Saw a good movie the other night at the Emelin Theatre in Mamaroneck, where I was invited to speak as editor of WAG magazine and former art critic of Gannett Inc. about the relationship between writing and images. (More about that in a later post.) Suffice it to say that “Words and Pictures” is about the tempestuous relationship between an increasingly crippled, cantankerous artist (Juliette Binoche) and an alcoholic writer (Clive Owen). It’s a bit contrived, but I did find the old writer’s prejudice against having photos do anything but serve my precious prose stirring within me.
Yet I had to laugh when I whizzed through Mark Hodgkinson’s “Andy Murray: Wimbledon Champion, The Full Extraordinary Story” (New Chapter Press, $19.95, 307 pages). What, I thought, no photos inside? Where are the pix of Andy hugging Rafa, Roger and especially Nole at the net? I mean, there are whole websites devoted to the stuff. You could write a book on it. (Indeed, I did, so to speak. One of the things my novel “Water Music” considers is the ritual of the court, which I think is fraught with meaning. Who wins, who loses and how the winner and loser greet each other post-match speak volumes about relationships, as does my poem “The Court of Mercury.”)
But back to Andy. The book is all about his breakthrough Wimbledon win in 2013, and how he became the first British champion since Fred Perry and yada yada. Look, we get it: It’s a book for a Brit audience. But since I’m a Nole fan and Andy defeated Nole in that match, that stuff is less interesting to me. I’m more interested in the dish on his relationship with the other members of the so-called Big Four (Feddy, Rafa and Nole) and with his girlfriend Kim Sears as I think these pages offer more insight into his character – which is solid, not showy. In other words, Andy’s a real bloke. And the girlfriend – with her love of animals and her career as an artist painting them – sounds like someone you’d enjoy having a cup of tea with. (I love how Kim keeps up the Twitter account of their Border Terrier Maggie May, who likes to flirt with Pierre, Nole’s Toy Poodle.)
Speaking of flirting, Rafa once ran into Andy and Kim in a restaurant and sent Andy a sexy text to make Kim jealous and get Andy into a spot of hot water. That Rafa, what a kidder.
Andy had a bit of bad blood with Fed, who has never been shy at leveling criticism against his colleagues (though not in the sly, amusing way of PseudoFed, the Ur-Federer ). But that’s all water under London Bridge.
Of the three, though, Andy is probably still closest to Nole, who is just a week younger (May 15 and 22, 1987 respectively, and by the way, happy birthday, guys). The two often played each other in the juniors, where Rafa, 11 months older (June 3, another Gemini like Nole) was way ahead of them. (How great is it that the two top male tennis players are Geminis, the sign of the twins – or doubles.)
Nole toyed with becoming a British citizen to have more opportunities for himself and his family but in the end knew he had to remain loyal to his native Serbia. Still, Nole certainly enjoys Great Britain. Once before Wimbledon, he took his longtime love Jelena Ristic to Andy’s native Scotland for her birthday. He sent Andy a pix. “What are you doing there?” Andy wanted to know.
What’s great about Rafa, Nole, Andy and Feddy is that contrary to the image of the male athlete always on the prowl for female flesh, they are real nesters with wives or girlfriends – as opposed to wives and girlfriends – who have their own identities; kids or dogs; and real estate.
So now it’s almost time for the French Open and spring birthdays in Paris.
Will there be gluten-free cake?