AN EXCLUSIVE REPORT FROM OUR SPORT EDITOR HOWARD ‘BUTCH’ ELSTON
Tory bosses began the long retreat from the battleground today and announced a mass withdrawal of troops from Wimbledon.
In a televised statement to be made tonight, David Cameron will explain to an expectant nation, weary of a century of warfare , why forces must be sent home.
Speaking before the speech, Whitehall sources said 250 UK tennis players, many of them battle hardened in both singles, mixed doubles and promotional visits to schools, will leave by summer 2012.
Analysts fear that the Tory administration is taking a gamble with the scale of the withdrawals, ignoring advice from the Lawn Tennis Associaton and Sir Cliff. They warn the decision could hamper recent gains made by courageous soldiers such as Staff Sgt Andy ‘Haggishead’ ’ Murray and a galaxy of other tennis players who always crash out on the first day when they meet large Eastern European opponents with unpronounceable names.
If the move backfires, Cameron will face stiff criticism over the handllng of Operation Stiff Racquet which had as its goal a British tennis player (hopefully from the Home Counties and not Scottish) raising the Wimbledon Cup in front of the Queen or some other mentally fragile Royal with a free ticket to the final.
But London tonight was full of pride over the decision.
‘We have Mission Accomplished’ General Bruce Forsyth said, ’It is now time to leave. ‘
And a Whitehall analyst added: ‘We made our point in Wimbledon. We have met the enemy and lost. There is no other reason to stay. This isn’t Iraq you know. We have had a proud history at Wimbledon with such heroes as Buster Mottram who was a bit of battlefield mincemeat and John Lloyd who married lovely-jubbly Chris Evert but never had a serve and volley game.’
Cameron has phoned Barack Obama to see if it is OK to make the decision prior to the US Open where British player have historically stood their ground and sold peanuts and beer in the terraces.