Well, well, well, the British high hopes of a Wimbledon “double success” this year, as virtually promised by all and sundry of the tennis media, has proved to have been as mythical as a desert mirage, hasn’t it?
Yep, Britain’s single iconic male singles tennis player of modern times, Andy Murray, though World No. 1, Olympic gold medallist, and current title champion, predicted to win the tournament for the third time indeed, got knocked-out by an albeit good player but in reality, a title relative no-hoper, in a five-setter match on Wednesday, despite being up two sets at the start of this quarter-final match.
Well, that came as no surprise to many of us ‘non-experts’ as it was widely trailed that he wasn’t fully fit anyway before the start of Wimbo (though he had vehemently denied it?), and that is not a grand slam a man wins if only partly fit, is it? We certainly knew that he was going no further because before the actual start of his final match he visibly limped-off the practice court a short while before it started, didn’t he? So, in truth, he shouldn’t really have been playing that game at all (he didn’t really need the appearance money, surely?), as the crowd were simply then cheated of a genuine performance that they had queued and paid for, weren’t they? We just knew then that he had to win 3 sets to love, if he was to get through, so when he lost the third set, we definitely knew he was finished, didn’t we? Yes, it was downhill all the way from then on.
The second hope of a British winner was supposed to come in the form or Britain’s (?) number1 woman player and World number 8, Johanna Konta, who on Murray’s demise had got talked-up by the media yesterday morning before her own semi-final match against Venus Williams, a renowned 8-times Wimbledon finalist (champion 5 times), as well as another twice a grand-slam winner, with headlines that indicated that “England expects that every man (woman) will do his (her) duty….” with the implication that the whole future of UK tennis rested on her slight shoulders, eh? Those of us however who had our feet firmly on the ground, wished her well, but in truth knew that although a most consistent strong player this year, she had little chance against such an experienced and in-form opponent, particularly on grass to which she is not best adapted, didn’t we? [Although she can beat Williams on her day, and she herself has won 3 major titles but never a grand slam, has she?). And so it has proved, since the occasion and the opponent was far too great for her, and she crashed out with quite a disappointing dismal performance, didn’t she?
Now all that said about these matches, what you need to appreciate is that while Murray is indeed British, he is firstly and basically a Scot, who vehemently supports ANY football team in the whole wide WORLD who faces England in any competitive match or friendly whatsoever. That means that in the Scottish press he is ALWAYS a Scotsman, while conversely in England he is either BRITISH when playing in top-of-the-World class form and is a bleeder loser Scot when playing badly, isn’t he?
Well, Konta is quite a different kettle of fish though, as she is actually an Australian – born and bred there in Sidney, wasn’t she? Yes, moreover she wasn’t born even to British citizen parents who had emigrated to there, or who were just visiting that wonderful Country. but she was the second child of Hungarian immigrants. She is an extremely good tennis player, but then again, she learnt the tennis trade there (from eight to fourteen) so simply follows in the footsteps of many great and fantastic men and women players that have come out of Australia – Wimbledon winners, men like Frank Sedgman, Lew Hoad, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, John Newcombe, Pat Cash, and Lleyton Hewitt, or women like Margaret Court (nee Smith), and Evonne Goolagong Cawley, eh?
Now it is a puzzle to many of us how comes someone without an ounce of British blood in them can suddenly and miraculously become British and represent our home Country internationally, isn’t it? It seems to happen a lot and for example, Konta didn’t come to Eastbourne England until she was fourteen years old just a dozen years ago and even from then until 5 years ago she actually represented her birth country Australia as a tennis player for another seven years winning things, well before gaining citizenship here and miraculously metamorphizing into a Brit.
Now, it seems to happen everywhere with a lot of individuals [say tennis whiz kid of old John McEnroe who was born in Germany but he became American, didn’t he?], so how all that comes about is a bit of a mystery to many of us.
Being British seems to be a bit of a badge of convenience for Konta, since she retains though three passports and citizenships [Australian, Hungarian, and British], as well as demonstrably and seemingly having genuine commitment and love for this Country (originally having lived here for just half a dozen years), don’t you think?
[Mind you the Aussies didn’t rate her as a future star and cut-back her tennis funding before she consequently went and lived and trained in Spain, and before the family then moved here to be near to her [using their Hungarian citizenship for EU status], so she has an understandable gripe against her homeland, doesn’t she?].
Now, such comments are not intended to single out or stigmatise this particular young woman who is an accomplished and hard-working tennis player (and is most definitely a credit playing for this Country), but to point out that the rules that govern what true nationalities can actually represent a country seem bizarre to say the least, don’t you think?
There are many other memorable examples of that would include many well-known names in sport, aren’t there? Like in Test cricket a gaggle of South Africans have played for England – Basil D’Olivera, Tony Greig (a Captain), Allan Lamb, Ian Greig, Chris Smith, Robin Smith, Andrew Strauss (another Captain), Kevin Pietersen (infamously know for inappropriately liaising with the S. African team during a test!), Matt Prior, Jonathan Trott.
On the other side of the coin, we have the likes of disgraceful disloyal Lewis Hamilton, our so called ‘British’ three times F1 World Champion, born in Stevenage, with Grenadian heritage, who started in karting and learned to be a racing driver solely in our Country with the support of the Britain’s McLaren outfit where he eventually started in F1 as a test driver. A soon as he finally got a seat in a F1 car there, and all the mega bucks that brings, he decided his allegiance was actually to Switzerland (despite the fact that both his motorsport teams are based in England), where he had never been, so he paid tax to them instead of his own Country [mind you he soon left them to find somewhere even cheaper (as well as ditching McLaren in favour of Germany’s Mercedes-Benz engine suppliers for even more bucks) – much later the unknowing British public even voted him Sports Personality of the Year in the naïve belief that he had some kind of loyalty to THIS Country, eh?].
Last Wednesday there was a historic spectacular F1 car & driver skills demonstration on the shut-down streets of central London, using Trafalgar Square and Whitehall to try to create greater interest in the sport in the UK which has been badly waning in recent years (at a 12 year low with the loss of more than 5 million viewers). This was part of the build-up to this weekend’s Silverstone BRITISH Grand Prix. So it was supported by ALL the F1 teams, who turned up with their drivers (all were asked), bar one driver from the current grid – oh yes, you guessed it, ‘pseudo-British’ Lewis Hamilton. His supposed love for his Country and our ‘special’ British Grand Prix was superseded by his sole decision to jump on a private plane to live it up for a couple of days with his mates on a Greek island. Oh no, this wasn’t a family holiday – no he is far too self-centered & opinionated to have any of that truck, isn’t he? His name was loudly booed by the massive crowd of fans, who understandably instead gave his German Ferrari rival (so not the home driver) Sebastian Vettel the biggest cheer of the day (he is currently ahead of Mercedes’ Hamilton in driver standings by 20 points).
What some of us think, is that there can’t really be true loyalty demonstrated in respect of any country (in sport or otherwise) where someone carries dual nationality, whence it becomes impossible to identify which one of them carries the greatest weight, surely?
If somebody ‘adopts’ another country and obtains citizenship there, and there are many reasons for that in today’s world – like with refugees, or due to emigration, immigration, inter-country marriages, relationships and mixed-race children, aren’t there?
Certainly, dual nationality is not acceptable in most counties [like Andorra, Austria, Azerbaijan ,Burma, Bahrain, Botswana, Japan, China ,Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Ecuador, Estonia, Iran, Poland, Papua New Guinea, Brunei, Japan, Peru, Kuwait, Kenya, Kazakhstan, Chile, Kiribati, Poland, Korea, Kuwait, Denmark, Latvia, Singapore, Slovakia, Ecuador, Lithuania, Solomon Islands ,Fiji ,Malaysia, Mauritius, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Romania, Thailand, Mexico, Nepal, Venezuela, Norway, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal], yet some of us so-called ‘developed’ counties like the UK, Australia, US, Canada, Belgium, France, Portugal, Finland, Sweden, Italy, Israel, Ireland, and Switzerland to name some, don’t have any restriction. So the counties of India, Singapore, Austria, or Saudi Arabia simply won’t hear of it or severely restrict it, don’t they? Other like Spain or Austria, do allow it in exceptional cases (like celebrities) but impose special conditions.
[Britain as a multi-cultural haven of society needs to retain the confidence of the nation by insisting that anyone acquiring citizenship, automatically loses any other one without exception, fear or favour, wouldn’t you say?]