opinion

What I See with Peter Fiorenza: Riding every point in Ash Barty’s incredible Wimbledon win

Peter FiorenzaGeraldton Guardian
Ash Barty celebrates her Wimbledon victory.
Camera IconAsh Barty celebrates her Wimbledon victory. Credit: IPA/Sipa USA

I think I have told you before I am a great tennis fan.

Despite taking an interest in myriad different sports, tennis is my all-time favourite.

Ironically, like most sporting pursuits, I am better suited to watching or, maybe, commentating.

To be quite honest, I could not play the game to save myself but I have watched it for as long as I can remember.

So, when Ash Barty won the Wimbledon women’s singles title, I was excited to say the least.

I got emotionally involved, riding every point, as though I was hitting the ball myself.

And I have to admit, I became a little unstable when Barty’s serve to take out the match in two sets was successfully broken by her opponent, leading to a decider.

I’m afraid to say that I probably came down a little hard on our Aussie champ.

But I hope the euphoria and tears displayed when she eventually won 30 minutes later hides that blemish in my support.

MORE WHAT I SEE

I’m so bad at playing tennis that if you decided to attempt to play me, the match would simply consist of serving and me struggling to serve, or even return a serve.

No, I’m not really that bad but let’s say, it would be a very quick match.

Now, you could say I’ve been watching tennis (primarily the grand slam events) since I was a youngster, and I think I have watched every Wimbledon final since I was around 12 years of age.

I’ve sat up until the early hours watching the likes of Bjorn Borg, Chris Evert, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Boris Becker, Pat Cash, Stefan Edberg, Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf, Pete Sampras, Lleyton Hewitt, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

And on one occasion I took a gamble and got to interview a former great on radio.

It was around Australian Open time and all the big shots were in the country playing in lead-up tournaments.

I read in the press that Swedish champion Stefan Edberg was playing in Adelaide.

What a great interview that would be, I thought.

To cut a long story short, I found out the hotel the players were staying at, so I called it up and asked reception if Edberg was staying there.

“Yes, Mr Edberg is staying at the hotel, would you like to be put through to his room?”

Before I could say anything, I heard his extension ringing. “Hello,” came a male voice with a European accent on the other end. Bloody hell, it was him.

Quickly composing myself, I asked if Stefan Edberg was available. “Yes, this is Stefan,” said the voice on the other end. After introducing myself, Edberg seemed a little upset that I was so easily put in contact with him, but eventually agreed to recording a phone interview a day later. One of my very first “big gets”. Gambles do pay off ...

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