Sunday 25 February 2018

Max Davidson: Game, set and match ... why tennis is the true gladitorial sport of our age

WHAT would dear old Dan Maskell have made of that incredible men’s final in the Australian Open on Sunday, Novak Djokovic seeing off Rafael Nadal after nearly six hours of relentless, heart-stopping tennis?

How often would the Voice of Tennis have had to deploy his catchphrases, “Oh I say” and “That’s a peach of a pass”? It doesn’t bear thinking about. There were enough peaches from Djokovic alone to fill an orchard.

Maskell, who retired in 1991, plied his trade in an era when tennis was a gentlemen’s game, nobody seemed to break sweat and the spectators toddled off between sets for a glass or three of Pimm’s.

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