>The Courtier is not a man who is particularly interested in following professional sport – except, that is, for Grand Slam tennis. He is old enough to remember watching McEnroe, Connors, Gerulaitis, et al., and grew up with a poster of Björn Borg on the playroom wall. Yesterday work kept him from watching the ongoing saga of the longest recorded tennis match in history, and he suspects he will never fully recover from the loss.
So even though he is missing all of the play, The Courtier was naturally very pleased this morning to see this Torygraph slideshow of H.M. the Queen arriving to watch 4th seed Andy Murray of Scotland play Finland’s Jarkko Niemine. The Queen is not an avid tennis fan, as this is the first time she has attended a match at Wimbledon in 33 years, since her Silver Jubilee. The public is always excited to see the Queen, but because of the fact that she does not come to Wimbledon regularly today was particularly special for the British tennis community – particularly the young fans as shown in the charming AP wire picture below.
>Not normally being a professional sports aficionado, with the exception of tennis, and residing in a country where soccer/football is still relegated to second-tier coverage, the European Champions League semi-final might have passed me by completely. Except for the fact that FC Barcelona, or Barça as fans call it, has beat Chelsea and made it to the finals against Manchester United. The match will take place in Rome on May 27th, and you can be certain that I will be watching it.
Ironically enough, although if anything I was “brought up” a Barça supporter – even having a practice jersey at one point though having no athletic ability whatsoever – when I lived in the U.K. there was some discussion among my friends as to what team I would support there, were I an Englishman. Votes seemed to split between Chelsea and Manchester United, with a slight tip toward the former. The fact that Barça has beat the one and now moves on to fight the other however, does not cause me the least bit of torn loyalty.
After the match last evening, as usually occurs, thousands of Barça fans gathered at the Canaletes Fountain on the Ramblas to celebrate the team’s victory. Should you happen to visit Barcelona on holiday, drinking water from this fountain will supposedly ensure that someday you return to the city. However, it is recommended that you attempt to do so in circumstances other than that pictured below.