Archives - Sport





Like Dominic Cummings, Novak Djokovic took the public for fools – and seems unlikely to face the consequences

Tennis had its Dominic Cummings moment this week, when four Top 50 male players tested positive for Covid-19 after playing in Novak Djokovic’s Adria Tour. This series of exhibition tournaments, held in Belgrade, Serbia and Zadar,...



The Whig Interpretation of Cricket

Review: The Test: A New Era for Australia’s Team (Amazon Prime Video, released 12th March 2020) A chest infection sparked my interest in cricket. Prostrate on the sofa on a hot afternoon last August, I was enthralled by the...



Podcasts are a vital tool for understanding – and bearing – our new world

Like most people, my state-mandated exercise regime under lockdown is very simple. Every few days, it’s off on the bike for a dart around the hinterlands of East Norfolk – invariably taking a liberal attitude to the one-hour time...



Bercow, Djokovic, Bloomberg… and Alexa: my 22nd February diary

Home Alone with Michael Scott Perhaps foolishly, my parents have entrusted me with the defence of the family home this week as they take off for a half-term jaunt. I’ve not encountered any incompetent criminals and spooky old men...



My 10 Book Countdown for 2019

10. Serhii Plokhy, Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy (Penguin Books, 2019) The central message of Serhii Plokhy’s sensitive account of the April 1986 Chernobyl reactor explosion is simply how avoidable it was. Drawing extensively...



Nick Kyrgios needs a suspension from tennis – and professional help

Is Nick Kyrgios crying out for an escape? Will he ever fulfil his limitless potential? Does he even like tennis? As he continues to grab headlines for almost always the wrong reasons, fans, commentators and umpires alike have been...



NAOm1 and Djokov15: Australian Open Predictions Results

For the first time since 1995, a male and female champion have won consecutive grand slam titles. Novak Djokovic produced two of his best career performances to bludgeon Pouille and then Rafael Nadal into submission, making the...



Jefford’s Predictions Challenge #3: Australian Open Finals

The 2019 Australian Open has been such a satisfactory tournament: a healthy share of stunning upsets, balanced with the ultimate triumph of the giants. Each final is a tantalising prospect – not least, on the women’s side, with...



Jefford’s Predictions Challenge #2: Australian Open Semifinals

Well, that didn’t all go quite to plan. Serving at 5-1, 40-30 up in the final set against Karolina Pliskova, Serena Williams managed to lose six games in a row, and with the match, another chance to reach Margaret Court’s 24 Grand...



Jefford’s Predictions Challenge #1: Australian Open Quarterfinals

With another pulsating Grand Slam tournament in full swing, I’ve decided to do something a little different with this blog. One of Huddersfield’s finest tennis champions, Rohit Gupta, suggested I host a Mark Lawrenson-style tennis...



“I gave everything I had”: an epitaph to Andy Murray’s stunning career

This morning at the Australian Open, Andy Murray proved to the world why he deserves to be regarded as Great Britain’s greatest ever sportsman. Last Friday, he had tearfully revealed the futility of his comeback on an “extremely...



Carlos Ramos during the infamous match

A homage to inconsistency: thoughts from the US Open

It started with on-court coaching from supposedly tennis’ most impartial source, a match umpire. At the change of ends in his second-round US Open match against Pierre Hughes-Herbert, with the mercurial Australian “tanking” at...



Serena and Venus Williams embracing on the court

Serena shouldn’t get special exemptions – let’s just celebrate her return to tennis

It was a spectacle which the Indian Wells Tennis Garden has spent seventeen years waiting for. Venus vs. Serena Williams: a symbolic match to overcome the racially-tinged acrimony which surrounded their aborted semi-final here in 2001...



2017's 12 Days of Christmas

2017 has been another year to suspend belief, exceed expectations and defy prediction – or, in the case of Donald Trump, a year to meet expectations by continuously defying what could never be predicted of a sitting U.S. president....



Maria Sharapova standing on court with her arm in the air

Maria Sharapova: The Unstoppable Victim

Returning from a 15-month suspension from tennis for drug offences, Maria Sharapova seeks to rewrite history in her September 2017 memoir, Unstoppable: My Life So Far. Recounting her turbulent life born to a family displaced by the...



The long queue waiting to buy tickets for the tennis

Second-degree burns, a dangerous sleeping bag and a great line up: A Day at the Championships

It seems only right that an excursion to the most famous British sporting tournament should be defined by the activity we perform best: standing in line, for hours on end. The Championships at Wimbledon annually produce a meticulous...



Federer and Nadal posing on the court

Age is just a number: Roger Federer and longevity in tennis

The unpredictability of life isn’t all bad. When I consigned Roger Federer to parentheses when discussing the likely trajectory of the 2017 tennis season last December, not even the man himself could envisage his...



Andy Murray posing in front of a trophy

Andy, Champion of the World

In some ways, it seems ironic that tennis world No. 1 Andy Murray should win his third Sports “Personality” of the Year award. Unfortunately for the dour Scot, he makes Courtney Wood (Sunday’s Apprentice runner-up) – or, for...



Famous tennis players in a lineup

Sport: the ultimate procrastination?

Sport seems to be a bizarre international obsession. As a populace we are engrossed by people who throw things, kick things, drive things, hit things, and move quickly in the direction of things for a living. We revere most the...



Primary school children playing around a table

Britain's attainment problem

There is a road out of Norwich which seems to demonstrate the mistaken priorities of British society. As you turn onto Hethersett Lane, on the left is the John Innes Centre, a pioneering scientific research institute, its car park...



Alexander Armstrong

The scourge of summer lethargy

I am very much an all or nothing person. Some days – mostly while at university – I can wake up at 7am, do a morning of work, go out for lunch with friends, do some writing, go for a bike ride, then have a few hours watching a...



Three football players laying on the pitch looking disappointed

The English Disease: Politics and Football

This week, with one exit from Europe already guaranteed, I did not relish the prospect of an English loss in the European football championship, particularly against a country with the population of Leicester and with (almost) their...