There's just no time anymore

By Simon Round, June 26, 2014

Between the World Cup and Wimbledon it has been tricky to find time to get everything done. Obviously I need to work but showering is optional and fortunately the children are resigned to eating cheese sandwiches and biscuits for a few weeks.

However, choosing between the football and the tennis has been tricky. Now that England are out of the World Cup, the pleasure quotient of Brazil 14 has been significantly enhanced. But luckily I am still able to watch most of the tennis because the football takes place in the evening. This is great because I love tennis. Unlike Andy Murray I was unable to make my living from the game but I can say with some certainty that I owe my life to it.

You see, way back in the 1950s when my parents met, there was no internet dating – indeed in those days there was only black and white TV on which the BBC broadcast significant events like the Coronation, the weather forecast and not a lot else. So Jewish people of my parents' generation not only needed to provide their own entertainment and they also needed to get out of the house if they were ever going to meet a suitable partner. And so to kill two birds with one stone they played tennis.

At the the north-west London Jewish tennis club that my parents joined, there was a tremendous amount of mixed doubles going on. There were were more marriages in one year than there have been British singles champions since the Second World War (ie more than four). It's a wonder that they found time to play.

By the time I was old enough to start playing myself, my mum and dad had more or less stopped - apparently looking after three young children didn't leave you a huge amount of time for playing tennis all weekend. But the passion for the game remained. Both were very keen that I learn the basic skills while I was young. I don't think that either had much conviction that I was going to be the new Borg or Laver but they did have a strong feeling that without tennis you would be unlikely to get married.

I thought I could make it as a tennis pro

I, however, thought I could make it as a pro. My mother was the club champion and had a powerful forehand although she was not the quickest. My dad was a natural athlete but without my mother's natural timing. As soon as I began having lessons it was apparent that I had inherited my father's tennis playing ability and my mother's natural athleticism. I did play tennis for my school, but only because the decent players didn't turn up that day.

However, I still have a romantic association with tennis. There is something terribly nostalgic about white Fred Perry tops, wooden Dunlop rackets and Slazenger tennis shoes red with dust from the courts. I'm sure that meeting someone while playing tennis was a far better experience than emailing random people with photos taken 10 years previously (who might not even like tennis) though I worry about the marriage prospects of those who had little hand-eye co-ordination.

But given the opportunity I would definitely have gone for over

Last updated: 2:47pm, June 26 2014