First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

We'd like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick

More specifically, we'd like those who can afford to pay to start paying. What it comes down to is whether or not you value Daily Maverick. Think of us in terms of your daily cappuccino from your favourite coffee shop. It costs around R35. That’s R1,050 per month on frothy milk. Don’t get us wrong, we’re almost exclusively fuelled by coffee. BUT maybe R200 of that R1,050 could go to the journalism that’s fighting for the country?

We don’t dictate how much we’d like our readers to contribute. After all, how much you value our work is subjective (and frankly, every amount helps). At R200, you get it back in Uber Eats and ride vouchers every month, but that’s just a suggestion. A little less than a week’s worth of cappuccinos.

We can't survive on hope and our own determination. Our country is going to be considerably worse off if we don’t have a strong, sustainable news media. If you’re rejigging your budgets, and it comes to choosing between frothy milk and Daily Maverick, we hope you might reconsider that cappuccino.

We need your help. And we’re not ashamed to ask for it.

Our mission is to Defend Truth. Join Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

All England Club courts controversy as it reveals more...



All England Club courts controversy as it reveals more than a hint of jingoism

Katie Boulter of Britain after winning the second set in the women’s second-round match against Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic on the Wimbledon Centre Court on 30 June 2022. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Neil Hall)

There is a small storm brewing at Wimbledon, and this time it’s not the predictable dark clouds that are synonymous with the British weather. It’s a little jingoistic order of play that some people are muttering about.

Centre Court is the court of all courts at Wimbledon. It is the court where the glory of victory has been recorded for more than 100 years. The names that have won here are legendary. Pat Cash, Jimmy Connors. Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Chris Evert, to name but a few. This is the court traditionally reserved for players with some achievements to their name. Ranking points too. Such players can pack out the 24,000-seat stadium.  

Wimbledon is also an international tournament. The game is beamed around the globe year after year. The viewing figures exceed 15 million people daily and the commercial contracts are lucrative for the All England Club.  

Wimbledon Centre Court as Roger Federer of Switzerland plays against Hubert Hurkacz of Poland in the quarterfinal of the 2021 men’s singles. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Thomas Lovelock / Pool)

However, since the tournament started on Monday, the British players in this year’s draw have clearly been prioritised for Centre Court. Andy Murray played both his matches on Centre Court and lost on Wednesday, even though he has no ranking points to his name and has been out of the game for a few years. 

Katie Boulter, ranked outside the world’s 100, played on Centre Court on Thursday, and won and what a fine young ambassador in the making she will be for tennis, and especially British tennis. It was such an emotional win too. Her grandmother died a few days ago and she loved tennis.

Boulter had to hold her emotions together and did an exemplary job of doing so. Her next match is against Harmony Tan who put out Serena Williams. That is earmarked for Centre Court too.

Let us not forget Emma Raducanu. She played her first-round match on Centre Court on Monday, and lost on Wednesday (again on Centre Court). On merit alone, it is doubtful the honour of playing on Centre Court should have been awarded to her and certainly not twice. 

Harriet Dart, also lowly-ranked in the world rankings and who won on Thursday is also British and congratulations to her are in order as she played superbly to win. Her next match is also due to be played on Centre Court. This has caused some in the locker room and a number of commentators to ask: what is the All England Club playing at? 

A legendary British broadcaster aired his views to me in no uncertain terms.

wimbledon jingoism
Andy Murray of Great Britain in action on Centre Court in the men’s second-round match against John Isner of the US at Wimbledon on 29 June 2022. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Neil Hall)

“This isn’t a rally for the British. Some more highly ranked foreign players with successes to their names merit Centre Court and never get it,” said the broadcaster.

Now watch out for Britain’s Liam Broady. He played a five-set match and beat Diego Schwartzman from Argentina. Broady is ranked 132nd in the world and has a sparkling game. It is highly likely that Centre Court will beckon for his next match. The British are having a good tennis season. Heather Watson is also still in the draw and probably has a claim to Centre Court for her next match.  

It is understandable, to some extent, that the All England Club (there is a clue in the name), feels a sense of patriotism. However, tennis is mainly an individual sport and lines on maps should be irrelevant. This is the grand slam of all grand slams and let’s keep nationalism out of it. DM


Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider.

Everybody has an opinion but not everyone has the knowledge and the experience to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. That’s what we want from our members. Help us learn with your expertise and insights on articles that we publish. We encourage different, respectful viewpoints to further our understanding of the world. View our comments policy here.

No Comments, yet

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted