WIMBLEDON, England — In a moment, I will get to Andre Agassi’s naked butt cheeks and the tennis wife who doubles as a hit man. But first, to answer your No. 1 British question, yes, Hugh Grant is with me and he says he’s really sorry. He thought the woman said “Snooker.”
Easy, Hugh . . . uh-oh . . . he’s crying again. . . .
GET A GRIP ON YOURSELF, MAN!
OK. Let me catch you up on Wimbledon and all the truly weird things you missed in the first eight days. Believe me, considering what’s happened on this side of the ocean, Hugh’s behavior seems relatively normal.
Consider Jeff Tarango.
Tarango is the American tennis player nobody ever heard of until he yelled at a Wimbledon umpire, then called him “corrupt,” then accused him of giving matches to favorite players, then walked off the court in the middle of the contest and then — and here is where the Movie of the Week people come in — his wife slapped the umpire in the face.
Wow! How about that, Hugh?
No. She’s not available. She’s married.
Talk about your feisty couples! Benedicte Tarango, who looks a bit like her husband — and he looks a bit like Lee Harvey Oswald — said she had good reason for slapping the official, Bruno Rebeuh, who is French, and therefore may be used to that kind of thing. Said Mrs. Tarango: “Someone should do it. If Jeff slaps him, he’s off the tour.”
Good point. This way, Jeff gets fined only $15,500, may get banned from future Grand Slam events, and is the laughingstock of the sporting world.
But his wife gets a three-fight deal with HBO.
By the way, when asked about his wife’s slap shot, Tarango — who once, while playing for Stanford, complained that the balls had too much fuzz — said this: “Women are emotional.”
Well. Hugh can vouch for that.
Oh, come on . . . don’t start crying again. . . . A transparent menace to tennis
Let’s move on to cheerier subjects, such as . . . Andre Agassi’s butt cheeks! Fans here claim they can see them because Andre, who no longer wears hair, doesn’t wear underwear, either. This according to one of the fine British tabloid newspapers, which, under a headline of “Tennis Ace Wins and Bares It,” reported that Agassi sweated right through his transparent white shorts during Monday’s match against Alexander Mronz.
Could I make up a story like that?
“As Agassi bent over to return serves,” the paper wrote, “the crowd could not help admiring his bare-faced cheek.”
Actually, that sounds like something you could help admiring. Right, Hugh?
Well. Maybe you’re the wrong guy to ask.
When Andre was asked whether he knew that his shorts were see-through, he said, “No, but apparently you are.”
A fine comeback. He can only hope to be that quick if he plays Pete Sampras in the final. Sampras, in the spirit of the first weird week, has been acting a bit testy himself. After his match Monday, he said of his opponent:
“I was trying to wipe the smile off his face. . . . I wanted to kick his ass.”
Hmm. This doesn’t sound like the bland and serious Sampras, does it? Maybe because the guy he was playing wasn’t exactly your everyday opponent.
His name was Greg Rusedski. If you were guessing his nationality you might say, what, Polish? Canadian? Ukranian?
He is all of those. One part each. But because his mother was born in England, he is also one part British. He moved over here from Canada four years ago and next thing you know — Cheerio! He’s the great white hope for British tennis fans, who haven’t had a male Wimbledon champion since 1936. Never mind that Rusedski grew up in Montreal, which resembles England the way Dearborn resembles Buenos Aires. Never mind. Give him a pint and a cucumber sandwich, and he’s in.
Personally, I have never before heard of a conversion to Britishism. But the folks here loved it. One local wrote, “For the first time, bookies are offering shorter odds on a British man winning Wimbledon than on the second coming of Christ. That’s progress!”
These Brits. What a sense of humor.
How do they do it, Hugh?
Oh . . . jeez . . . here, grab some tissue. . . . Murphy missing? Nope, gone fishing
Anyhow, Rusedski may have changed his nationality, but not his backhand. He went down to Sampras with barely a whimper. Just as well. Greg Rusedski’s serving for Britain is like Sean O’Grady’s boxing for Turkey.
Speaking of out-of-place, did I mention Murphy Jensen? He disappeared before his mixed doubles match Monday and wasn’t heard from for hours. They called police. They called hospitals. Jensen is one-half of the zany Jensen brothers, who are most recognized for ESPN2-type antics, guitar playing, motorcycle riding, howling at the moon, etc.
Anyhow, after scaring everyone to death — including his mixed doubles partner, Brenda Schultz-McCarthy, who feared she might get stuck with Jeff Tarango — Jensen phoned in. He was reported to be out in the countryside, fishing. I am not making this up.
How could I be? The whole tournament has been like this. Strange behavior. Matches defaulted. See-through shorts. And I haven’t even mentioned the journalist who asked Agassi if he could remember his first kiss.
“I’ll have to check with my girlfriend, Brooke, before answering that,” Agassi said.
See, Hugh? Andre’s smarter than you were. But don’t feel bad.
At least you’ve got your underwear.