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Paper Monitor

11:43 UK time, Wednesday, 21 September 2011

A service highlighting the daily press.

Newspapers know that strikes make good copy. Conflict, chaos, inconvenienced consumers - rarely has any public figure given so much joy to so many sub-editors as rail union leader Bob Crow.

The same rules apply, it would appear, even when the aggrieved workers are top-level tennis professionals and their self-appointed shop steward is Andy Murray.

The British number one has said players are upset at overcrowding in the schedule and will meet next month to plot their next move.

The notion of the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal manning a picket line, RMT-style, is too good for Fleet Street's columnists to resist.

Jim White of the Daily Telegraph is amused. "The prospect is too delicious of centre court's Arthur Scargill taking up position outside the All England Club, firing aces at any scab who attempts to gain entry, while shovelling £50 notes on to the brazier to keep warm," he says.

But White doubts such tactics will be effective, predicting that public sympathy will not be high "for a bunch of workers whose idea of oppression is being paid several million pounds to engage with a game the rest of us have to pay to play".

However, as Leo Benidictus of the Guardian notes, the notion is not entirely fanciful, given a long history of sporting strikes.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there is support for the baseline militants within that favoured organ of the labour movement, the Daily Mirror. Columnist Oliver Holt says the current system forces these "unbelievable athletes" to play too often. "They need a little time to rest," he adds.

But support for Murray comes from the unlikely quarter of the Daily Mail, - more specifically, from its football-loving columnist Martin Samuel: "I would say he is right and there probably is too much tennis; certainly on my radio."

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