x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Tears, tantrums ... and Tim

The women have the grass soggy while Andy Murray fails to see the funny side, yet again and Novak Djokovic makes a new friend.

Wimbledon bosses must regret spending all that money on a roof to keep the grass dry.

Just five days into the tournament and the turf is as sodden as always - but this year with salty tears instead of rain. It has been the weepiest week one in memory.

Serena Williams cried after her first-round victory, Sabine Lisicki boohooed after beating Li Na, and young Heather Watson was in tears after her defeat - although a tweet from Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand soon put a smile on her face. Well, there is a first time for everything.

The All England Club ground staff used to run on to the court with covers at the first hint of light drizzle. Soon they will rush on with tissues at the first hint of lip quiver.

At least the tantrums have been tear free. My favourite was Julia Goerges, who scolded an umpire for failing to pronounce her name properly. Too right. These days, there is no excuse for such ignorance. He could have Goergled it.

Serena Williams also deserves a special mention for moaning about playing on Court Two.

"They like to put us there, me and Venus, for whatever reason," she snarled.

Her exact implication was unclear, but did I detect shades of Lewis Hamilton in Monaco? Perhaps we should rename Court Two the Rosa Parks Arena?

Inevitably, though, the best bit of foot-stomping came from Andy Murray, who poured a bucket of barley water over the favourite joke of British tennis fans. In fact, the only joke for British tennis fans: shouting "Come on, Tim!"

The reference is to Tim Henman, who shouldered the crippling burden of British expectations before Murray took up the job.

As catchphrase-based humour goes, I rather like it. "Come on, Tim!" is succinct, nostalgic and self-deprecating: only a nation with a particularly inglorious record of achievement would still be referencing an also-ran like Henman, by first name only, a full decade after his finest moment, a semi-final defeat.

Murray does not agree.

"It is a classic, that one, it is hilarious" he said, with bitter irony.

"Seriously, though, I do not find it particularly amusing," he added for the benefit of anyone without even the faintest shred of humour necessary to detect the initial irony. In other words, people like Andy Murray.

Team Murray is now so sick of the joke that they tried to defuse it with a parlour game.

"We were going to have a bet and everyone gave a minute when it would be said," Murray explained. "I just said it would be inside the first game, and it came four minutes in."

If that little anecdote is intended to prompt sympathy, then it fails. All I get is the image of everyone picking a single minute - Mum goes for the 12th, brother the 23rd, coach the eighth, et cetera - only for Andy to pick an entire game, giving himself a huge and unfair advantage. Not cricket, Andy. Not cricket at all.

Thankfully, my favourite player has remained both tear and tantrum free so far. Novak Djokovic has displayed his usual sunny disposition, even to the extent of feeding a wild squirrel near his rented accommodation. "It is my best friend now," he said.

Oh, dear. London squirrels do not have long lives. Let's hope the little chap lasts another week, or the groundsmen will have to break out the Super Blotters.

Perhaps we should at least name the critter before it is too late. How about … Tim?