IT’S the second week of Wimbledon and already I’m mourning its loss. Not at any other time of the year do I even contemplate turning on daytime TV but during Wimbledon fortnight everything else is abandoned.
Wimbledon is special, and it's not just the tennis. Nowhere else insists on all-white clothing. It is depressing to see that, like cricket where the World Series in the late 1970s led to players wearing coloured pyjamas, top-level tennis venues are accepting clothing more befiting London Fashion Week.
The French Open served up many garish outfits. Venus Williams sported a bright pink top and patterned leggings. She looked like a teenager in a shopping mall.
I was disheartened to see leggings at Wimbledon last week, but at least they were white.
Men’s tennis fashions have degenerated further, with many outfits looking like replica football kits. Andy Murray sports a particularly hideous blue top with yellow tie-dye sleeves.
But Wimbledon is strict on whites – I even heard talk of a warning for Roger Federer for wearing shoes with a thin orange strip around the base.
Unlike at other major tournaments, the courts at SW19 aren't emblazoned with adverts. When I’m watching tennis I don't want to be reminded that I should be driving a Peugeot, banking with Santander, or using an Orange phone. Some courts have so many adverts dotted about, I'm surprised players can see the ball.
Wimbledon has so far resisted and long may it continue.
I don't know if this is also a rule but at Wimbledon players usually walk off together after a match. When I was young, everyone did this in a nice, sportsmanlike way. Now, in most tournaments, the loser skulks off even before the winner has put away his racquet.
The only thing I find irritating is the make-up of the Royal Box – always packed with the same toffs-with-time-on-their-hands: the Pippas, Beatrices and Eugeines of this world. Half of them probably aren’t even interested, just going along for the free lunch.
Later in the day, when they’ve all got bored and gone off for tea at Fortnum’s, it’s half-empty – which is even more infuriating.
I’d love to go again, having been only once, 30 years ago, when I stood for seven hours in Centre Court. I couldn't manage that now, and wouldn’t have to, as standing was scrapped in 1990 for safety reasons. Maybe Pippa could give up her seat.