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The women's semi-finals got delayed by rain. While we were hanging about twiddling our thumbs the BBC delved into the archives and came up with one of the classic encounters between McEnroe and Connors.

We've been listening to McEnroe and Connors- two affable middle-aged gents- commentating on the current championships, so it was curiously piquant to see them again as they were in their pomp- Connors looking like the fifth Monkee, McEnroe a whey-faced, shock-headed uber-brat screaming abuse at the umpire.

I guess all the major sporting events of the past 20, 30, even 40 years are preserved on ice somewhere. Sporting glory used to be an ephemeral thing. Not anymore it ain't.

500 years from now, 1000 years from now (barring catastrophe) people will still be able to watch what happened yesterday afternoon- the awesome Sharapova being blown off court by the even more awesome Venus Williams.
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Wimbledon is over and I'm missing it. For the past fortnight it has been the wallpaper of my life. An epic wallpaper- a bit like living with the Bayeux Tapestry.

The women's final was a disappointment. Sharapova beat Williams too easily. The women ought to play five sets like the men. It's nothing but a hangover from Victorian piety and condescension that they don't.

The men's final was better and more equal, though neither player was at his best. In the end Federer's skill topped Roddick's strength, which is how it ought to be.

But Wimbledon is about more than just tennis; it's part of the national conversation. Champagne, strawberries and cream, mile long queues, stoppages for rain. And Henman- a beautiful young man who feeds the national self conceit by looking and behaving like a subaltern from the 14-18 war. And every year, as befits the image, he gets mown down. Next year, we reassure one another, next year will be Tim's year- then next year turns into this year and -rat-a tat-tat- in Flanders fields the poppies grow.

Actually he played some good tennis, but with people like Federer and Roddick around he's never going to win a Grand Slam. My personal hero is John McEnroe- who now enlivens the BBC commentary box. What a self-deprecating charmer, what a living, breathing history book, what an anglophile! Why don't we do the decent thing and give him honorary citizenship or something?

And that way we'd finally have a Men's Wimbledon Champion who is British.


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