Wimbledon starts today! Which means that, for two weeks, we can all pretend to be tennis fans again.
Of course, there are some proper tennis aficionados out there, but the majority of the country is really just searching for a bit of drama for two weeks. Get behind the latest British Hope, he’s really got a chance this time, they say. And if he doesn’t do it, it’ll be almost as much fun to gob coffee at him in the street for the next six months.
As most of the audience for Wimbledon only watches the sport for two weeks a year, they can’t possibly have any real idea of the players’ actual abilities, strengths, weaknesses, past and present form and so on. So, surely, a more satisfactory way to sate their desire for a home win would be to just make it all up.
Instead of spending all that money on endlessly mowing lawns until they look like carpet, tailoring loads of pretentious purple-and-green blazers and producing a terrifying race of grey, faceless children to run around picking up balls all day, why not just make a movie? A proper, big-budget all-guns-blazing action movie, though, not a daft vomit-inducing rom-com like the Kirsten Dunst Wimbledon from a few years ago.
This way, the British public get all the drama they’re looking for and the ending that they want, too.
The script would be a pretty straightforward affair featuring, of course, the first significant British win in tennis since Henry VIII first stole the game from the French, realised he’d eaten far too many pies to play properly anyway and decided to take his frustration out on his wife instead.
It would probably go something like this:
Andy Murray, Britain’s Brightest New Hope, bursts on to the scene. Henman Hill is renamed Murray’s Mound. Enraged by the rebranding, Tim Henman, played by a giant condom filled with posh, polite custard, contacts an intergalactic race of bionic pigs in an attempt to exact his revenge on Murray, played by Mel Gibson’s haircut from the first Lethal Weapon film perched on top of a baby ostrich with an eating disorder.
The space pigs agree to Henman’s plan, recognising a perfect opportunity to not only wipe out Murray, who “just gets on their nerves”, but also to bring enormous disruption to the entire human race and wrest control of the earth using a futuristic disease, codenamed S.W.I.N.E F.L.U. The bionic pigs send their most human-looking pig, Rafa Nadal, to carry out the plan.
A cast of supporting characters will be on hand to help Murray defeat his bacon-flavoured nemesis, including: Quentin Tarantino, Oscar-nominated for a gripping portrayal of Roger Federer in which he takes an umpire, straps him to his stupid tall chair and graphically tortures him while Cliff Richard plays a live version of Summer Holiday in the background; 50-foot-tall all-time great Pete Sampras, who is tragically decapitated in a horrific incident involving Centre Court’s newly installed rain roof; and a cameo from Shaun of the Dead and Star Trek’s Simon Pegg who, after an intensive 18-month course of round-the-clock electroshock therapy, does a perfect Boris Becker. His character doesn’t spend much time playing tennis, but adds a requisite dash of romance to the film by pulling his girlfriend into a cupboard and knocking her up.
In the film’s final, gruelling showdown, after flapping and pecking his way to a heroic victory over Nadal in a five-set thriller, Murray is immediately escorted away and shot by the authorities after it emerges that during the match the space pigs’ S.W.I.N.E F.L.U has entered his avian bloodstream and created a deadly new strain of animal super-flu.
So there it is: Wimbledon 2009, The Director’s Cut. Okay, so the ending might not appeal to everyone, and there are a few plot holes here and there, but you get the idea.
This way, the drama hunters are satisfied, the real tennis fans can watch the real tennis and the latest British contender can actually have a proper stab at winning the tournament without having to play each match with the weight of six million taggers-on sitting on his shoulders.