John Pargiter asked my advice on betting pre-Wimbledon. I fancied Maron Cilic to win his section where Roger Federer was the highest seed. The Croatian bases his power game on his coach’s Goren Ivanosevic. I felt it was powerful enough to blow away 35 year old 7-time champion Fed. And so it seems when he took a two set lead. Federer clambered back on the game as the fourth set which he won at the tiebreak was crucial. It was an absorbing match of contrasting styles: the power of the Croatian against the elegance of the Swiss. Federer had to gamble, his second serve was over 100 mph. Four times Cilic had the opportunity to break this one serve and four times he failed to do so. Fed had the mental grit to survive 4 match points and when he dominated in the fifth set he pressed home his advantage ruthlessly. As ever Federer was gracious in victory praising Cilic as player and as man. Murray and Tsonga also threw out a thriller. Those at Centre Court certainly got good value. I cannot remember two better quarter finals.
As a youngish woman I’ve been asked my reaction to Andrewe Castle’s comment that he wished his dentist looked like Jenny Bate the pretty dentist girlfriend of Jeremy Willis. It was an unfortunate remark that did not work but people make these all day long. Private Eye had a column of such gaffes. My favourite was “The batsman’s Holding, the bowler’s Willey”. Perhaps Castle was ill-advised on Twitter to call an objector ‘Humourless, earnest and no fun” and eventually apologised. In football it’s routine too find a pretty female spectator and keep the camera trained on her. Jenny Bate did not enter the controversy and she is pretty girl. With Barbra Slater at the helm of BBC sport it’s probably safer for a male commentator not to make any remarks about women at all but with BBC’s coverage of sport shrinking annually (they won’t be covering the Open live next week) they need to concentrate on broadcasting Wimbledon as informatively and accessibly as they can and I don’t see this controversy helping any to attract viewers.