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Britain’s crude drinking culture has seemingly spread to the once-genteel Wimbledon Championships.
This year, seven players withdrew during matches in the first round due to injury but were nonetheless paid £35,000 each just for turning up.Britain's Johanna Konta reacts after winning the second set tie-break against Romania's Simona Halep during their women's singles quarter-final match on the eighth day of the 2017 Wimbledon Championships The last time Britain had a man and a woman in the Wimbledon quarter-finals was in 1973, when Roger Taylor and Virginia Wade made it to the last eight.The winner of the gentlemen’s title that year was handed £5,000 in prize money, while the ladies’ champion got £3,000.That stupid screamer should surely be identified and banned from the tournament for a year or two. By the way, it may be fitting that the new patron saints of SW19 should be the Middletons.Kate has naturally been there as patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.Ma, Fan and Xu's elimination from the four-day tournament, which ends Sunday, came after they made online protests over Liu's removal.
"At this moment we don't like to play anymore because we miss you, Liu Guoliang," the players said in identical posts on China's Twitter-like Weibo.We should in any case be honest, and admit that what goes on at Wimbledon today bears about as much resemblance to what took place in 1909 as modern warfare does to the Battle of Marathon in 490BC.Indeed, professional tennis has changed out of all recognition in less than 50 years.Pippa has been treating it as something of a fashion show. But if the crowds are less classy than they used to be, so are the players. I don’t pretend that everything at Wimbledon used to be rosy.A champion from 50 years ago would probably find it difficult to win a single set against their hulking modern counterparts with graphite rackets and lightning serves. There would be no place for former champions such as Rod Laver (5 ft 8 in) or Ken Rosewall (not quite 5 ft 7 in) with their elegant and sinuous drop-shots, and perfectly placed winning cross-court groundstrokes. Serena Williams (absent from Wimbledon on maternity leave) and Maria Sharapova (not yet fully rehabilitated following her ban for a doping violation) are undoubtedly monumental athletes who give the ball an almighty whack. Who can forget the ugly arguments that John Mc Enroe picked with umpires, 30 years and more ago?They do not — yet — behave like yobbish football followers, but I fear things are moving in that direction.