Beijing's Olympic Green Tennis Centre

There were perhaps 200 people watching the first-round match between Andy Murray and Lu Yen-Hsun of Chinese Taipei (that's "made in Taiwan" to you and me but not the IOC and certainly not our hosts) on Monday, and, to be honest, I have no idea why any of them were there.

OK, I can guess why Judy Murray was there - she was probably killing time before her elder son Jamie had his big moment in the doubles tournament.

Lu seemed to be enjoying himself too but then he had only won seven of his 19 previous matches in 2008.

But the rest of us? Murray the younger was clearly experiencing the same confusion.

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He turned up, fresh from a superb (British) win in the US, under the illusion he was a rising star, playing an unheralded also-ran for a place in the last 32 of the most important, most ancient, most magnificent event in the sporting calendar.

Britain's Andy Murray reacts to losing a tie-break during his first round defeat at the Beijing Olympics

Sadly, it seemed to dawn on the (by now) Scot he was miserably out of sorts and probably wasting his time against a mediocre but far more up-for-it opponent, in an event he shouldn't be playing in anyway when the US Open is only a fortnight away.

"The US Open?!? Why didn't you tell me?" I imagined Murray to be muttering when the game against Lu started to go down the toilet.

"That's one of the four biggest events in my sport and if I win that I'm made for life. It will be a glorious new start for British (again) tennis and my name will be up there in lights with Roger's, Rafa's and Novak's. What on earth am I doing in Beijing?"

The list of names finding reasons not to be here was growing right up until the tournament started on Sunday. It seemed getting the sport's biggest stars to come to Beijing was no guarantee they'd actually take part in the tournament.

Federer and Nadal (the two names are just said together now) played and won today, which frankly saves the tournament as a serious competition, and the Williams sisters appear to be up for it. But what about the others?

Former world number one Andy Roddick made it clear his priority was the US Open, his national championship, and not the Games.

Ana Ivanovic, Amelie Mauresmo, Maria Sharapova and former champion Lindsay Davenport have all made their excuses, and defending champion Justine Henin-Hardenne would not have risked aggravating her asthma in Beijing even if she was still playing the game.

At least the women's event has a grand slam-calibre honours board - since its Olympic comeback in 1988, the female champions have been Steffi Graf, Jennifer Capriati, Davenport, Venus and Henin-Hardenne.

The current Olympic men's champion anybody?

It's Nicolas Massu, in case you'd forgotten: before him the winners include Marc Rosset and Miloslav Mecir.

Massu had to be given a special invite to be able to defend his title, so bad has his form been since Athens. It was Mardy Fish he beat in the final in 2004, by the way, but he's stayed at home with Roddick.

The debate about what should and what shouldn't be an Olympic sport has been going on so long it's almost an Olympic sport itself, but it is actually quite simple.

If winning an Olympic gold medal is not the highest accolade in your sport, you're playing a non-Olympic sport. Tennis fails this test by some margin - are the Games even the fifth biggest event on the sport's schedule?

Watching Murray throw away a winning position in the first set, sulk his way through a tie-break and then battle the voice in his head telling him to give up in the second set was actually quite depressing.

Depressing because I didn't really blame him. If I were struggling with my game and not really feeling the Olympic buzz, I would have started thinking about Flushing Meadows too. It is about priorities.

Of course, the equation is a little different for doubles specialist Jamie and there is a school of thought that says the pairs format should be spared from any Olympic chop, the rationale being doubles is a neglected event that needs the Games' exposure.

It's an interesting idea but I'm not sure I buy it. Would that really raise doubles' profile (Massu and Fernando Gonzalez won the men's doubles in Athens, in case you were wondering)? Wouldn't we just be left with a tournament with even fewer top players?

I think there is a chance that would widen the gap between the two formats, effectively creating two sports: a popular/professional one called singles, and an Olympic one called doubles. Players who chose the latter would probably need funding.

Hold on a minute, this sounds a bit like that other great Olympic anomaly, "amateur" boxing. Best not go there, we've got medal hopes.

The really annoying thing about the inclusion of tennis (and basketball and football, to name two other star-studded but distracted "Olympic" sports) is that it queers the pitch for those sports that really do need and value the Games.

It was interesting to see how the TV cameras kept picking out the tennis players, NBA superstars and top footballers during Friday's opening ceremony. Most Olympic athletes are totally foreign to us; the International Olympic Committee and the people that pay for this whole shebang know that.

I would be surprised if the man on the Clapham omnibus could identify more than a dozen of Team GB here in Beijing (I think most sports journalists would struggle to get more than 50 of the 313).

But that is precisely why these four-yearly gatherings are so precious for the archers, badminton players and canoeists - this is their life's ambition and shop window rolled into one. And I believe the viewing public gets that.

The IOC and ad-men need not fear our lack of familiarity with the back stories of the boys in the coxless four or girls in our 4x200m freestyle team.

Which is why tonight I will be raising a glass to our real Olympic stars Nicole Cooke, Rebecca Adlington and Jo Jackson, and doing my best to forget Andy Murray's tennis campaign.

He won't lose too much sleep over it. He's got his sport's fourth and final big event to look forward to in New York in a couple of weeks.

Matt Slater is a BBC Sport journalist focusing on sports news. Our FAQs should answer any questions you have.


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  • 1. At 5:04pm on 11 Aug 2008, PlasticGloryHunter wrote:

    Matt, Jamie is older than Andy.

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  • 2. At 5:18pm on 11 Aug 2008, bluebluemandy wrote:

    I have read Matt's blog on the Murray's recent failure and while I appreciate the importance of the US Open, I would also comment that representing your country is an honour that most people can only ever dream about.

    Murray, unfortunately, seems to represent many 'sports' people that once having achieved a level of fame and a huge income suddenly don't have the drive, desire, ambition to play for their country.

    Murray we all know is passionate about is Scottish heritage, and mildly dismissive of England, but perhaps if someone had explained that when being part of Team GB it means England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Perhaps if he has realised that he may have tried to win the match.

    My last comment on Murray is for him to get a reality check and look at the two girls that have just won Gold and Bronze in the 400mtrs freestyle race this morning. They are the passion of Team GB. Depressingly, maybe the answer is to go back to the original concept of the Olympics and only invite true amateurs.

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  • 3. At 5:27pm on 11 Aug 2008, tennischrisperrin wrote:

    thats a bit unfair matt. andy didnt have to go to beijing but he did for team GB and ranking points.

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  • 4. At 5:28pm on 11 Aug 2008, scotland11 wrote:

    I think it could also be that Andy is probably a proper Scotsman who doesn't have any interest in playing for 'Britain', much like our football association.

    By the way bbc, Jamie is older than Andy.
    I reckon that's worth mentioning twice.

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  • 5. At 5:28pm on 11 Aug 2008, Fransisco wrote:

    I think Sam Smith was far to kind to Andy in her commentary. Yes Lu played the match of his life but Murray's tactics were poor. He should have been more agressive and blown him off the court. It was as if he reverted back to his style of play last year which is to wait for his opponent to make the error. As a result, Lu took heart that he was allowed to boss the match.

    In response to bluebluemandy's comment, I fully believe he was trying his best...he simply chose the wrong tactics. Bringing nationality into the mix is a bit of a cheap shot.

    Another reason was his woeful 1st serve percentage (in the 50's). His second serve needs serious work. As a decent club level player I know that if you pad your second serve in, if you play anyone in the top 100 they'll murder it and that's what happend to Andy today.

    Best of luck to the brothers in the doubles!

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  • 6. At 5:29pm on 11 Aug 2008, matti76 wrote:

    This is a good article, and resists the usual knee-jerk reactions that Murray's schizophrenic results usually provoke.

    Alright, it was a limp-wristed effort, but people should accept that in some sports, like football, tennis, and certain cycling disciplines, the Olympics aren't the be all and end all.

    The timing of these games really doesn't suit a tennis player - coming on the back of a Masters series (which Murray brilliantly won), and on the eve of the US Open. If he manages to win that he will bring more glory to British sport than all the gold medalists here could ever do.

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  • 7. At 5:32pm on 11 Aug 2008, Saffavescent wrote:

    scotland11 - if he was a 'proper Scotsman' with no interest in playing for GB why did he go then?

    I think that's a sad comment when you look at all the other athletes who have dedicated their lives to reaching the Olympics. And no I'm not English so no need to bring that into it.

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  • 8. At 5:38pm on 11 Aug 2008, pottiella wrote:

    Yeah...what was it you were saying about Andy?

    People were complaining about you on 606 and I never really knew why - until I read a blog of yours.

    What a nasty, vidictive and downright inconsiderate piece of writing; condescendingly mocking Andy like you have some real problem with him you are revelling in at the moment.

    I'm sure this will be 'moderated'; but someo f the stuff you talk of are absolutely uncalled for.

    Maybe you want to eat some very public humble pie after Andy and Jamie won their doubles against the world no1 doubles player - past midnight, and dare I say largely thanks to Andy's singles prowess even after a physically and mentally draining day.

    Get some perspective and some manners...or do they not teach you against it at Journalism school?

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  • 9. At 5:39pm on 11 Aug 2008, asterix4816 wrote:

    scotland11 - Sorry to ruin your nationalist fantasies but many 'proper' Scotsmen and women are more than happy to represent GB. If it wasn't for my 'ahem' leg injury, I could have been representing GB in the 100m... oh, well- it obviously wasn't meant to be!

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  • 10. At 5:42pm on 11 Aug 2008, ZeFrenchy16 wrote:

    Tennis player have little reason to respect the Olympics as a serious competition, especially with the US Open just over 2 weeks away. It's one of the biggest competitions of the year whereas the Olympic tennis is a novelty event held every four years as a distraction.

    Badminton has the World Championships every year except an Olympic year, this is the big event in the Badminton calendar this year with the best field of the year. It actually means something to win this event.

    There are sports that embrace the Olympics like Badminton and there are sports that are in it for a bit of publicity and showboating like football and basketball.

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  • 11. At 5:44pm on 11 Aug 2008, Sam wrote:

    There are thousands of kids up and down the country in every olympic sport who sacrifice just about everything while they dream of being an Olympian. For Murray to input so little is an insult to them and he should not be made out to be a hero. Real Olympic heroes live up to the dreams they had when they too were a kid starting out.

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  • 12. At 5:45pm on 11 Aug 2008, 1Wattie wrote:

    You quite rightly say that representing your country is an honour and perhaps many of our sportsmen aqnd women forget that.
    Andy Murray has not benefitted from the lottery grants availablr to others in order to help them pay for trainers psychologists etc so perhaps you are being a little unfair.
    No one can deny that he had an absolute shocker today but is that any worse than some of our swimmers,divers and badminton players who also went out at the early stages of their chosen events?.
    I notice you are non committal about a certain boxer who after receiving £70,000 a year in grants could not even be bothered to make sure he was the correct weight before the games started

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  • 13. At 5:54pm on 11 Aug 2008, ken_scot wrote:

    If he didnt want to play and win for GB, why did he just go and win his doubles match against the worlds best doubles player????????

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  • 14. At 6:01pm on 11 Aug 2008, davidrandall wrote:

    For me this is really simple - if an Olympic Gold is not the absolute pinnacle of your sport (as it is in Athletics, Swimming and many others) the sport should not be in the Olympics.

    Hence football, basketball, tennis etc have no place in the Olympics in my book.

    If that meant the Olympics were smaller with less money involved that might even be a good thing.

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  • 15. At 6:01pm on 11 Aug 2008, ESauven wrote:

    I totally aggree, the inclusion of non ammatuer sports with their own agendas and major tournaments are not true Olympic sports. The great part of watching the games is being able to sports that do not normally get much, if any media coverage. Now these sports are again taking presidence of the tv coverage shown on BBC.
    The true champions, the ones who train for hours each day with no celebrity status or huge prize winnings in the hope that one day they will represent their country at the Olympics are being belittled by the inclusion of sports such as Tennis, Basketball inwhich half of them quite frankly couldnt care less and have more important things to be doing.

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  • 16. At 6:03pm on 11 Aug 2008, ESauven wrote:

    O and also yes the coverage of the opening ceremony zooming in on the likes of Nadal, Federer and Murray is infuriating considering the callibre of the other athletes which did not get a look in.

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  • 17. At 6:05pm on 11 Aug 2008, Peter_Griffin wrote:

    What a pathetic piece of blogging, with comments to match this ridiculous attitude.

    Simply because Murray loses to the better man on the day, you start rolling out the same old accusations against him. He doesn't want to 'represent GB' - so why is he out there again after only a few hours trying to win a doubles match? Why is he in Beijing in the first place?! He didn't have to go.

    If he couldn't be bothered, like a lot of your are suggesting, then why was he also "sulking"?! He was disappointed and annoyed with himself for messing up the match.

    He simply didn't show up and the better man won. End of.

    This attitude is growing tiresome, only today are we hearing yet again about England's dismal failure to qualify for the European football championship, which is obviously down to all the foreigners playing in the Premiership. could be down to the national team completely underperforming? Stop looking for scapegoats and silly accusations and accept someone underperformed for a change.

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  • 18. At 6:07pm on 11 Aug 2008, scotland11 wrote:

    Saffa - He went because english people put pressure on him.

    Asterix - I know, they are traitors.

    Kenscot - Good point, kind of ruins my argument. Maybe he just didnt want to let his brother down.

    Anyway, Im going to keep my nationalist fantasies to myself from now on, but I think there are many Scots who would understand my point.

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  • 19. At 6:08pm on 11 Aug 2008, davidrandall wrote:

    Another point - to compare lottery funding for the true olympic sports with the funds available for those involved in tennis, football etc is ridiculous (oh and by the way those professional sports with all their resources get lottery money too!)

    For example in Athletics there are not more than a handful of athletes whose funding enables them to compete full time. Our best 800m runner fro the last several years gave up this year because he simply could not afford to go on.

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  • 20. At 6:09pm on 11 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:


    You're a journalist, try to get your facts right. Also, the Judy Murray comment is appalling: you're not even a good journalist. Why does the BBC have it in for this guy? I was really pleased to see Harrington's victory made top story yesterday and he's Irish. Murray's recent victory never made top story, relegated behind a tearful ex England cricket captain from many hours before and then superceded by the South African replacement. The BBC is really needing to set aside petty biases against non-English stars. The current behaviour is a disgrace.

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  • 21. At 6:10pm on 11 Aug 2008, brokenbra wrote:

    Matt - do you know anything about tennis and, if not, then why write about it?

    "Federer and Nadal (the two names are just said together now) played and won today, which frankly saves the tournament as a serious competition, and the Williams sisters appear to be up for it. But what about the others?"

    Er... aside from the fact that neither Federer or Nadal ever suggested pulling out I think you'll find that every other member of the world's top ten men - apart from Roddick - is taking part and "saving the tournament as a serious competition."

    "But what about the others?"

    What, like Jankovic, Safina, Kuznetsova, Dementieva, Vaidisova, Hantuchova... etc?

    You clearly know nothing about tennis yet feel you are in a position to imply that Ana Ivanovic's injury is less than genuine -

    "Ana Ivanovic... have all made their excuses"

    What evidence do you have for this? Every quote I have seen from her suggests that she is gutted to be missing out. Most interviews I have read/seen suggest that the Serbian players, in particular, take huge pride in representing their country.

    "...this sounds a bit like that other great Olympic anomaly, "amateur" boxing."

    The two (doubles in tennis and amateur boxing) are completely different.

    Amateur boxing has always been a stepping stone to a professional career. Muhammad Ali (although he boxed then as Cassius Clay), Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roy Jones Jnr, Lennox Lewis all went on to carve out pretty good professional careers after boxing at Olympic level - a training ground that proved quite effective.

    Tennis doubles is not a proving ground for aspiring singles players. There are specialists who make a decent living out of doubles and I'm sure they don't view the Olympics as a "chance to raise their profile" any more than the singles players - they do play doubles at the Grand Slams and Davis Cup you know?

    Yes, the Olympics is not the pinnacle for tennis players, but on an occasion when the majority of the top seeds in world tennis have made the effort to play in the tournament, I think you argument is very weak and smacks of a pre-conceived view of the sport that, if anything, has been undermined by Beijing.

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  • 22. At 6:15pm on 11 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:


    btw, blogging is no excuse for bad journalism!

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  • 23. At 6:18pm on 11 Aug 2008, Richard Morris wrote:

    There are so many ignorant and xenophobic comments on here, it is horrifying.

    Andy had a bad day at the office. A very bad day - and he opponent played above himself. It happens in tennis, as in all sports. But to suggest that Andy was not trying, or not up to it, is, frankly, insulting. He certainly did not have to go to Beijing - he could have 'done a Roddick' and stayed in the states, earned some cheap ranking points and even some prize money. Instead he flew half way around the world, arriving only on Thursday due to flight problems, because he desperately wanted to play for his country - GB.

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  • 24. At 6:18pm on 11 Aug 2008, c_murphy86 wrote:

    Which is why tonight I will be raising a glass to our real Olympic stars Nicole Cooke etc


    Bear in mind that the Olympics isn't the largest event on the cycling calender either (though admittedly it was for Cooke)

    Most road and tt cyclists arrived at the games hoping to have stretched their form from the Tour de France or kept it from the Womens World Cup series long enough to perform at the games. Very few organised their season around the games.

    The difference is that the Olympics fits into the nice one day format of Classic races and World Championships (something that Tennis doesn't have an equivalent for) It is less of a drain than a tour format requiring peak form and fitness but not necessarily freshness.

    Perhaps Tennis's real problem is that it tries to run like a regular Tennis tournament with 64 players and 6 rounds. Surely a shorter format would be more sensible, top 16 in the World perhaps or why not use the Davis Cup format and make it a team event with the best nations taking part?

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  • 25. At 6:19pm on 11 Aug 2008, becomingthearchetype wrote:

    Matt, you "conveniently" left out Andre Agassi (1996) and Yevgeny Kafelnikov (2000) as winners of the men's singles, both of whom were great players, world number ones and multiple grand slam champions.

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  • 26. At 6:20pm on 11 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:

    Move over Slater, journalism ain't for you

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  • 27. At 6:23pm on 11 Aug 2008, barmar99 wrote:

    The guy lost, he then came back a few hours later and won. No need for anything else to be said!

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  • 28. At 6:27pm on 11 Aug 2008, LondonJambo wrote:

    What a shockingly bad blog post - most of your coverage has been great on the BBC but this is infantile.

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  • 29. At 6:28pm on 11 Aug 2008, nasher3230 wrote:

    Can some people get over the 'anti scotland' rubbish. The reason Murrays win wasnt top story was that cricket is a bigger sport and Vaughans resignation was pretty huge. If Murray wins a major I think it would jump straight to the top of the news. Like tennis, golf is a 2nd class sport, but Harrington won a major at a time when cricket, rugby and football had nothing too big to shout about.

    The reason Murray is criticised is because despite his undoubted talent, he constantly marginalises his fanbase and his form is consistently inconsistent.

    As an Englishman, I havent warmed to Murray, but I was impressed with his Wimbledon performance and his masters win. However, it hasnt surprised me to see him sulk his way out of the Olympics.

    PS: considering the amount of scots that vent their displeasure at having to represent a joint British team, I dont think anyone North of the border has any right claiming that the BBC or anyone else show them disrespect

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  • 30. At 6:29pm on 11 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:

    The coverage of this story is way better on Sky Sports, as was the case with the win in Ohio. Sky Sports has no agenda, the BBC does. We pay without choice for the BBC, oh that it was different!

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  • 31. At 6:31pm on 11 Aug 2008, Randascand wrote:

    These kind of articles amaze me, they really do.

    Don't the BBC hype Andy Murray up ridiculously before every tournament? In fact, not only do they hype him up they positively drule over him not to mention throw superlatives (not at all unfounded) at him in regards to how he plays.

    However, as soon as he loses, people like this Matt Slater - a guy who is also an employee of the BBC has a massive go at him. I know the BBC want to pull ratings both on-line and on tv but these double standards really are outragiously, if I may use the phrase, "two-faced".

    I have no idea whether Mr.Slater has met Andy Murray or not but to say that he "doesn't want to represent team GB" (and this goes for all of you) is a comment that can only be made by someone who actually knows the guy. Ignorance in my view...

    Isn't it possible that for once he just had a bad day at the office. I'll be the first to acknowledge that the guy sometimes doesn't have the best on court game face and he needs to work on this but the article above is ridiculously over the top....

    The one question that I would put to Matt Slater is this...if Andy Murray had won this match in straight sets but still had the same body language throught as he did today would you be singing his praises?....I think you would.

    N.B To the modulators - feel free to delete this comment if you feel this violates your Terms and conditons but ask yourself this first....if Mr.Slater can have a massive go at one of our best sportsman why can't I have a go at one of the BBC's "best" journalists?

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  • 32. At 6:33pm on 11 Aug 2008, pottiella wrote:

    Thankfully some people with common sense.

    I totally agree with the fact that when Andy won his first masters, he was bearly given a headline by the BBC - yet one defeat and there are cries of criticism resonating across the british press...I'm sure not matched in any shape or form by the doubles win, which to the commentators' credit acknowledged was probably a bigger achievement for Andy given his bruises from earlier.

    Matt, looking further through your recent stuff (and yes, you win, your awful service made me go click on other things you wrote to see if they were just as bad - well done you for getting so many hits), if you find everything so tiresome, can't be bothered with the sports anymore and seem only to see the negativity (wow, isn't that how you just described Andy Murray?! Talk about 'taking one to know one'!) then don't bother, come back and give your place to any one of the millions of people around the world who would give and arm and a leg for the opportunity, and would probably do a better job than you in reporting objectively.

    Like someone said perfectly, a blog is no excuse for bad journalism.

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  • 33. At 6:34pm on 11 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:

    nasher3230, the ATP Masters is a major tennis tournament with all the best players participating. If winning that is less important than Vaughan crying hours before, I'm a banana! Do you think that Vaughan's tears would've remained top story had Lewis Hamilton won a grand prix? No way.

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  • 34. At 6:41pm on 11 Aug 2008, beag_beran wrote:

    While it may be frustrating to know that the Olympics mean less to football and tennis players, how exactly should we determine which sports should stay and which should go? How can the 'pinnacle' of a sport be defined - this is highly subjective, and could depend on nationality (e.g. a British player might say Wimbledon is the pinnacle of tennis, an American might say the US Open). How could tennis be removed, but badminton allowed to stay, when they are very similar as sports? Or hockey and football? It is better to have a few too many Olympic sports, allowing more countries and more sportspeople a chance at medals, than too few.

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  • 35. At 6:47pm on 11 Aug 2008, nasher3230 wrote:

    Motty, I am aware how big the masters are, but they are still not on par with the 4 majors. I consider myself a tennis fan, but I couldnt name the winners of all the masters tournaments this yr.

    My point was their is a national sporting hierarchy which the media will naturally follow. Football is miles ahead at the top, with cricket and rugby 2nd tier. I said that tennis was 2nd class, whereas in reality it is 3rd tier with golf and motorsport. It is clearly above athletics (apart from when the olympics is on), boxing, etc etc.

    The england cricket captain is a high profile postion, so for him to resign is pretty big. This is only escalated by the fact that Vaughan had been in place for 5/6 yrs, had won the Ashes and been the 2nd most successful captain.

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  • 36. At 6:47pm on 11 Aug 2008, c_murphy86 wrote:

    33. At 6:34pm on 11 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:
    nasher3230, the ATP Masters is a major tennis tournament with all the best players participating. If winning that is less important than Vaughan crying hours before, I'm a banana!


    Well Mr Banana while I personally agree with you I'm afraid this is no indication of BBC bias. Look at any backpage or even frontpage newspaper headline from that day you'll see Vaughen was on there.

    Like it or lump it the England Cricket Captain is a major sporting figure in this country, possibly only second behind the football captain and when he resigns it is big news. Perhaps thats because we are more fascinated by politics than sport in this country.

    On the Harrington note let's face it most English are in denial about Ireland and still think its part of Britain.

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  • 37. At 6:50pm on 11 Aug 2008, mancsylynch wrote:


    I cannot believe what i have just read from somebody who works for the BBC.

    He has just written a piece that is easy to write without any substance.

    I agree Murray played badly but that is sport and lets not forget the other guy played well.

    why when one of our top performers doesn't play well is it always because they cannot be bothered.

    If Murray did not want to play he would not have gone and not have won the doubles.

    Maybe Tennis should not be in the tournament but there are other sports such as Road Cycling( where we won a gold) and boxing (where we are likely to win medals) where the olympics are not the pinnacle of an athletes career. It is a great sport so why should the best not be there.

    And all this it's because he does not want to represent Britain is a load of rubbish. He just played a bad game, and luckily he has not played many of them this year.

    Stop the tabloid journalism please

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  • 38. At 6:50pm on 11 Aug 2008, U11846789 wrote:

    Let's have an end to all this Team GB nonsense.

    Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland - should always be 4 separate countries. And the sooner they are, in every respect, the better.

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  • 39. At 6:52pm on 11 Aug 2008, Randascand wrote:

    Nasher3230 and FairPlayMotty - I can understand both your points but I don't think arguing about whether Tennis is a bigger sport than Cricket, or visa-versa, is really the issue here.

    However, Nasher3230, there is something that I want to pick out from your comment....

    HOW THE HECK CAN YOU SAY "his form is consistently inconsistent"? his three previous tournaments hasn't he gone quarter-final, semi-final and then winner? Or am I wrong?

    Sure he lost today but pretty much every player in tennis (and that includes Federer at the moment) would kill for for consistant results like that.

    It is this consistant form which has lead to his rise to 6th in the world rankings...honestly I don't know how some people can come up with these kind of comments!!!

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  • 40. At 6:53pm on 11 Aug 2008, pottiella wrote:

    Nasher3230 - your argument would probably stand, had it not been for the fact that the Vaughn story was from over 12 hours before Andy won!

    What, the cutting edge of international sports journalism, couldn't go from plastering half a page of vaughns teary face to the next big story - over TWELVE HOURS later?!

    I laughed at the 6 o clock news tonight when they called Andy a 'scot'. Same old same old.

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  • 41. At 6:56pm on 11 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:

    c_murphy86, if your comment was accurate, the Vaughan tears would have been the number one story for all of the British media, even after Murray's win. All of the others (Sky Sports, English Broadsheets etc.) had Murray's win as top story. Only the BBC chose the tears. Cricket isn't even a truly global game, it's the empire form of baseball!

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  • 42. At 6:57pm on 11 Aug 2008, nasher3230 wrote:


    I stand by my point about Murray being inconsistent. For the last yr or so he has threatened to cement his place in the top 10 that his talent deserves. A good run at the start of the yr was met with a poor showing at the aussie open (ok, his opponent had a decent tournament). Ok, his form has been good since Wimbledon, and maybe now he has matured enough to claim his place at the top. But I suspect frustrating times will continue for a while...

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  • 43. At 6:59pm on 11 Aug 2008, crazyhorsebob wrote:

    I'm sick of this Nationalistic mumbo jumbo from all sides of the border, as soon as something disapointing happens the snipers come out. Yes Murray is scottish but he represents GB as do all the athletes at the games. He's lost, so what!

    I think the sooner people get over it the better, if people want an independant Scotland, England, Northern Ireland or Wales do it in a political forum or vote for it, bringing it up in a sports disscussion is pointless.

    I'm scottish and totaly apathetic to the political process at the moment because they are all as bad as each other.

    And to bring up nationality within this Blog and of course many others about Andy Murray is shocking, Shall someone write about 'the English failure Tom Daley?'... I think not.

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  • 44. At 6:59pm on 11 Aug 2008, Mr_DinDins wrote:

    Are rich professional sportsmen/women [like Murray and previously Henman] funded to attend the Olympics?
    I cant imagine they would concider paying their own way but i'd rather not see Lottery money etc spent supporting millionaires enabling them to enjoy a bit of a jamboree and who would still become an "Olympian", a title reserved only for heros.

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  • 45. At 7:02pm on 11 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:

    Matt, ever thought of selling insurance?

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  • 46. At 7:04pm on 11 Aug 2008, AnalMcAnal wrote:

    "I laughed at the 6 o clock news tonight when they called Andy a 'scot'. Same old same old."

    I laughed when i read the above comment from yet another Scot with an inferiority complex!

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  • 47. At 7:04pm on 11 Aug 2008, Randascand wrote:

    I cannot believe you guys are still fighting over which is the bigger sport. Oh well.

    mancsylynch - I totally agree...although it does worry me that both our reactions to this article are exactly what the BBC wish to gain from employing these journalists to write these kind of rubbish articles....purely to get peolple talking about and hence boost its profile (ok I know its just a drop in the ocean but every little contributes).

    Finally, The Midland 20, I know that you were looking for a response and against my better judgement I'm going to give you one....please don't subject us to your imature and ridiculously dull comments, noone wants to listen to them.

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  • 48. At 7:09pm on 11 Aug 2008, Randascand wrote:


    A player is not inconsistant if every so often he/she loses in the 1st round...if that was the case then every single player on tour (with PERHAPS, but probably not, the exception of Feds and Nadal) has inconsistant form....

    So if every single player on tour has inconsistant form surely that means that inconsistant form doesn't even exist!!!

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  • 49. At 7:10pm on 11 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    Don't be surprised if Murray comes very close to winning the U.S. Open in a couple of week's time... and pockets more than what Matt Slater earns in a year in the process.

    Unlike Matt Slater, Murray is a professional sportsman who knows what side his bread is buttered on.

    I doubt Murray gives a flying fig for what nonentities like Slater think - and if I was in his position neither would I.

    Sorry if Murray doesn't want to fill the shoes of darling Tim for Mother England, but it just ain't going to happen, so get used to it!

    If Andy went out there for a bit of rest and recreation I wouldn't blame him.

    No doubt he'll be having a good old laugh at nonentity English BBC "bloggers" who earn a fraction of what he does and whose opinions nobody really cares about.

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  • 50. At 7:11pm on 11 Aug 2008, Peter_Griffin wrote:

    From 29:

    "considering the amount of scots that vent their displeasure at having to represent a joint British team, I dont think anyone North of the border has any right claiming that the BBC or anyone else show them disrespect"

    So you would silence people because of what some others from their country say? Riiiiight. Not to mention the fact your logic is hugely flawed.

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  • 51. At 7:13pm on 11 Aug 2008, c_murphy86 wrote:

    Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland - should always be 4 separate countries. And the sooner they are, in every respect, the better.


    I take it you weren't the keynote speaker at the last Ulster Unionist party conference. Setting aside the fact that your suggestion would probably respark civil war in Ireland your comment is presumably about sporting loyalties, do I really want to support a Welsh woman or Scottish bloke if a feel no sense of national identity with them?

    To be honest I could equally say why should I support an athlete from Cornwall? I know nothing about Cornwall I am in no way Cornish why should I want him to do well? Perhaps Cornwall should become a different country too.

    Fact is sport is petty, I hate Scotland in Rugby and Football, love them in cycling and golf, similarly I despise Watford in football but if ever a Watford player were to play for England I'd be delighted if he scored. I hate the Spanish in football but I'm delighted when Sergio Garcia sinks a putt in the Ryder Cup.

    We are all bound together with concentric identities, the countries of the British Isles are forever bound in a shared history and shared culture as are (no matter what UKIP say) the countries of Western Europe and beyond that Europe as a whole and I will pick and choose which one I want to be depending on the occasion. Petty? yes, but it's more fun than being an isolationsist sod.

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  • 52. At 7:15pm on 11 Aug 2008, Randascand wrote:


    I back up your view that Slaters article is a load of rubbish but I fear your just as bad as he is and your comment has taken things at the other side of the argument to an equally "over-the-top" level...

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  • 53. At 7:16pm on 11 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:

    Wouldn't it be great if Matt's bosses read the fair criticism of his poor journalism? Sadly he works for an organisation that seems to have no ability or desire to examine it's failings.

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  • 54. At 7:17pm on 11 Aug 2008, VAMOS wrote:

    the conduct of Messi, Ronaldinho who could have had easy excuses not to be here show that Olympics does matter to superstars, did you see US basketball team yesterday, yes they care! Federer clearly puts Masters tournaments below Olympics and he likened it to US Open. Perhaps in the past but there are clear signs that its improving.

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  • 55. At 7:18pm on 11 Aug 2008, MachinesLives wrote:

    Why are there no poor kids playing tennis?
    fire in the belly, they may just compete a little more than Andy "set down = heads down" Murray.
    And dont get me started on that other one!

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  • 56. At 7:19pm on 11 Aug 2008, c_murphy86 wrote:

    BTW for all those going through the ritual Beeb bashing can we please bare in mind that Matt Slater is only expressing what most of the people in my local and presumably thousands of other across the country were thinking when Murray went out.

    These blogs are designed to spark debate and clearly that has happened, it is not an essay on the subject it is not here to end all arguments so can we lay off the personal jibes and stick to the subject.

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  • 57. At 7:19pm on 11 Aug 2008, crazyhorsebob wrote:


    You said what i wanted to say, It comes down to sporting identiy. I hate England in football but will support every Englisman or woman who competes for GB.

    When i say hate, that is actually of media, because quite frankly the Media fuel the so called 'Hatred'.

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  • 58. At 7:20pm on 11 Aug 2008, VAMOS wrote:

    Some really awful posts from Scottish posters, don’t you lot see that you are contradicting yourselves and affirming the article? Why do you lot always have to bite the hand that feeds you!

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  • 59. At 7:20pm on 11 Aug 2008, billtilden wrote:

    I feel obliged to draw this seriously poor article to the attention of the bbc. It is embarrassing that an article of this standard is given such a prominent position on the website.

    I understand it's a supposed blog but that by no means allows for someone to write such utter nonsense. I do not know where to begin in tearing it to shreds.

    "The really annoying thing about the inclusion of tennis (and basketball and football, to name two other star-studded but distracted "Olympic" sports) is that it queers the pitch for those sports that really do need and value the Games." What on earth? It queers the pitch...I mean, seriously?

    And this guy is actually on site in China? That annoys me further...

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  • 60. At 7:20pm on 11 Aug 2008, Excumbrian wrote:

    "I think there is a chance that would widen the gap between the two formats, effectively creating two sports: a popular/professional one called singles, and an Olympic one called doubles. Players who chose the latter would probably need funding."

    There is already a huge gap between singles (boring) and doubles (exciting). Gone are the days when the top players played like McEnroe played doubles -- let alone mixed doubles.

    I'd be all for dropping tennis from the Olympics -- but if we're going to keep it, ditch the singles and keep the doubles.

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  • 61. At 7:22pm on 11 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:


    This blog was an integral part of the BBC's coverage of Murray's match. Just look at the Sky Sports coverage of the same story. The BBC has a grudge.

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  • 62. At 7:22pm on 11 Aug 2008, Robert wrote:

    Well most of the comments here have got it right. A very poor article indeed. Andy Murray wasn't bad today. He was the victim of a good player who turned up with fire in his belly and played the match of his life. It happens all the time in tennis: Djokovic, for example, crashed out of Wimbledon in the 2nd Round. Federer has had a couple of 1st/2nd Round defeats in the past six months. I don't suppose Mr Lu has just won a masters' tournament or had to travel round the world to get to Beijing. Most of the British olympic team aren't having to squeeze this event into as crowded a schedule as the tennis players. When that happens you can expect some seeded players to go out early, and Murray won't be the only one.

    The thing is, though, Andy Murray has very obviously revelled in being at the Olympics since he arrived and to suggest he couldn't be bothered is insulting, demeaning and not worthy of BBC journalism. He will have been devastated to have lost, not least because, as everyone knows, he's desperate to have another go at Nadal. Very poor show, Mr Slater.

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  • 63. At 7:24pm on 11 Aug 2008, VAMOS wrote:

    how can you call singles boring compared to doubles? there is no skill in doubles, no rallies, when you watch a match like rafa v fed compared to any doubles match which is just school smash tennis, its laughable

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  • 64. At 7:25pm on 11 Aug 2008, SportsUnited2009 wrote:

    Oh great. Another article on here from another person who thinks he's better than the actual sportsman.

    Murray wanted to represent Great Britain, he obviously was trying in his match or he wouldn't of been so frustrated and annoyed when he lost points.

    And If he didn't care about the Olympics, why did he and his brother just pull off a terrific doubles win?

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  • 65. At 7:27pm on 11 Aug 2008, Randascand wrote:


    so your a fan of this kind of article are you? One where people have a massive go at someone who they don't even know? How do you know...perhaps Andy Murray is lying in his bed right now tossing and turning because he is so disappointed that a) he let himself down (because of a poor performance and nothing else) and b) because he couldn't bring team GB back another medal? just don't know....and thats why I believe that views like yourself and Matt Slaters aren't amazingly beneficial...

    Imagine he read this tomorrow, why should he continue to be polite to the British public and media when every time he loses (which isn't that often) his commitment and attitude is put into question?

    Furthermore, If any of the other GB olympians read this I'm sure it wouldn't give them much confidance knowing that back home the media is ready to jump on their backs as soon as they perform even slightly under their potential.

    THIS IS WHY MYSELF AND OTHERS ARE GIVING MR.SLATER A HARD TIME. At least you can appreacite my arguments? Mmm...perhaps not.

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  • 66. At 7:33pm on 11 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    Randascand -

    "I back up your view that Slaters article is a load of rubbish but I fear your just as bad as he is and your comment has taken things at the other side of the argument to an equally "over-the-top" level..."

    I really appreciate you saying I'm as good as Slater - and you're right. I should be getting paid as much as Slater for doing this, if not more - because I'm prepared to come back on and answer my critics like a man. Happy to see that my ability to rattle cages is right up there with the "best" the BBC has to offer. And delighted to tell you that the more people like you write in to say how much they enjoy it the more I will continue to do it!


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  • 67. At 7:34pm on 11 Aug 2008, eloquentjayjay wrote:

    I cannot believe a BBC sports journalist is saying such negative stuff about Andy Murray. He obviously knows nothing about tennis. For anyone who watched the match it was clear to see how much Andy wanted to win. He simply had a bad day at the office - it happens in all sports. Lu played an unbelievable match - way above his ranking. The fact that Andy came back in the doubles 2 hours later and won shows how much character he has.
    The Brits (English/Scottish/Welsh/Irish) should get behind Andy - he's the best hope in a long time of becoming a tennis champion for Britain.

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  • 68. At 7:36pm on 11 Aug 2008, stwl wrote:

    What strikes me as bizarre is that almost everyone here has either

    (a) attacked Matt Slater for rubbishing Andy Murray's performance, or
    (b) attacked Matt Slater for defending Andy Murray's performance.

    Looking for the middle ground: I thought the article was OK. The Olympics is bloated; tennis should go. Retaining doubles seems rather arbitrary, as many good doubles pairings are international and would not be eligible.

    Randascand: if Andy Murray is having sleepless nights over letting the nation down, he should know better than to feel that way over a minor tournament. Save it for the Slams.

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  • 69. At 7:37pm on 11 Aug 2008, 12AVM12 wrote:

    Matt, do you really need to make escuses for Jamie's wavering mental strenght? Furthermore, how different would your article have been had Jamie won, let alone won a medal?

    I agree that tennis at the Olympics has not been the most important item on the tour but with the lineup this time around and the motivation from the likes of Federer to win, it deserves more credit.

    Massu also deserves more credit than you give him.

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  • 70. At 7:38pm on 11 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:


    Good post - where are you Mr. Slater?

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  • 71. At 7:39pm on 11 Aug 2008, hakluytbean wrote:

    "I laughed at the 6 o clock news tonight when they called Andy a 'scot'. Same old same old. "

    Yeah it's an old criticism but tbh it works both ways. If you represent GB you can't expect to be Scottish only when you win, British when you lose. Or maybe you can?

    I get the impression the BBC have sent around one of their memos this year to ensure mention is made of every layer of identity, particularly on the web site where they've got the space to do it. I noticed Nicole Cook being Welsh was mentioned quite a bit. She won so that's good. The only difference with Andy is that he lost.

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  • 72. At 7:41pm on 11 Aug 2008, Anthony in Rugby wrote:

    I don't think Murray's exit does anything but allow people to air the various prejudices that they hold. So for me, criticising Murray for disrespecting the Olympics is unfair. Raising the Scottish question is just for tabloid readers.

    I'm with those who think that sports for which the Olympics is not the pinnacle should not be there. Most Olympics fans I talk to couldn't care less who wins these peripheral show-sports. Leave them to their trophy seeking and enjoy the real Olympic competition elsewhere. (But come on Andy for the US Open - a genuinely important competition for tennis.)

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  • 73. At 7:42pm on 11 Aug 2008, wally_crumbs wrote:

    The Midland 20- "Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland - should always be 4 separate countries. And the sooner they are, in every respect, the better."
    I think it would be best if some people knew their geography. People can enter team GB from Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. People from Northern Ireland can also enter Team Ireland. So Ireland already has a separate Olympic team but it's just peple like Alan Campbell choose to represent a team which is based across the water.

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  • 74. At 7:43pm on 11 Aug 2008, c_murphy86 wrote:

    so your a fan of this kind of article are you? One where people have a massive go at someone who they don't even know? How do you know...perhaps Andy Murray is lying in his bed right now tossing and turning because he is so disappointed that a) he let himself down (because of a poor performance and nothing else) and b) because he couldn't bring team GB back another medal? just don't know....and thats why I believe that views like yourself and Matt Slaters aren't amazingly beneficial...


    Look at my other comments I don't agree with Slater, I just don't like it when people turn debates into attacks against individuals or the way that every debate on this website gets turned into an argument about BBC prejudices and sports bashing other sports. The question of how the Olympics can gain a more prominent place in the Tennis calendar is an important one and one worth debating and as such it is deserving of a prominent place on the website.

    I would never question Murray's ability, drive or mental toughness, I have no doubt the defeat will be hurting him a lot.

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  • 75. At 7:44pm on 11 Aug 2008, realisticbob wrote:

    nasher3230: the fact that Andy Murray represents Britain in the tennis world in a tournament in the second tier behind the grand slams and wins one is surely something that should be given more coverage than the england cricket captain resigning. I simply dont understand why the bbc shouldnt be renamed the ebc! (english broadca...) as a scot, i know the english have a right to see what goes on in their summer sport, but the scots up here in majority dont care who the english captain is while people from all arond britain are interested to see how andy does because he represents britain. does that not make it first priority?

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  • 76. At 7:46pm on 11 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:

    Sadly one of the BBC's most vehement fans is probably the leader of the SNP!

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  • 77. At 7:47pm on 11 Aug 2008, Darren McGuinness wrote:

    Take a look at baseball for an example of how the professional game overrules the, apparently, amateur one.

    Baseball stars in the Major Leagues in America and other nations are almost banned by their clubs from attending the Games and representing their country because of the importance of the season. The gold medal isn't as important as the World Series and even sides that aren't competing for a playoff berth at this stage of the year are reluctant to let their superstars head off.

    Indeed, all of the USA's team come from the minor leagues, where there's less money and coverage, and expected to compete with the Cubans (who shut off their season for the event) and other sides, such as China, Korea and Japan.

    It's a great honour to get a medal but sometimes the financial obligation of your profession gets in the way; I believe even Lionel Messi, after hearing that Barcelona were fighting for him to come back, admitted that it was they who paid his wages and he has to put that ahead of personal and national glory in a competition that isn't really recognised as an international event.

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  • 78. At 7:47pm on 11 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #70 FairPlayMotty

    Thanks for your support.

    And apart from that, I'm right aren't I?
    These BBC bloggers are "big" men when they're having a dig but not hard enough to come back on and answer people's specific arguments.
    It's a joke. They call these articles "blogs" but they are not blogs or even interactive forums. They are just they same old control freak one-way broadcasting systems we've always had transferred on to the internet.

    If the BBC don't like the fact their readers can answer back then don't provide them with the facility to do so! And if some of the posters, like myself, are doing as good or better job of putting the opposite side of the argument in a way that is more entertaining and reaction-provoking than they can then - tough!!
    Just shows they are being paid too much because what they like to think is some sort of special "skill" is easily matched by people like me - in fact I'm better and they know it!

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  • 79. At 7:50pm on 11 Aug 2008, NightRider wrote:

    What a whiny article. If Murray had won this one single match, you would already be heralding him as the next Olympic champion. Like they have been proclaiming for the last 15 years or so that Henman would win Wimbledon. He has won nowt and nor will Murray.

    Now that he hasnt won, this is a bogus tournament. There are only 200 people watching it and the last man who won it is inconsequential because his name is Massu.

    These are very poor statements made by someone who is supposed to cover these games. But well, it is not unexpected as I expect this kind of journalism. If you read the sports pages during wimbledon month, or read Ted Corbetts' column during a test match, you know what I mean.

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  • 80. At 7:51pm on 11 Aug 2008, Russ Wirral wrote:

    Andys attitude stinks. I saw him at the opening ceremony walking into the stadium in the blue suit, every one in Team GB was smiling and waiving - happy to be there... Andy wasn't, he had his usual 'serious' face on. Simarily when he was being interviewed on TV and seemed to think he had already qualified. Commenting on how because the Lu was ranked less than him that he is all but garunteed a win.

    Strange I nearly wept when Addlington won the Gold today, I laughed out loud when i heard Murrys result...

    This guy needs a lesson taught. I reckon a similar fate at the US Open might do the trick.

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  • 81. At 7:52pm on 11 Aug 2008, kris wrote:

    Despite the criticism of this blog entry, i have to say I and everyone, once they've thought about the issue, has to agree with the general message of the blog - that tennis should not be a part of the Olympics. It's not the biggest prize, its not as big as the four grand slams, and I'd go as far as to say its not as big as the masters either. To put it simply, the masters events, as Andy has just won in Cincinnati, are worth one hell of a lot of money, ranking points and prestige. After all Henman - a great player though he was - won only one in his career. And quite frankly as a tennis fan wishing Andy Murray the best I'd far far rather he won one masters in his career than one olympic gold. Until that changes therefore, tennis should not be an olympic sport as the olympic gold should be seen as the most important accolade.

    On further issues i am disgusted by the treatment of Justine Henin by this article - she is, as the blogger completely misses out, the current Olympic champion...

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  • 82. At 7:53pm on 11 Aug 2008, Geog2000 wrote:

    Matt, although I agree with a little of what you say, the part about Andy Murray you are way off the mark.

    Are you trying to tell me, after travelling thousands of miles, he couldn't be bothered winning after the first set. Tell me did you actually watch the match?!!

    'Sadly, it seemed to dawn on the (by now) Scot'. And what's that about. Why do the media insist on bringing the fact that he is Scottish into the equation. Yeh, well done, 10 points for observation. Does he call himself Scottish over GB? Yeh, so what!

    He put on a GB shirt and gave it his best. Yes, he didn't play to his potential, but his opponent played the game of his career. Give him a pat on his back, instead of shoving Andy's!

    Why do the media insist on putting sportsmen/women on their shoulders until they do something imperfect and then dropping them on their backsides.

    Your comment on whether a sport should be in the olympics if you do not deem it the most important event is correct. I quite agree. But come on, leave the guy alone if he has a bad day.

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  • 83. At 7:58pm on 11 Aug 2008, Robert wrote:

    "What strikes me as bizarre is that almost everyone here has either

    (a) attacked Matt Slater for rubbishing Andy Murray's performance, or
    (b) attacked Matt Slater for defending Andy Murray's performance."


    What most people have objected to, stwl2006, is Mr Slater suggesting that Andy Murray doesn't care about the Olympics and couldn't be bothered trying to win that match. That's incredibly insulting to a player who works really hard and has repeatedly said how proud he is to be representing Britain in Beijing. To say that he was 'sulking' just shows that this journalist doesn't watch that much tennis. He would know that Andy gets angry with himself when he doesn't play up to his own high standards. That's not 'sulking', it's frustration. Losing a first round match is tough for any true competitor, but anyone who follows Murray knows that he absolutely hates to lose any match, and I suppose what angers people is when a journalist appears to trivialise a loss in order to spin an article out of it.

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  • 84. At 8:00pm on 11 Aug 2008, realisticbob wrote:

    russwirral: andy murray was smiling, chatting to his brother and waving the union jack about in the opening ceremony. i dont get how that means he has his serious face on!
    i have a suggestion... go to and read his 'twitter's' about the opening ceremony being 'awesome' which confuses me when the thought of him not wanting to be there crosses my mind.

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  • 85. At 8:03pm on 11 Aug 2008, The_Portugeezzer wrote:

    I couldn't agree more with eloquentjayjay, everyone complains that there isn't a good british tennis player and when they get one, everyone turns aginst him.

    Clear to see how much that match meant to him by his effort on court and reactions after losing a point.

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  • 86. At 8:07pm on 11 Aug 2008, DJHDJH wrote:

    Has nobody worked out that Slater's comments were actually self-depricating towards the media and the way that they refer to Murray selectively as a Brit or a Scot. They were not a dig at Murray himself.

    The overall point is right, though, about sports which shouldn't be there. If Murray didn't try, and frankly I don't think he is the sort of player to just give up (but is the sort to beat the best and lose to the worst) I wouldn't have been shocked given that it is not as important even as a Masters Series event. And football is just daft, an U23's World Cup where you can break the rules a few times. Squash would be far more deserving of a place - even being in the Commonwealths has been such a buzz for that sport.

    Basketball should be kept, though. Apart from the NBA which is almost entirely American, the Olympics are the biggest thing in that sport.

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  • 87. At 8:08pm on 11 Aug 2008, Robert wrote:

    "Andys attitude stinks. I saw him at the opening ceremony walking into the stadium in the blue suit, every one in Team GB was smiling and waiving - happy to be there... Andy wasn't, he had his usual 'serious' face on"

    So you missed the bit where he was grinning and waving at the camera, did you? Some people find it hard to grin continuously for three hours, strangely enough, and the poor guy happened not to be grinning in the 10 seconds that you happened to see, nor was his brother. But what would you care - it's very important to you, the continuous grinning, obviously....

    You're clearly not very observant in general. The suits were white, not blue.

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  • 88. At 8:08pm on 11 Aug 2008, realisticbob wrote:

    yeah when we get someone half decent in tennis after years of whining that we needed a world class player when henman was on his final descent, we slam him in every aspect of his game and turn our back on him instead of getting behind the guy and encouraing him!

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  • 89. At 8:10pm on 11 Aug 2008, c_murphy86 wrote:

    77. At 7:47pm on 11 Aug 2008, jonezeeman wrote:
    Take a look at baseball for an example of how the professional game overrules the, apparently, amateur one.


    You make a good point, In USA Major League regular season clashes with the Olympics, so it's considered unimportant, the NBA is in the summer break, but a percieved lack of competition means its often considered a kind of exhibition for the US stars (of course not this year), a good way of gaining endorsments and an easy accolade but not worth breaking a sweat over. Its only in Hockey where the NHL shuts down during Winter Olympics to allow players to take part and there is strong traditions and rivalries between nations that seems to be a truly successful Olympic sport.

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  • 90. At 8:11pm on 11 Aug 2008, realisticbob wrote:

    when andy murray was berating himself on court a few months back the public took a disliking to him for being arrogant on court.

    When he changed and became calm and less emotional he was slammed for having no personality!

    is i just me thats confused?!

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  • 91. At 8:14pm on 11 Aug 2008, Ranko wrote:

    I took this article, less to be about Andy Murray and more to do about what is and isn't an 'Olympic Sport' and I thought it was spot on.
    The fact is tennis is not an Olympic sport. Neither is Football, neither is Basketball and neither is any other event that the gold medal is not the biggest prize.
    The Olympics IS great though and I can't wait for the athletics. I am really chuffed about the cycling (which is going to get better) and swimming, and we are sure to get medals in the sailing.
    By the way I am a very proud Brit and a proud Scot but that doesn't mean I have to support England, Wales or Northern Ireland when they compete as separate enitities.

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  • 92. At 8:21pm on 11 Aug 2008, sheepyknees wrote:

    Olympic tennis is like Olympic football... Nobody cares!

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  • 93. At 8:22pm on 11 Aug 2008, NikosBog wrote:

    Oh really.

    Why didn't you tell us that Olympic Tennis doesn't really matter BEFORE Murray lost. Your analysis would have some credibility then.

    On the contrary, the BBC have been going on how important it is and why we should look forward to it. Until today that is.


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  • 94. At 8:23pm on 11 Aug 2008, c_murphy86 wrote:

    92. At 8:21pm on 11 Aug 2008, sheepyknees wrote:
    Olympic tennis is like Olympic football... Nobody cares!


    .....I care

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  • 95. At 8:25pm on 11 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:

    Matt, it could be worse. Your mum probably still thinks you're a good journalist

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  • 96. At 8:25pm on 11 Aug 2008, Wot Kuyt 'e did wrote:

    Is there something wrong with me or my posts ?

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  • 97. At 8:27pm on 11 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:


    Are you Matt or his mum?

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  • 98. At 8:28pm on 11 Aug 2008, NikosBog wrote:

    Matt Slater who do you think you are? Are you paid for your job?

    If so, what a waste of money...

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  • 99. At 8:28pm on 11 Aug 2008, Sambo wrote:

    Seriously, is this guy getting paid to write stuff like this? Sometimes good players lose matches they shouldn't lose, that's sport. To get on Andy's back and claim he didn't try is naive.

    It seems to me Matt Slater is the one sulking. "Tennis playes don't respect the games" *sulk* "Murray didn't try hard enough because the US Open is just around the corner" *sob sob* "Im not watching the doubles, i no longer care about the sport" *sniffle*.

    Get over it. I agree tennis shouldn't be an Olympic sport. The 4 Slams are far more important for tennis players. Then there's the 9 Masters Series and the Masters Cup that are a bigger deal too. The Olympics is a novelty for tennis players, they can take it or leave it.

    However, this does not mean tennis "fails" as you put it. It would be closer to the mark to say that this indicates its success. Tennis doesn't need the Olympics, it stands strong on its own.

    Perhaps you shouldn't try to write tennis articles.

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  • 100. At 8:30pm on 11 Aug 2008, PlasticGloryHunter wrote:

    "i know the english have a right to see what goes on in their summer sport, but the scots up here in majority dont care who the english captain is while people from all arond britain are interested to see how andy does because he represents britain. does that not make it first priority?"

    realisticbob, I see your logic but the reality is that team sports (particularly football, rugby union and cricket) trump individual sports for public interest. People feel more attachment to teams than to individuals since there is more of a sense that they are representing "us" rather than themselves. The team is bigger than the individual. When a player gets injured, the team continues without him. "We" are GB/England/Scotland/etc but "we" are not Andy Murray or Lewis Hamilton, they just happen to be from the same island as us.

    So I think the BBC probably got it right with Vaughan being the bigger story than Murray. I don't believe, as somebody else suggested, that Lewis Hamilton winning a Grand Prix would have been elevated above Vaughan's resignation (the implication being that Hamilton would be treated differently than Murray because of some perceived English/Scots bias).

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  • 101. At 8:34pm on 11 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:


    So why did Sky Sports and the broadsheet websites have Murray's triumph as the lead story? The only outlier was the BBC.

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  • 102. At 8:41pm on 11 Aug 2008, rondun wrote:

    If you really were a sports journalist you'd know that tennis was part of the first modern Olympic games 1896 - of course it's an Olympic sport.

    Reading your blog, it is clear to me that even when Andy gets beaten by a player ranked 70 places below him, he is better at his job than you will ever be.

    That the BBC wastes part of my licence fee on your wages is a disgrace and I'll be making sure they know it.

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  • 103. At 8:42pm on 11 Aug 2008, Pickles91 wrote:

    Do they gain ranking points playing in this? If so it is ridiculous once every 4 years! It is a waste of time, it is full of the Federers who if they win it ye it is great but if they don't know one cares.

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  • 104. At 8:46pm on 11 Aug 2008, leighton_87 wrote:

    I agree with the comments that to be an olympic sport the olympics should be the pinnacle of that sport.

    I find it difficult to understand how tennis can be an olympic sport but not squash.

    One interesting idea mentioned above was a smaller davis cup style olympic event. I believe this would make it feel different from the grand slams and therefore wouldn't be seen as a lesser singles event. Also this may inspire some real national pride in the team and we would see some real olympic values shine through when the players are playing for each other not just themselves.

    Whether the big players play or not it wouldn't matter. As long as everyone that plays is hungry for the win.

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  • 105. At 8:50pm on 11 Aug 2008, Matt Slater wrote:

    Evening all, nice to see a lively debate has started without me (apologies bighullabaloo, we're seven hours ahead of you and I was getting something to eat).

    I haven't got time right now (it's 0300) to answer each and every accusation/question so I'll just make a few general comments.

    As some of the later posters have pointed out this piece is really about tennis' position in the Games, not Andy Murray.

    My references to Murray's nationality were jokes aimed at the English media's habit of describing somebody as British when they win and Scottish/Welsh/N Irish when they lose. To be honest, I'm surprised anybody failed to spot that.

    I was at the game and watched it very closely. Both players started poorly but Murray's range/weight of shots got him ahead in the first set and into a position he should have converted. But Lu kept hanging in there and Murray started to make more and more unforced errors. He was timid when he had chances to win at 5-3 and 6-5 and was thoroughly disillusioned in the tie-break.

    I have no axe to grind with Murray and I have never criticised his play before but he WAS sulking at this stage of the match (prior to the rain delay at 7-6 2-0). He was unhappy with fans being let in during play, annoyed with the umpire for the call at the end of the tie-break and mainly angry with himself. Fair play to him, he battled hard after the resumption but was now chasing the game against a far more confident opponent.

    Now, if I have given the impression that Murray actually didn't want to win or gave up, I apologise. I don't think that's what I have actually written and it's certainly not what I meant.

    What I am suggesting is that at this level these things can be decided by very small differences in motivation and application. Things were not going his way in the game, Lu sniffed his chance and that was that.

    The fact he was able to dig a bit deeper in the doubles suggests to me the added incentive of not wanting to let his brother or team down played a part, as perhaps did wounded pride from his poor display in the singles......and I'm sorry to say it was a poor display, as in he just didn't play very well. It happens, I know, I'm saying it doesn't really matter because his real focus and ambitions for this season should be the grand slams. That is where he has to step up a level.

    Somebody suggested something about Henin-Hardenne. Where am I being rude/disrespectful about her? And I do mention that she has won it (I list the female winners in order). The asthma/Beijing comment is based on quotes she gave before she retired.

    And somebody else picked me up for my doubles/amateur boxing analogy. I think you've misunderstood what I was trying to say. I'm more than happy to debate this further with you as it seems a more fruitful exercise but it will have to wait until tomorrow.

    But before I log off I would like to apologise for mixing up Andy and Jamie's ages.

    That was an example of poor journalism, everything else is just my opinion, and yours.

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  • 106. At 8:51pm on 11 Aug 2008, stwl wrote:

    I didn't get the impression Matt Slater was accusing Murray of not trying or not caring, just suggesting that he wasn't up for it like he would have been if it were a Slam, or if he were competing in some other Olympic sport.

    I was disappointed that he lost: a medal would have boosted the UK's overall standings, and perhaps made the section of the British public who still dislike Murray reconsider their position. In terms of his career - who would remember? How often do we talk of Henman and Broad's Olympic silver?

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  • 107. At 8:53pm on 11 Aug 2008, Sambo wrote:

    You showed tones of being condescending to Andy and to tennis as a sport. You could persuade people otherwise, but its quite clear to me.

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  • 108. At 8:57pm on 11 Aug 2008, another_diatribe wrote:

    I'm so glad to see some balance, at least from the majority of posters on this thread. I am heartily sick of the build 'em up then knock 'em down attitude of journalists in this country towards our sports people, particularly from those at the BBC - you're not a tabloid so please stop dumbing down to the lowest common denominator format which those publications employ - is it any wonder that people have polarised views if all you offer them is sensationalist headlines at both ends of the spectrum?

    Sure, Andy Murray had a bad day at the office but he was playing against an opponent who, on the day, was inspired by one of the biggest occasions of his career and who was no doubt supported on the home front....home advantage was obviously ok when the boot was on the other foot at SW19.

    These things happen in sport, even to the Federers of the world, that's what makes it interesting and competitive. Granted, Andy doesn't always have the best demeanour and shows his frustration on court but I believe that is because he cares enormously about what he does - presumably he wouldn't put himself through it otherwise, not least because of the subsequent castigation he receives in the press if he fails to achieve. It's not a popularity contest, it's professional sport and it's a tough way to earn a living, particularly growing up in the goldfish bowl. I'm pretty sure that most of the people who invite us to read their 'informed' views on the subject were never ranked in the top 6 in the world at anything, or for that matter, have any idea of the grit and determination it takes to get there, least of all by the age of 21...I don't either but I try to imagine.

    Although an avid tennis fan I don't believe that tennis should be an Olympic sport as, as many have said, it is not the pinnacle of achievement in that field. However, given that it is an Olympic sport, I'm sure our 2 representatives relish the opportunity that is presented to them to represent their country i.e. Britain. If you read Andy's comments after the match, it's obvious that he is disappointed in himself, but feels that he still has an opportunity to win what, for him, would be a more important title, with his brother. Credit to him for dragging himself up again for their match, I don't imagine many of us would be up for that at 10.30pm.

    Incidentally, unless you'd looked up the scores, you would have no idea that the no.5 seed, David Ferrer and the no.3 womens' seed, Svetlana Kuznetsova also "crashed out" (as you are so fond of putting it)...guess those two don't merit a mention, after all it's much easier to use our guy as the punch bag again.

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  • 109. At 8:58pm on 11 Aug 2008, Sam wrote:

    'Move over Murray, these Games ain't for you'

    Pretty easy to say now; because he lost.
    Bet you wouldn't have said that before the games.

    He went to Beijing because hes the best we have. That headline is a pretty weak attack, since you only said this because he had a bad day and lost. I'm sure 9/10 times he would beat that opponent.

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  • 110. At 8:59pm on 11 Aug 2008, PlasticGloryHunter wrote:

    FairPlayMotty, I don't know why the newspapers called it differently. There's no "right" answer, it's a judgement call for the editor as to whether Vaughan's resignation or Murray's victory would be more important to their readers.

    The BBC could probably give us a good idea of the relative public interest in cricket and tennis by revealing the number of hits received by each section of the BBC Sports website.

    Also, I don't recall Henman or Rusedski's Masters Series wins being particularly hyped either.

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  • 111. At 9:00pm on 11 Aug 2008, 1Wattie wrote:

    So TheMidland 20.
    You think that G B should be split into England Scotland N Ireland and Wales but surely that would lead to even more regional arguements. Ask someone from Leeds if they are English and the answer will probably be NO I`M a YORKSHIREMAN or someone from Newcastle will tell you NO I`M a GEORDIE.
    Like it or not buddy we are ALL British so lets just enjoy it and all the friendly banter that goes with it

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  • 112. At 9:00pm on 11 Aug 2008, Mr_Gallagher wrote:

    What could (and should) have been a serious article examining why Murray lost his singles match, went down the toilet when the author (whom I've never heard of and won't be going out of my way to read any of his 'journalism' in the near future) jumped on the well-worn British media bandwagon of putting GB sportsmen/women on a pedestal when they win, then queueing up to knock them down at the slightest hint of failure. Unfortunately the 6th-form college style of writing succeeds in making the author appear to be a pompous arse. I wonder how many times Matt Slater has represented his country, or how many sporting titles he'll win in his career?

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  • 113. At 9:00pm on 11 Aug 2008, Matt Slater wrote:

    rondun, read the article again. I know tennis was an original part of the first modern Games, I refer somewhere to its "comeback". I believe the standing jump, tug of war, rugby and shooting live birds were also events back then. Are they all "obviously" Olympic sports?

    sambo, you're wrong. I have never believed tennis should be an Olympic sport. I was going to write this piece today regardless of what happened in Murray's match. The fact he lost really didn't have any bearing on the main thrust of this piece. As for writing tennis articles, yep, I've written a few over the years and will happily write a few more (if asked) when Murray does something wonderful or woeful in a really important tennis event, ie one of the slams, Davis Cup, a Masters Series event.

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  • 114. At 9:06pm on 11 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #105 Matt Slater -

    "Now, if I have given the impression that Murray actually didn't want to win or gave up, I apologise. I don't think that's what I have actually written and it's certainly not what I meant."

    Since, you've seen fit to single me out then I reckon I have the right of reply and we'll see how many here agree with me:

    If what you wrote is not what you meant then you are an even worse journalist than some people here have accused you of being.

    Whilst I can accept your right to have a go at Murray if that's what you really want, what I find totally unbelievable is that you now appear to have had a go at Murray without even realising you were having a go even whilst you were doing it.

    Matt - watch my lips: "Journalism is about being skilled enough with words to say what you mean - and never having to say you're sorry for saying things you didn't mean".

    Did you write the obviously provocative headline for this post? If you didn't I might almost be willing to believe you weren't being wilfully malicious against Murray. If not, then there is no way on Earth you didn't mean to have a go at Murray.

    I might have had more respect for you if you'd come right out and said: "Yeah, i'm having a go of Murray, what of it? He deserves it".

    If you are coming back now and saying "sorry I didn't realise that's how it was going to come across" then any respect I had for you as a journalist (which wasn't much) has just disappeared down the pan.

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  • 115. At 9:06pm on 11 Aug 2008, mimmsie wrote:

    Murray was representing his country, and should have played to the best of his ability. If he didn't want to represent England, but would rather have represented Scotland then he should have said so, instead of looking like he couldn't be bothered to be there. If tennis shouldn't be an Olympic sport then why are the worlds best players playing in the games and PROUD to be there. He was a massive let down to team GB and the likes of Rebbecca Addlington, Jo Jackson and Nicole Cooke, and the rest of the team who have (and will) perform with heart and soul and show the rest of the world that GB are a force to be reckoned with, not a bunch of miserable teenagers that sulk if they are not getting their own way. It will only serve him right if he gets knocked out in the first round of the US, he seems to be good at that.

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  • 116. At 9:09pm on 11 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:

    "He turned up, fresh from a superb (British) win in the US, under the illusion he was a rising star".

    What illusion is that Matt? And you've no axe to grind. Right.

    "As some of the later posters have pointed out this piece is really about tennis' position in the Games, not Andy Murray".

    Mmm, strange heading then Matt. Also, maybe you should have have told your colleagues who inserted part of your blog into the website article about Andy Murray's defeat.

    "OK, I can also guess why Judy Murray was there - she was probably killing time before her elder son Jamie had his big moment in the doubles tournament."

    Probably there watching her son with pride, not killing time.

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  • 117. At 9:12pm on 11 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:


    Well said!

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  • 118. At 9:14pm on 11 Aug 2008, AndyTeacher wrote:

    Who is to deny the tennis players who are actually really excited about the olympics?

    Read Federer's comments on his love of the olympics and it's hard to feel the urge to stop him having the opportunity of winning a gold medal in his sport when he is at the top of it?

    So what if not everyone takes it seriously? I don't feel that there are enough adverse effects from including it. The athletes and badminton players won't value their golds less because Roddick hasn't turned up.

    But why on earth is squash not a sport?

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  • 119. At 9:14pm on 11 Aug 2008, Sambo wrote:

    Matt. Just pick on one part, how do you explain the statement "He turned up, fresh from a superb (British) win in the US, under the illusion he was a rising star".

    Illusion? He is a rising star of the sport, its not an illusion. He's 21 and has risen to 21 in the world. He has every right to think he is a rising star. If this isn't a cheap shot at Andy what is it?

    I agree with you on the fact tennis shouldn't be an Olympic sport, Im not disagreeing with you on that one.

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  • 120. At 9:16pm on 11 Aug 2008, Sambo wrote:

    I meant to say he's 21 and has risen to 6th in the world.

    And agree with 'fairPlayMotty" 100%.

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  • 121. At 9:16pm on 11 Aug 2008, brokenbra wrote:


    I think the main problem with your central argument - that tennis doesn't qualify as an Olympic sport because the main competitors rate other tournaments as more important - is, above all, spectacularly badly timed.

    This may actually have been true at previous Olympics, but this time around nine of the world's top ten in the men's singles are in Beijing - and the only non-attendee, whom you laughably pointed out to strengthen your argument, is Andy Roddick - an absentee who any keen follower of tennis will know is pretty inconsequential.

    If anything, the angle for you piece should have been the opposite - i.e. that despite the Olympics not being the pinnacle of the sport and the US Open being just around the corner, this tournament is still shaping up to be a genuinely competitive spectacle with only the in-decline Andy Roddick not in attendance from the men's top ten.

    In short, this games is actually an advert for tennis being included, rather than the other way around.

    Your comments on the ladies "making their excuses" is just lazy journalism and really does you no favours without anything to back it up.

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  • 122. At 9:17pm on 11 Aug 2008, santista02 wrote:

    Sorry but wasn't this article a new way of saying when you win your British but when you lose your a Scot. There have been countless examples of this in the past and something I have commented on many times before.

    To be very fair to the BBC they have definetly improved in how they report Scots, Welsh and Irish sportsmen and women over the last two years, but equally over the past two years with the development of the website and blogs etc, the headlines for all sports are often sensationalised and equally these lesser stream reporters like Mr Slatter, need to write something so they get a response.

    Could it not be that as Murray is constantly reported on that we feel they need to bash him (and celebrate him). He just failed thats all, sad as it was it is not the first time and it won't be the last this Olympics (or TODAY).

    Why don't we get some reports on how Miss Cooke needed a visonary of a coach who said - look she can't win unless we have girls out there supporting her effort.

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  • 123. At 9:25pm on 11 Aug 2008, vamos2000 wrote:

    Very odd article indeed. I've never been a Murray fan, and don't think I ever will be, but this seems quite an unwarranted attack. Lu actually played very well and although Murray didn't, he was obviously trying hard out there but just came up against someone relishing the chance to play a top player. There are certainly some valid points about tennis being an Olympic sport, along with the strange boxing situaition. However, my main question is why are articles like this being produced? Harrington has just won his second major in a row, barely a word printed, it's as if nothing was going on across the pond for the last four days. It's a bit like the tennis coverage during the year, apart from Wimbledon and the Australian Open, there isn't much information. It seems the same logic applies to the website, 'if we don't cover it, it probably isn't worth our time.' That's a bit of an exaggeration but there are probably more articles on Tom Daley than about PGA Tour and Masters Series events combined over the year.

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  • 124. At 9:25pm on 11 Aug 2008, steve9859 wrote:

    What annoys me the most about the inclusion of non-Olympic sports (to use the quite appropriate definition in the article) is that they are included at the expense of other sports. The IOC manage the olympics to a certain number of competitors that are allocated between sports. The numbers in rowing, for example, are severely cut back compared to the world championships due to this quota (note only 2 or 3 heats of 4 crews in eights and fours - there are double that number at the world championships, and also more events). I am sure it is the same for many other olympic sports. Successful athletes (in one case this year, a rowing world silver medallist) miss the Olympics because of this. Just so that uninterested tennis players or footballers can go to an event that they don't really care about

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  • 125. At 9:26pm on 11 Aug 2008, OhAndWhatACatch wrote:

    Replace Tennis with cricket!

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  • 126. At 9:28pm on 11 Aug 2008, VAMOS wrote:

    that is such blinkered vision, when Murray wins the Scotts cant wait to come on the bbc forums and slate how England dont have anyone and AM thinks this and that

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  • 127. At 9:30pm on 11 Aug 2008, stwl wrote:

    bighullabaloo: I suppose it wouldn't have looked right if he'd come back and said "I apologise to the readers who were too stupid to apprehend what I meant"...

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  • 128. At 9:33pm on 11 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:


    If many people (including yourself it would seem) are so confused about the intent of your words, maybe you need to write with greater care. Or just admit that most of the stuff about Andy Murray was garbage.

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  • 129. At 9:35pm on 11 Aug 2008, William H wrote:

    It's a pretty bad sign for a sport when a lot of emphasis is placed on the Olympics.

    If the only thing that really matters is an event which comes around once every 4 years, and in which, if you are lucky (I saw 5 seconds of fencing on the Beeb this morning, though I'm sure this is an abberation that won't be repeated), your sport's coverage will be slotted in briefly between the seemingly endless heats of rowing and swimming, then your sport is in trouble.

    Perhaps you want to kick out all the successful sports, but I doubt the olympics would maintain it's appeal, or it's credibility as the height of sports competition.

    Oh, and if an upset win, like Massu's, is a problem, then perhaps we should get rid of the 400m women's freestyle. Perhaps Adlington's rivals were focused on a forthcoming event?

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  • 130. At 9:36pm on 11 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #117 FairPlayMotty

    Like I said, I'm sure there are other people here who don't like having their intelligence insulted.

    Slater writes Murray had a "far more up-for-it opponent" and that he was watched Murray "battle the voice in his head telling him to give up”.

    Then he expects us to swallow this bs:
    "Now, if I have given the impression that Murray actually didn't want to win or gave up, I apologise. I don't think that's what I have actually written and it's certainly not what I meant."

    The headline on this post can hardly be regarded by any rational person than anything other than a dig at Murray, effectively saying he didn't deserve to wear the GB shirt (even if it was "ill fitting" as the BBC match report sneers).

    I am prepared to accept opinions, I am prepared to accept apologies for poor journalism, but I am not prepared to accept someone trying to tell me that when they wrote "down" they actually meant "up" and that if that was the impression they gave then, soory, it wan't what they meant.

    I have some bad news for you Matt, and this comes from someone with 30 years experience as a professional communicator: The writer of an article has 100% responsibility for how it is interpreted by those who read it.

    Yes, that's right Matt, I'm talking to you!
    It's your job to make sure that what you write gives the exact impression you mean it to have.

    That's an old fashioned thing that many BBC "bloggers" - apparently - haven't quite got their head around yet. It's called "journalistic skill".

    So, do us a favour. Don't write the sort of mean comments you've written in this article, then flutter your eyelashes and expect us all to think it was just a slip of the tongue.

    Saying exactly what you mean is - wait for it - exactly what they're supposed to be paying you for!

    If you're seeing reactions you weren't expecting it's time to have a serious rethink on your career choice.

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  • 131. At 9:44pm on 11 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:

    The Sky Sports website has much better coverage of the Murray olympic stories. It is objective, fair and factual without the need for personal attacks and pettiness. Maybe that's why Andy Murray talks to the Sky journalists more than their BBC counterparts.

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  • 132. At 9:46pm on 11 Aug 2008, santista02 wrote:

    Tennis was in the first Games! And what constitutes an Olympic Sport? The Modern Pentathlon was invented by Baron Piere de Coubatain, who, guess what won Gold. He only invented the games as a result the French being defeated in the 1870s war with Russia. He borrowed the idea from smaller scale "Olympics" games taking place in the UK and adored the British aristorcratic creation of "amateur", which allowed the elite to participate at the exspense of the masses.
    Norman Foster is no longer invited to compete but surely would have been a Gold medelest had he been part of the architecture event at the 1912 games.
    Let's bring back, purely " "amateur" of course, Pygmy wrestling, that was such a hit at the 1904 games.
    I don't condem our sporting heritage as there have been good as well as bad from such ideals, but I do not ignor it either. It took over 20 years for women to be welcome at such games and 1988, before they were healthy enough to run a Marathon!!
    We love the idea that Owens defied Hitler but no one said anything about that such a great man had to ride at the back of the bus at home, or was left to race against racehorses to support himself because he couldn't get a decent job.

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  • 133. At 9:47pm on 11 Aug 2008, Dowse88 wrote:

    Without doubt the worst article i have ever had the displeasure of reading on this site.

    Your lack of knowledge on the sport and subject in question is quite frankly frightening. I would be very intrigued, to know whether you have ever played or followed tennis in your life?

    The fact that you still churn out drivel about Murray's supposed Hatred of the English is testament to the complete lack of originality your article offers. You are a joke.

    As posted before, the way you respond to criticism by merely suggesting the "hundreds" of readers that responded simply "misunderstood" your point is laughable., Not to mention insulting to the intelligence of those reading your blog. And the suggestion that you had apparently used humor, as if.

    You speak about Murray's lack of commitment to his profession, well, i have three words for you, pot, kettle, black.

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  • 134. At 9:48pm on 11 Aug 2008, redhotbed wrote:

    who cares about gb passion?, rebecca adlington or whatever her name is and the other girl who got the bronze wernt passionate about winning medals for their country, they were passionate and happy about winning the medals for THEMSELVES. Murray at the end of the day just couldnt be asked, and thats the way it is now in tennis, the olympics doesnt really matter for most of the top players, the 4 grand slams do. He will probably go on and win the us open now!

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  • 135. At 9:52pm on 11 Aug 2008, hank-kingsley wrote:

    "That was an example of poor journalism"

    Never a truer sentence written.

    I'd be more interested to know what Matt Slater is doing at the Games than Murray if this is the best he can come up with.

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  • 136. At 9:57pm on 11 Aug 2008, stwl wrote:

    FairPlayMotty: I've seen more personal reactions and pettiness in the comments than in the article.

    I must confess a bias here. Owing to a failing on my part, I seem to have interpreted the article in exactly the way its author "claims" to have intended. Perhaps this is because, although a professional communicator myself, I lack bighullabaloo's 30 years of experience.

    And no, in case you were wondering: I'm not Matt Slater. I'm not even a fan of his. But I'm astonished by the responses. Discouraged as we are from direct ad hominem attacks (ironically enough), I can't say any more.

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  • 137. At 9:57pm on 11 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:

    "Depressing because I didn't really blame him. If I were struggling with my game and not really feeling the Olympic buzz, I would have started thinking about Flushing Meadows too. It is about priorities."

    "Watching Murray throw away a winning position in the first set, sulk his way through a tie-break and then battle the voice in his head telling him to give up in the second set was actually quite depressing."

    How have you honed these psychic skills?Are you better at mind reading than you are at writing? And the second paragraph was quoted on the match report! Maybe best do us all a favour and keep it factual next time.

    p.s. Can you tell me what the winning lottery numbers will be next Saturday?

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  • 138. At 9:59pm on 11 Aug 2008, jmb wrote:

    I completely agree with the sentiment that nowadays tennis has no part in the olympics, indeed it should never have been brought back in 1988.

    Sports that have the Olympics as a distraction should not be in the games, there is a clear divide between these sports and sports where the olympics is a pinnacle.

    The pinnacle/distraction divide should be the sole arbiter of the decision for inclusion.

    Baseball is out and correctly so, tennis and football should follow.

    The issue with basketball is that the sport is indeed a world-wide game and there is true international diversity aside from the USA and the NBA, the fact that LeBron James is considering leaving the NBA to play in Europe is a clear indication of that fact. This would never happen with Ice Hockey.

    Ice Hockey is OK too as the NHL suspends its season for the Olympics showing proper respect for the games as a major feature in the calendar, this is in direct opposition to Barcelona crying about Messi going to Beijing.

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  • 139. At 10:01pm on 11 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:


    You're so intelligent that I'm in awe of you and your experience (only joking).

    bighullabaloo seems way brighter though.

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  • 140. At 10:02pm on 11 Aug 2008, DavidLeigh wrote:

    Mr Slater

    If your aim was to evoke reaction, you have succeeded and well done!

    If your aim was to create an article of insight and substance, you have failed miserably!

    What a puerile effort.

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  • 141. At 10:05pm on 11 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    And while I'm on the subject - I find it interesting that Matt was "joking" about Murray becoming a "Scot" when he loses, but a "Brit" when he wins.

    It's not the fact that this happens that is interesting. It's the fact that BBC journalists like Matt are clearly aware it does happen - because they're making "jokes" about it - and yet it CONTINUES to happen regardless of the fact they are aware of it!

    Given that it would take no more than a single line memo around the BBC sports department to ensure that all staff make sure that it doesn't happen, it is very interesting that it still does. Admittedly the single line would have to be written by someone with a better grasp of the art of clear writing than we got in this article.

    You can see this "Scot/Brit" nonsense every time the BBC does a "text commentary" on one of Murray's matches. He even switches back and forth between "Scot" and "Brit" depending on how well he is doing in the match! This isn't just my opinion. This is a verifiable fact. You can see it for yourself every time they do it.

    However I don't think it's worthy of a "joke" as Matt puts it. As one poster above points out, the very fact that he considers it joke-worthy displays a truly lamentable lack of originality.

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  • 142. At 10:06pm on 11 Aug 2008, stwl wrote:

    FairPlayMotty: I had no idea you had a sense of humour! It all makes sense now.

    I think I might just surprise you, but sadly, we'll never know. ;)

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  • 143. At 10:12pm on 11 Aug 2008, gc wrote:

    The Olympics is not undisputedly the biggest event in the sporting calendar. I for one say the world cup. And it certainly isn't for a tennis player. Wouldn't they rather win a grand slam? I'm sure Federer would take a French open over gold. And any Briton would take Murray wining Wimbledon or another grand slam over gold.

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  • 144. At 10:13pm on 11 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:

    stwl2006 and Matt,

    There's a book called, "Straight and Crooked Thinking" - both of you could benefit by reading it.

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  • 145. At 10:18pm on 11 Aug 2008, greatAnglian wrote:

    I thought that the Olympics were for amateur athletes? Apart from that, Murray made a comment about supporting 'the other' team when England were going to play I believe Croatia. I look forward to him being knocked out of every competition he is involved in.

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  • 146. At 10:21pm on 11 Aug 2008, stwl wrote:

    FairPlayMotty: Which of the logical errors are you going to accuse me of? Special pleading looks the only rational one to try.

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  • 147. At 10:23pm on 11 Aug 2008, bardwell6 wrote:

    the sooner England have a referendum on Scottish independence the better, put an end to this British/Scottish clap trap, and get them off of my morning radio at the same time.

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  • 148. At 10:23pm on 11 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    # 145 greatAnglian

    Yes, I am sure Murray was inconsolable over what you think of him when he was crying himself to sleep on a pile of money after the Cincinnati Masters last week!

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  • 149. At 10:28pm on 11 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    # 147 bardwell6

    As soon as England have had their referendum on Scottish independence please remember to let us know what you all decided so we can get on with it.
    Just don't ask Matt Slater to do the report or we might end up not really clear on what the decision was.

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  • 150. At 10:35pm on 11 Aug 2008, pelewizokay wrote:

    Matt is absolutely correct, if winning an Olympic Gold is not the pinnacle of your sport then that sport should not be included in the Olympics. Ask Nadal if he would give up his Wimbledon title to win an Olympic gold, the multi-millionaire basketball stars if they would give up the dosh or an NBA title for the honour or Lionel Messi if he would rather win a gold in a fortnight or the Champions League next may and you would not need to be Einstein to work it out.
    These sports (and the notion of golf at any future Olympics) should be knocked on the head. I am a football loving golfer but I have found myself and my kids glued to the TV over the weekend and to be quite honest, I would not normally cross the road to watch rowing, swimming, diving, etc, etc. but the Olympics has a magic about it and it draws in people like myself who generally only take an interest in the 'main sports'. If this just becomes like any other fortnight in the sporting calender wherby there is a tennis tournament on and another golfing event being contested, etc, etc then this magic shall be taken away and the opportunity for me to expand my knowledge of dives with pike and coxless fours shall be gone.

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  • 151. At 10:48pm on 11 Aug 2008, Caludrup wrote:

    Very harsh. He was clearly very upset by losing that match, he just doesn't display it very well. The boys busting a gut to get to the top and fair play to him, even if he mopes around when he's losing.

    I think tennis is a sport that tests you mentally, technically, and physically and I'm not sure why the sport should suffer in terms of Olympic status just because it has tour outside of the 4 year Olympic cycle.

    I'm a massive tennis fan and I've looking forward to this competition for ages. Fed and Nadal are two of the world's sporting greats, why shouldn't they be at the Olympics?

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  • 152. At 10:57pm on 11 Aug 2008, greenbraveCowHead wrote:


    what a load of rubbish

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  • 153. At 10:58pm on 11 Aug 2008, 5holyring wrote:

    Do I win a prize or owt for understanding what the blog was all about?

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  • 154. At 11:12pm on 11 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #153 - yeah, you get the "Brown noser of the week" award.

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  • 155. At 11:17pm on 11 Aug 2008, Anderson__8 wrote:

    To say that Murray wasnt interested in the olympics is rubbish... he stated several times about how pleased he was to be there and, as many people have pointed out, he could've just 'done a roddick' and not bothered. What I saw today in the singles was murray playing poorly both technically and tactically, and his disappointment at his play was more than evident throughout the match. All this goes to show is that he's still a young player who has had an excellent couple of months but still needs to find consistency in his play. If he now goes to the US open and performs poorly and goes out in the first round, does that mean he doesnt care about the US open!?

    as for the merits of other professional sports where the olympics is not the biggest accolade available, like football... take the example of lionel messi, one of the best and most highly paid players in the world, who told his club, barcelona, that he wanted to take part in the olympics against their wishes... and they are the ones who pay his massive wage bill. Is he more interested in other things? clearly not. I think he wants to win an olympic medal, both for himself and for his country. Its not like hes the only highly paid player at the games in a similar situation either, take ronaldinho, riquelme, drenthe, anderson, jo, garay, rossi, babel... the list goes on. Besides, international football has a rich tradition in the olympics leading all the way back to 1908, theres plenty of 'reputable olympic' sports that the author would claim are much more deserved of a place in the olympics than football that have not been part of the modern olympics for nearly as long.

    although its a long shot, I just hope andy and jamie go out and win the gold in the doubles and watch the countries euphoria at winning a gold medal in the tennis, and above all to see the joy on their faces and just how much it means to them to have an olympic gold medal.

    and while were on the subject of sports that shouldnt be in the olympics... dressage... are you kidding me!

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  • 156. At 11:24pm on 11 Aug 2008, cogent53 wrote:

    Firstly, a tennis commentator/reporter who refers to Justine Henin by her married name over a year after her divorce just isn't paying attention!

    However, I am not a huge Murray fan, for several of the reasons you mentioned. I hate his sulky arrogant attitude, however, I thought he really was keen to win today. However, we saw it in the Kuznetsova/Li Na match too, the Asian players have a HUGE lift playing here. The crowd don't stick to tennis etiquette - cheering service faults and errors and calling out during rallies - and it clearly put Murray and Kuznetsova off, while giving Lu and Li Na a big boost.

    Lu played out of his skin, and Murray looked weary. I am no big fan of his, but I really do not think you can say he didn't want this. Tennis players might be hugely paid, but for the vast majority, the Olympics is very important. They have maybe 10 chances at each slam in a career, but probably only 2 or possibly 3 chances for an Olympic medal. And surely for ANY athlete, the Olympics has a special appeal.

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  • 157. At 11:29pm on 11 Aug 2008, NikosBog wrote:

    Hey people it many of you haven't understood.

    That Slater guy doesn't blame or criticise Murray.

    He's giving him a very cheap excuse for what was from all angles a truly shocking performance.

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  • 158. At 11:38pm on 11 Aug 2008, irvinf wrote:

    These games are not for the likes of Andy Murray. If he can't be bothered to try to represent the nation then why waste the air fare on him? I didn't even realise the miserable so and so was there! Neither did I care. There are plenty of people there that will be trying to bust a gut to get a medal when in reality they have little or no chance but these are the ones that will be worth sitting up all night to see, even if they come last. They will look disappointed to have failed not dispondent because they couldn't be bothered and would rather be improving their bank balance on the other side of the world. The real losers are the so-called stars that show their total arrogance for the true meaning of the olympics. This competition won't be losing any sleep over the likes of Murray and the stay aways.

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  • 159. At 11:41pm on 11 Aug 2008, kingtheseus wrote:


    Sport has moved on from the Pierre de Coubertain invention of the IOC, and different sports have varying worldwide popularities, specatorism and thus commercialism, but this doesn't mean that the players do not value their sport in the Olympic Arena (the US basketball team regard it as more important than an NBA title since it is the only international tournament of significance to them).

    I completely agree with you regarding AM's exploits today - toothless, immature and soulless. And regarding the other tennis players, i agree too. But i do not think it is down to whether the sport should be part of the games or not - i think it is because pro's are involved and it interrupts their season (one of the reasons why NBA players are competing is because it is NBA post season).

    I disagree with the comment about boxing because i feel that the Olympics is a great way for the world's best talent to be spotted AND perhaps this is how it should be regarding all the high profile professional sports (eg. football, basketball, tennis etc).

    Countries should perhaps select their best amateur (or semi-pro) sportsmen / women in these disciplines thus giving them an opportunity to display their talent. This way they will have more motivation, because they are non-professionals for a start, but also because it could launch a career.

    So while i add to the tennis debate, i also conclude that perhaps removing the sport is not the answer - just rid of the pro's.

    Finally, the more sports represented at the Olympics, the more choice kids have in terms of the heroes they may like to live upto and in sports they may not have participated in before.

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  • 160. At 11:41pm on 11 Aug 2008, cyberryan87 wrote:

    I am failing to understand why people are so precious about the olympics. So what if olympic gold is not the pinnacle of a sport. Masters series arent the pinnacle of tennis of either, but murray was more than pleased to win that. Therefore that nullifies the 'pinnacle' argument for me.

    Have to say I am becoming increasingly disillusioned by BBC's blogs atm. As one of our country's most distinguished institutions I take a lot of pride in the quality of its output. However, recently, if im honest, the standard has been really poor. An incredible lack of knowledge and perspective seems to be the primary tools employed by those at the BBC atm. Which,given its technically 'our' organisation, is very sad.

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  • 161. At 11:42pm on 11 Aug 2008, irvinf wrote:

    I forgot to mention, that Murray's attitude is about right for a nation that cannot even agree to put in a football team for the competition. And I don't mean Scotland either. I'm talking about Great Britain.

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  • 162. At 11:49pm on 11 Aug 2008, Steve_HMFC_CF wrote:

    "the most important, most ancient, most magnificent event in the sporting calendar"


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  • 163. At 11:57pm on 11 Aug 2008, twinhonnisoit wrote:

    I confess I've not had the patience to read more than about 30 of the articles (it's also nearly midnight) but if there's one thing sillier than Slater's article it's Murray sulking on court.

    He's world class of course but why bring the game (and the Games, if only marginally) into disrepute by behavibg like a spoilt brat with a Caledonian chip on his shoulder.

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  • 164. At 00:19am on 12 Aug 2008, Shades846 wrote:

    the question is with tennis being at Wimbledon in 2012 will this make it bigger thing for the pros.

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  • 165. At 00:38am on 12 Aug 2008, brighton-eagle wrote:

    Last time I checked, blogs are generally colloquial and opinionated, often geared towards creating knowledgeable debate. Especially those "From event X" styled articles, which are essentially designed to give you a more 'alternate' angle, or take, on a sport your familiar with. If you want a 'factual' account then read the story titled "Murray crashes out in Beijing" (or similar), but as a subjective account of Murray's loss, and Tennis' place as an Olympic sport in general I found it an enjoyable, and interesting, read.

    Also, the general jist of the article is fairly clear to me. Having read all the comments, I cannot believe how many people have missed the point of the article.

    Finally, I feel quite sorry for FairPlayMotty and his numerous attempts to get noticed, and reacted to, in his/her comments. Are you upset that Mr. Slater hasn't referred to you directly? Has Mr/Mrs FairPlayMotty begun to ignore your boring, repetitive and cynical diatribes and forced you to resort to anonymous blog commenting?

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  • 166. At 00:47am on 12 Aug 2008, GunnerVelafan wrote:

    whether tennis is an olympic sport or not, he should have given it his all to try and win a medal. yeh you can say he didnt need bother with it been the us open soon but that didnt stop federer, nadal and djokovic cus all of them have pride for the countries they are representing and want to do their best for the country and i still wudnt mind betting one of these 3 win the us open even if they do get to the finals for a medal. murray just seemed to give up in his match but look at nadal, lost that 2nd set and could have easily given up thinking that the us open is coming up soon but no, he battled and battled in the terrible humidity and won through just cus he wants to take a medal back home to his native country and i applaud him for that.

    say what ya will but this tournament is still tennis and when ya see nadal, federer and djokovic all taking it seriously, it shows they all have the spirit of a top tennis player, and a will to win no matter what its in.

    if murray uses the excuse of the us open coming up for not trying in the olympics then, then he goes and fails in the us open and one of the ones who get to the final of the olympic tournament then goes on to win the us open is basically showing murray is nowhere near fit enough to challenge the top players.

    nadal, federer and djokovic are true sportsman who give their all in it cus its their profession, murray is just a whinging fool who has no passion or spirit for the game he is supposed to be a pro at

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  • 167. At 00:52am on 12 Aug 2008, piechucker31 wrote:

    Thanks to Brighton Eagle for talking some sense in #165.

    Some folk need to drink some green tea or something and chillax

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  • 168. At 01:00am on 12 Aug 2008, cyberryan87 wrote:

    piechucker31- you are a hero.

    I dont necessarily agree with you when it comes to the article, but u just told people to chillax on blog. Highly impressive!

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  • 169. At 01:01am on 12 Aug 2008, Excumbrian wrote:

    On the larger topic of which sports should and should not be in the Olympics: I'd be happy to see the Olympics pared down to a few major sports (e.g. aquatics, track and field athletics, boxing, cycling and gymnastics) plus a few television-friendly sports that need an occasional wider audience (e.g. judo, badminton, rowing, weightlifting). The emphasis should surely be on individual achievement rather than team achievement -- although there's a place for relay races, rowing fours and eights etc.

    In this regard I would drop the equestrian events, tennis, softball, handball, shooting, archery, field hockey, sailing, water polo and possibly fencing.

    I would banish permanently the Mickey Mouse events like synchronized swimming and diving, beach volleyball, modern pentathlon and triathlon. Just because something is hard work and requires skill does not make it a true sport.

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  • 170. At 01:04am on 12 Aug 2008, Excumbrian wrote:

    ...and football

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  • 171. At 01:05am on 12 Aug 2008, Vaughan_the_Prawn wrote:

    Really getting tired with the way that any BBC blog (it's an opinion - there are factual articles if you don't like opinions!) gets turned into a chance to bash the BBC / licence fee / the UK etc. Surely we can debate Scotland's independence after the Olympics? They used to stop wars for the Olympics, can't we stop bickering? What will readers from the rest of the world think of this rubbish?

    And yes, if we disagree we can post comments. but for those getting worked-up about the lack of individual responses from the author, it takes enough time just to read all these. Surely you don't expect him to spend his entire time in Beijing responding to these bizarre rants.

    As for 'bighullabaloo' claiming to be a better blogger than the author ("what they like to think is some sort of special "skill" is easily matched by people like me - in fact I'm better and they know it!"), please take your special skills to your own blog (sure it'll get loads of hits) and spare us this attention-seeking bs. Please.

    Let's enjoy the Olympics, only a few days to go.

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  • 172. At 01:11am on 12 Aug 2008, piechucker31 wrote:


    Thanks! I got tye word from my cousin's 15 year old son, I'm that down with the kids.

    I was more applauding Brighton eagle's reminder about the difference between blogs and "straight" news articles than the article itself.

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  • 173. At 01:38am on 12 Aug 2008, keepingfaith wrote:

    Do you know what is really sad? Not one of these bbc blogs has mentioned the two gold medal and the bronze performances of Team GB. Every entry is negative. Why?

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  • 174. At 01:41am on 12 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:

    bighullabaloo talked more sense than the BBC bs

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  • 175. At 02:00am on 12 Aug 2008, EuanMcArthur wrote:

    The inclusion of tennis, football etc. may not please the purists but it causes fans of these frankly huge sports to take interest in the other events, and they are not naive to the situation, so learn to appreciate other sports.

    As for Murray, I doubt he lost solely out of apathy. He is one of the type of players that can lose in the first round one week and win a tournament the next,just see his results for this season. Some just consistently reach quarter and semi-finals i.e. David Ferrer. Roddick is just desperate, and Fish would have entered if his pal had too. The Ivanovic example may be valid, but the girl has been dire since the French. Amelie Mauresmo IS injured. Maria Sharapova is too, she pulled out of Montreal (before) and the US Open (after). Lindsay Davenport is similar to the Roddick case, and she's generally a bit injured. Rosset was a good player and defeated,among others, French Open champion Jim Courier in 1992. Mecir was a very good player. And you conveniently failed to mention the 1996 and 2000 champions, Agassi and Kafelnikov - Grand Slam pedigree enough? Massu was an anomaly, a few top seeds had shock losses or were going through bad form.

    It would be unfair to put doubles players out of the job.

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  • 176. At 02:06am on 12 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:


    Just so hurt by your comments. So sorry that I missed the point of the article. I must be as stupid as all the others on here with the same view.

    Or maybe not........

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  • 177. At 02:18am on 12 Aug 2008, NightRider wrote:

    T20 cricket for the next Olympics. Is that not in London?

    Believe me, England will lose even T20 cricket :)

    Stop whining and grow up.

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  • 178. At 02:29am on 12 Aug 2008, adamholmgaard wrote:

    It is universal truth that Olympics has not been tennis players' favourite but I do have to point out that increasing interest in participating and winning in Olympics has been proved obvious.

    Lindsay Davenport does not make her excuses otherwise she would have withdrawn from the doubles as well. Lindsay has publicly expressed her favours towards Olympics. So have many other house-hold names.

    And the reason Sharapova took part in Fed Cup was only to qualify for Olympics. That Mauresmo has not entered Beijing Olympics is rather personal, for the FFT chose other players over Mauresmo. Ana Ivanovic seemed to me all so excited at the opening ceremony and I believe she did not fake it.

    Matt Slater does sound bitter.

    I mean,

    IF MURRAY DIDN'T LOSE HIS SINGLE MARTCH, would this article exist??

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  • 179. At 04:22am on 12 Aug 2008, djjs91 wrote:

    Of course tennis should be at the Olympics. The Olympics are the biggest event outside of the Grand Slams and many players actually treat them as being even bigger than the Slams.

    One of these is Elena Dementieva, who has always said the Olympics are the most important for her.

    The author of this article has overlooked alot and leads me to believe he is a VERY casual tennis fan and doesn't know much about the game. For your information, Lindsay Davenport is playing the Olympics and it's the main reason she came back to tennis after giving birth.

    Just because Britain's dear Andy Murray lost in the 1st round of the singles doesn't mean tennis doesn't deserve to be an Olympic sport. I bet if Murray won the Gold, your attitude would be different.

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  • 180. At 04:46am on 12 Aug 2008, levdavidovich wrote:

    The IOC wants tennis (and football, basketball and cricket) at the Olympics because it helps to promote the oLympics.

    The tennis players seem to have differing views. Some, like Federer want to bask in the spurious glory of prancing around carrying a flag. Others turn up only because they don't want to face the criticism of idiots banging on about how important the Olympics is and "representing your country". The intelligent tennis players just don't go, and instead prepare proeprly for the US Open, which is what Andy should have done.

    I'm glad Andy is out because he can prepare for the US Open now.

    I'm sick of hearing this garbage about all these "amateurs" competing for "glory". Winning an Olympic medal brings fame and fortune. The tennis players already have fame and fortune so they don't need to bother with it.

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  • 181. At 05:23am on 12 Aug 2008, Matt Slater wrote:

    Morning all, glad to see bighullabaloo and fairplaymotty are still driving this debate, erm, going over the same points again and again and again.

    bighullabaloo, you're right, thanks to your 30 years' worth of experience in communication skills (talking?), I've got your message loud and clear. You didn't get the article, you got angry about a few of my more glib remarks and have a bit of a bee in your bonnet about journalists, BBC journalists in particular. Fair enough and thanks for sharing...about 20 times. Likewise, fairplaymotty.

    Thanks brighton_eagle, stwl2006, piechucker, 5holyrings et al for taking the time to read the piece (without prejudice), much appreciated.

    keepingfaith, did you read to the end? Adlington, Cooke and Jackson are mentioned at the end of the piece....their successes came in sports with a lower profile than single's tennis, sports I believe are the heart and soul of the Olympics. I think we've written two blogs entirely about Cooke and one about the swimmers, with supporting reports too.

    For those who believe I am panning the Olympic tennis comp because our boy went out, I assure you that is not the case. There's a lot of choice in town at the moment in terms of sport to watch but I choose to watch the tennis yesterday precisely because I wanted to write a piece about why tennis should not be an Olympic sport. I am not criticising the sport at all. I am saying that sports like tennis, which have events which are far more important for their sports than the Olympics, should not be here. I would have said the same thing if Murray thrashed Lu.

    A few people have commented on whether Murray wanted to wear the GB shirt or not - some agreeing with the general gist of article, some not. Murray's commitment to the Team GB cause is not something I address here (apart from the jokes that I think the vast majority of readers got but bighullabaloo didn't and therefore decided they weren't original enough for him....yeah, I know, that didn't make sense to me either).

    I do speculate, however, about his commitment to the men's singles event. This is the key issue here. I agree with those who pointed out that he must have been at least a little bit up for this as he travelled out here and did get stuck in during the second set.

    But there is more to elite performance than trying....there is focus, motivation, obsession even. I watched the game from close up and he just didn't look like a man who really, really wanted this particular challenge. I do not, however, blame him for this....I agree with him! An Olympic medal is not his prime goal and there is a more important event for his sport and his development as a world-class player in less than two weeks' time.

    And as a final thought to the posters who referred to the strength of the men's field and the presence of some big names in the women's singles and doubles. Yes, I am not surprised there here is the Olympics, after all, and it is the Olympics in the world's largest market. I would imagine there has been considerable pressure put on every tennis player to compete here from their respective national Olympic Committees (and having seen Chile's haul last time, who can blame them) and main sponsors....this is more than just another stop in the Nike v Adidas tour. I also think Federer and Nadal are matched in such a titanic struggle (which is great for tennis and sport in general) they would turn up anywhere to play each other.

    But not of that dissuades me from my belief that tennis, single's tennis in particular, belongs in the Olympics.

    And I would say the same about golf if Justin Rose beat Tiger Woods to gold in the first Olympic match-play event in 2016.

    As always thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

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  • 182. At 05:31am on 12 Aug 2008, irothera wrote:

    What a wonderful piece of British journalism. It reminds me of the good old days of cricket, where we were treated to at least a column of praise when we won, but pages of tabloid dross when we lost. Come on, this is supposed to be the BBC, surely you can put the World into perspective as a global presence in news reporting.

    Andy Murray had a bad day, it doesn't mean he has to be belittled and kicked whilst he is down like you people did when Henman had an off day. You pile all the pressure on him to be a World beater then destroy him when he isn't.

    BBC pick your standards back up, there really is no need for this.

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  • 183. At 05:43am on 12 Aug 2008, Matt Slater wrote:

    Sorry, paragraph third from the end of my last comment shoud read:

    But NONE of that dissuades me from my belief that tennis, single's tennis in particular, DOES NOT belong in the Olympics.

    I was typing too fast.

    irothera, as I've said in previous comments, I am neither building Murray up when wins or knocking him down when he loses....but you're right, many in the British media do just that. But let's be honest, that kind of "tall poppy syndrome" stuff isn't unique to the UK. It happens everywhere because it's human nature.

    You're right, though, he did have a bad day. A bad day in a tournament that would probably have been fifth on his wish list of tournaments to win at the start of the season and that is the real point of the article.

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  • 184. At 06:11am on 12 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:


    I got the article thanks very much, as did bighullabaloo I believe. (If you want to compare IQ scores with me, I'm up for it - the BBC knows where I am.) If that was your attempt at comedy, stick to your day job. Only, you're not very good at that either. Your article, stripped of it's many factual errors, wasn't very complex, trust me. What you don't appear to get is that bad and inaccurate journalism is not what we, the customers (who pay your salary), are paying for. Tick one tip. If you are trying to make multiple points, write multiple articles. You're not talented enough to do that in one article.

    I do have a bee in my bonnet about BBC tennis journalists, simply because they are very poor compared to their peers, in my opinion (e.g. alcopops Castle etc.). Read the 606 views about the commentary on the Wimbledon final and you'll find much criticism. And you're paid by us to do a good job. I am sorry that you find repeated criticism hard to take but if you do a really bad job, that's what happens. If I was as bad as you, I'd get sacked.

    The people you complement (i.e. who agree with you) seem to know very little about Murray and tennis - very much like yourself.

    One day you'll look back at that blog and cringe (though you may not have that ability). Hopefully, I won't be helping to pay your salary at point in your life. The BBC's loss may be the Sun's gain.

    Learn from this Matt - when you screw up, apologise. Remember the rule of holes - don't keep digging.

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  • 185. At 06:25am on 12 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:


    Do us a favour please. Tell us exactly what the point or points of your article was or were trying to make. Just list the points you were trying to make in priority order. What people missed about your article seems to keep changing. Another hint: if intelligent people don't get the point of your article, it was badly written! AND IT WAS!

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  • 186. At 06:34am on 12 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:


    You made both of the following statements:

    "He turned up, fresh from a superb (British) win in the US, under the illusion he was a rising star".

    "I am neither building Murray up when wins or knocking him down when he loses....but you're right, many in the British media do just that."

    Understand the confusion Matt? Have you got an identical twin who's trying to undermine you or do you need to see a doctor?

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  • 187. At 06:48am on 12 Aug 2008, Matt Slater wrote:

    Compare IQ scores? Oh dear. Shall we have a running race too?

    Let's go through your points one by one shall we:

    "That" wasn't my attempt at comedy, it was an opinion piece about a sport's place in the OG with a few mild attempts at levity thrown in. You didn't find them funny, fine. I guess that's why both Lenny Henry and Russell Brand earn a living from humour. And the "it's" your looking for there is "its". It's a common mistake, though, even for geniuses.

    "Many factual errors"...? Erm, one, actually, quickly corrected and apologised for. It happens, first one for a while I think, and I'm sorry.

    Multiple points/multiple arguments, again I'm sorry you didn't like the piece/get all the arguments at first but a great many did. But hey, it's a blog, it's supposed to be subjective, it's supposed to spark debate.

    I'm not sure what to make of your criticism of our "tennis reporters" - I'm not one of them. My brief at home is sports news and here it is roving blogger. I'm sorry you don't like our tennis team but then people's tastes in sports commentators must be almost as subjective and personal as people's taste in comedians.

    I have no idea what to make of your "if I was as bad as you, I'd get sacked comment" because I don't know anything about you. The anonymity of a blog is a wonderful thing, isn't it? You, of course, know what I do and can pass judgement. OK, you don't rate me, fine. I won an industry award a few months back so there must be a few out there who do.

    The people I "complement" (it's the other compliment you need there, professor) are just a few names I plucked out to demonstrate some had "got" the article. In fact, one of the people I mentioned said he didn't agree with my take on Murray's performance but he understood that that was not the main thrust of the article.

    And don't worry, I can cringe and I do look back. I can let you know how I feel about this story whenever you like. You'll know where to find me.

    All the best

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  • 188. At 07:05am on 12 Aug 2008, Matt Slater wrote:

    What is wrong with the par you quote?

    He did turn up, that's a fact.

    His tournament win in the US was superb (if you agree that winning is a good thing), so nothing controversial there.

    And he is a rising star in the game, he moved up to 6th in the world on the back of Cincinnati.

    The "illusion" I refer to is my guess at his mental state coming into this I'm good and I'm playing well. But it absolutely hangs on the rest of the sentence you this is a really important tournament in the tennis calendar.

    I can only assume you omit that bit because it doesn't suit your argument.

    And for the 4th time, I am not attacking Murray or knocking him down. Sportsmen and women aren't robots, upsets happen, I know that. But they usually happen for small but recognisable reasons....reasons the protagonists themselves might not be able to recognise, or admit to, at the time. A lack of focus, for example.

    What I am saying, I think very clearly, is Murray lost yesterday partly because his focus was elsewhere.

    Here is the really important bit, so stop bashing comments out and pay attention, I don't really blame him. I don't think tennis players really, really value the Olympic singles event and because they don't they shouldn't be a part of the Games.

    See? Multiple points, all fairly straightforward and all up there in the article.

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  • 189. At 07:09am on 12 Aug 2008, levdavidovich wrote:

    "What I am saying, I think very clearly, is Murray lost yesterday partly because his focus was elsewhere."

    Reasonable point.

    Perhaps he was there because if he had made a senisble, intelligent decision not to be there then the mob of ignorant hacks, bloggers and BBC "journalists" would have vilified him for that.

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  • 190. At 07:17am on 12 Aug 2008, dimocomix wrote:

    Dear oh the top Brit exits the men's singles, and then this particular blogger feels he has to diminish the importance of the Olympics. Charming.

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  • 191. At 07:36am on 12 Aug 2008, Matt Slater wrote:

    "Perhaps he was there because if he had made a senisble, intelligent decision not to be there then the mob of ignorant hacks, bloggers and BBC "journalists" would have vilified him for that."

    Perhaps, lev, perhaps. But not me! I really do think he should be concentrating on the US Open.

    dimocomix, I'm not diminishing the importance of the Olympics at all. In fact, I'm doing the opposite. I think they're massive and absolutely essential for a great many sports, but not tennis. And as I've said before, if Murray had won I would be making the exact same point.

    Off to the boxing and judo now, so that's it for me on this particular topic. It's been fun.

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  • 192. At 07:50am on 12 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:


    I seem to have hit a raw nerve.

    You're a journalist - that doesn't require running ability but should require mental agility, therefore the IQ challenge stands. I'd probably outsprint you too but that's not relevant.

    "And the "it's" your looking for there is "its". It's a common mistake, though, even for geniuses." Well, I did make a mistake Matt which I'll freely admit. I'm not paid to do this, I'm in Florida on holiday, I'm slightly drunk and tired. And the "your looking for" is actually, "you're looking for", a common mistake for journalists.

    "Many factual errors"...? Erm, one, actually, quickly corrected and apologised for. It happens, first one for a while I think, and I'm sorry."

    I've not looked at your previous attempts at journalism. However:

    1. Error one: Andy Murray is a rising star - no illusion. Just look at the ATP rankings Matt.

    2. Error two: Judy Murray wasn't just killing time until the doubles started - if you're in doubt, just ask her.

    3. Error three: you refer to Justine Henin by her married name over a year after her divorce.

    4. Errors plural: you seem to think you can read minds: you can't.

    "I'm not sure what to make of your criticism of our "tennis reporters" - I'm not one of them." This may seem obvious Matt but if you're not a tennis reporter why are you reporting on tennis? God, you're so bright!

    "The anonymity of a blog is a wonderful thing, isn't it?" It's not in your case - it's Matt Slater's blog, or am I missing something? If you want my e-mail address, I hereby authorise the BBC to give it to you.
    btw, apart from the apalling article, I know precious little about you, and want to know less.

    I see that you won "The Internet Sports Writer" award. Good for you. Was there only one entrant?

    Anyone that didn't get the article was just dumb? That's quite a few of us Matt. Maybe the writing was poor, be humble just for once.


    To quote from Lou Reed,

    "It's like what my painter friend Donald said to me
    "Stick a fork in their ass and turn them over, they're done"

    He's done!

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  • 193. At 07:54am on 12 Aug 2008, iamironmanrar wrote:

    You should be ashamed of yourself, Mr Slater. I have followed Andy's career for many years and he wants to win EVERY game and every tournament he plays in. YES he was not happy about the timing in the tour schedule and YES he was clearly not happy with the conditions or his form (he just couldn't get his timing right at all), but to say he didn't want to win is scandalous. You clearly have no idea about what makes true competitors tick. Andy Murray is a winner and he doesn't travel halfway around the world to lose with Great Britain watching in hope. Being a rising star in tennis is no illusion to himself or other fans of the sport. On his day he has the game to beat anyone, and i sincerely mean anyone. He is 21, he has taken all the unwarranted criticism and got himself into incredible shape to become one of the fittest players on the ATP tour. All he did was lose a game to a player that was better on the day in some pretty tough conditions, that's all. I can guarantee you that Andy is absolutely gutted about losing.

    p.s. I only created an account because I was completely infuriated with this blog.

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  • 194. At 07:57am on 12 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:


    You just don't get it apparently. Like many of us!

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  • 195. At 07:58am on 12 Aug 2008, levdavidovich wrote:

    "Perhaps, lev, perhaps. But not me! I really do think he should be concentrating on the US Open." yes, I didn't mean yourself.

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  • 196. At 08:10am on 12 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:

    "Off to the boxing and judo now, so that's it for me on this particular topic."

    Great, he's off to report on another topic he'll know very little about. btw, What do you call a judoka who's flat on his back? Mat(t)! That's humour Mr. Slater.

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  • 197. At 08:11am on 12 Aug 2008, KJDonovan wrote:

    Can I just say that I completely agree with your comments about the kind of sports that represent the Olympic movement in the modern era. If winning an Olympic Gold is not the pinnacle of your sport, it should not be in the Games.
    You mentioned in passing the so-called Dream Team of US basketball players. What a cynical ploy, close down your season for a couple of weeks to allow your players to attend the games and 'compete' for a coveted Gold! Sickening!

    Don't get me wrong, I am a sports lover and I have competed in may events over the years at a low level, and for me, the Olympic movement used to centre around the athletics, but I can no longer watch it without thinking about drugs cheating.

    Since the advent of professionalism, the drug abuse, the biased judging, various other forms of cheating do the Games have any relevance? .... need I say more?

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  • 198. At 08:11am on 12 Aug 2008, frostybadgerbonce wrote:

    So much for the Olympics being for amateurs - Andy Murray had no right to be there and i suppose poetic justice that he lost! the same should apply to football, basketball - I suspect there are more.

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  • 199. At 08:14am on 12 Aug 2008, iamironmanrar wrote:

    What kind of lunatic would want to play an in form Rafael Nadal in a payday final (not to mention vital ATP points) when they know the only chance they have of winning is if they play at their absolute best? Unfortunately Andy didn't get what he wanted, as Nadal was beaten quite impressively by Djokovic in the semis and the rest is history. If Mr Slater thinks that beating Federer, Nadal etc in an olympic games means less than competing in a grand slam .. well, he is a fool. Andy Murray doesn't just want to win, he wants to beat the best players in the game. What better place to do that than the olympics, watched by billions of people all around the world.

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  • 200. At 08:14am on 12 Aug 2008, greenwichwitch wrote:

    Excellent piece! I completely agree. Let's have more critical (and witty) commentaries like this, please.
    It's just sad to read comments like "he didn't have to go, but he did it for Team GB"... what kind of Oympic spirit is that? It should be his biggest dream to be able to participate in the Olympics. If it's not then he's in the wrong place at the wrong time!

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  • 201. At 08:17am on 12 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:

    Matt's Boss,

    What is he paid? Quite a few of us would do this much better for less. You know where we are.

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  • 202. At 08:19am on 12 Aug 2008, Moutarde wrote:

    Wow, you can really measure a country’s lack of sporting success by the outrage caused by criticism of their one, international-class sportsman, eh!

    For what it’s worth, I think no-hopers like Murray and Tom Daley should get their passage to the games paid for only once – if you go out in the first round or come last, then next time you have to pay for your own flights, kit and accommodation.

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  • 203. At 08:20am on 12 Aug 2008, Moutarde wrote:

    "Matt's Boss,

    What is he paid? Quite a few of us would do this much better for less. You know where we are."

    Please don't take this the wrong way, but I think a blog written by an unconditional sycophant would be immensely less interesting that the ones we've seen on the BBC at the olympics thus far.

    Keep up the good work, BBC.

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  • 204. At 08:21am on 12 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:


    Thanks for turning up. That was unusual and perhaps not wise. You aren't bright enough to punch you're weight dude.

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  • 205. At 08:24am on 12 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:


    What leads you to believe that I would be an unconditional sycophant? Nothing could be further from the truth. I really like accuracy, not mind-reading speculation.

    Are you Matt's mum?

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  • 206. At 08:25am on 12 Aug 2008, steveofsunnyromford wrote:

    the olympics is not for professionals and as all the top tennis get payed for it. How can this sport as it stands be in the olympics.
    In the dictionary it is said that professionalis someone payed for taking part in an activity such as sport for money.
    So if tennis is to stay take out the top 200 seed. That way the sport is back to grass roots.

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  • 207. At 08:29am on 12 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:

    Mystic Matt,

    Please tell me the lottery numbers on Saturday.

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  • 208. At 08:30am on 12 Aug 2008, extant wrote:

    "If winning an Olympic gold medal is not the highest accolade in your sport, you're playing a non-Olympic sport."

    Wouldn't this, by proxy, include road-race Cycling? (Tour-de-France and the single-stage races of Paris-Roubaix, the Amstel Gold and the Giro di Lombardia for example)

    Logic seems slightly off on this comment, Beeb.

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  • 209. At 08:33am on 12 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:


    Matt's an award winner - please don't question his intellect. You are absolutely right though.

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  • 210. At 08:46am on 12 Aug 2008, jreemo wrote:


    'You aren't bright enough to punch you're weight dude.'

    Thanks for providing the most amusing comment on here today. You most certainly ARE bright enough.

    Keep up the good work Mr Slater, there's plenty of us who appreciate subtlety and don't blame the BBC for all the world's ills....

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  • 211. At 08:56am on 12 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:


    I'm off to catch a top class flight paid for by my money, not your's. If you really think Matt is good, I'll leave you to seek help from the professionals. In the meantime, feel good that your annual fee is paying for non-experts such as Mr. Slater to fill the web with nonsense.

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  • 212. At 09:02am on 12 Aug 2008, OlympicViewer wrote:

    Hey, hello everybody,
    This is only a quick comment on the olympics coverage by the bbc... And i admit it isnt really a big deal, but i just wanted to ask why is it that the commentators always seem to want to make a point about a team GB members nationality only when it is not English? We always hear phrases like Welsh Wonder... Brave Scot... Proud Scot... etc,etc but we never seem to hear English Wonder? is it because Brave Eng... doesnt roll of the tongue as well? Ok.. before you all shout at me for being a Racist, well i didnt mean it like that, i was just wondering where the balance was? This is Team Great Britain after all... Our proud nation of English, Welsh and Scottish all completing together in the same team right?

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  • 213. At 09:16am on 12 Aug 2008, jreemo wrote:

    Safe journey FairPlayMotty. I'm glad you pay for your own flights. Remember to shout at the stewardesses if you don't arrive on time.


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  • 214. At 09:18am on 12 Aug 2008, MikeFay wrote:

    I'd suggest the BBC gets rid of these blogs. Not because the articles are that bad - they're no worse than a lot of the opinion pieces in newspapers, although that's not saying much. No, it's because so many of the comments are just so damn awful, it's not worth crawling through the dross to find the odd one that actually makes a useful point.

    FairPlayMotty - just because you like tennis, it doesn't mean everyone else does. As the BBC news should be a summary of the day's news, rather than the latest hours (as most people are too busy working to watch TV all the time), their intention should be to show the news that the most people find interesting. And whether you like it or not, it is a reasonable suspicion that more people in the UK (myself included) care about the England cricket captain resigning than who wins a Masters tennis event.

    Extant: but Nicole Cooke is a woman. The Tour de France, Amstel Gold etc. are men's races. I'm sure you should spot the slight flaw in your logic - just because an Olympic event isn't the largest in the men's calendar, it doesn't mean it isn't the largest in the women's.

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  • 215. At 09:19am on 12 Aug 2008, saga mix wrote:

    Andy threw his singles match in order to give himself the best possible chance of gold in the doubles, playing with his brother ... the "sulking" was just a bit of an act to cover up what he was doing.

    Sound thinking from the much loved Scotsman because gold in the doubles, with an early exit from the singles, is a way better outcome than a plucky, medal-free run to the quarters of both.

    Also, the US Open is around the corner and that has to take priority for a tennis player.

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  • 216. At 09:20am on 12 Aug 2008, Duncan wrote:

    #208 "Wouldn't this, by proxy, include road-race Cycling? "

    Definitely for men, but maybe not so much for women. There is no race for women which is dominant as the TdF is for men.

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  • 217. At 09:20am on 12 Aug 2008, kakijaki wrote:

    I think I'm in the wrong job........this blog is appalling!

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  • 218. At 09:25am on 12 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:

    Not logged in,

    This is a tennis blog, or did I misread the headline and first few pathetic paragraphs?

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  • 219. At 09:28am on 12 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:


    I don't shout at stewardesses or anyone else. Ignorance offends me but I reply with logic and wit - not abuse.

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  • 220. At 09:36am on 12 Aug 2008, iamironmanrar wrote:

    I am one of those that think that professional sportsmen and women should be allowed in the olympics. Winning a gold medal wouldn't mean as much if it meant you didn't have to beat the best in the world because they got paid more and weren't allowed to be there.

    What more motivation could you need than having some professional American poster boy saying he was going for 8 golds? Michael Phelps is incredible no doubt, to be so talented at all those different disciplines is a remarkable achievement, but you would give your right leg to beat him as a competitor wouldn't you?

    Lu is probably on cloud 9 right now. He just beat the sixth best player in the world at his chosen sport. He beat him because he played better on the day. Same as Adlington won her gold because she swam a better race on the day. that doesn't mean she's better than Hoff, it just means she has a gold medal now and Hoff doesn't.
    I think even Adlington would agree on that, she looked more surprised than anyone else that she won. This isn't to take away from what she achieved because she worked her butt off to get there, but I think 9 times out of 10 the result would have been different, she was just fortunate that the big girls choked when it mattered most.

    Which is exactly what murray did against Lu. He didn't lose because he's some privileged rich kid that plays in big tennis tournaments, he lost because he had a shocker for 2 hours. We watched Manadou and Hoff do it, Yang Wei and Zhang Jiewen also. None of these guys are particularly amateur in their sports.

    I think that alot of people misunderstand what makes sportsmen work as hard as they do. They want to be the best, but only a handful of people will get that chance. It isn't always about money. We all do our job because we get paid, we don't do it because we want to be the best accountant (or journalist) in the world. Our principles are very different to an athletes, a footballer, or some guy we've never heard of in Judo. They would LOVE to get paid alot of money, but their sport isn't popular enough to generate huge amounts of money. That's no reason to penalise those sports that do by ommitting them from the olympics.

    I play football at a semi-pro level and i'd love to get paid alot of money if I was good enough to do so, but i'd love it even more if I beat a team with Ronaldhino in it. To win a medal having beaten one of the greatest players to have kicked a ball, that is what TRUE olympians strive for. If you're gonna win a medal, beat the best, even if they screw it up on the day, you still beat them and you have the medal to prove it.

    Just ask Miss Adlington. Gold medalist at the 2008 olympic games in Beijing, whose name will be brought up every 4 years for decades to come.

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  • 221. At 09:41am on 12 Aug 2008, FluffyRona wrote:

    Andy Murray was once again a disgrace - the boy really hasn't got the brains he was born with, and was an insult to the rest of the GB team which has worked so hard to get to Beijing. Representing your nation - whether Scottish, English or whatever - at the Olympics is (for the majority) the pinnacle of their sporting careers and he should show some respect. I was embarrassed watching his petulant display - what kind of example does that give to aspiring tennis players or athletes of any sort? I just hope that he and his entourage do the decent thing and refund their air fares to the British Olympic Association - somehow I think they won't.

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  • 222. At 09:41am on 12 Aug 2008, acotgreave wrote:

    Fantastic article, Matt. I understand perfectly that your main thrust was about which sports probably shouldn't be in the Olympics. It's great to see you putting that opinion so strongly.

    I get really wound up when all these minority sports heroes are overshadowed by the same old familiar faces. Tennis is the worst example, in my opinion. These chaps get so much exposure, they shouldn't be there.

    Let the archers, fencers, cyclists, shooters, canoeists have their moments!

    PS - I didn't find your Murray comments at all offensive.

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  • 223. At 09:53am on 12 Aug 2008, steven_taylor wrote:

    Didn't Henman lose in the first round at the 2004 Olympics when he was seeded 4?

    I'm sure he got a hard time but did it get as personal as this from a BBC "journalist"?

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  • 224. At 09:58am on 12 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:


    Good post but you're missing Matt's defence - he's not a tennis reporter. So when he talks utter nonsense on judo, please remember that he's not a judo reporter - he's an award winning roving reporter. That gives him licence to report every sport inaccurately, apparently!

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  • 225. At 09:59am on 12 Aug 2008, IOM_RAM wrote:

    Agreed that 2 errors show a complete lack of tennis knowledge from Slater:

    1) Henin-Hardenne

    2) Jamie Murray younger than Andy

    I am a fan of tennis but by no means an expert, yet both of the above are errors tennis fans should not make. If his knowledge is this bad, does he have the right to a critical opinion of Olympic tennis and Murray? Perhaps not.

    However, I have noticed that blogs contain comments from many people who give the impression of a jealous nerd who probably failed to make it in journalism and now work in a petrol station.

    To be fair to Slater his replies were very good, whereas FairPlayMotty's were poor and petty.

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  • 226. At 10:07am on 12 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:


    Never tried journalism or the petrol station, though I have no doubt that people in those occupations can have a valid viewpoint on sporting issues - are you an outrageous snob?

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  • 227. At 10:10am on 12 Aug 2008, Robert wrote:

    Kuznetsova, the world no 3 in the women's game, lost her 1st Round match yesterday to a much lower ranked player by the way. Is anyone accusing her of not trying? As for the idea that Murray is a 'disgrace' because he didn't lose with a happy smile on his face - in an individual sport, players do often get a bit bad-tempered when they feel they're not meeting their own high standards - and tennis players berating themselves when they're losing is a very common sight. That's not 'petulance', it's frustration. The British badminton player (name escapes me) who lost yesterday was also doing a bit of shouting, but no-one seems to be mentioning that.

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  • 228. At 10:24am on 12 Aug 2008, Moutarde wrote:

    Matt Slater, I bet you ain't even gone to these Olympics! I bet you're sat at 'ome with your little kids' computer looking on google for facts about the players. You ain't got a clue mate! I should be out there! I've been to loads of footy games down at the Bridge and I know how proper sports work, you don't know nuffink!

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  • 229. At 10:25am on 12 Aug 2008, hank-kingsley wrote:

    "OK, you don't rate me, fine. I won an industry award a few months back so there must be a few out there who do."

    I'm sure Hugh McIlvanney was gutted to miss out on 'Best Blogger'!

    You've been far too sensitive (as most journalists are when someone disagrees with them).

    If you want to make ridiculous statements in a public forum then you have to accept not everyone will agree with them.

    Insulting those who reply doesn't make you look very good.

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  • 230. At 10:36am on 12 Aug 2008, pjrowe wrote:

    Completely agree with the blog. The Oylmpic tennis title means nothing to the top tennis players. They are remebered for majors won. Just a scan through the winners of the Olympic title confirm how motivated the best players have been in past tournaments. Murray played only to stop him being criticised for not representing his country. He didn't let anyone down by his performance here, and who will even remember this loss if he wins a couple of Slams in the next 4 years? Nobody.

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  • 231. At 10:39am on 12 Aug 2008, IOM_RAM wrote:

    Fair Play Motty,

    Not quite sure what qualifies one to be an 'outrageous snob' but to answer your question I don't think I quite fit into that category!

    Are you really on holiday in Florida or in a council flat in Crewe, plotting what next to do with your dole money and pausing every few minutes to recall the moment when your journalism school tutor told you that you didn't have what it takes?

    I don't agree with alot of what he said but your replies have been utterly ridiculous - I mean banging on about IQ tests because you have a difference of opinion indicates extreme pettiness and a remarkably high opinion of yourself tinged with insecurity.

    Fair enough to have an opinion but MY GOD this has taken over your life!

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  • 232. At 10:43am on 12 Aug 2008, Moutarde wrote:

    "who will even remember this loss if he wins a couple of Slams in the next 4 years?"

    I will! I am going to go to Wimbledon next year and boo Murray for letting down Britain.

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  • 233. At 10:44am on 12 Aug 2008, HarryHarmski wrote:

    Murray isn't that good, that aside this is the best illustration why Professional sport has no place in the Olympics - you get people like Murray who don't give a hoot.

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  • 234. At 10:44am on 12 Aug 2008, the_granta wrote:

    FairPlayMotty. I have to doubt your impartiality on this topic and whehter or not Matt has any ability as a journalist.

    I take it from your comments on the website, it matters little how Andy is reported on the BBC.


    Congratulations on the fantastic victory.

    I've been supporting you on the BBC threads for some time now. If you or your coaching staff want to know about Frank Redington's theory of two first serves, I'm your man. He was voted Britain's greatest actuary, was a keen tennis player and studied tennis concluding that two first serves was the best strategy for serving at tennis. I'm no numpty myself and when I read the article I was amazed that no tennis coach had ever picked up on it.

    Incidentally, isn't that dyke on the first at Bridge of Allan such a *****..."

    By doing a simple google search for you, which gives out freely available information, though like anything on the internet, it could be difficult to prove its veracity, the few basic facts it does give may explain your IQ statement. Only wish my job was exciting as yours!

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  • 235. At 10:48am on 12 Aug 2008, HarryHarmski wrote:

    Yes your right, if Murray wins a couple of Slams then we will all forget the Olympics, of course if Murray wins a couple of slams it will be a sad indictment on the state of world tennis. But when his best display is a Qtr final drubbing at the hands of Nadal , where he won 8 games it really is a bit premature to put Murray and Grand Slam winner in the same sentence, that is unless your talking about his classier brother.

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  • 236. At 10:55am on 12 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #181 Matt Slater -

    It's obvious you didn't like my putting what you actually wrote alongside your denial that you actually wrote it.

    For the record, it isn't 30 years of "communcation skills" it's 30 years of actual communication experience:
    18 years national newspaper journalism (writing) and 12 years national radio journalism (writing and "talking" as you so condescendingly put it). I got my NCTJ Proficiency Certificate in Practical Journalism in 1979. I'd be interested to hear when you got yours.

    And now that I've dealt with your petty insults to the matter at hand...for the 21st time!

    Let's see just how big a man you really are.
    If Murray and his brother win a medal at the Olympics tennis doubles you should write a personal apology to the Murrays, including Judy Murray, and withdraw your statement that "these Games ain't for "Andy Murray unequivocally. I'm sure most people would regard that as the least you could do after writing this mean-spirited article.

    And before you come back with the usual cowardly "and you should apologise if they don't win a medal" let me burst your balloon straight away by pointing out: I'm not the one who insulted Murray so I don't need to apologise for anything and certainly not to you.

    I reckon you will suddenly lose the ability to see this post (too busy working to read blog responses obviously) but all the people on here who have read it will know what you're really made of if the Murray brothers go on to win a medal.

    Oh, and if I need to say it a 22nd time then I will do so. It's supposed to be a public blog!

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  • 237. At 10:56am on 12 Aug 2008, pjrowe wrote:

    Oh and one more thing, having just read through some of the other comments posted about this piece.
    FairPlayMotty, please turn off your computer, leave the house and find a life. I'm not sure what has given you the impression that you are witty, knowledgable, or that you are more intelligent than everybody else on the planet, but, honestly, you're clearly not.

    p.s. please feel free to comment on this by pointing out spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, being a pedant always makes a person better and means you win the argument.

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  • 238. At 11:01am on 12 Aug 2008, Medieval-Evil wrote:

    I always find it amusing that so many Scottish people always bring up nationality when a Scot does well in a GB jersey, but make no comment about it when an Englishman/woman has success - from a Welshman...

    As for Murray, can't really blame him for his efforts. Olympic boxing, tennis and football all hold no real interest for me because the standard simply isn't the same as that played throughout the year.

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  • 239. At 11:08am on 12 Aug 2008, Dhijaery wrote:

    Matt, unlike some people, i respect your thoughts and comments on this matter, just as i would anyone else's views, and agree that certain sports like tennis would not regard the olympics as the be all and end all of the season, and possibly some players after a long season would just be looking to US open. I think the frustration with some of these people are that murray lost when he should on paper have won, and coupled with your comments with regards to this whole british/scottish debate have struck a nerve with some people. The idea of doing a blog like this was obviously to strike up debates, which has been achieved, although some people have taken it to heart, FAIRPLAY MOTTY for example. But there is more to these olympics then a debatable top 5 tennis player getting knocked on by a guy who was just to good for him on the day, although your main comment about tennis possible not being included in future games is the real thing we should be discussing

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  • 240. At 11:08am on 12 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #181 Matt Slater

    And it wasn't me who said your "jokes" showed a lack of originality it was Dowse88 (#133): "The fact that you still churn out drivel about Murray's supposed Hatred of the English is testament to the complete lack of originality your article offers."

    I was merely agreeing with this poster, so if what I wrote didn't "make sense" for you then the explanation is simple: unlike you I have read all the posts here before writing my response.

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  • 241. At 11:16am on 12 Aug 2008, avidfan35 wrote:

    I think the problem lies in the scheduling of Tennis events in relation to the Olympic Games. This scheduling problem stems from the lack of respect for this tournement by professional tennis. You receive more points for winning a Masters event than you do for winning Gold in the Olympics.

    Most Olympian's competing in Beijing will have been preparing solely for this competition. AM though has been in Canada, USA and now Beijing competing in events across the globe in the past three weeks, hardly the best preparation one would suggest for a tournment that is not held in much regard by professional tennis.

    Even the schedule seems crazy. Not many top ten players would consider playing singles and doubles in a tournement lasting 7 days so why even attempt to do so in the Olympics.

    Its just further evidence that the top players do not have any real desire to win and most compete because they feel compelled to do so for political reasons.

    I think once the draw was made AM subconsiously realised that the effort required to win the Gold medal by beating Nadal, Djorkovic and Federrer over three consecutive days would have drained him emotionally and would have seriously undermined his chances of doing well in the US Open.

    I see Nadal lost a set against his unknown Italian opponent. Nadal was complaining of the tough schedule prior to the Games so I cannot see him putting his body on the line to get a medal either.

    Fed might have more incentive to do well, given his poor recent form and given also that this might be his last chance to play in the Olympics. He has already won the US Open so Olympic Gold might be something worth sacrificing another slam title for.

    Of the four top players in the World he is also the most refreshed having played only three competitive matches since Wimbledon.

    I think tennis should remain in the Olympics but only young players who have not yet turned professional should be allowed to compete. The Olympic Games is just an unneccesary distraction for the pros.

    Golf though has more of a claim to be an Olympic sport than tennis. Amateur Golf has a much higher profile than 'junior' tennis so why not include it as well.

    I find the Scotland/England thing so very tedious with fault lying in equal measure on both sides of the border. The BBC don't help either by contining to spin the myth that Murray is in some way anti- English.

    I enjoy friendly banter with my English colleagues at work all the time regarding the fortunes of our respective national teams and local teams for that matter but it is silly in the extreme to suggest that they are anti-Scottish or that I am anti-English because we poke fun at each other's teams.

    Perhaps the BBC should spend more time reflecting on why their coverage of tennis outwith the Wimbledon fortnight is so poor rather than focusing their effort on slighting Britain's only decent tennis player at every opportunity.

    It is little wonder that the British public quickly forgets about tennis in between given the BBC's lack of interest in the sport.

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  • 242. At 11:27am on 12 Aug 2008, beagnach wrote:

    Well said Matt. I thought the Olympics was for amateurs. ? Since when have the Williams sisters, and Andrew Murray and Roger and Raphael been amateurs. ? Professionals should not be allowed to compete in the olympics, the games were designed for amateurs not for $m's and $m's a year professionals. We are ruining the games in the name and persuit of money and sponsorships. If the big sponsorship companies want exposure then why not pour some of their money into sponsoring amateurs. ? As Matt rightly said, these amateurs spend their entire lives improving themselves and are some of the most dedicated sports people in the world, so why should they be asked to compete against highly paid professionals,nd see those professionals walk away with the medals that they as amateurs deserve and have a right to win ? Shame on the Olympics governing bodies for allowing it to happen. !

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  • 243. At 11:43am on 12 Aug 2008, BuzzbombLennox67 wrote:

    The Olympic Spirit has been sold out so many times, it's now only a myth in many events. TV money talks loudest (...BBC?). The purist debate was lost years ago.

    There's still enough real endeavour and pride to fill the pages, Matt. Go and find us a Mary Peters elsewhere.

    All the best, mate.

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  • 244. At 11:43am on 12 Aug 2008, avidfan35 wrote:


    That will be why a photograph of Britain's most recent Gold medal winner adorns the front page of The (Glasgow) Herald website today?

    Before you resort to making silly comments you should check your facts.

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  • 245. At 11:48am on 12 Aug 2008, end2endgame wrote:

    You have to question why Andy Murray was not fired up for this match, after all it is the Olympics - the pinnacle for every sportsman and woman? wrong in the case of tennis most of the top players would rather win Wimbledon or one of the other Grand Slams than Olympic Gold. The reality is that Murray was using this as training for the US Open, and by his body language looked like he wanted to get the match over and done with as soon as possible. Similarly in Football any of the players representing their country would rather win the World Cup than an Olympic Team Gold.The conclusion to be drawn from this is that it's time to boot both sports out of the Olympics so that other sports can take their place. Theres a reason why Cricket and Rugby aren't in the Olympics not only because few contries play these sports but both realise it would be a huge waste of time for them. I'm not knocking the Olympics by the way, I think it is a fantastic event and bigger than the Football World Cup despite what some might say. For many sports such as Athletics and swimming it IS the pinnacle. Time for the IOC to get real, see sense and call time on tennis and football at the Olympics.

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  • 246. At 11:49am on 12 Aug 2008, jamiethegent wrote:

    'Andy Murray was once again a disgrace'says FluffyRona.

    Once again? Perhaps you would like to enlighten us. And just how did he insult the rest of the GB team and disrespect the olympics? By not winning or by not smiling?
    And would refunding their airfares be enough for you? How about a public apology to the nation and never allowed to represent GB again?
    Oh and by the way, wasn't it the same young chap who won his doubles match later in the day? A little more balance and a little less bile would be welcome.

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  • 247. At 11:58am on 12 Aug 2008, sheepyknees wrote:

    93 - Nobody asked!
    94 - Nobody important cares!

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  • 248. At 12:14pm on 12 Aug 2008, embraboy wrote:

    Christ! Is the playground empty? Are all the kids here? Can everyone please just take a step back and stop the childish name calling and chill? To paraphrase Becker: "No one lost a war out there, it was a game of tennis".

    On the subject of what sports should be at the games (which I think was the intended subject of the blog), I agree that tennis doesn't fit with the Olympic model in that it has 4 very high profile events every year. I think squash would fit much better as it has a lower profile and would benefit from the exposure.

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  • 249. At 12:17pm on 12 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #248 embraboy -

    It might be an idea if they put the intended subject of the blog in the headline.

    That's based on an old-fashioned concept people used to call "basic common sense."

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  • 250. At 12:26pm on 12 Aug 2008, selfabsorbed wrote:

    I am Scottish and I tire of these anti-English sentiments. When I was young I subscribed to them but I grew up.

    Personally I think this was a great article and highlights the fact that as far as tennis and the Olympics are concerned nobody seems to care. Which is a shame given the magnificent stadium they are playing in.

    The US Open is far more important...

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  • 251. At 12:27pm on 12 Aug 2008, athleticsrock wrote:

    Tell Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Venus and Serena Williams that the Olympics don't matter. They seems to be doing OK, along with a host of other players. What a rubbish argument. If the level of competition is not good enough - "mediocre", you say - why doesn't Murray go out there and display some class? Please don't make excuses or pretend that you know what Murray is thinking out on court. If you're right, and he doesn't care much about it, that is a damning indictment on him and his advisors, not on Olympic tennis - which plenty of better players than Murray are taking seriously. IF that is his attitude, then perhaps he should pay back the money that the BOA has invested in taking him to the greatest sports event on the planet. However, I would like to think that Murray does care, that he did go out and try his hardest, and that he was simply beaten by a stronger player on the day. Believing that is the only way I can retain my respect for him; I do believe it, and I hope that he and Jamie go on to win the doubles, so that their supporters and their country can be proud of them. Oh, and let's see how those other players do in the US Open!

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  • 252. At 12:30pm on 12 Aug 2008, garveycjt wrote:

    I htink that people are missing the point.

    As a Brit who is looking forward to hosting the olympics in 2012, I think that the number of events/sports should be reduced to the ones that, we are good at and that people in this country play. This will prevent us having to fork out at the last minute to pay for sports venues that will never be used again.

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  • 253. At 12:36pm on 12 Aug 2008, muzzmania wrote:

    There have currently been 251 posts on this particular thread. I think that is about 15 more than the number of people that actually turned up to watch Andy Murray play tennis......oh yeh, Tennis is right up there in the Olympic hierarchy. Don't suppose the players would turn up either, if it weren't for the ranking points....wondered why Rog seems so keen now?

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  • 254. At 12:39pm on 12 Aug 2008, SudaNim wrote:

    I didn't watch the Murray game, but I read this article with great interest.

    For what it’s worth, I think this is an excellent article Matt, touching on issues that are fundamental to the Olympic Games themselves. You also deserve some credit too for responding the criticism of your article from some quarters; quite a few BBC bloggers don’t seem to read the responses to their articles.

    Setting aside Murray's performance (or lack thereof - depending on your viewpoint), the Olympics are not the biggest prize in tennis, whilst football (particularly Mens) has the World Cup - a four week festival of its own. I’d be kinder to basketball though as it’s domination by the USA should not detract from the value of the Olympics to other countries players. You could say that the basketball competition is really about second place.

    I agree with the view that unless the sport considers Olympic Gold as the highest accolade, then it shouldn't be included within the games.

    Thus far in my life, I have competed at swimming, sprinting, judo, taekwondo, fencing and latterly endurance running. None of them I did to a national standard, but in each sport, the Olympics is the pinnacle.

    In most Olympic sports our best athletes generally have to juggle their training with full-time jobs. Having tennis, football or even basketball megastars present in my view takes away the spotlight from those who sweat blood just to be part of it.

    When those two swimming medallists were interviewed yesterday just after their win, to me the joy on their faces sums up what the Olympics is all about.

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  • 255. At 12:42pm on 12 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #251 athleticsrock

    "I would like to think that Murray does care, that he did go out and try his hardest, and that he was simply beaten by a stronger player on the day. Believing that is the only way I can retain my respect for him..."

    You have put your finger right on the problem with Slater's article. He clearly doesn't believe Murray was simply beaten by a better player and his lack of respect for for Murray with sneering conjectures about what he and his family were thinking, clearly shows through in the comments he's written.

    When challenged on it Slate tries to say the "real" point of the article - with Murray's name in the headline - is whether tennis should be an Olympic sport.

    If Slater had written an honest article saying Murray's poor performance suggested he didn't care about the Olympics then that would be an honest opinion. He has a right to that just like the rest of us. But what we have got here is a thinly-veiled attack on Murray's commitment to the Olympics, followed by a rather weak-kneed apology and a load of back-tracking about what he actually meant. Note: what was actually written is there for all to see and trying to deny it was just plain foolish.

    Let's see how Murray and his elder brother do in the doubles before we start making accusations about not caring about the Olympics. If the Murrays do win a medal in the doubles then Slater should apologise, no question about it.

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  • 256. At 12:45pm on 12 Aug 2008, alcosaint wrote:

    What a GREAT blog!!!!!

    Haven't had as much on-line fun since I signed up for www.bigbouncy - wait, scratch that. You didn't see me, right?

    Matt - I am obviously much clevererer than Motty and Bighubbabubba, because I GOT your main point about tennis not being a 'propa' Olympic sport.

    Have to agree though with several other posters that you muddied your watery point with some of the language about Andy and his attitude during his singles defeat. Deflected the focus away from the point you meant to make (IMHO).

    And to deviate a little myself... I'm a proud Scot who lived most of my first 18 years in Wales, where the anti English nonsense is less of an issue...

    a) when (not if) Scotland win football's World Cup, I (and almost 6M others) will be talking about it/watching reruns every day for rest of our days and to kid ourselves that we would be more restrained than the English after 1966 is nonsense

    b) if, after a defeat, the English media call a Scottish sportsperson British 100 times and then call him/her Scottish just once, you can guarantee that the nationalists will pick up that one Scot reference and go to town with it

    Well done Matt for sparking such a heated debate, but the heartiest slap on the back has to go to "the_granta" (POST 234) for outing FairPlayMotty!! Love it... but then I am a childish little sod at heart!

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  • 257. At 12:46pm on 12 Aug 2008, monnipenny76 wrote:

    "For me this is really simple - if an Olympic Gold is not the absolute pinnacle of your sport (as it is in Athletics, Swimming and many others) the sport should not be in the Olympics.

    Hence football, basketball, tennis etc have no place in the Olympics in my book."

    I generally agree, but can I point out that for basketball as a sport, the Olympics represent the pinnacle of the sporting calendar. Maybe not to the US team, but for all the other teams definitely. Apart from the Olympics, the next biggest tournament in basketball is the World Championships, which is precisely the same as in the other Olympic sports.

    It would be nice if people commented about a sport only if they have the necessary background knowledge to do so. Thanks!

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  • 258. At 12:49pm on 12 Aug 2008, Westdrop wrote:

    A lot of people have made the point that Murray (and others) are competing in the Olympics for Britain, and that makes it worthwhile.

    Can I just say that that is not the case. Yes, the athletes at the Olympics are representing Britain by default, because they are British, but the majority (in fact all that compete in individual sports) are competing for themselves. The top, most prized Olympic medals are won by people, not national representative institutions.

    For example, if England won the football world cup all the players would get medals, but the country would get the trophy, in honour that the players have won the trophy for their homeland. This doesn't happen at the Olympics - individual competitors get medals. That is all.

    As another example, who is the holder of the women's 800m Olympic title? Answer: Kelly Holmes. Not Great Britain, Kelly Holmes. She is competing for herself. The country allows her to compete and she represents the nation by wearing a team GB vest, but she is not part of a pure team sport, where individuals form a collective that is greater than the sum of the individual parts to achieve glory for the country whose name they compete under. The record books show Kelly Holmes winning gold, just as they will show Andy Murray losing in the first round, not Great Britain.

    So, what I'm saying is that I think the whole representing your country thing at the Olympics is not irrelevant (after all, the athletes across all sports get funding from the treasury and are selected to compete at national trials), but overstated. Just as Lewis Hamilton does not drive for GB, Padraig Harrington does not sink putts for Ireland and Phil Taylor does not make 180s for England, neither does Andy Murray truly represent GB at the Olympics. He is competing for the chance to win himself a gold medal.

    I just don't buy into the "he went to the Olympics to compete for the country" argument. Is that the motivation of Paula Radcliffe, Phillips Idowu, Ben Ainslie and all the others? No - they want a gold medal to hand around their neck, not the country's. That's not cynical, just a statement of fact.

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  • 259. At 12:51pm on 12 Aug 2008, avidfan35 wrote:

    FluffyRona wrote

    'Once again a disgrace'

    Gosh by your high standards that means all British athletes who go out in the first heat/round should be booed and hissed at as punishment for failing to do well and should be made to payback their airfares.

    AM is the best British Tennis player by a considerable margin since Fred Perry and his recent win in Cincinatti indicates that his development is now back on track after overcoming serious injury last year.

    There are some twits on here who doubt AM's commitment/ability however anybody who attains top ten status in their chosen sport is clearly a cut above the rest.

    In fact I would put money on that these same folk have achieved very little in their own lives and thus have no understanding whatsoever of the commitment and dedication it takes to attain the standard required to compete at the highest level.

    Perhaps you could enlighten us Ruth on your achievements to date.

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  • 260. At 1:00pm on 12 Aug 2008, Mich wrote:

    Interesting article and has clearly provoked a lot of debate.

    I'm of the belief that in prior years tennis players, especially male ones, have given the Olympics very little respect - this much the author has correct.

    The reason for this is not so much the players but the ATP not taking steps to fit in the Olympics into an already crowded schedule. This year they finally rectified this by cutting down the schedule, which did not go down well with the places that were cut.

    This is where the author of this article gets it wrong. The fact that Murray was there competing, even though he lost, shows that the Olympics, now the ATP has sorted the schedule, is very important to all the players.

    I think one quote from Federer sums this up "This experience ranks right up there with winning grand slams." In fact Federer has been widely quoted as claiming that winning the Olympics would be the first step to saving his season.

    See this article for example:

    Clearly the worlds top players ARE giving the Olympics respect and one bad day in the office from Murray doesnt indicate any otherwise.

    As I'm watching Nadal thrashin Hewitt while I type this who would bet against a Nadal/Federer final?

    I certainly wouldnt and, if it happens, I hope this author blogs an apology to the tennis world.

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  • 261. At 1:02pm on 12 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    Well, we've heard all the big mouths dishing it out. Let's see if they can take it:

    "Wonderkid" Tom Daley finishes in last place in the 10m synchronised diving.

    Here's my suggested headline, after the style of the BBC's award-winning Matt Slater:

    "Tom Daley: Britain's New Eddie the Eagle"

    Before you all rush in with your insults, remember that the real point of my article is that anything with the word "synchronised" in it shouldn't be an Olympic sport.

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  • 262. At 1:04pm on 12 Aug 2008, Ian B wrote:

    Anyone think that AM might have taken it easy in the singles so that he can be fresher for the doubles with Jamie?

    After all, wouldn't it mean more to you to win an Olympic medal playing alongside your brother?

    Andy has played a lot of tennis recently, so an early defeat in the singles here mught help him be fresher for the USO coming up, but playing the (less physically demanding) doubles should keep him sharp - also the Murray's probably have a better chance of medalling together than AM did in singles (given his draw).

    Tennis doesn't sit very comfortably in the Olympic schedule - sandwiched between Wimbledon and the USO, probably the two most prestigious events in the sport. Perhaps the solution is to have a Hopman Cup style mixed-sex team event, but that could struggle to attract the top players.

    Similarly, there are difficulties keeping football in the games, as in most countries clubs are either in pre-season or at the start of the season proper - perhaps reverting to a true amateur competition could be the answer.

    Interesting though that the article praises Nicole Cooke's victory - of all the cycling disciplines road racing is probably the one with least place in the Olympics, as there are some hugely high profile events through the course of the season, it's just that the British media largely ignores them (other than the mens Tour de France).

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  • 263. At 1:11pm on 12 Aug 2008, hurrahforGazza_D wrote:

    Matt you should be ashamed of yourself for that shoddy piece of writing. Leave the purile sensationalist journalism for the tabloids where it belongs. Your comments only serve to stir up anti-english feeling north of the border and anti-scottish feeling south of it. Without this london-centric obsession of Britishness we'd all get along.

    Andy had a bad day, was probably jetlagged and suffering from the humidity. At least he's still in the doubles tournament, concentrate more on the success stories and let the GB team worry about what went wrong and how they have to improve.

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  • 264. At 1:14pm on 12 Aug 2008, pjrowe wrote:

    F.A.O Bighullabaloo, Motty, and all the others who think that the top tennis players are prepared to give everything in the Olympics:

    The Olympic Games will never become the 'fifth' Grand Slam of tennis, according to Lleyton Hewitt.

    The Australian was speaking in Beijing on the eve of his participation in the Games and believes that the big four tournaments of tennis will always remain more important to regular Tour players.

    "Tennis should be in the Olympics," Hewitt insisted to reporters in China. "[But] we have four major grand slams in a year - for other athletes here it is almost do or die.

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  • 265. At 1:15pm on 12 Aug 2008, schmohit wrote:

    oh what a cliche and typically british...lose and make an excuse!

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  • 266. At 1:17pm on 12 Aug 2008, IOM_RAM wrote:

    So Fair Play Motty actually thinks he is in a position to not only advise Murray on serving, but to put forward a technique ignored by the entire professional game.

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  • 267. At 1:18pm on 12 Aug 2008, extant wrote:

    RE: 214. At 09:18am on 12 Aug 2008, Not logged in

    I did not mention Ms Cooke in my comment I think you will find - I simply stated Road-race biking.
    Plus, there is a Women's Tour de France immediately after the men's tour each year - just because it's not in the media spotlight, does not mean that an event does not take place.

    Logic intact
    : )

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  • 268. At 1:19pm on 12 Aug 2008, extant wrote:

    FYI: the female tour is called "Tour Feminin"

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  • 269. At 1:23pm on 12 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    # 264 pjrowe -

    "F.A.O Bighullabaloo, Motty, and all the others who think that the top tennis players are prepared to give everything in the Olympics"

    Why don't you try reading what I wrote (#49):
    ""If Andy went out there for a bit of rest and recreation I wouldn't blame him."

    That might give you a clue as to what I think. Otherwise, do us all a favour and keep it shut.

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  • 270. At 1:33pm on 12 Aug 2008, Maxonion wrote:

    I don't think it is a matter of making excuses for why he lost, just that we take sport very seriously in this country.

    I always want our sports men and women to do their best, but I would rather they were not there if they are not committed or have other events which take precedent!!!!

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  • 271. At 1:37pm on 12 Aug 2008, Tenisson wrote:

    FairPlayMotty ;

    You are an idiot, I found your attempts to list Matt's factual inaccuracies as laughable. I found the article very interesting and easily followed the points he was making. The focus was the status of singles tennis as an olympic sport in the light of the numerous drop outs we see in most olympic competitions, as well as AM's performance. Of course he was jet lagged but no one who watched that match can say he played with the same intensity and desire as he did a week ago in cincinatti!

    The article was well written, Fairplaymotty you mention the fact that you are slightly drunk, this explains a lot. I got a 2:1 in European Law (llb) (french) from the university of warwick, so I will take you on in the IQ test.

    I have been on the bbc forums for a few years now and people like you really upset me, the amount of sad people who have nothing better to do than 'bash the bloggers'. Ive seen Dirs, Fordyce et al insulted in this way, often without reason, just for doing their jobs.

    You probably only have sex very rarely.

    well done matt, Im sure you have the good sense to laugh at these idiots!!

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  • 272. At 1:38pm on 12 Aug 2008, Tenisson wrote:

    by 'the number of drop outs we see in olympic competitions' i was referring to the olympic tennis competition in previous years.

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  • 273. At 1:40pm on 12 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #271 TeniPurist -

    You ain't seen nothing yet. If the Murray brothers win a medal in the Olympic doubles we'll be having a good laugh at idiots like you, as well as at the award-winning blogger Slater.

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  • 274. At 1:46pm on 12 Aug 2008, smfcbuddie wrote:


    I have tried reading your article several times, and while there may well be some semblance of a serious topic tucked away in the there, it is diminished because of the weak and un-necessary remarks about British / Scottish identities that individuals are assigned.

    Yes Murray is indeed Scottish however his love of Scotland does not equate to denigrating England. Ask Nicky Campbell to explain why he is portrayed as anti-English - I am sure you will not be happy to find out that it was an arrogant Englishman that provoked a jocular remark from Mr Murray. But why let facts get in the way of a good story.

    As for tennis being in the Olympics, why not. If they are the best in their sport then they should be there. In football, it is also notable that certain individuals will be unavailable for their country due to injury, only then to miraculously reappar for the club at the weekend. How then should we deal with football? Because some of the top players don't try / turn up, should we change the rules so that only amateurs can be capped in certain competitions?

    As i said at the start I am not sure if your real purpose was to have a go at a Scot for not being British enough or instead to have a go at certain sports. Either way, I think you failed to hit your target(s). Back to the day job soon enough though, so don't worry about it.

    Ps - Did you get your air fare covered by the public purse?

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  • 275. At 1:47pm on 12 Aug 2008, jimim22 wrote:

    some interesting views on this blog. I do find the original article a little rubbish- all the injuries mentioned are serious ones which could stop many missing grand slams-namely davenport/sharapova.

    Anyone saying that the olympics should be for amateurs is mad- it is designed for the ELITE- if we only had amateurs most events would be farcical and a gold medal would no longer be a crowning achievement.

    Unsure whether tennis should be olympic material. /the tour system doesnt really seem to suit olympics as there are bigger tournaments to win. much better when there are just worlds/europeans/nationals like athletics. Then again it is appropriate as an actual sport and provides real athletes like rafa.


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  • 276. At 1:49pm on 12 Aug 2008, Maxonion wrote:

    Whatever you think of the comments it has provoked everyone's thoughts!!!!! ha

    Always good to have a bit of banter between England and Scotland!!

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  • 277. At 1:50pm on 12 Aug 2008, Tenisson wrote:

    What has the doubles got to do with anything? it has nothing to do with the blog. if the murray brothers win the olympics gold - they certainly won't, by the way - then of course there would be celebration at a british gold medal, but objectively, the status of singles tennis (as well as football for that matter) as an olympic sport remains questionable.

    The point Matt was trying to make was that for him, the beauty of the olympics is in badminton, table tennis, gymnastics, judo, archery, who, once every four years have the chance to shine on the BIGGEST STAGE IN THEIR SPORT, the olympics is everything for these people - for the tennis players and the footballers, not so much.

    this was the thrust of matt's article, he was celebrating these 'minor' sports while questioning the status and the value of tennis in the olympics.


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  • 278. At 1:54pm on 12 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #277 TeniPurist

    Try reading what I wrote you idiot.

    I didn't write Olympic gold. I wrote Olympic medal.

    I can tell you're knees are already shaking at the thought of the Murrays winning a medal and the likes of Slater and you having to eat their words.

    I'm sure you're already sorry you opened your big mouth.

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  • 279. At 1:57pm on 12 Aug 2008, Maxonion wrote:

    If Murray wins at Flushing Meadows then it will be amazing, but I hope he doesnt make excuses at that event that he was tired after the Olympics!!!!

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  • 280. At 2:09pm on 12 Aug 2008, twoody29 wrote:

    murray is never gona win a grand slam....and why oh why do the english give him such support at wimbledon and around the world, he was quoted saying that he would support any team or individual that plays against an english opponent or team. i just hope through his comments that he isnt succesful whatsoever.

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  • 281. At 2:15pm on 12 Aug 2008, cageyvilla wrote:

    Like the suggestion of the Davis Cup style event would be a good idea

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  • 282. At 2:23pm on 12 Aug 2008, DundeeGadgie wrote:

    A couple of points...

    Not many people making much of the "spat" between the the Golden boy of the GB Olympic team, Mr Daley??

    Matt... you have made a rod for your own back with....

    "He turned up, fresh from a superb (British) win in the US, "

    then followed it up with...

    "Sadly, it seemed to dawn on the (by now) Scot he was miserably out of sorts and probably wasting his time against a mediocre but far more up-for-it opponent"

    So when he wins he's British, but when loses he's Scottish??

    I do agree with a lot more points are the there is no place for Tennis at the Olympics. I am a huge golf fan and would hate it if it were to become an Olympic sport... it would totally detract from the 4 Majors. End of story

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  • 283. At 2:23pm on 12 Aug 2008, Dr_Grammar wrote:

    Some really pathetic comments on here, can only imagine what readers from the rest of the world make of this. Comparing IQ scores?

    Logical debate seems to have given way to petty name calling. Sometimes think that the likes of China / Taiwan (or Chinese Taipei) have a more mature relationship than Scotland / England.

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  • 284. At 2:27pm on 12 Aug 2008, realisticbob wrote:

    twoody29 : its ignorant folk like you that are an embarrasment to the country. you cant support murray even when he gets success. and the fact that murrays joke about supporting 'any team but england' was taken out of context to bring a tirade of hate against him from the english and you to believe it is also an embarrassment.

    support the guy, he's all we've got!

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  • 285. At 2:27pm on 12 Aug 2008, Dr_Grammar wrote:

    #282 DundeeGadgie - 162 posts and counting on the Tom Daly spat, so that one's also going to run and run....

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  • 286. At 2:28pm on 12 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #283 Dr_Grammar

    Sometimes think that the likes of China / Taiwan (or Chinese Taipei) have a more mature relationship than Scotland / England.

    Careful! Your assumed superiority of the master race over the squabbling immature Asians is showing...

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  • 287. At 2:29pm on 12 Aug 2008, oglidewell wrote:

    Why all the guff about Murray's nationality? The simple fact is that the Olympics is not the pinnacle of tennis. Same goes for Football and the as yet not included golf.

    The only way you could make tennis worthwhile at the Olympics is to have a Davis Cup style team competition. Plain knock-out singles and doubles isn't going to work, as it's simply not a big thing.

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  • 288. At 2:31pm on 12 Aug 2008, DundeeGadgie wrote:

    Cheers Dr_Grammar!

    Anyway, time is most definitely on his side

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  • 289. At 2:39pm on 12 Aug 2008, batsaa wrote:

    Tennis and football will not be removed from the Olympics despite, in my opinion, the strong arguments to do so for two main (financial) reasons:

    Firstly, the IOC want to have some of the best known sports people involved in the Olympics (even if not all of them actually attend or compete) as it enhances the Olympics as a marketable brand.

    Secondly, revenue from ticket sales alone for sports like football and tennis (frequently in existing stadia at very little incremental cost to games organisers) cannot be replaced by any other sports and is in all likelihood greater than total revenues from ticket sales from the 8 or 9 days of track athletics in the main Olympic stadium.

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  • 290. At 2:43pm on 12 Aug 2008, Dr_Grammar wrote:

    #286 - bighullabaloo, not at all, I meant that two countries with missiles pointed at each other, no direct flights until recently and no diplomatic relations sometimes seem to have a better relationship than England and Scotland.

    Please don't mention things like 'master race' - really, really unnecessary and could easily be misinterpreted by any foreign readers. Thanks.

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  • 291. At 2:44pm on 12 Aug 2008, DundeeGadgie wrote:

    It certainly won't be taken out before 2012. I imagine Wimbledon be have a better patronage than the Beijing tourney.... and all being well a certain Andy Murray should be in the prime of his career!

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  • 292. At 2:46pm on 12 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #290 Dr_Grammar

    Just what we need - another idiot who can't write what he means and retreats into some irrelevant political claptrap when somebody challenges them on it. Pathetic. And I decide what things I mention - not you. So you can put your suggestion where the subn don't shine.

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  • 293. At 2:48pm on 12 Aug 2008, Dr_Grammar wrote:

    #292 bighullabaloo - have a nice day!

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  • 294. At 2:49pm on 12 Aug 2008, red-athlete wrote:

    Sorry, nobody else appears to have picked up on a comment from Matti76 at the start of this blog:

    "The timing of these games really doesn't suit a tennis player - coming on the back of a Masters series (which Murray brilliantly won), and on the eve of the US Open. If he manages to win that he will bring more glory to British sport than all the gold medalists here could ever do."

    Are you serious?!??!?! No, if he wins a major then well done him, and it's about comparable to an Olympic Gold Medal in all honesty, but don't for one moment belittle the achievements of the rowers, gymnasts, triathletes, swimmers and the athletes of a hundred other sports who train far longer and harder, and compete in far more gruelling and demanding events, than tennis players ever do, and for a fraction of the remuneration that tennis players get.

    NB He could try being happy about it as well - I wouldn't mind being paid hundreds of thousands of pounds for hitting a little yellow ball across a net. Hardly conforms to the Olympic motto of "Citius, Altius, Fortius" does it?

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  • 295. At 2:50pm on 12 Aug 2008, Julio Geordio wrote:

    I have to agree with Matt and his comments. Tennis, like football (and to an extent basketball) has no place at the Olympics. As Matt says, you only have to look at past winners of the event to prove this! My argument is simple with the Olympics. You either throw it open to all sports, therefore making it an even bigger sporting event to see who really is the biggest sporting nation or you get rid of the likes of tennis and football which clearly have more important competitions. The Olympics should be for minority sports to have their chance in the limelight. As for Murray, its harsh to say he doesn't care about winning the Olympics, but surely the US Open will be of more importance to him? He has performed well this year and should be praised in general. One defeat in a meaningless tournament should not take this away from him.

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  • 296. At 3:04pm on 12 Aug 2008, ssj110 wrote:

    Having watched the Andy Murray match, he obviously wasn't in the mood to win as he would not receive any money, only a paltry gold medal. Whatever happened to be proud to represent your country. He should be reminded that Scotland is part of Great Britain, or was when I last looked. Maybe the Olympics should go back to being just for amateur sportsmen and sportswomen. It is a joy to watch some of the lesser well known countries competing for the glory of being part of the Olympic movement, knowing that they are unlikley to win any medals but are enjoying just being there, doing their best for their country and be proud to do so. I didn't notice Raphael Nadal or Roger Federer looking fed up and wanting to be somewhere else when the opening ceremony was taking place, they were clearly there to soak up the atmosphere and be proud to represent their repspective counties. Hopefully he will be in better spirits in 2012, if not please pick people who would be proud to represent Great Britain and not care a jot about getting paid for the priviledge.

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  • 297. At 3:06pm on 12 Aug 2008, Cantab wrote:

    why can't we rate blogs written by BBC journalists like other 606 comments?

    Oh I remember, they suck. Good to see my taxes used well.

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  • 298. At 3:15pm on 12 Aug 2008, avidfan35 wrote:

    Too late twoody29, AM is successful.

    Elements of the English media have turned AM into a hate figure to sell a few newspapers.

    If you can open your blinkers for one second here is the true story about what Murray said.

    Des Kelly, from the Daily Mail, has admitted to provoking the Scot into saying the "anyone but England" comment but says Murray was just being sarcastic in response to his teasing over Scotland failing to qualify for the World Cup that year.

    So, for the hard of thinking, let me state here that: I did the interview with Andy Murray and Tim Henman a couple of years back where Murray talked about 'supporting whoever England were playing against'.

    It was a clearly a sarcastic remark. He was responding to teasing from your columnist about Scotland's absence from the 2006 World Cup and derisive laughter from the mischievous Henman.

    It was reported in that context in this newspaper at the time and the exchange was run as a transcript.

    A couple of days later a red-top got excited about the comments, lifted a couple of them into a 'story' that took on a life of its own and from there the truth was lost.

    The shameful "red-top" who spread the lies about the Scot is thought to be Tony Parsons, and the story that "took on a life of its own".

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  • 299. At 3:21pm on 12 Aug 2008, piechucker31 wrote:


    I remember listening to 5Live coverage of the last match Murray won at Wimbledon (I forget the opponent, whoever he played before Nadal this year), and they were making exactly your point, that it was a tongue in cheek little comment that got seized on and blown up ridiculously. Kudos to them and you.

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  • 300. At 3:22pm on 12 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    # 298 - avidfan35

    You're wasting your time trying to get through to these numbskulls with the truth about Murray's "ant-English" comment.

    Quite honestly, even if Murray meant that comment seriously, what crime has he committed?

    Why should be support England in anything? Quite clearly from the ignorant and bigoted rubbish we see written about him on here every time he plays - and not just by members of the public either - that they don't support him.

    And I'm sure the guy himself doesn't give a stuff what they think, and why should he?

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  • 301. At 3:25pm on 12 Aug 2008, Saffavescent wrote:

    I'm not English but thought Murray got got a lot of support from the crowd at Wimbledon this year.

    My 2c.

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  • 302. At 3:30pm on 12 Aug 2008, oke2008 [RIP #15] wrote:

    oh whats the point?

    many athletes dream of being in the Olympics who represent the "bigger sports" difference is that these people come from the smaller nations and play for their club teams just clinging onto that slight chance they may be spotted and represent their country in the Games! its only our cynical nature that could dream of denying these people their childhood dream!

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  • 303. At 3:36pm on 12 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #301 - Saffavescent

    You obviously only watched the "comeback" match against Gasquet.

    When Andy started winning he was granted "honorary Brit" status by the sort of people who only support people when they're winning.

    Just a few days before that match, we were getting treated to this sort of guff from the BBC:

    "Cool on Brittania"

    "Without Tim playing the atmosphere is much flatter," says Wimbledon stalwart Ross from Guildford.

    "This is my 19th year here and Wimbledon is normally so alive and vibrant but there is just no buzz this year."

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  • 304. At 3:53pm on 12 Aug 2008, monnipenny76 wrote:

    "You could say that the basketball competition is really about second place."

    Ouch, tell that to the Argentinians and Italians, who came first and second in Athens in 2004, with the US only getting the bronze medal. And also tell that to the Spanish and Greek, who came first and second in the world championships in 2006, again with the US only claiming bronze. In fact, while we're on the subject, tell that to the Yugoslavia, Argentina, Germany and New Zealand, who took the top four places in the 2002 World Championships. Think this time the US came fifth.

    Again, can I point out it would be great if people knew what they're talking about before putting comments in this site. European Basketball goes from strength to strength and taking the Olympics away from that would be a disaster. Just because they have an elite league in the US shouldn't spoil the fun for the rest of the world.

    Plus, there is always women's basketball to consider, and the Olympics is pretty much the only platform that women's basketball has on the international stage.

    So while I agree that maybe the singles tennis and men's football are not the best sports to put in the Olympics, basketball is.

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  • 305. At 4:29pm on 12 Aug 2008, Moutarde wrote:

    "You're wasting your time trying to get through to these numbskulls with the truth about Murray's "ant-English" comment.

    Quite honestly, even if Murray meant that comment seriously, what crime has he committed? "

    Nobody has a problem with him hating the English - we have come to expect that from the Scots over many hundreds of years, mainly due to our apparent ability to invade and conquer Scotland at will - it's the fact that when Wimbledon comes around he starts to go on about how he never meant it and how he loves the English, really. Pretty pathetic grovelling, I think you'll agree.

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  • 306. At 4:42pm on 12 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #305 - Moutarde

    If that's grovelling I'd love to grovel my way to the brand new waterfront apartment Murray's just bought in Miami. Yeah, a tough life that grovelling.

    Never mind, maybe in another 20 years England will have a half decent tennis player to cheer on, just like the last guy...whathisname.

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  • 307. At 4:48pm on 12 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:

    A few points:

    1. Did I claim to be impartial?
    2. Someone felt the need to Google me. I've read a book by Redington and that person now thinks that they know what I do for a living. Not very bright. Here's a thought - some people read widely. Try it!
    3. My sex life is just fine.

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  • 308. At 4:52pm on 12 Aug 2008, jamiethegent wrote:

    I cant understand why emotions run so high and feelings are displayed so strongly with regard to Andy Murray. The 'anti-English' quote has been contexualised and should be put to bed but the vitriol which often appears on this forum is hard to take. Words like 'hate' and 'despise' are common and the fact that he is a Scot appears to be justification for much of the abuse.
    It is distressing, also, that these virulent comments are presented under the guise of sporting opinions and when one considers that none of his detractors have met the young man, it is remarkable how forthright they can be, based upon television images only. These appear to be enough to engender hate and for these 'contributors' to enjoy their hate.

    I sincerely hope that this young, world-class tennis player is able to resist and deflect such a torrent of illwill and I wish him well for his future.

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  • 309. At 5:03pm on 12 Aug 2008, Moutarde wrote:

    I reckon the average tennis fan would have a lot more time for Murray if he'd shown the character to stand by his comments about hating England instead of trying to get us on his side for Wimbledon by apologising profusely. But then, as these Olympics have shown, Murray has no character.

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  • 310. At 5:07pm on 12 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #309 Moutarde

    Here's what Murray himself has to say about the incident:
    "I am Scottish. I am also British. I am not anti-English, I never was... what happened was a little joke that went wrong.

    It was the time of the 2006 World Cup and England were due to play Paraguay. Tim Henman and I were being interviewed and before we started the journalist asked Tim about England's chances in the World Cup and asked me who I would be supporting.

    He was making the point that Scotland weren't there. I got the joke. I laughed. We did the interview and the last question was: "Who will you be supporting?" Remembering our previous banter, I just said: "Whoever England are playing, ha ha." I had a smile on my face.

    It was obvious I was joking. It wasn't reported like that. They made up stories about me buying a Paraguay shirt, the whole thing was absolute nonsense."

    You haven't got the intelligence to see that he's said his piece on the matter.
    Frankly, I don't know why he bothered, since why waste breath on numbskulls like you?

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  • 311. At 5:22pm on 12 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #309 Moutarde

    Des Kelly, the Daily Mail journalist who did the above interview with Murray and Henman in 2006 wrote last month: "As for this England v Scotland thing, personally, after some of the twaddle I've read this past fortnight from 'patriotic' Brits, I wouldn't hold it against Murray if he decided to become German."

    Clearly Kelly had you in mind when he was talking about the "twaddle".

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  • 312. At 5:28pm on 12 Aug 2008, Moutarde wrote:

    If Murray hates England, then that's totally fine with me, but if comes crawling asking for our support come Wimbledon (which is exactly what happened), then he obviously lacks the strength of character to stick to his guns.

    I think that's a reasonably objective analysis. And no name-calling, you'll note.

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  • 313. At 5:34pm on 12 Aug 2008, avidfan35 wrote:

    Moutarde .......the fact remains Henman and Murray were having a laugh and neither was being anti anything.

    You obviously found it too difficult to remove the blinkers and accept the truth of what actually happened.

    By the way Murray's girlfriend is English so he literally does love the English.....really!.

    You seem to be under the misconception that AM is Scotland's only genuine sporting star at these Olympics ....hmmm I would suggest you check your facts next time so that you can avoid making a fool of yourself on a national webite.

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  • 314. At 5:37pm on 12 Aug 2008, IOM_RAM wrote:


    when Murray has reached 4 Grand Slam semi-finals get back to me. And the previous good Scottish tennis player was....

    Let's face it, Spain probably contributed more than Scotland to his development.

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  • 315. At 5:37pm on 12 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #312 Moutarde

    I think you are on the wrong place, you would be much happier reading Tony Parsons' weekly column in the Mirror.

    British magazine Viz currently runs a recurring feature entitled "Tony Parsehole", a parody of Parsons' column.

    That sounds perfect for you. And no name-calling, you'll note.

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  • 316. At 5:40pm on 12 Aug 2008, elche2002 wrote:

    IF you make it to the Olympics then go therefor the Gold.

    Just ask Nadal or Federer. They are both cranking up all cilenders and playing like top champs with will, determination and mind.
    Sorry but Murray is not there yet. LOng ways from that. He is brilliant one week and next week he looses to a name most of us NEVER heard.

    As to why the TV kept showing on opening night the faces of Nadal, Fed and other famous athletes? You dont have to be a surgeon to know that is what sells and that is what people recognize. Put any other faces there and 97% of the world wouldnt know one person from the next one marching by.

    Is all about branding and who, in a fraction of a second, your brain and eyes will click equally.
    The problem with the UK is that if you got someone with talent you tend to crown that person before they pay their dues and show the world why they deserve to be at the top.

    Even Italian coach Capello is going over the top with this comment, ""Technically we are like the Spanish players, although we don't play in the same style as them,"

    Yeap, right.

    Look how long it took for Rafa "the terminator" to make it to the top and ad all the GS and matches he won along the way. It takes a lot more than one or two tournaments to be #1,2 or 3. It takes the same to win a Gold medal.

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  • 317. At 5:42pm on 12 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #314 IOM_RAM

    If you care to check your facts, you'll see that England's darling Tim never reached a Grand Slam final....ever!!!
    So, when some English tennis player does reach a final get back to me. On second thoughts, don't bother, because by that time everybody reading this will be long gone!

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  • 318. At 5:49pm on 12 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    # 314 IOM_RAM

    The reason Murray went to Spain is simple.
    He didn't rate the English LTA setup which was doing nothing for Scottish players or English players for that matter.

    This is why Murray's mother is currently setting up her own tennis academy in Scotland - so that all the future Scottish winners won't be forced to go to Spain to get decent training.

    Thought I'd be the first one to give you the good a few years you'll be able to cheer on four or five more top Scottish tennis players at Wimbledon as a result of Jenny Murray's project.

    That will be wonderful, won't it? I can just hear those teeth grinding through that grossly overpriced punnet of strawberries.

    Glad to have been able to bring a little sunshine into your day!


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  • 319. At 5:54pm on 12 Aug 2008, adamholmgaard wrote:

    Can't believe how many posts have been added over night!

    I think most people here who appreciate Murray participating in Olympics share the same knowledge that Olympics isn't just another grand slam, let alone lower ranked tournaments.

    Olympics happens only once in 4 years while the 4 majors take place every year.

    For sure there could be a loss of money for players but what Olympics brings to them should be way more.


    Andy Murray would not win US Open even if he'd given up Olympics and actually prepared just for it.

    P.S Sharapove not only withdrew from Olympics but also US Open, get your fact straight, Matt.

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  • 320. At 5:58pm on 12 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #319 adamholmgaard

    "Sharapove not only withdrew from Olympics but also US Open, get your fact straight, Matt."

    I fear you're flogging a dead horse there, my old son.

    The number of factual errors Slater's already had to correct in this "article" is already well beyond the point at which sensible people decide to admit they're in the wrong game.

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  • 321. At 6:01pm on 12 Aug 2008, avidfan35 wrote:

    Why on earth are we knocking the achievements of one tennis player to get back at another simply because of their nationality?

    I cheered on Tim and I will cheer on Andy too. Andy I suspect will have the better career record but who knows what the future holds only that Britain should really be getting behind their one current true tennis star instead of jumping all over him.

    Would you all prefer to go back tothe days when Andrew Castle or Jeremy Bates were treated as heroes if they managed to get into the third round.

    IOM_RAM is absolutely right British tennis played no part in AM's development whatsoever. If he had stayed in the UK he would be nop more successful than his older brother.

    It is now clear that the LTA failed to inspire a new generation of young British talent to come through when Henman was doing well at Wimbledon.

    It has been thrown a lifeline with the unexpected emergence of AM, it cant afford to blow it again.

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  • 322. At 6:05pm on 12 Aug 2008, adamholmgaard wrote:

    #320 bighullabaloo

    Well sorry for misspelling Sharapova's name first

    And my intension was not to point out an "corrected" error.

    I simply want to correct a fabricated reasoning by Matt that Sharapova does not want to participate in Olympics.

    Most people would agree that Sharapova decided to take part in Fed Cup last year, only in order to qualify for Olympics. And also withdrawing from US Open proves that she does not fake an injury to avoid Olympics.

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  • 323. At 6:13pm on 12 Aug 2008, nik wrote:

    I am happy to see that most people here disagree with the article. It took a while until it occurred to me what's really wrong about it: The basic premise is wrong, namely that the most popular sports should not be at the olympics. That's nonsense - the Olympics is the most prestigious sporting event in the World. A place where the best athletes in the world gather and compete. Ruling out popular sports, or generally "professionals" would go against the olympic spirit.

    If some tennis players don't want to be there - it's their choice. Luckily, the two best players in the world disagree. Too bad for Andy he went out early but to tell you the truth I think it would be best for everyone if Brits just didn't say anything about him. British media hypes him like crazy, only to destroy him every time he doesn't live up to the sky-high expectations. I am not british so I can bring some perspective to the matter: Andy Murray is one of the four or maybe five people who currently make Tennis exciting, and his recent masters win was fantastic. And that's it.

    The olympic spirit should be all inclusive.

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  • 324. At 6:14pm on 12 Aug 2008, gc wrote:

    what is wrong if a scot is anti-english? he will grow out of it. it is perfectly natural. being english i am not offended in the slightest. it makes him seem geniune and he will grow out of it.
    so he probably wants england to crash and burn at a world cup. so what? I love to see argentina get shafted.

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  • 325. At 6:15pm on 12 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #322 - adamholmgaard

    Slater clearly wasn't interested in presenting a balanced article in this case. The headline alone should tell people that and if it doesn't then they must be too stupid or too bigoted to see it.

    You are one of several people who have pointed out factual and/or errors of reasoning in this article but Slater will no doubt justify it on the basis of "stimulating debate".

    Really, as some of the more intelligent posters here have pointed out, all he is doing, and intended to do, despite his claims of innocence, are to stir up trouble between the Scots and English.

    And this is what passes for journalism these days but, worse than that, this is what we get as journalism from the BBC, who were once the envy of the world for impartiality and accuracy.

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  • 326. At 6:16pm on 12 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:

    My IQ challenge to Matt Slater arose because he suggested that all of us who disagreed with his views just didn't understand his article. Crooked thinking Matt!

    Shame he only admitted to one factual error too.


    You're doing a great job!

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  • 327. At 6:19pm on 12 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #326 FairPlayMotty

    As you are obviously the judge of fair play, who do you think is winning the argument so far? Me or Slater?

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  • 328. At 6:20pm on 12 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:


    You've won hands down!

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  • 329. At 6:24pm on 12 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #328 FairPlayMotty - Let's get behind the Murray brothers and cheer them all the way to an Olympic medal. Gold, silver or bronze, doesn't matter!

    That will shut them up better than anything.

    Then no amount of veiled "jokes", mean-spirited "sarcasm" or trying to tell us what people are "thinking" will cover up their real problem: they're green to the gills with envy!

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  • 330. At 6:28pm on 12 Aug 2008, adamholmgaard wrote:


    I am neither English nor Scottish. I do not have to dig into the article from a certain prospective.

    From what I can see here, only 1/3 of the article was about Murray and his loss.

    There are several points stated in the article. I am only arguing on one of them, which I feel most concerned about.

    Mark Slater is not afraid of provoking readers. He has certainly produced remarks.

    "that's "made in Taiwan" to you and me but not the IOC and certainly not our hosts"

    This is not to please any Chinese here.

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  • 331. At 6:38pm on 12 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #330 adamholmgaard

    Since only 1/3 or the article was about Murray maybe you can exlain to us why his name was used in the headline?

    Surely the headlines should deal with the main point made in the article, otherwise when people read it they are going to feel tricked into reading an article that isn't really about the subject in the headline?

    Why name Murray in the headline if the article wasn't really intended to be about Murray?

    The answer is that Slater thought he could get away with a sly dig at Murray whilst being able to claim that his his article was really about whether tennis should be an Olympic sport.

    As so many people here have pointed out, that is not only bad journalism, it doesn't display the sort of integrity that the public expect from a broadcaster funded from the public purse through a compulsory licence fee.

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  • 332. At 6:50pm on 12 Aug 2008, adamholmgaard wrote:

    #331 bighullabaloo

    My explanation is, there is a subtext?!

    Should any title indicate the intended point of an article in such a most direct manner? Well sometimes yes, sometimes no.

    I guess I could rephrase the title with my understanding.

    "Move over Murray, these Games ain't for you --- Olympics Tennis is not MAJOR enough"

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  • 333. At 6:59pm on 12 Aug 2008, brighton-eagle wrote:

    Bighullabaloo, are you still going on about the title of the blog?! As I wrote in comment #165, this is a blog. B.L.O.G. It is not the BBC news story reporting on Murray's loss, nor is it the opinion of the British Broadcasting Corporation (with whom you seem to have some irrational beef with).

    My point is, Mr. Slater isn't going to name his article "My musings on Murray's 1st round loss at the Olympics, followed by my thoughts on Tennis' place as an Olympic sport in general."

    No, he's going to give it a fairly quirky title to catch the eye of the often distracted browser (as happened in my case).

    Yes, if you just read the title of the piece you may think it is anti-Murray, but if you actually read it and grasp its point (have you read it? Do you get its point) then you will see its taking an ironic dig at all those journalists/fans/non-fans who have fickle ideas of patriotism depending on well the individual sportsman performs.

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  • 334. At 7:01pm on 12 Aug 2008, brighton-eagle wrote:

    for the pedants:
    *it's taking
    *how well

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  • 335. At 7:03pm on 12 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #332 adamholmgaard

    Whilst not exactly raving about your suggested headline I have to admit at least it's more balanced than the one we got from the BBC. And at least it covers what is now claimed to be the intended point of the article.

    I think having seen what you would have as a headline does highlight there was a subtext alright - it just wasn't the one you're thinking of.

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  • 336. At 7:08pm on 12 Aug 2008, adamholmgaard wrote:

    #335 bighullabaloo

    I have not got much to say now.

    There is no reason why you shouldn't hold on to your point of view.

    I am out.

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  • 337. At 7:19pm on 12 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    # 333 brighton-eagle -

    Like a lot of people on here we've had our fill of the BBC's "ironic digs". Or Matt Slater's "ironic digs". or Matt Slater of the BBC's "ironic digs". Until the BBC put up a notice disassociating themselves from Slater's articles then all three of these things amount to the same thing as far as I'm concerned.

    Scores of people have written in saying this sort of sneering sarcasm being passed off as "journalism" is not what we want from the BBC, or it's blogs, or its bloggers. Some of those people are rightly very angry that they're paying for it through a virtually compulsory tax and if they had a say in the matter, the likes of Slater wouldn't even be in Beijing making his "ironic digs".

    What people do want is fair accurate, impartial, objective, professional news coverage. Not personal opinion from some so-called blogger. Last time I looked these goals were at the very core of the BBC's news values. These values are not being lived up to in these "blogs".

    If they are going to put up forums inviting public comment then the BBC, and people like you, had best get used to people like me coming on and telling them what they're doing stinks big time.

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  • 338. At 9:10pm on 12 Aug 2008, tgsgirl wrote:

    Please state your source as to why (the hell) you think Henin - who won gold in Athens, had her heart set on another medal, and still appears on every olympics poster here in Belgium - would bow out?

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  • 339. At 9:49pm on 12 Aug 2008, stwl wrote:

    #337 bighullabaloo: I respect your opinion. However, it seems inevitable that a lot of the BBC's money is going to be spent on things that don't interest you, or "add value" to your life. Same here.

    It's also true that numerous people have spent time criticising the blogs as a waste of money / inexpertly written / factually ignorant, etc. This is obviously their prerogative.

    However, other people do find some of these blog entries valuable and interesting. When you say "what people do want is...not personal opinion", that is an overgeneralisation. (Similarly, when you and others complained that the author's original intention was not inferrable by readers, that was an overgeneralisation.)

    I'd be interested to hear your response to this, and whether we can part ways in peace...

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  • 340. At 10:15pm on 12 Aug 2008, pjrowe wrote:


    I apologise for saying you'd written that Murray was trying hard, I went back and read some of your posts (fascinating, I must say) ,and you don't say any such thing. However I did notice that you seem to agree with one of the main points of Slater's article, namely that nobody could blame Murray for not giving everything. So why the fuss?

    Having said that you seem a rather angry person did your 30 year career in journalism end badly? I'm sorry if that is so, but when you get angry you tend to start losing people and then arguments. People switch off and miss any valid or important points you may have made. Hope this helps.

    Sorry if this sounds patronising love.

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  • 341. At 00:09am on 13 Aug 2008, brighton-eagle wrote:

    #340 pjrowe

    Couldn't have put it better myself.

    But just to respond to his response (#337):

    "What people do want is fair accurate, impartial, objective, professional news coverage."

    I agree completely - on the main BBC Sport site I would expect balanced, accurate, formulaic reporting - because it's the BBC, arguably one the most respected brands (if you can call it that) in the whole world. But on I would expect (and desire) subjective, opinionated, alternative and potentially polarising articles. Surely the tagline for 606 is appropriate here: "comment...debate...create" - just what the majority of news blogs are designed to do. But maybe that's just me.

    I think in future it would be best if you stuck to the BBC main site (or another news source) where you can read objective, impartial news stories 'til your little heart's content.

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  • 342. At 00:28am on 13 Aug 2008, Vaughan_the_Prawn wrote:

    #341 - agree entirely, but just one question - are you sure it's a he?

    Had the opposite impression, but I guess I'll be shot down in vitriolic flames if that opinion isn't 100% accurate.

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  • 343. At 00:33am on 13 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    # 339 stwl2006 -

    Of course we can part ways in peace, no problem. What I actually wrote was: "What people do want is fair accurate, impartial, objective, professional news coverage, not personal opinion."

    Since you feel I am overgeneralising, or even just "generalising" for that matter, let me give you at least one very specific reason why I don't like the BBC's now rampant "blogging" style of journalism.

    For one thing, the lines between "personal opinion", "the BBC's editorial opinion" and "factual news reporting" are being blurred. This may be not quite as harmless as it first seems.

    Rather, it's something people should question, especially since those doing the blurring are in this case funded entirely from the public purse.

    Leaving aside for a moment whether there was a particular "spin" on Slater's article (I believe there was), it was so hampered by factual errors that several posters complained the author was woefully uninformed about the sport he was giving an opinion about.

    Sorry, but I prefer "opinionated" journalism to be at the very least based on a solid knowledge of the subject being discussed. I don't mind journalists having an opinion if they first take the trouble to make sure the facts they're basing their opinion on are correct.

    To me, that is a vital difference between a professional journalist writing opinion pieces - or "blogs" as the BBC inaccurately insists on calling them - and Joe Soap who's just been pulled in off the street and given a laptop.

    #340 pjrowe -

    Since you ask, my 30-year journalism career ended in very ordinary retirement. I had reached a professional level I was more than happy with, met lots of interesting people and made sufficient money to fund a very comfortable retirement. Sorry if that sounds patronising, or doesn't fit with your idea of what I'm like.

    I do happen to agree with Slater that no one could blame Murray for not giving everything at the Olympics. What I objected to was his speculation on what Murray and his family were allegedly "thinking".

    As Slater later admitted, those remarks were just his personal opinion. All I did was tell him where he could stuff his opinion (see my earlier explanation for one reason why I did that).

    Lastly, if my posts are such a turn off, as you seem to think, then I'm not sure how you explain why so many people (including you) have responded to them. By the sound of it, some of those people (including Slater) were frothing at the mouth.

    However, things have now reached the somewhat embarrassing stage (for Slater) of more people replying to my posts than to his article, so I've decided to bow out of this particular discussion....until the next time!

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  • 344. At 00:42am on 13 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #341 brighton-eagle

    See my #343.

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  • 345. At 00:48am on 13 Aug 2008, brighton-eagle wrote:

    #342 Vaughan_The_ Prawn - good point, perhaps I'm guilty of some unintentional sexism! But his/hers 30 year career in journalism must have started in 1978 at the very latest - I would assume in those days it was easier for a male to progress in that field (or any field - more sexism?).

    But as the saying goes, assume and you make an ass out of u and me (sorry couldn't resist).

    Anywho, I'm shattered and have work in the morning. Don't have the luxury of being retired.

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  • 346. At 01:07am on 13 Aug 2008, brighton-eagle wrote:

    #343/344 bighullabaloo

    "For one thing, the lines between "personal opinion", "the BBC's editorial opinion" and "factual news reporting" are being blurred. This may be not quite as harmless as it first seems."


    I must admit, I read BBC Sport pretty much all day everyday (fitting work in between, obviously), and I too have noticed the emergence of more blogging i.e. personal opinion, more 606 pieces written by BBC staff, and even opinionated and subjective text commentary. However, to me personally, the distinction is always quite clear. I'm always aware when reading an article whether it's a 'report' (objective), a 'column' (personal, subjective) or a blog (alternate).

    This is just an extension of the web 2.0 culture we live in - I would wager a lot that the BBC online (as a whole) has more discussions, debates, forums, and user comments than any other site in the country (and perhaps even Europe). As the primary, publicly funded broadcaster in the country, the BBC has a duty to be at the forefront (or at least near) of online media.

    Your concerns at these changes are understandable, but perhaps reflect your generation, and background in journalism and I am genuinely not intending to patronise by saying that.

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  • 347. At 01:26am on 13 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #345 brighton-eagle

    Since I hate to disappoint fans when they are so obviously fascinated by what I'm like that they're staying up till one o' clock on a midweek morning wondering about it, here are the answers: I'm male.

    My journalism career started in 1976 when I left school. I did a year in journalism college where they taught me a bunch of old-fashioned journalistic skills like writing 110 w.p.m. in shorthand (which I can still do) and triple checking facts before making a fool of myself by writing opinion pieces on subjects I knew nothing about.

    After one year in college I did two years "in the field" (working at a local newspaper) before they awarded me a three-year apprenticeship certificate from the UK's journalistic training authority (the National Council for the Training of Journalists).

    After that I worked on local newspapers, national newspapers, local radio and eventually national radio, both on staff and later as a freelance, travelling to many far-flung places, including China, and around the globe several times.

    And so, if I happen to have an opinion on the quality of BBC journalism, I think I've earned the right to that opinion. At least I'm talking from hard experience. It could be taken as somewhat disrepectful when that experience is glibly dismissed by "hotshot" BBC young guns as having a "bee in your bonnet about the BBC" but I'm not so thin-skinned that it bothers me.

    The real reason they don't like me is that I'm pointing out exactly where they're failing to live up to the core journalistic values of their employer - what you describe as "arguably one of the most respected brands (if you can call it that) in the whole world" - the BBC. I do think it's sad the way the journalistic standards of what was once a universally-admired organisation have fallen so low.

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  • 348. At 01:52am on 13 Aug 2008, smellslikesalmon wrote:

    Yawn. Thought you said you were going away, we're really bored of you!

    I know it's quiet in your retirement home, but why not talk to the postman instead of telling us how many wpm you can write. The world has moved on.

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  • 349. At 01:56am on 13 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #346 brighton-eagle -

    "Your concerns at these changes are understandable, but perhaps reflect your generation, and background in journalism and I am genuinely not intending to patronise by saying that."

    I hope you don't think it patronising when I say that your generation better be very careful it doesn't sleepwalk into a situation where the "opinion" starts to get blurred into the facts so that people aren't able to tell the difference any more.

    Have a closer look at some of your "factual" sports reports from now on. Are you sure there isn't a lot more "opinion" in there than there used to be? That is, compared to the days when you were too young to read them? How would you know?

    For example, what is this all about, taken from the "factual report" of Murray's first round match?

    "The body language of the Scot, who was be-decked in an ill-fitting GB shirt, spoke of an irritable man who was struggling to concentrate."

    Is is a "fact" that Murray's shirt was "ill-fitting?" Or is it an "opinion"? If it's an "opinion" then who decided Murray's shirt was "ill-fitting"? How is his shirt size even relevant to a report about a tennis match?

    Incidentally, I may be of a different generation but I do know about web 2.0 culture. I have some bad news for you: as you get older you are still living in the same world as everybody else, not partitioned off in some sort of bubble that makes things like web 2.0 invisible.

    Amazingly, some older people are capable of understanding things at a deeper level than most younger people and - most tellingly of all - older people are in an excellent position to compare the quality of what we are seeing now with the quality of what we saw in the past. I'm here to tell you that - as far as journalistic standards are concerned - they ain't better than they used to be!

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  • 350. At 02:04am on 13 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #348 smellslikesalmon

    Thanks for proving that your generation doesn't have the ability to respect anything that requires concentrating longer than your pathetic two second attention span.

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  • 351. At 02:12am on 13 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #348 smellslikesalmon

    And I am am going now.
    One thing I draw the line at is wasting time responding to spamheads like you.

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  • 352. At 02:17am on 13 Aug 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #348 smellslikesalmon

    One last point for someone who is obviously too moronic to work it out for themselves: when you retire from work win your fifties you don't go and live in a retirement home. Idiot.

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  • 353. At 05:29am on 13 Aug 2008, melkontar wrote:

    Wow, what an interesting reaction to what I thought was a decently written blog, which raised a very good point.

    I'm not going to comment on all 352 (at time of writing) replies to the blog, however I will point out that I found nothing in the title as being 'insulting' to Andy Murray, and while reading the blog, the message behind the title became more and more clear. It could just have easily been written 'Move over Federer...' 'Move over Nadal...' etc, however the facts are that Andy Murray is British, and had just lost, hence the title would be more appealing the way it was written.

    On to the point of the blog (long forgotten, I know), I tend to agree with the view point that if the sport is not the pinnacle of achievement, or very close to it, it should not be at the Olympics. Surely the Olympics should represent the greatest desire in a sport? In Basketball, I would say that an NBA title is more coveted by an individual (hence why America does not always send it's strongest team), however there is no comparable team event. In tennis, however, the singles events in the grand slams are identical in format, and hold far greater prestige for most people (an opinion, admittedly) than the Olympics, so perhaps they shouldn't be there.

    Doubles, however, may not fall into the same trap, as the doubles in the Grand Slam events are of less significance than the singles events to the majority of people, meaning that the Olympics may in fact be as 'important' as the slams. Obviously it's all very subjective, but I think the concept is sound...

    Of course, it will never happen, because the Olympics appears to be more about money and glamour now than ever before, and while these sports make money, they will more than likely never be removed...

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  • 354. At 06:05am on 13 Aug 2008, Millsie1981 wrote:

    I read some of the above with interest and some with disgust (namely the nationalist drivel). It's a shame that online response forums to journalist pieces descend into abuse or an intellectual 'man-off' so often, but I guess that's the internet. Love it or hate it. I will say that I thought the criticisms of this article were fairly harsh on the whole.

    I completely understand Matt's point about certain sports perhaps not being as good, or as valid an Olympic event because contenders do not consider it the pinnacle of their discipline. To me, that is what the Olympics should represent. Accordingly, as a spectator, I pay a lot more attention to Wimbledon than to the Olympic Tennis competition. It just feels bigger. Same with the Football World Cup, Tour de France, NBA Finals and so on.

    It seems that Matt made a couple of errors in his piece (Henin, Andy older than Jamie etc), which have been pounced upon by a good number of Tennis followers (of whom I am not one). I just don't see that this is as big a deal as many are suggesting. Perhaps he should have known or checked, but they were small factual errors. Is it really a reason for accusing the guy of being poor at his job and calling for his head? He freely admits to not being a Tennis specialist but was sent to Beijing as a 'roving blogger' in a Games with many different sports on which to write. If people are really that angry about his apparent lack of knowledge, perhaps they should be calling for the heads of the people who asked him to do it in the first place for not sending an expert to Blog on every sport. I thought his content was thought-provoking enough, even if the execution wasn't up to scratch for the purists.

    It strikes me that nowadays in jouralism, as in sport, it's very easy to sit at home and play the armchair expert. And if we don't like it, we can lambast them for it very publically within minutes of reading. In sports journalism, more often than not, the columnists and bloggers are 'big names' or experts in the sport on which they write (normally ex-pros). I'll wager they're paid a lot more than your average reporter too. As such, they're fair game. But I don't see this situation that way.

    Beeb, perhaps you should get FairPlayMotty to stick his money where his e-mouth is and get him to write a Blog, a Column and a Report on a sport he doesn't know everything about. If his IQ is so far above that of your current fold, and this journalism lark really is that straight forward, it shouldn't be a problem.

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  • 355. At 10:05am on 13 Aug 2008, IOM_RAM wrote:


    Much respect for your distinguished career as a hack.

    No idea why you are making the point that Henman never reached a Grand Slam final, the fact is he made 6 semis and number 4 in the world, so as I said when Murray gets to that level get back to me.

    He also came through the English tennis system whereas Murray came through the Spanish - as you're in the petty nationalistic point scoring business that's 1-0 to England.

    As a British tennis fan I look forward to all these Scottish world beaters, oh wait that's a hypothetical situation and therefore has no guarrantee. Who is 'Jenny' Murray anyway? Thought you checked your facts 3 times?

    However Murray does in his career, he'll always be the grumpiest and dullest man in the history of tennis. However as he is British I hope he goes on and becomes a Grand Slam champion, even if it inspires you and your chum FairPlayMotty to launch a coup of the BBC.

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  • 356. At 10:50am on 13 Aug 2008, Moutarde wrote:

    I wonder if BuggyHuggyBulloo got fired from his job as a journo because he refused to offer any personal opinion in a world which loves bloggers?

    Keep up the good work, BBC, most of us can tell when an article is a blog and when it is a report.

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  • 357. At 1:36pm on 13 Aug 2008, Robert wrote:

    Much of the defence of Matt Slater's article has concentrated on his point about whether tennis should be in the olympics. It's a fair enough point: tennis was one of the founding sports of the modern olympics, though that was in the pre-professional era, but nowadays it's certainly true that winning a grand slam, or even a masters series tournament, carries more prestige in the tennis world than an olympic medal. And that's not about money, it's about the history and tradition of the game and the way the big tournaments operate.

    However, those of us who are critical of the article are objecting because of the clear suggestion that Murray wasn't really trying in his singles match. That's where Mr Slater's lack of familiarity with the game and how it's played on a week to week basis comes in. He doesn't know how Murray was feeling coming into the competition after a superb win in the most physically gruelling of the Masters series (and a masters semi final the week before that). He doesn't understand that top players often fail in the second of two big back-to-back tournaments if they've won the first. He doesn't appreciate, perhaps, how strong the will to win is with players like Murray who are among the world's best, and how insulting the implication that Murray 'couldn't be bothered' is. He was clearly very upset at losing, and it makes his comeback in the succeeding doubles match all the more admirable.

    But he's an easy target for journalists who have a blog to write, we know that. Just don't expect true tennis fans to be impressed, that's all.

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  • 358. At 3:42pm on 13 Aug 2008, IOM_RAM wrote:

    And the Murrays are out. Means FairPlayMotty will be crawling back under his stone!

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  • 359. At 5:08pm on 13 Aug 2008, brighton-eagle wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 360. At 8:50pm on 13 Aug 2008, theone88 wrote:



    The guy is around 70 in the world.

    Do you have any idea what it takes to be a professional tennis player? Let alone the top 100.

    Why must british reporters be so bitter and fickle on the subject of tennis?

    This article is absolute nonsence.

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  • 361. At 01:24am on 14 Aug 2008, greenbraveCowHead wrote:

    Andy murreeeeee

    Absolulte rubbish

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  • 362. At 5:56pm on 14 Aug 2008, katyrouth wrote:

    Regardless of the rights/wrongs of the blog and the comments following it, Matt, many thanks for coming and responding to them. Most bloggers at the BBC seem to have missed this major part of the definition of "blog" when they write their op-ed pieces.

    Extra credit for even responding to some of the obviously trolling comments - but do remember that just because they lower the level of debate to challenging you to IQ competitions, you don't have to drop yourself to their level by suggesting races. Perhaps it was supposed to be a joke, but seeing as they didn't get the jokes in your article it didn't seem like a good idea.

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  • 363. At 6:13pm on 14 Aug 2008, alanskillcole wrote:

    Maybe the Olympics not that important?
    synchronised doo-dah...

    Haven't seen any so far but might try to catch a bit of it when the blue ribbon events (athletics) start - guessing game re EPO...

    World Cup back in 2 years?

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  • 364. At 6:19pm on 14 Aug 2008, bloggerschmogger wrote:

    Why do we need to keep Basketball, Tennis and Football in The Olympics? The answer is quite simple. Money.

    Despite what some might say about empty stadia at the aforementioned sports, many millions (perhaps billions) of people around the world watch these sports, and that drives the broadcasting revenues that are very influential in the Olympic movement.

    You could argue that the inclusion of Basketball, Tennis and Football allow/subsidise other sports such as Archery, Wrestling and Taekwondo to have their moment in the spot-light every 4 years.

    I for one think this is a good thing.

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  • 365. At 10:42pm on 14 Aug 2008, alcosaint wrote:

    Dear Mr BigHubbaLubba - I think you are great and your arguments is sure to bring down the evil Mr Slater and his despotable BBC empire.

    Also, many nice greeting to Mr FairPlayMostly. I am not surprised that you are getting many plenty bedroom action, because you were very clever man.

    I am also very delightful that you love together each other many much. It is for nice that you can be friends in unity against the tyrant Slater (Mr).

    I am wondering how both two of you have so many time to make writings on Mr Matt's blog - do you have no job each?

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  • 366. At 3:51pm on 15 Aug 2008, U11775021 wrote:


    Do you have a job?

    With writing like that I guess you must either be unemployed or work with your hands :D

    The article is quite poorly written for a BBC journalist, especially the first paragraph which is a little confusing.

    Also, this paragraph is a bit insulting to say the least:

    "Watching Murray throw away a winning position in the first set, sulk his way through a tie-break and then battle the voice in his head telling him to give up in the second set..."

    How comes you Mr Journalist knows what thoughts were going through Murray's mind during this second set. To me he seemed to be trying very hard but battling his opponent, his own poor performance and the terrible weather conditions.

    The kid looked pretty desolate afterwards and just had a bad day.

    This article is designed purely to wind people up, and rightly deserves the criticism it's getting.

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  • 367. At 9:53pm on 15 Aug 2008, peejie wrote:

    Don't get me wrong because I love tennis to bits and I think to guys like Federer, Nadal and Djokovic the Olympics means something to them. Check out Nole's reaction after he lost to Rafa today. I agree and disagree that tennis should be an Olympic sport.

    To me it seems odd that it's included (Olympics is swimming and athletics to me) but then why shouldn't all sports players be given the opportunity to represent their country and win a gold medal? Only enter if you mean it though which Andy clearly didn't want which is a shame for Jamie.

    But I think I can touch on this as a contender for 'why is this an Olympic sport' because I don't think there are any British hopes in this at all (we just don't have the weather for it)...

    Why and how is beach volleyball an Olympic sport??!! How is it even a professional sport? How long before 'scatch' becomes and Olympic sport or frisbee throwing or cricket.

    I was surprised to see football is an Olympic sport... perhaps our British teams should combine and enter it as we might have more chance winning that because there appear to be none of the big names proud enough to represent their country... I guess they don't need the gold medal.

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  • 368. At 08:11am on 16 Aug 2008, Matt Slater wrote:

    Hi, I've been out and about at other stuff the last few days so haven't been able to keep an eye on this (and we can't always access our blogs for some mysterious reason) but it seems things have settled down a bit into two schools of thought. One being furious with me for attacking Murray (I wasn't) and tennis (again, I wasn't, I was attacking Olympic tennis), and the other agreeing with me.

    Fair enough, it was supposed to ruffle a few feathers, I just wish the debate had been more about whether tennis should be in the Games or not. I guess that means I failed with this one but then you can't win them all and this blog stuff isn't easy. Like bighullabaloo, I've got all the training certificates, straight news experience and shorthand skills, but that is all much easier than writing comment pieces that really engage a wide audience.

    Anyway, let me just respond to some of the more recent comments.

    CUJMee, you make some fair points but I think you misunderstood what I was trying to say about AM's "effort". I don't say above that he wasn't trying or in anyway threw the game. I am saying that he didn't look or play like a man truly focused on victory. At this level the margin between victory and defeat is tiny. These players are all very good and small differences in application (mental more than physical) and have a huge impact.

    Which brings me to theone88's comment. I obviously mean "mediocre" in relative terms. I have respect for any athlete that makes a living out of his/her talent and hard work....I'm just a frustrated sportsman myself. But Lu's record and ranking is fairly mediocre when we talk about Olympic medals and top-flight tennis tournaments. I'm fairly sure he has never been beyond a quarter-final of a tournament before and he had lost two thirds of this matches this year.

    Boyonheavenhill, I don't agree about the first par, I think it's OK and it sets the piece up pretty well. But you're right to say I can't possibly know what is going on in somebody else's head. I say I'm imagining it in the piece and it is clearly a guess. But it's based on the type of thing that would be going through my head in the same situation and things I've heard and read from athletes over the years.

    I also don't agree with your weather comment. First, it was the same for both players. Second, the weather wasn't actually that bad. It was gloomy but there was hardly a drop of wind. And the rain delay actually helped AM. He had just played a really poor tiebreak and lost the first two games of the second set. The 15-minute break let me gather his thoughts a bit and he definitely got stuck in in the second set. Unluckily for him, Lu was now playing full of confidence and AM still couldn't find his best tennis.

    You're right it was just a bad day and if it happened in a "regular" tournament nobody would really mind. My point is that this really is a regular tournament dressed up as something special. And for that reason it shouldn't be in the Games.

    The comments from both players after Nadal's win over Hewitt were interesting. Rafa complained about the timing of the event and said how tired he was, and Hewitt admitted the Games wasn't really a priority for tennis players.

    katyrouth, you're right, I was just joking about the running race and perhaps, given the reaction to my other "jokes" it was unwise. But I was pretty staggered that anybody would start banging on about their IQ on a blog forum about Olympic tennis. The only people I've ever heard talking about their IQ before tend to be shouty types who can't understand why everybody else gives their genius a wide berth and/or first-round losers in The Apprentice.

    As for responding to blogs, you're right. We should all do that but in defence of my colleagues it hasn't been easy here. We really couldn't get into the blogs every often in the first week and a half in Beijing, there's so many other things that need doing and just getting around the place is really hard. Not complaining though! Just explaining.

    As for the Justine H-H "mistake". Yes, I knew she was divorced. What I wasn't sure about was whether she had dropped the second H. I wrote the original piece with a very slow internet connection so research wasn't easy. The media guide at the venue with past winners refered to her as H-H, so I went with that, largely because she was H-H when she won her title.

    Strangely enough, I was in a similar situation last week when there was some doubt about whether GB equestrian star Lucinda Green had kept her married name after her divorce or had reverted to her maiden name Prior-Palmer. I've seen references to both but it appears she has kept her married name.

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  • 369. At 11:56am on 16 Aug 2008, katyrouth wrote:

    Matt - I was referring to your colleagues more generally - particularly the ones sitting in offices in London all day, without the many excuses that you and the rest of the Beijing team have!

    As for people ranting about IQ scores - you clearly have too high an expectation of the average BBC blogs reader! At least no-one's mentioned Hitler... yet...

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  • 370. At 4:17pm on 18 Aug 2008, sportySueD wrote:

    I'm new to BBC blogs but have followed this one.

    Unlike katyrouth and Matt Slater, I understand why the IQ was made. Matt Slater had basically said that anyone who disagreed with his point of view didn't understand him. The subsequent IQ challenge may have been crass but it was less crass than Matt Slater's assertion that to diagree with him is simply wrong (a line which was copied by many who posted afterwards).

    I would also hope that most BBC journalists would admit to errors quickly and with more grace than Matt Slater.

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  • 371. At 5:38pm on 18 Aug 2008, Ulutiram69 wrote:

    Perhaps if our No1 tennis "star" didnt turn up to all events looking like Stig of the Dump people might think he was well prepared, and a force to be reckoned with.

    Representing your Country in the most important Sporting event....marks out of 10

    0/10 for presentation

    0/10 for effort

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  • 372. At 10:32am on 19 Aug 2008, Matt Slater wrote:

    Hi sportysueD, thanks for posting.

    I've looked through my replies again and nowhere do I say somebody is "wrong" for disagreeing with me. I point out some of the flaws in the attacks made by the more vociferous critics, apologise for not making my point clear enough for them (though plenty got it just fine) and freely admit that this is an opinion piece and we're all welcome to them. The personal attacks were started by others and when I very gently responded they reacted pretty poorly and ended up fighting with other readers.

    The irony there, of course, is that they were accusing me of giving it but not being able to take it.

    I also wonder if you can see the paradox in this statement in regard to yourself:

    "The subsequent IQ challenge may have been crass but it was less crass than Matt Slater's assertion that to diagree with him is simply wrong (a line which was copied by many who posted afterwards)."

    As for mistakes, I replied as quickly as humanly possible. What bighullabaloo seems to have forgotten from his days as a working communicator that we're pretty busy, particularly at an event like the Olympics. We're also seven hours ahead of the UK and need to sleep and eat from time to time. Oh, and we also couldn't access the blogs anywhere apart from the official venues until the last few days.....Great Firewall of China issues, apparently.

    Anyway, thanks again for reading.

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  • 373. At 10:38am on 19 Aug 2008, gbiese wrote:

    I quote:
    "For me this is really simple - if an Olympic Gold is not the absolute pinnacle of your sport (as it is in Athletics, Swimming and many others) the sport should not be in the Olympics.

    Hence football, basketball, tennis etc have no place in the Olympics in my book.

    If that meant the Olympics were smaller with less money involved that might even be a good thing."

    Be careful what you wish for, because the last time i checked, Cycling was a fully professional sport, with a fully professionaly calendar.........and heaven forbid it be removed from the Olympics, where would all those precious Team GB medals come from then??

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  • 374. At 3:09pm on 19 Aug 2008, sportySueD wrote:

    Matt Slater,

    It's strongly implied in your comments that those that disagreed with you either didn't read the article or didn't get it. That is horribly condescending. For those that found fault with the article (particularly bighullabaloo and FairPlayMotty), you said,

    "I've got your message loud and clear. You didn't get the article".

    Contrast that message with your praise for those who agreed with you.

    "Thanks brighton_eagle, stwl2006, piechucker, 5holyrings et al for taking the time to read the piece (without prejudice), much appreciated."

    Do you recognise these comments Matt?

    In comment number 187 you admitted to only one factual error. Did you not consider checking your facts at that stage (or better still, before publishing the article)?

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  • 375. At 8:02pm on 20 Aug 2008, Matt Slater wrote:

    sportysueD, so my "assertion" has been downgraded? I'm just implying something now? Didn't I get in trouble for trying to read minds?

    The quote you use is very specifically aimed at two people who made a series of very specific claims, one in particular being a total misreading of my attempt to lampoon media reports that play the British/Scottish game. So yes, in that instance I am saying they didn't get the article.

    And I don't agree I am saying they haven't actually read the article.

    I AM saying they haven't read it properly, though, largely because they came at this with their minds already made this is another media attack on Andy Murray. That is what the second sentence you quote means...."without prejudice" being the important bit.

    As for the mistake(s). I immediately acknowledged the Jamie being older error. These slips happen (very rarely, I add) when you are filing immediate eye witness reaction pieces without all the traditional checks and double checks...we do our best always but have you seen the breadth of our coverage from these Games? I didn't see the need for apologising for refering to Justin Henin with her married name as I thought this was being a little pedantic. I was, after all, referring to something she did at a time when she was H-H.

    You're right, though, to say we should always try to check our facts before we publish and I am disappointed the Jamie/Andy error got through.

    gbiese, your point has been dealt with pretty thoroughly by other posters above and on numerous other blogs. The key thing here is the difference between men's road racing and pretty all other forms of cycling, included GB's great strength, track cycling. To be honest, I think you make a good re: the men's road race and TT. Not so sure about the other events, though.

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  • 376. At 02:45am on 21 Aug 2008, sportySueD wrote:

    Teflon Matt Slater,

    You're assertion hasn't been downgraded.

    The quotes I used were about the two people who disagreed with you most. With your quite astounding, "mind reading powers", these two just, "didn't get the article", as you have now asserted many times (so often in fact that you may have abused the house rules). Now you say that they read the article but didn't understand it because they had already made their minds up (quite astounding mind-reading again Matt). And the people that defend you did just simply, "get it" apparently. Or maybe your huge ego cannot abide to be deflated.

    You infer that the main thrust of your article was the misplacement of Tennis within the Olympics. If this was really true, shouldn't your piece been entitled, "Move over Tennis, these Games ain't for you." Also, if this was the point that you were trying to make, the first few paragraphs appear to be strangely about another topic (that you weren't interested in as a self-confessed non-tennis journalist), i.e. the rather lazy abuse of Andy Murray. Oh sorry, they were "jokes".

    I note that a mistake in your language is a, "mistake". Quite what the commas mean is best left to yourself: a mistake is a mistake in most people's understanding. Clearly, it is different in your world. If you really had to rely on the internet to check your facts (as opposed to good old-fashioned knowledge of the topic), shouldn't you have postponed the publication of your article until an internet connection was available?

    Quite frankly, your arrogance astounds me!

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  • 377. At 09:18am on 21 Aug 2008, Matt Slater wrote:


    Your inability to see in yourself the same arrogance that you accuse me of, astounds me.

    The mind-reading in the piece is clearly signposted ("I guessed") as exactly it's my opinion, don't take it too seriously.

    I'm really not sure what you're accusing me of in terms of breaking house rules (this is a public forum, people are entitled to have a pop at me, I am entitled to defend myself, which I did, far more politely than I was attacked).

    But in keeping with the "this is a public forum for debate and opinion" spirit, yes, you're right, I am guessing that the two most vociferous critics had either read my piece with their minds made up about it already or skim-read it. As a result, they leapt all over the bits they passionately disagreed with and ignored the rest...which is fine, I have no problem with that, but as I have already explained is a bit of a shame as that's not the debate I hoped to spark. For more on this please see my reply at 368.
    I could also add that both of those posters have track record of leaping all over any criticism (real or otherwise) of AM and/or Scotland....the latter in this case being completely ridiculous as I am obviously teasing about that as numerous other posters noticed.

    I also disagree with your comment that I am lazily abusing AM. I'm not abusing him. I am saying he failed to get sufficiently up for this tournament (a point he readily admitted in his post-doubles defeat press conference) and that is partly the reason for his defeat...but I am also saying that I don't really blame him as he had come here off the back of a great win and has something far more important to worry about next week. This is why his defeat was the nail to hang the wider point on.

    OK, you don't like the headline. Fine. I can see your point but one (and it is only one) consideration with a headline is that it draws people's the bait. It's also alliterative...which helps!

    I'm guessing (although I know I shouldn't) that the "commas" you refer to are the parentheses in mistake(s). They're there because you accused me of not owning up to mistakes quickly and gracefully enough. First, as I've said already, I owned up to the age mistake immediately. The H-H mistake I purposefully didn't because I didn't really think in this context it was a mistake.

    As for your last comment about fact-checking. Yes, you're absolutely right, all journalists should check something they're not sure about before publishing. But you know what? We make mistakes, particularly when we're concentrating on something this case the wider issue I was trying to address in an engaging and entertaining way.

    Now I am clearly arrogant enough to think that anybody would be interested in what I think about's part of doing this job. But I'm not so arrogant that I can't see somebody else's point of view or admit when I've made a mistake. I think I've done both in regard to this topic. What I've not done is lie down and take personal abuse and/or exaggerated claims of incompetence. I would expect no less of you, bighullabaloo or AM. And with that I'd like to go in peace. Sorry you didn't the story, but as I've said before you can neither win them all or please everyone all the time.

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  • 378. At 5:44pm on 21 Aug 2008, FairPlayMotty wrote:

    Matt Slater,

    You said of your two most prominent critics,

    "I am guessing that the two most vociferous critics had either read my piece with their minds made up about it already or skim-read it."

    These are astounding assumptions and seem to be very condescending (your trademark?).

    You then say,

    "As a result, they leapt all over the bits they passionately disagreed with and ignored the rest...which is fine, I have no problem with that, but as I have already explained is a bit of a shame as that's not the debate I hoped to spark."

    If you really wanted to spark a debate on what you say was your main point it may have helped for the article to focus on that point. Instead, the article diverted attention away from the main point (?) by:

    1. having a heading that was completely misleading (apparently) but alliterative,
    2. leading with a number of paragraphs that focussed on a completely different points,
    3. containing basic factual errors.

    I think that most people would agree with your point about some sports being inappropriate for the Olympics - I certainly would. However, your main point was lost in a mire of dubious journalism.

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