So Laura Robson has been given a wild card into Wimbledon despite having been away from the tennis circuit for the best part of 18 months.
It’s good in a way to see such encouragement from the powers that be, although one wonders why someone still making a faltering comeback should be preferred over some other player who is fully fit and capable of giving punters value for the price of admission.
As she showed by being blown away in the first round at Eastbourne at the weekend, Robson is far from tournament ready. And, of course, all the excuses were offered up to placate the doubters.
“I’m not expecting to play my best tennis right now, it’s going to take a while,” Robson admitted. Fair enough, but should be public be expected to pay to watch someone so clearly not fully fit for purpose.
Yet again, the sympathy card is being played by a sportsperson who seems to think that the world owes them a living; an attitude that fails to recognise the vast majority of people do not go through life being paid to enjoy themselves playing the game they love.
OK, so she’s put in hours and hours of endless training to get where she is (which is somewhere on the lower rungs of the rankings) but it remains a privileged and cossetted existence no matter how much she and other players whinge about the endless travel and living in hotels.
How many other young women of her age get to see as much of the world as she has seen or live the hotel life so often?
But the real thing that must stick in the craw of her contemporaries is that she will be paid £23,000 or thereabouts simply to turn up at Wimbledon. Fit to play or not, to be there is sufficient for her to be given a pay packet that is in excess of what thousands of wage slaves struggle to earn in an entire year. How they would love to reap such rewards for their daily toil and commuting drudgery.
Of course, Robson is not alone in the unreal world of international sport, but her fragile state and lack of match fitness does single her out as earning money for jam. Maybe before offering her next excuse for non-performance she should pause to reflect on the fortunate life she leads compared with the vast majority of other 21 year olds.