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The Joy of Radio Wimbledon

This is better than I expected. I’ve figured out how to make my enchanted iPhone transmit the live tennis broadcast from Wimbledon, and I’ve been listening to it in the car on my commute.

Tennis on the radio? Yeah, I’ve got a case. And no, it doesn’t work — at least not in terms of play-by-play action. But the British commentators are worth the price of admission (free Wimby app!), as their comments seem spouted by John Steed and Emma Peel from the Avengers. A few of my favorite comments and exchanges:

  • “And then she hit the ball into the half of the court where her opponent simply…wasn’t.”
  • [Steed]: “This is some stiff competition for her. Too bad she couldn’t start out by playing someone a bit easier.”   [Peel]: “Like a British girl.” [The eight British women all flamed out in the first round. Would American commentators have been equally mercilessly funny about a similar flop at the US Open? You tell me.]
  • [After a primal scream by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga]: “He seems slightly perturbed.”

The very best exchange took place late today, when play had been stopped on most of the courts. Steed tried to convince Peel that she must hie herself to the last remaining court, to report on the action. The courts were adjacent, but Peel kept trying, playfully, to bow out, claiming, variously: not to know where the court was; not to be able to get there in time; unable to comprehend what was being asked of her; and so on. (Of course she gamely soldiered on over.)

In this era of idiotically besuited sports anchormen, shouting out their opinions as though the fate of the Gulf depended on them, this charming, love-of-game approach won me over — right away.

Try it. You won’t miss talk radio as much as you think you might.

Now I have to go read some poetry by the official Wimbledon poet. There really is one, and his name is Matt Harvey.

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