Wednesday, 14 June 2017

The Swiss love of sport (and a beer)

I love how much enthusiasm the Swiss have for their sports stars and teams, whether the sport is hockey, football or tennis. And they love to enjoy a beer at the same time. So you will find them propping up the bar in the pub cheering for Federer at Wimbledon as often as you will find them cheering on the Swiss Hockey or football team in the World Cup. I find this extremely refreshing. My only experience of sport in pubs in the UK was of football.

And so it was last Friday, hubbie and I found ourselves in the pub - making the most of a rare opportunity to enjoy a beer while both daughters attended a birthday party – enjoying the match between Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray in the semi-final of the French Open.

I should have been cheering for Murray but I wasn’t. Murray annoys me somehow. I enjoy watching his skill but I don’t enjoy watching his character. He’s so serious and he gurns. And he’s Scottish of course (having a very good Scottish friend I greatly enjoy the friendly animosity these two nationalities have for each other – my friend would never cheer for an English player at Wimbledon) And for me, Wawrinka is far more watchable, in every way ;) He was rampant on Friday, trading blows with Murray and digging in his heels until the bitter end. What a game it was. He served with more potency than Murray, seven aces to one, and his defensive game has greatly improved.

I cheered along with my Swiss companions, and was over the moon when Wawrinka won, over five sets in four and a half hours. Murray heads immediately for home to prepare to defend his titles at Queen’s and Wimbledon, as well as the points that leave him unchallenged for a little while yet at the top of the world rankings.

Unfortunately the 32-year-old couldn’t grab a French Open victory by maintaining the same assault against the incredible  Rafael Nadal. He was demolished at the last post in a brutal one-sided final on Sunday – the score: 6-2, 6-3, 6-1.

The triumph gave Rafael Nadal his tenth French Open title which also earned the Spaniard a 15th Grand Slam crown. His collection of Slams now stands just three behind his great Swiss rival Roger Federer.

Ever the gentleman, Wawrinka honourably praised his opponent: "There is nothing to say about today, you were too good," he admitted.
   
"What you are doing in tennis is unbelievable.It's always been an honour to play against you, two Grand Slam finals now, congratulations to you for your career and your team."

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