Thursday, 2 July 2009

Wimbledon 2009: Day 10

It was my last day today which saw Serena Williams and Venus Williams win their semi-final matches to set up an all American affair for the 2009 Wimbledon Ladies Final. The weather was very hot today! I'm glad to return back to Glasgow tomorrow! I had the chance to see another great tennis player in action today. Martina Navratilova (see my picture) was in action at the Ladies Invitational matches, as was Jo Durie.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Wimbledon 2009: Day 9

Andy Murray has made it to the semi-finals! A great relief it must be for him as he sailed past Spanish Juan Carlos Ferrero and Andy Roddick of the USA beat Lleyton Hewitt of Australia. Tommy Haas stunned Novak Djokovic to set up a semi-final clash with Roger Federer who beat Croatian Ivo Karlović.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Wimbledon 2009: Day 8

I was working on Court 5 today which was full of Junior tennis matches. I must say some of the under 18s play very well and it is a matter of days (well, not literally) till they join the big boys and girls on the main tours. Realistically it must also be said that many don't make it and I had a conversation with a fellow umpire about what they would do after a failed professional tennis career. Some might start coaching but coaching is not for everyone so what do they have to fall back on? Education is kinda out of the window since most of the tennis players have forfeited a rigorous academic life for their love of tennis so it leaves them in a difficult situation if they don't make it. Lots to think about.

It was Ladies Quarter Finals day and Dinara Safina (Ranked 1 and pictured), Serena Williams (Ranked 2), Venus Williams (Ranked 3rd) and Elena Dementieva (Ranked 4th) have made it to the Semi Finals. I find it great that Safina has defied the odds and the criticism that she wouldn't last this long on grass, as her previous track record isn't that great but she played some superb tennis today. Good luck girls in the semis!

Monday, 29 June 2009

Wimbledon 2009: Day 7

I had quite a busy day today as I was up early to present thought for the day, as you can see below. The weather was also very hot so I was sweating buckets! I watched a lot of good tennis today! I watched Novak Djokovic of Serbia beat Dudi Sela of Israel on Court 3, glimpses of Venus and Serena Williams (pictured) demolish their Chinese opponents 6-0 6-0, that was just cruel girls! :) And also the match of the day Andy Murray beat Stanislas Wawrinka on a 'roofed' Centre Court which finished around 11pm making it the longest time a match has been played on the green grass there. A great atmosphere on centre court. During the day, apart from watching tennis, I was working on Court 15 which was all Wimbledon Junior matches. I did notice an Omani girl named Fatma playing, although she lost, it gives some hope that Muslim girls are finding their way onto the tennis court!

Andy Murray: Nationalism and Tennis

Amanullah De Sondy
Thought for the Day
BBC Radio Scotland
Monday 29th June 2009

Returning back to officiate as a line umpire here at the All England Club in Wimbledon was not like the first time, as things never are. I’ve always resisted my trips to London because I’ve always felt it was a city too big for my liking but this time I felt more relaxed, traveling around on the Tube without a map and walking the streets like a Londoner.

Such a feeling has made me think about nationalism in the last few days. Tennis players from countries across the globe strive to play on and succeed on, what is for them, the holy green green grass. Supporters bring flags of countries and shout encouragement in a variety of different languages. And there are always great geographical conflicts being resolved on court such as this years Men’s double pairing, Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi from Pakistan and his Indian partner Prakash Amritraj. As I watched on the side lines of one of their matches I saw Sikh men wearing turbans cheering them on and fully veiled Muslim Pakistani women cheering them on too – interesting with pretty similar words.

In this way my emotions are stirred when I watch Andy Murray as a Scotsman rousing the fans who make the mighty trek from our beloved Scotland to SW19 in their tam-o shanters with bustling red hair for fun but also when I see players from the Indian subcontinent who pull the strings of my ancestral heritage. It reminds me of the Qur’anic verse which states that God’s earth is vast – maybe God is telling us not to shrink the vastness through our small minds.

Nationalism has a fine way of placing us all into neat boxes just as religion does yet the beauty is in exploring each others worlds in order to strengthen our own and see the remarkable similarities. For after all, what brings all these tennis players together is their of love of tennis, regardless of what country they developed and refined their skills. And, well, it must be said to end that there is no better way to experience this international display of greatness without strawberries and cream!