Elements or Lower

Tue, 05 Oct 2004

Seeing McEnroe

I’d like to say it was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream, but in truth I only got into tennis in 2000 thanks to the missus. My mum used to be an avid watcher of Wimbledon, which I resented horribly as a kid, as it meant I’d miss all the children’s TV for a fortnight. In truth, I probably just needed the rules explaining to me.

Anyway, on Sunday, Shelley and I got to see John McEnroe play, at the Superset tennis event in Wembley Arena. The match was frankly superb — perhaps better than the matches we saw in “People’s Sunday” at Wimbledon this year (especially given that we didn’t get to see the Henman match). At 45, McEnroe is still capable of some stunning tennis.

The Superset format is this: over the course of one day, eight contestants are whittled down to one winner in a series of single-set matches. The players can challenge line calls, which are checked instantly using HawkEye. The set can continue up to ten games, after which the regular tie-break is invoked. For my money, ten games is a touch too long — but that’s a quibble. It’s very hard to get to see real, competitive tennis played live, so any extra format that achieves this can only be a good thing.