I’m appalled at Eugenie Bouchard’s detractors and Kim Sears

In case you don’t know, Kim is the fiancée of Andy Murray, the tennis player who’ll contest the final of the Australian Open on Sunday.

She is a pretty girl with luxuriant hair and eyes that remind me of my plate after dinner: round and empty.

Kim is also a quick learner, absorbing the lessons taught both by her betrothed and Mirka, otherwise known as Mrs Federer.

What Kim evidently learned from Andy is the kind of vocabulary Dr Johnson left out of his lexicon. When a high-born lady complained that his Dictionary contained no ‘naughty words’, Dr Johnson replied in his celebrated epigrammatic style: “So, Madam, you have been looking for them?”

Having lived with Andy since her teens, Kim, now 27, didn’t have far to look.

Andy swears like a trooper – at himself, when he misses a shot; at umpires, when they give calls he doesn’t like. When he was still a teenager, the Scot called one of them a f***ing c***, incurring a hefty fine and teaching his girlfriend how to express herself in tense situations.

Mirka Federer evokes another meal-related simile, which I won’t put down on paper out of gallantry. She too taught Kim a useful lesson: how to abuse her man’s opponent during a match.

During last November’s US Open, she kept calling her hubby’s opponent Stan Wawrinka a ‘cry baby’, unsettling him enough to blow the match that looked to be in the bag.

Neither lesson has gone to waste. Kim learned from Mirka the art of sledging, and from Andy the mode of expression appropriate to it.

Yesterday, after Andy won a gruelling semi-final rally against Tomas Berdych, Kim shrieked, “F***ing have it, you Czech flash f***!”

I hope you don’t think me a hypocrite, but I was deeply shocked. There she was, a middle-class English rose, not knowing how to use her mother tongue properly.

She ought to know that when a noun is modified by two preceding adjectives, of which one is capitalised, the capitalised modifier should be the one immediately before the noun.

Hence we speak of a great Gothic cathedral, not a Gothic great cathedral. Only an ignoramus will describe Leonardo as a Renaissance sublime artist, and only a hopeless illiterate would ever talk about Limoges intricate porcelain.

Applying the same general rule to the specific task at hand, Kim was hopelessly wrong when calling Berdych a ‘Czech flash f***’. Had she correctly referred to him as a ‘flash Czech f***’, everybody would be happy.

As it is, Kim’s solecism elicited numerous complaints and abusive e-mails. Some of the latter expressing a heartfelt wish that she should die soon, though to the best of my knowledge none promised to facilitate her demise.

Kim partially restored herself in my graces when a giant split screen over the stadium showed her and Berdych’s fiancée, who looks like the translation of Kim into Czech.

Kim’s reaction to the sequence, “Oh for f***’s sake!”, can’t be faulted on the grounds of grammar or style, and one must congratulate her on that. Perhaps there’s some hope for her yet.

As there certainly is for Eugenie Bouchard, the pretty Canadian (not ‘Canadian pretty…’!) world No. 7.

She is sponsored by Nike, a company that introduces a new colour scheme for tennis attire every year, which doubtless springs from a disinterested aesthetic quest for chromatic variety.

This year’s colour is fluorescent yellow, used either alone or in combination with other lurid colours. World No. 1 Serena Williams wears her fluorescent yellow neat, while Eugenie’s outfit is mostly pink, but with a yellow trim and an all-yellow visor.

Serena’s post-match celebratory routine involves an attempt to impersonate a cabaret dancer cum fashion model. To that end, she performs what looks more like the weaving and bobbing of a heavyweight boxer.

This, along with her open-back dress, never fails to delight post-match interviewers who quickly get the boring tennis bits out of the way and get Serena to talk about what really matters in a female player’s life.

Everyone knows that these girls derive only a small part of their income from tournament prizes. Most of their fortune comes from endorsements, and to be fair they aren’t different from their male counterparts in that respect.

But, unlike most male players, the women also get paid millions for modelling clothes, and the more photogenic they are, the more they get paid. It helps if they also happen to be successful players, but this isn’t an iron-clad requirement.

For example, back in the early ‘90s Anna Kurnikova became one of the world’s highest-paid athletes even though she never won a professional tennis tournament, never mind a Grand Slam.

Now our Eugenie is as blonde and almost as pretty as Kurnikova, and she is already ranked higher than Anna ever was. Still a teenager, she is already looking at an eight-digit annual income, only a fraction of which from striking tennis balls.

This little preamble helps to understand why, after her 2nd-round victory, the post-match interviewer asked Eugenie to “give us a whirl”, just like Serena did in the previous round.

The girl obliged, performing a catwalk pirouette eagerly and with more natural panache than Serena can see in her dreams.

All in good fun, you’d think – but you’d be wrong. The interviewer was instantly subjected to a chorus of abuse for being ‘sexist’, with Billy Jean King leading the chants.

Well, I don’t think that women who wear revealing clothes have only themselves to blame if they get raped, but in this instance they do bring this kind of treatment onto themselves.

How many women players do modelling? How many pose for nude, practically nude and salacious photographs? How many times did King compete against Chris Evert, another campaigner against sexism, who played in low-cut dresses emphasising her lack of a bra?

Seriously, girls, you can’t have it both ways. The best way of being treated as players and not mannequins is to spend more time on the practice courts and less in photographers’ studios.

Choose professional dignity over silly money, and no one will ask you to do twirls. And if you make the other choice, don’t utter hypocritical complaints like Serena’s:

“I didn’t really want to twirl because I was just like, you know, I don’t need the extra attention.” Of course you don’t, dear, we all know that.

But the grammar needs a bit of remedial work. Ask Kim and Andy – they’ll teach you how to talk f***ing proper, like.

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

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