Growing up in India, glued to the television during Wimbledon, we could never understand why the best tennis event on earth was always held during the monsoon. Someone in England must have figured out by now that it always rained during those two weeks. Surely they've learnt their lesson one would think. After all, in India one could predict the weather. It was either very hot (summer), hot (winter) or pelting with rain (monsoon coinciding nicely with the tennis event). And there seemed more chance of people actually watching some tennis if Wimbledon was anytime other than in July.
Grumble as we did, it was still a highly watched event in our house. While Cricket was the highlight of any self respecting Indians television sporting calendar, Wimbledon was second - at least in our household. Ask me who won any other Grand Slam in any year, well I wouldn't have a clue. But ask me whos won Wimbledon in 1988 and I can tell you without blinking its Stefan Edberg- I had a huge crush so I know.
Everyone has memories and opinions of Wimbledon, whether they think it's a huge waste of time or whether they've started counting down the days to next years tournament . My memories of Wimbledon Finals as a child consist of the entire family sitting squashed on a huge sofa, squabbling to be nearest the bowl of hot freshly made pakoras as we watched players run either to hit the ball or for cover. Even thinking about it makes me feel all warm and gooey. You know its going to be a happy ending - for one person at least. We loved the tears. The champions tears of joys or the losers tears of sadness. We loved the drama of it all. We loved it when Becker cut his hair on court. We loved it when Pat Cash climbed the walls to be with his family. We loved it when beautiful Steffi - a firm favourite in our house won it year after year. We loved the rivalries, the tension, the drama, the tears, the Duchess. We loved it unconditionally. A spot of rain Pah - we were strong, we could deal with it.
But that's just it! Wimbledon wouldn't be Wimbledon without any rain. Its part of the package deal. Rain is as much a part of Wimbledon as wax is to Madame Tussauds. It is part of the experience. And the whole world knows it. You see - I don't know what the weather does at the other grand slams. I don't watch. But whatever country I am in - I know when its Wimbledon and I know there'll be a spot of rain. Its not too bad is it - unless of course you've actually gone to Wimbledon to watch. The rain is when you get all the cool talk and banter from the presenters, the players and the guys who used to play, the weather man, the gardener - anyone really. But that's what makes it unique. You become part of the Wimbledon family. You get to know it all inside and out. You feel like you're there, even if your not and really its best to be not. Have you seen what the rains done recently? Its exciting - that's when you get all the cool talk from the players and the guys who used to play. Its when you get to hear opinions and all sort.
And British as the whole thing is - it's a global phenomenon. Now I've been living in London for 7 years. I feel almost English. I moan and groan at yet another Wimbledon wash out. And yet it hasn't lost its magic for me. It's still as special to me now as it was when I was a teen 15 years ago. The only difference is that now when I see the players running for cover I rush outdoors to bring in the washing.