Ever climbed Murray mount, “come on Tim”, or knocked a sponge ball against a wall while grunting? Then you have Birmingham to thank for the gift of the only sport that doubles the price of a certain fruit for two weeks every year. Yes, Cliff Richards’s favourite game was invented not in the white trousered environs of the Wimbledon croquet club, but up a back street in Edgbaston not a high lob from the old Firebird pub.
The rules of modern lawn tennis were drawn up by Harry Gem and his friend Augurio Perera who developed a game that combined elements of rackets and the Basque ball game pelota. The rest is, for the English at least, a posh and annually disappointing story.