John McEnroe was once the “bad boy” of Wimbledon, berating linesmen and umpires alike and famously screaming: “You cannot be serious”. The 54-year-old silver fox had a new role on the court as comedy fall guy to Iranian Mansour Bahrami in the gentlemen’s senior invitation doubles on a packed outside court.
The crowd whooped and cheered and the score — John and his brother Patrick beat Mansour and Frenchman Henri Leconte 6-1, 6-4 — was irrelevant. Bahrami, who delights in playing to the gallery, even shouted out “You cannot be serious” in mocking tones to McEnroe. Readying to receive McEnroe’s serve, he even adopted a lumbering King Kong pose to try to put his opponent off.
In the first two rounds, Wimbledon crowds have got to see McEnroe having a great time. None of the sulking, none of the sound and fury, just tennis as pure fun. Temper tantrums were just a memory.
But this time, he wisely took a back seat in the comedy duel with Bahrami, a master at bringing the house down with his clowning antics.
Krajicek, the lob-star
Tim Henman knows the value of an accurate lob in tennis, but he can’t have been expecting a former rival to strike him on the head while he was presenting for television from the top of a three-storey building. Richard Krajicek, the 1996 champion at Wimbledon, got the laugh of the day when he was warming up for his seniors match, spotted the Brit and smartly looped the ball up to hit Henman square on the noggin.
Li Na’s ‘late’ call
A smiling Li Na has probably had better post-match news. After deciding not to challenge a line call when serving for the first set, she left the court on Tuesday to be told by a reporter that the shot had been an ace. Despite her hard-fought defeat by Agnieszka Radwanska, Li laughed it off and said that next time she will use the challenge. She, however, asked: “Why should you tell me now?”
Clash of beauties
As Andy Murray stepped on to Centre Court to face Fernando Verdasco on Wednesday, the most eye-catching clash was played out in the stands. Kim Sears, his girlfriend of more than seven years, had rare competition for the limelight when Jarah Mariano, his opponent’s other half, took her seat in the players’ box. The pair could hardly be more different. Miss Sears, 25, is a quiet woman who paints portraits of pets for a living. Miss Mariano, 28, is an American lingerie model.