​I’m not sure I’m made for this cattle truck thing they call modern-day travelling.  Feeling smug that I had left with a cabin bag – well, and another over my shoulder – I returned, three days later, like a pack horse!  Answered my own question, then.  Cattle truck it is.  Never mind that I would rather a chauffeur and a private jet …  I think that is how Patricia Borg travels and, yes, it should have been me!
Train to London, King’s Cross, and then straight on to Wimbledon where, once again, we were witness to superb tennis but, more than that, immense courage and strength of character – both in triumph and defeat.  That is Wimbledon in a nutshell.  As though time has somehow forgotten that little bubble in SW19, within the bounds of the All England Lawn Tennis Club gentility remains; nay, it is obligatory.  No black lycra in sight, the players must still wear white and, it would seem, there are no complaints.  With a nod to tradition, respect abounds and Rudyard Kipling’s famous words above the players’ entrance onto Centre Court are ever present: ‘If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same …’   Ultimately, each player covets the accolade of a Wimbledon title; however, the esteem of The Championsips is such that it puts life back into the taking part!  As a child strives to make his or her parents proud, so these finely tuned, driven athletes of today give it their all, each a little more humbled by those who have gone before.  The prize money pales beneath their approval, in turn, producing sportsmanship at its finest.
There on Wednesday, Men’s Quarter Finals Day, we could only marvel at what we saw: magnificent tennis and athleticism of the finest but it was more the courage and determination, the strength of character displayed of which we were in awe.  All hail to Mr Anderson!  Sitting in the blistering heat on Henman Hill – and risking sunstroke in the process – we lived through every point as the South African fought to overcome the tournament’s darling, Roger Federer, in five sets.  Seeming to come from nowhere, one felt the support of the crowd swell as, one by one, we became gripped by the excitement unfolding on the huge screen in front of us.  Six foot eight and known for his mighty serve, had anyone seriously thought he could beat Federer?  Had he?  Somehow, coming from two sets down, he found the courage of a lion pushing himself and the eight time champion to the limit until, in the thirteenth game of the fifth set, it was all over and he had earned the recognition he deserved.  Gracious in defeat, as always, Federer will be back.  He has already earned his place in history and the coveted respect of all who matter.  Meanwhile, we shall never forget that boiling hot afternoon in SW19 and the camaraderie we shared as we sat on Henman Hill alongside two South Africans, one of whom made us laugh repeatedly as he cheered on his fellow countryman shouting ‘Mr Aaaanderson!’  By the end, we were all rooting for him and Mr Aaanderson emerged triumphant, deserving of glory. Little did he know what lay ahead of him on Friday!  Sadly, on the cattle truck home, we could only follow the latter part of the titanic battle on our phones but the excitement was still palpable.  Six hours and thirty-five minutes, requiring 26 games in the final set for one to falter, the courage and strength of both men!  That’s what I mean – Wimbledon expects and delivers sportsmanship of the highest calibre.  Kevin Anderson summed it up, in his after-match interview, when he said that he felt ‘like this is a draw between the two of us but somebody has to win.’  His voice wavering, he was finding it hard to muster enthusiasm as he felt for his defeated opponent, more importantly, his friend.  I have just seen his tweet to Isner: ‘Thank you, John, for being an incredible sportsman and friend. It’s an honour to share this piece of history with you.’  Says it all, really.
Now Sunday morning, as I write, we are looking forward to The Final; all here rooting, once more, for Mr Aaaanderson!   Perhaps, glad that he is not facing Nadal as that would have been harder …  Wednesday was just one of these days when everything went right.  Following the Anderson/Federer match, it flashed up on the screen that Centre Court tickets were available for £15 each offering the chance to watch the fifth set of Nadal v Del Potro.  There is a God!  Swathes of the masses had vacated their corporate seats in favour of the football affording a rare opportunity for true tennis fans and Becca the chance to watch her hero, Nadal.  He is truly amazing, possessing of tennis genius.  Close up, the power of his strokes is immense, as were those of Del Potro, another true gent.  It was a gripping final set and, once again, a match which deserved no losers.  As Del Potro lay on the ground,  triumphant Nadal crossed the net and the two hugged in mutual respect.  Nadal, too, mid-way changing his t-shirt, stopped to join the standing ovation for Del Potro as he left the court …  What can I say?  No wonder we return every year.  In ‘this topsy-turvy world’ – so often cruel – there is much to be learned from the magical fortnight that is Wimbledon: courage and determination, a given, it is the humility and respect for tradition – one’s fellow human being – the unforgettable camaraderie which I salute; and which is sorely missed in life today. 
Good Luck, Mr Aaaanderson!  Regardless of the outcome, you have won everything of value already.  A true gent.
‘That’s the funny thing about tennis points, and games: they may be awe-inspiring at the moment but then – except for the videotape, which really tells only a bit of the story – the moment is gone.  They’re like poetry written on water.’
Wow!  John McEnroe.
More like him …
‘My greatest strength is that I have no weaknesses.’
This is Trish, signing off.