It has been quite a nostalgic weekend on the BBC, what with Andy Murray being the first Brit to make the men’s singles final for 74 years.
What a great excuse for dusting off archives and playing the clipped home counties accent of the commentary from 1938.
But it has at least reminded us who Bunny Austin and Fred Perry were.
The latter was born in Stockport, where I live, so we have a Fred Perry Way and a Fred Perry House, but I suspect that many locals think they’re named after a range of casual menswear. (I mean the clothes are casual, not that men are casually swearing.)
I’m sure there was a lot of casual swearing among the 17 million UK tv audience as Andy tried hard and failed to become the first Scot ever to win a tennis major, but the thing that has struck me throughout Wimbledon fortnight is the unquestioning reliance on computer technology.
I’m talking about Hawk-Eye of course. Doesn’t it strike anyone else as odd that instead of having slo-mo tv to arbitrate on a line call, we happily take the word of a computer simulation?
I’m not suggesting that it isn’t accurate – I’m sure it is if you read the blurb on their website – it’s just that we think it normal to watch something that hasn’t happened in real life to find out what did, if you see what I mean.
We have a similar system in cricket to judge on leg before wicket decisions. That won’t mean much to non-cricket watchers, but if a batsman’s leg gets in the way of a ball that would have hit the stumps, then the umpire can give him out.
It’s a bit more complicated than that, but a bowler can call on another version of Hawk-Eye if they think the umpire has got the decision wrong.
As in tennis, Hawk-Eye’s silicon chips then decide whether the ball would have hit the wicket, based on speed of delivery, trajectory, spin etc, but again it’s a computer simulation, not real life.
And it gets even more complicated because as well as Hawk-Eye, the review of the decision also includes slo-mo tv to check whether or not it was a legal delivery by the bowler and the Snickometer and Hot Spot technology to determine whether the batsman hit the ball first.
Now FIFA has also decided to introduce Hawk-Eye to football for those rare occasions when the ball crossing the goal line is missed by the officials.
Personally, I think that eliminating human failings from sport devalues it somehow. Isn’t that what it’s all about really?
How long before we go the whole hog and hold the World Cup, Wimbledon and The Ashes on the Playstation 3?