Wimbledon has started and the familiar longing returns: how I wish I could play tennis.
Of course I wish I could play football too (and, as they make the long flight back from Brazil, some members of the England squad may be thinking the same.)
But tennis is a game I really can imagine being good at, enjoying now in my middle age and carrying on into my dotage. The problem is I just can’t get the hang of it. God knows I’ve tried. At university I even got some one-on-one coaching – and every now and then my racket would connect with the ball in a satisfying way and a blistering shot would result. But I never knew when it would happen, or why it had happened when it did.
So, with great regret, I had to conclude that the good fairy had forgotten to include hand-eye co-ordination among the blessings she bestowed on me and I should stick to sporting activities that do not involve making contact with moving balls.
It was, therefore, with a bittersweet mixture of admiration and envy that I attended the opening of the fabulous new facilities at Grantham Tennis Club on May 31, and chatted to the players of all ages who will benefit from the extraordinary determination and generosity of Lianne Tapson and her team.
It was with equally conflicting emotions that I greeted the boys and girls of Isaac Newton school last week when they came to Westminster to play in New Palace Yard in the shadow of Big Ben. As the overall winners of the Lawn Tennis Association’s schools competition, they got to meet the Prime Minister and the Speaker of the House of Commons.
David Cameron fancies himself to be a pretty handy tennis player but my sources tell me that John Bercow is even better (please don’t tell No 10). How I wish I was like them. Is it really too late for me to discover my inner Andy Murray?