Why don't Wimbledon TWIGS at least do some knitting? writes LIZ JONES

I became increasingly irate on Friday as I watched the Wimbledon men’s semi-finals on TV. Not because Andy Murray lost, as I much prefer Roger Federer’s sartorial style and serene elegance; any man, as Murray did, who wears a baseball cap deserves to crash out of the competition in straight sets. No. I became angry at the tennis wives.

How Andy Murray knew which woman in the crowd to grimace at when he lost yet another point (these people have been practising with a bat and ball since they were two – you’d think they’d at least get it over the net), I have no idea. Mrs Murray and Mrs Federer (because, of course, this type of woman will always change her name) are entirely interchangeable. Pantene hair. Huge, bug-eyed sunnies. Gritted, perfect teeth. Huge rocks on fingers.

I actually felt sorry for the players, having these women in their corner. The commentators kept saying that Murray has rarely lost a match since marrying Kim Sears, as if happiness and contentment were the factors spurring him on towards victory. Murray even scrawled ‘Marriage works’ on a TV camera lens after beating Rafael Nadal in Madrid. But I think the opposite is true. Imagine the fear, the pressure: is she pregnant, does she want a new house? Presumably, if a man loses a big match, he won’t get sex that night.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 10:  Kim Murray attends day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 10: Kim Murray attends day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships

THAT would be as likely as Christian Grey, having lost all his money and now living in a sleeping bag in the underpass at Hyde Park Corner, wanting to continue as a dominant. Anastasia Steele would simply step over him.

How do these tennis wives and idiot girlfriends (TWIGS) find the time to sit watching a game of what is essentially ping-pong for hours on end?

They could at least be knitting, or making shopping lists on their smartphones. Perhaps they are discreetly exercising their pelvic floor muscles, as I’m sure the contract between the two married halves would not survive the sort of arguments we see on Centre Court, along the lines of: ‘Was that in? It was out!’

If George Clooney were a tennis player (oh my, the thought! Takes me back to the Halcyon 1970s of truly attractive players, such as Guillermo Vilas and Ilie Nastase), would Amal really be seated courtside like a concubine? I very much doubt it.

Roger Federer practices during day Twelve of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club

Roger Federer practices during day Twelve of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club

And for that matter, why are all these people in the crowd and on Henman Hill (very smug people, reminding me of theatre-goers with their expressions of ‘I got a ticket. I’m exactly where I want to be in the world. I’m going to enjoy myself come what may!’) not at work? What does George Osborne have to say about this?

And before anyone writes in to say, well, why was Liz Jones watching tennis on a Friday afternoon, I had recorded it, but unfortunately, I missed the final game when a cat sat on the remote control.

I also missed the moment Roger Federer removed his bandana, shook his curls, wrung out the sweat, and tied Mrs F up with it. Ooh, no, sorry, that was just my imagination…


I've been reading about what happened to Ellen Pao, interim and now outgoing chief of website Reddit, who suffered ‘sickening’ online abuse. She wrote to her attackers: ‘I’m just another human; I have a family, and I have feelings.’ All she had done was to initiate an anti-harassment drive for users of the online ‘ask me anything’ forums. In return, she received death threats.

People are brave, aren’t they, when we don’t know their name, their email address, their home address.

I think it’s time that those who feel strongly enough to make death threats, and to hurl abuse, should stand up to be counted, otherwise the battle is a bit one-sided, like Murray versus Federer.

How is it fair that I have my name and photo at the top of my column, while those who abuse me can do so hiding behind their hands, sniggering? So here’s this week’s challenge. Would the person (man?) who sent me a death threat recently, saying I have a plastic face, please make themselves known? I would also like the male driver of a white van who swore obscenely at me, his face a rictus of hatred, at 7.45pm last Sunday on Radwinter Road in Saffron Walden, to come forward before I contact his employer. I had just been to visit my parents’ grave, was in tears, and so a bit slow at a junction, but I didn’t really deserve his outpouring.

And finally, to the blonde woman in a 4x4 on Putney Bridge at lunchtime on June 26 who, when I indicated to pull over, swore at me out of her open window, and actually threw an object. Would she like to come forward, too, as I might well publish her number plate next week…


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