“It was something my friend and fellow Scottish writer John Niven got into doing between us for laughs,” Welsh said in an email. “Tennis commentary is generally pretty dull. Ours is grounded in the compelling perversity that the cuisine, climate and class structure of Scotland can produce a tennis champion like Murray.”
Welsh’s fandom is not just about Murray also coming from Scotland.
“I admire his incredible skills, control and pace around the court,” Welsh said. “I love how he wears the game on his face. So many players are dull and deadpan; they never change expressions whether they hit a winner or miss an easy shot.”
Many of Welsh’s tweets are unprintable, but the vast majority feature the acerbic humor that would be familiar to his readers.
“Good hold Andy son,” Welsh wrote during the 2012 U.S. Open final. “I’m going to eat a packet of McCain’s oven chips for every point you win the day pal.”
“Forget you’re Scottish for the next two hours. Keep repeating: ‘I am a Swede. My name is Bjorn. I am a Swede,’” he added later.
Occasionally, Welsh’s analysis touches on more serious issues.
“If he does this it’s the greatest sporting achievement by somebody from these islands ever,” Welsh said during that 2012 U.S. Open final. He later referred to the massacre in the small Scottish town of Dunblane in 1996, when 16 children and a teacher were killed by a gunman in a school. Andy and his brother, Jamie Murray, now a top doubles player, were at the school at the time.
“Dunblane was known internationally for a terrible, horrible thing,” Welsh continued. “Thanks to Andy Murray it’s now known for something wonderful and amazing.”
More often than not, though, Welsh is irreverent. At the beginning of last year’s Wimbledon final between Murray and Milos Raonic, Welsh tweeted: “Spry Canadian Bacon versus deep-fried Square Sausage: let the battle commence.”
Sometimes, when Welsh gets carried away, the capital letters come out. “YES!! JAIL HIM IN A SCHEME CRACK DEN AND TAKE AWAY HIS BUS PASS!!” he posted during the 2013 Wimbledon final, which Murray won. During the 2015 Australian Open final, which Murray lost, Welsh wrote, “GET IN THERE ANDY YA DEEP FRIED BAG OF TARTAN SEX!!!”
Murray knows of Welsh’s tweets and has even had a few exchanges on Twitter with him in the past, once admonishing him for swearing in a Q. and A. “You know I don’t use language like that Irvine,” wrote Murray, who plays Dustin Brown in the second round at Wimbledon on Wednesday.
After the 2013 Australian Open, Murray’s mother, Judy, invited Welsh to sit in the players’ box the following year, and Welsh said he had met Andy and Judy.
“They are excellent people with a fabulous sense of humor,” Welsh said. “Andy is quite dry and droll, while Judy is great feisty fun.”
Welsh said he was looking forward to being involved in more matches at Wimbledon and potentially at the U.S. Open this year, although he acknowledged it took a bit of imagination to come up with new material.
“There’s only so much you can say about imperialism, geopolitical structures, ritual torture execution, homoerotica, sexual humiliation, drug abuse and bad food during a game of tennis,” he said.
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