WIMBLEDON, England Watching Andy Murray play in the Olympics at Wimbledon is fun. The crowd wants him to win so, so badly, spending many of the breaks by rhythmically chanting Murray’s name and even applauding double faults by Murray’s opponent (a tennis no-no). Between every point, someone screams “C’mon, Andy!”
I watched Murray play much of his match against Marcos Baghdatis on Centre Court Wednesday. He handles the crowd’s love by ignoring it during the match. But the crowd did seem to help Murray, as it got louder and louder after Baghdatis won the first set. Murray ended up winning in three sets, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.
• As for the Olympic badminton scandal – in which eight players were kicked out of the competition for trying to lose on purpose in the round-robin portion of the event to ensure a more favorable matchup later – it’s good to see swift action taken for such an obvious rules violation.
But geez, badminton officials, change your format. And there’s no doubt that every fan who had tickets to that event should get a full refund, which Olympic officials are for some reason resisting.
• I have talked to a number of Londoners in subways and other public places about the “empty-seat” problem these Olympics are having, and that is by far their biggest issue with these Olympics.
“I’d happily go sit in a seat for any sport and any country,” said one Olympic volunteer. “I wish someone would ask me.”
• One of the most common chants you hear at the London venues is “G-B! G-B!” That stands for Great Britain, of course, and is the Brits’ version of the longtime American Olympic chant, “U-S-A! U-S-A!” I didn’t know until I got here, though, that “Team GB” was the common way to refer to the British team – that’s on all the clothing you see.
• While you’re watching NBC at home, the only Olympic coverage I see here is from the BBC. And the commentary is great. It’s more subdued – silence is not at all uncommon – and the vocabulary is definitely British.
In an earlier badminton match (one where both players were actually trying to win), a player was trying to convince a referee that a shuttlecock that was clearly in had landed out.
“Ooooh, she’s being a bit naughty there,” the BBC man said.
• It took me several days to get used to the “Way Out” signs you see everywhere. For awhile, I kept thinking it meant that you probably don’t want to go over there unless you’re going way out of the city, which I didn’t plan to do.
Finally, though, I understood. “Way out” means “exit.” I’m such an idiot.