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Sunday, January 19, 2003
A little bit more about tennis

As it happens, Melbourne is host to the Australian open tennis championship. I had intended to go to a match but time seems to be running out on me. The TV coverage is extensive so I am not missing too much.

I note that a day or so ago, Serena Williams was fined for uttering an audible obscenity. In a country where there is almost no such thing as an obscenity - everyday language here can be pretty ripe and fruity - this decision is very inapposite. However, given that some utterances are objectionable, there should be careful monitoring with fines imposed for contravention.

The issue is as follows: obscenities are usually released after a point is over but there are currently loud exclamations that attract no formal censure. If a player misses a stroke and loses the point, a muttered (or even a shouted) 'Oh shit!' is quite in order. The extraordinary grunt made by some players while playing a stroke is totally unacceptable. This is interference of a nasty sort during play. It currently goes quite unpunished. Serena Williams is one of the principal offenders in this respect and she should be fined for every instance. Better still, she should be fined and forfeit the point

Apropos of nothing, while watching TV here, I have also come across a commercial made by an erstwhile very close friend of mine: Fergie, the former Duchess of York. She appears in a Weight Watchers ad - 'The Duchess of Pork? - not any more,' she says. Appalling.

How are the mighty fallen....

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