Friday, 27 June 2008

Day 5 – Wimbledon 2008

Serena Williams saw off the 2006 Wimbledon Champion Amelie Mauresmo today. It was fairly one sided but I had fun watching this match during my lunch break. Marat Safin kept up his Wimbledon attempt by beating Andreas Seppi in a dark centre court. I get the strange feeling that one or maybe both of the Williams’ sisters will be in this years final. But tut tut I am not showing any favouritism to any of the players. As an official I must remain neutral and wish all the players the best. I was working on Court 7 today. It was a fairly laid back day with too many hours off as opposed to on. We had our first rain delay too, hooray! I must say the court coverers do a great job and in such good timing. Maybe we all need to learn something from their efficiency in protecting something special, in this case the green green grass.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Day 4 - Wimbledon 2008

Janko Tipsarevic and Alla Kudryavtseva upset the top seeds today beating Andy Roddick and Maria Sharapova. My sister, Asfa, and old friend, Zaheer, came to see me in Wimbledon today and had a fun time on Centre Court. Indian hopeful, Sania Mirza, put up a brave fight on Court 11 but finally succumbed to Spaniard Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez in a thrilling three set tie breaker. I was working on Court 8 all day with some interesting mens doubles matches. There were some signs of rain as the day went on but I only got soaked when Asfa, Zaheer and I left the Indian restaurant in Wimbledon to catch the bus. A nice atmosphere in Wimbledon but still missing the streets of Glasgow.

Talking about Scotland I was shocked to read that Alex Salmond is endorsing specific religious organisations, the Scottish Islamic Foundation in this case, for a reason I fail to see. I have nothing against the SIF, they have every right to exist and voice their opinions but they are not representative of a 'Muslim community'. Why are we failing to understand this? If the SNP want to distance themselves from Westminster then they need to learn from their English counterparts' mistakes and that was when Downing Street ran to the Muslim Council Britain in hope of finding some united voice for the 'Muslim community'. This they failed to find but found that there were several other voices who distanced themselves from the voice of the MCB. When will we realise that the Muslim community is not a monolith? When will we realise that political Islam is far from the essence of the beautiful and loving Islam which is totally at ease in a secular society? Or is this just about getting the Muslim vote and seeking it by hook or by crook? I guess it's a little more hard work for our Scottish Government to seek the diversity of Muslim voices so they find the loudest voices and stick with them. I shudder to think if the Scottish Government does actually care for a progressive society or a regressive one? Alarm bells and warnings should be ringing in your ears and it will not be long till we have a real expose, such as that of the MCB by Panorama or some other reputable television programme, on these so-called representative Muslim bodies that are emerging in Scotland. I for one distance myself from them because they do not give time of day to the progressive and rational side of Islam.

Who said tennis and theology can't be mixed? :-))

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Day 3 - Wimbledon 2008

I was working on Court 16 all day today. Another day on the green green grass! The court only saw doubles play. In between I had the chance to nip over to Centre Court where I saw Marat Safin defeating Novak Djokovic in three sets. (Also watched Feliciano Lopez and Anna Chakvetadze win their matches too.) The atmosphere was intense because everyone had this feeling that Safin would go mad and lose it all, little did they know, or did he know? I hear him say in an interview that he had booked his return ticket back to Moscow because he didn’t think he would beat Djokovic. Ah, that’s what tennis is all about one might say but I’d say that’s the great way that God plays games with us. Only because God can! God pulls us up and down in the most interesting of scenarios and ‘games’ leaving us moved from where we were!

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Wimbledon 2008 - Day 2

It’s been a less hectic day, maybe because I am beginning to understand the layout of the grounds. It looks quite simple on the TV but infact the courts are spaced out in various positions. I was on Court 6 today and it was a pretty busy day for the seeded players. I had J. Nieminen, M. Krajicek, N. Almagro and D. Hantuchova on my court today, all won except M. Krajicek. I managed to find my way to the Centre Court reserved officials seating area and catch a few games with V. Williams and R. Nadal on court. It was a nice way to eat my lunch. I wanted to see the Williams sisters play their Ladies Double match on Centre Court but I had to attend a Cocktails Party for Umpires, as you do, it was rather amusing.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Wimbledon 2008 - Day 1

I’m glad Day 1 is over! I was feeling awfully nervous this morning not least because I felt that my Ralph Lauren shirt was too long for me. As I arrived at the All England Club I realised that I had spent too much time thinking about too long or too short, I had a job to do and it had to be done to world class standard. The shirt seem to have grown into me. The officials all met in the ‘Buttery’ where we were allocated our teams and also courts. I was working on Court 15 all day. I doubt it got any coverage on the BBC! It was a lovely day but not for those losing on my court. So, I managed to get hit by a ball in the neck and hide a stray ball in my jacket which was hung around my line umpires chair! The chair umpire just said to me ‘How many times have I told you not to steal the balls’ – the spectators found this rather amusing!

During my breaks I managed to watch the Spaniard Feliciano Lopez on Court 7 and Amelie Mauresmo on Court 2. As an official I have the chance to sit and watch matches on Centre Court and Court 1 but I didn’t quite manage to find the staircase or the row where officials should enter. Oh well, I’ll try and find it tomorrow in time for Nadal’s match.