A curiously serendipitous weekend we have that is bringing our two nations together in celebration of a pair of tennis underdogs.
In the Wimbledon finals being played today and tomorrow both Poland and England will be represented for the first time in over 70 years.
In the case of Britain, Andy Murray will play Roger Federer tomorrow. Although Andy has been in Grand Slam finals before as well as Wimbledon semi-finals, and lost them all, we have to look back to 1936 before we find another Brit in the Wimbledon mens singles final. Fred Perry won both Wimbledon and the US open finals that year and no other Brit has come close ever since.
Of course, as an Englishman, I’m quietly hoping the Scottish Murray fails so the English Perry can remain supreme! ;-) If he wins I will have to continue using the all embracing British tag to gain any bragging rights.
Federer is aiming for his record equalling seventh Wimbledon success, which will put him on a par with Pete Sampras. We will see tomorrow whether Andy Murray can spoil Federer’s day.
British victory in general is not that far back. The last Brit to win the ladies final at Wimbledon was Virginia Wade in 1977. Also, in 1960 Brits were runners up in the men’s double final and in 1970 in the ladies doubles.
For Poland it is Agnieszka Radwanska who plays in the women’s final today against Serena Williams and as such is the first Polish Grand Slam finalist in a women’s singles tournament for 73 years. Both finalists of course are one part of well known tennis playing sister acts. There’s a pub trivia quiz question for you!
If you count doubles matches then you would only need to go back to 77 and 78 for a Polish victory when Fibak was in the French and Australian finals, winning the latter. However, his best performance at Wimbledon was the semi final in 1978. For singles at Wimbledon, it is that well known Jadwiga Jędrzejowska who holds all the records. She made the US and Wimbledon finals in 1937 and the French in 1939, losing them all.
Aga has a double incentive because winning would not only give her the Wimbledon title but also make her the world number 1 ranked tennis player. The first ever Polish number 1. All she has to do is get past Serena Williams!
They both have their excuses; Aga is nursing a bad cold in the head, Andy’s head is also problematic in that he often loses it. Hopefully this time they won’t need them – excuses, not heads!
Strange how the tennis fortunes of both countries are so closely linked, so Polandian wishes them well in their respective battles. Let’s look forward to double celebrations on Sunday evening!
EDIT (Monday) – Oh well. Seems they both tried hard but neither could pull off a famous victory. Aga is destined to win soon enough, even if she has to wait for Serena to slow with age. Murray needs therapy, he doesn’t believe he can win, but he can. The victors behaved like true champions and came back from sticky situations. Well done to them.