Saturday 21 September 2019

Pick of the Week: Live Wimbledon

Monday, BBC Two, 10.30am

Roger Federer
Roger Federer
Paul Whitington

Paul Whitington

The weather is finally starting to pick up, and nothing says summer quite so evocatively as the thwock back and forth of tennis balls on television. Wimbledon is here, and for the beleaguered British the tournament will be enlivened by the emotional return of Andy Murray. The two-time champion seemed on the point of retiring last January after his hip gave out in the build-up to the Australian Open. But one hip surgery later he's back: last weekend he stormed to the doubles title at Queens, and will now be raring to give it one last shot at the event that means most to him.

A good run here would be a dream come true for the fans on Henman Hill, and meanwhile those much loved war horses Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal will also be trying to thwart Novak Djokovic's defence of his title. German player Angelique Kerber is the defending women's champion, but six-times winner Serena Williams might have something to say about that, as will the much-fancied Australian top seed Ashleigh Barty.

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Epic battles and moving underdog stories will unfold over the next two weeks, but if you feel that modern players are dull and ultra-professional and well-behaved by comparison with the wild boys of the 1970s and 80s, you may want to tune in to John McEnroe: Still Rockin' at 60, on Sunday night.

Screening at 10.30pm on BBC1, and presented by Sue Barker, this intimate documentary talks to McEnroe's friends, family and his wife Patty Smyth to paint a portrait of the legendary player's life.

His life-long enthusiasm for rock music persists, and these days John makes his living as an art dealer and tennis commentator. He'll be on duty for the BBC in the coming weeks, and at 60 years old is still actively competing on the senior circuit.

But it's the mercurial and temperamental young player we all remember, and Sue Barker also chats to his close friend Bjorn Borg about their great Centre Court battles in the late 1970s and 80s.

Anyone for tennis?

Irish Independent

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