‘Chicken’ causes a stir in the henhouse

As part of my diligent parenting programme, I will, as soon as there is any sense to be got out of the twins, invite Gilles Simon round to impart some valuable life lessons.

Naturally, I’ll first get him to take the pair of them through a thorough training routine, making copious notes for future reference, lest either of them show the potential to retire me early.

Then he’ll take the young lad for a pep talk, explain to him the merits of hard work, dedication and resolve and assure him that rewards will be richly deserved if he applies himself.

Finally, I suppose he better have a chat with herself too, to tell her that, in her case, eh, they wouldn’t really.

It will, no doubt, stand her in good stead for many of the challenges to come in life.

Simon — known as ‘the chicken’, is the world’s 13th best men’s tennis player, a baseline plodder whose best chance of drawing a crowd would be to hand out Maria Sharapova photographs, but who this week insisted that Wimbledon — and all the Grand Slams — should not pay men and women equally.

Remember, it’s just five years since Wimbledon finally relented and paid women what men weregetting, the final Grand Slam event to do so.

And what a proud day that was for tennis, a clear message that this, perhaps uniquely, was a sport without any kind of ceiling — unless it rained.

Even on a cynical level, what a selling point it is to girls who would rather have a ball at their feet than a racquet in their hand, but are denied any real commercial opportunity.

A few quid either way wouldn’t change that but it would send a blunt message about how much they are valued. Hold your serve, Gilles.

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