Tennis takes pole position over Silverstone at the BBC
22:24 GMT, 4 July 2012
The BBC will give precedence to the Wimbledon men’s singles final on Sunday, irrespective of semi-finalist Andy Murray taking part, when coverage clashes with the British Grand Prix.
The Beeb, who flagged up the conflicting dates to no avail with F1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone, intend to move the Grand Prix from BBC1 to BBC2 just before the start of the Silverstone race at 1pm. This will allow for all the build-up and the tennis showcase action on the main channel.
There is some upset within the Corporation that Ecclestone has scheduled the Grand Prix for the climax of Wimbledon but BBC are now very much the junior TV rights partners since Sky’s arrival in motor racing this year.
Gripped: Fans take in the action on Murray Mount
BBC Sport’s chief Paul Davies, who runs their Wimbledon operation, caused upset in 2007 when the men’s final also clashed with Silverstone.
Davies joked during a speech at a media reception at Wimbledon that he hoped Lewis Hamilton crashed on the first lap so viewers would switch over to the tennis — but that was when Formula One was being shown by ITV.
Simon Fuller, who manages Murray and Hamilton, is starting negotiations about the driver’s next F1 contract. But he will be in SW19 not Silverstone on Sunday if Murray is in the final.
It's just not cricket
The London 2012 takeover of Wimbledon will start at noon on Tuesday, but at least All England Club chief executive Richard Lewis can keep working from his office there.
His MCC counterpart Derek Brewer had to move out of the Lord’s pavilion immediately when the Olympic archery preparations started this week at cricket’s HQ.
Fed up to his old tricks
Only six-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer could get away with warming up for his quarter-final win on Wednesday in a T-shirt emblazoned with his own picture.
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Federer’s sky-high self-opinion extends to his claim about playing his fan David Goffin in the French Open: ‘I guess it was a nice situation for him as he idolised me. But that has been the case with many.’
And the amusing rogue Federer Twitter account @PseudoFed tweeted this week about late finishes on Centre Court: ‘I can confirm the “special circumstances” that would have allowed them to play past 11pm would be ME #humble.’
Bernie brains behind roof
Bernie Ecclestone, whose plans for a grand prix around central London seem far-fetched, had talked about putting a roof on Centre Court before the All England Club did so.
After watching a rain-interrupted Goran Ivanisevic match with fellow billionaire Ion Tiriac, former manager of Boris Becker, Ecclestone suggested he would fund the entire cost of the roof with Tiriac provided they could share future profits with the AEC.
Umpire changes call
Gerry Armstrong, assistant referee at Wimbledon and devoted Tottenham fan, said last week that if Andre Villas-Boas became Spurs manager, he would return his season ticket. But after AVB’s arrival, umpire Armstrong changed his call and will keep his seat.
Murray excited by Olympic prospect
Andy Murray is intending to stay in the Olympic Village for at least some of the tennis tournament at Wimbledon, with London 2012 promising to transport competitors from Stratford accommodation in approximately an hour.
Murray reveals in the International Tennis Federation book celebrating Olympic tennis that the Beijing Games was one of the best moments of his career despite the way he played (he lost in the first round).
Second coming: Murray competes at the Beijing Olympics in 2008
He called it amazing to see American superstar basketball players Kobe Bryant and LeBron James tucking into a McDonald’s in the athletes food court with no one bothering them.
But Murray, who is preparing properly for the Olympics, will not be impressed the Lawn Tennis Association’s medal prospect estimate is one semi-final at best.
Philipps off the radar
The Bermuda triangle where so many former employees of the dysfunctional LTA have vanished over the years seems to have swallowed up Bruce Philipps, communications chief and right-hand man to CEO Roger Draper until he left after last year’s tournament.
Philipps has set up a consultancy, Altius Sports, which has no clients listed on its website. Nor has Philipps been contactable during the tournament.