There was a Women’s Doubles match at Wimbledon yesterday.
And Martina Hingis won it.
All by herself. No one else involved. So the BBC would have you believe. And it’s true. She did it on her own. As you can see from the photographs above and below.
Martina Hingis did win. Just not on her own. Which she makes abundantly clear in every part of her attitude in matches she plays with her doubles partner.
Maybe I’m being unfair on the BBC. After all, Hingis is the world number two ranked women’s doubles player.
Except for one thing. The world’s number one ranked women’s doubles player was her partner. The one they left out of the tweet and the headline.
Maybe I’m being unfair on the BBC. After all, this was the first Wimbledon win by Hingis in 17 years, and deserved special treatment.
Except for one thing. This was the first grand slam women’s double win by any Indian, not just in 17 years, but since tennis began.
Hingis won, and deserves every credit. Go Martina! Hingis won with her partner, Sania Mirza, who also deserves every credit. Go Sania! A fairytale partnership. Everybody wins.
Except for the BBC.
Maybe I’m being unfair on the BBC. After all, there’s a mixed doubles final this afternoon at Wimbledon, involving Martina Hingis. And her Indian partner Leander Paes. What will the headline be? Will it be Hingis wins again? Or Hingis loses?
Talking about Indian partners, there’s a third Indian in a doubles final at Wimbledon this year. Sumit Nagal. Playing with Nam Loang Lie of Vietnam. Maybe it’s best that the BBC don’t report on that game at all.
There was a time when the BBC World Service stood for truth. I lived in India from 1957 to 1980, and whenever I wanted to know what really happened I would listen to the BBC. No propaganda, no spin, just truth. There was the occasional mistake: when I was at university, the World Service reported the death of Jayaprakash Narayan. A stalwart freedom fighter and social reformer, I was named after him. [I am told I met him, that he was a friend of my grandfather’s, that he was some sort of godfather to me, but I have neither memory nor proof of any of that].
JP hadn’t died. Not that time anyway. But the World Service had an excuse for being wrong. They were reporting what the Indian intelligence services had said, something the Indian Prime Minister of the time apparently then made public. There are still debates about who first made the news public in March 1979. JP did die, but only later that year, in October.
Curation is important when it comes to news on the web. A global perspective is also important.
Hingis won. Mirza won. But this time around, the BBC lost.
Update: Here’s what the BBC has done since:
A sincere correction. No defence of the past, no attempt to give excuses or to brush under the carpet. A good thing.
Update 2: Martina Hingis and Leander Paes did win their final. As did Sumit Nagal and Nam Loang Ly. So we had *three* Indians as part of winning doubles teams at Wimbledon this year, women’s doubles, mixed doubles and boys’ doubles. Here’s the Times of India coverage of the Hingis/Paes win: