Emma Raducanu | Danielle Parhizkaran


Watching sport is really not my thing but tennis is a whole different ballgame. From the age of 15 to 18, I used to sneak off to Wimbledon in the summer with other tennis-mad girlfriends when I should have been on the school sport field playing hockey or studying. We’d queue for a long while to get in for free or on cheap tickets and would linger by centre court for departing guests to give us their seats.

This was the era of Ille Nastase, Chris Evert, Jim O’Connor, Martina Navratilova, John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg. We all had a girl crush on Chris Evert and swooned over Nastase. Throughout Wimbledon we’d assiduously fill in our match booklets and fly home from school to catch up on the latest news.

Since those heady days, my interest in tennis waned as players seemed to become more predictable and duller. The excitement and thrill of seeing and meeting the greats, some of whom would clown around with you after matches, seemed to be from a bygone era. Nastase used to hit the ball in the rain with umbrella in hand and dance on court, John McEnroe would smash his racket and have hissy fits and Chris Evert would come and chat with us and giggle with the ball girls.

In recent years, the roster of male players became far more captivating than the womens’ as the Williams sisters magnificently yet boringly held the court, leaving no room for anyone else to shine. I stopped watching tennis. The fun, eccentricity and spontaneity seemed to have gone. It became mechanical.

But out of the blue a bright star shines on the horizon and today we have had the wonderful sight of 18-year-old British Emma Raducanu scoring a hat trick with her boundless energy and scintillating performance on court at the American Open. Suddenly, I’ve woken up to tennis again and started watching.

Surely, there can be nothing more satisfying than seeing a dedicated, talented and charming ingenue crush her opponents while exhibiting a modest and down to earth demeanour. Lovely young Emma is through to the finals, and I am crossing all digits that she steals the crown.

Whatever the weather, she has definitely reignited my interest in this beautiful game and hopefully shown countless young people that with hard work, self-belief and tenacity they can achieve their dreams against the odds.

Unethical vaccines?
The brouhaha regarding vaccines for children aged 12 to 15 years of age continues. While the revered JCVI medical committee in the UK has advised against them, government ministers remain keen to press ahead despite the potential serious health risks. Children of this age group have naturally healthy immunes that can rebuff the virus hence why the JCVI is uncomfortable about a mass vaccination programme in British schools.

Teenage boys in this age group have been proven to be at most risk from heart issues and potential death which many medics believe is reason enough not to administer the vaccine.

Outrageously, Nadhim Zahawai, minister for vaccines, has hinted that the children’s vaccine programme will be rolled out despite the JCVI’s qualms, and striking a sinister note, warned that parents’ consent will not be needed if children in this age group are deemed competent and wish to go ahead, most likely through peer pressure.

For this reason, countless parents are threatening to boycott sending their offspring to school and I don’t blame them. What kind of a vile Totalitarian society are we creating where parents’ wishes are over-ruled by the state?

Zahawi and the British government should look back at history and remind themselves of how Josep Mengele, dubbed the Angel of Death, performed experiments on hapless Jewish children at Auschwitz.

The vaccine is still at experimental stage and children are proven to be largely unaffected so why test it on their young and vulnerable systems?

Who knows how it might blight their health in the future. If this programme goes ahead and children develop heart issues or worst-case scenario, die, the whole government should be held to account. If ministers really believe that the vaccine’s safe to administer to this young age group, let them parade their own children on TV screens and give them the vaccine live. Somehow, I imagine, they’d do anything but.

Diddly Squat
Television personality and maverick, Jeremy Clarkson, has caused uproar in Chadlington in Oxfordshire as his estate farm shop, Diddly Squat, has attracted hundreds of punters since being featured on his new Amazon Prime farming show.

Concerned locals complained about the traffic build-up and noise, with some demanding his farm shop be closed down. Taking the bull by the horns, Clarkson held a Parish council meeting to address the villagers’ concerns. From the motley crew who appeared at the meeting, it appeared that half just wanted to take selfies with him, while the others were divided between fascinated observers and deeply envious business people who resented his success.

In his usual laid-back style, Clarkson demolished most of their objections or at least promised to find answers to some more reasonable concerns. In truth, he has a farm out of the village so hasn’t really caused much disruption and many local businesses and pubs have benefited from the exercise. What this storm in a tea cup has shown is that envy at others’ success is often the motivation for discord. Clarkson can be a loud-mouthed oaf but he’s also hugely entertaining and shrewd. He did the right thing addressing the village and showing them that he wouldn’t be cowed by their nimby attitudes.

Anna Nicholas’s seventh Mallorca travel title, Peacocks in Paradise, is now available to purchase at all good UK bookshops & via amazon. In Majorca it’s available at Universal Bookshop, Alameda shop in Soller and the Atelier in Fornalutx and in Palma bookshops.