledon programme. Where once it said that the Championships are to be played on the “lawns” of the All England Club, now it reads: “on the grounds”. That leaves open the option to change it but can you really imagine if they one day laid clay courts or hard courts? Surely not.