The Royal Albert Hall will be swaying to a different kind of music today, as the twanging of broken racket strings, the thump of balls and the snapping of aged hamstrings will provide the soundtrack to the Masters Tennis Tournament. It is hoped that this orchestra will include the harmonious sound of one Mr J. McEnroe throwing his racket to the ground on a regular basis, but unfortunately this is a matter of some doubt, as said firebrand is currently still in the US, suffering from a nasty bout of the flu and it is unknown whether he will make it over for his first match tomorrow night.
This would be a real blow, as McEnroe is the crowd-pleaser, the main draw and one of the favourites. And with the tournament already missing the likes of Goran Ivanisevic (playing for Croatia in the Davis Cup) and Richard Krajicek (missing), this event needs as much star quality as possible. After all, Jeremy Bates is not worth the admission price alone and Jim Courier, although unquestionably a fine player, does not strike us as charisma incarnate.
If however, 'The Mac' does make his flight, then do consider buying a ticket. The Masters Event is the culmination of the 'Champions Tour' and although the emphasis is on entertainment (especially with japesters like Henri Laconte around), the competition is still pretty fierce. A prize fund of £100,000 does tend to concentrate the mind somewhat. And if you wanted any more reasons to go, well, you don't often get to see tennis played in the Albert do you?