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Come on, Andy – at least it’s not a Cliff singalong!

So, now we know what passes for humour among the well-heeled of Centre Court, SW19. The boat-shoes-and-blazer brigade - those who can squeeze in with the freeloading celebs, at any rate - enjoy nothing more than the gentle ribbing of Britain's latest heir to Fred Perry. "Come on, Tim," they cry in the direction of Andy Murray referencing that other 21st-century hopeful, Tim Henman. It happens "three or four times" a match, according to the irritable Scot.

Following his first-round match - which featured the "come ons" as early as the first game - Murray told reporters: "It's a classic that one. Hilarious." In case his real feelings were in doubt, he added: "I do not find it particularly amusing."

Perhaps being compared to Henman is bad for the mental preparation. It's difficult to "stay in the zone" - as is a sportsman's wont - when a heroic second-week defeat is as good as it's going to get.

But while a cry of "Come on, Tim" may not be the height of sporting wit, it certainly beats a Cliff Richard singalong and, anyway, it's pretty harmless.

In the same week that Murray showed his irritation, the former Real Madrid and Brazil international Roberto Carlos was walking off a football pitch in disgust after a fan threw a banana at him. Carlos, currently playing for the Caucasus team Anzhi Makhachkala in the Russian league, picked up the offending item, tossed it on to the sidelines and headed to the changing rooms. He'd had enough.

As Carlos left the field it looked as if he was "flicking the Vs" towards the crowd. In fact his two-fingered gesture indicated that this was not the first time he'd been subjected to racist taunts in his short career in Russia. During a game against Zenit Saint Petersburg in March, the Brazilian was offered the same fruit, peeled this time, by a supporter. Then he was keen to play down the incident. But not when it happened for a second time, and it's easy to understand why.

Where Carlos was provoked, Murray was mildly mocked and should have met humour with humour. If he's looking for a role model, he could do worse than turn to Jimmy Connors, who like Murray was not always the most easygoing of competitors out on the court - but he did know how to play to the crowd.

Take the story of a 39-year-old Connors who found himself 5-2 down in the final set of a US Open match to Aaron Krickstein back in 1991. The game was up for the veteran, or so it seemed. As a man in the crowd prepared to make his escape, Connors called out: "Don't go. I'm not beaten yet." Sure enough, Connors won.

Greek chic

A sense of humour is not a pre-requisite for success in sport. After all, Marcos Baghdatis - the Greek Cypriot with the comedy headband, pantomime panting and easy smile - won the crowd but not his third-round match against a drone-like Novac Djokovic at this year's tournament. But a rapport with the watching public certainly helps to break the tension.

Henman is another who took it all too seriously. He's now reinventing himself as an expert summariser on the BBC, aided by a deadpan delivery that sounds uncannily like Jack Dee. He - Henman, not Dee - just needs to work on his comic timing. He also needs to beware of the "three men in a commentary box" syndrome. Namely, he must avoid becoming the butt, not the maker, of jokes.

Hop across the channels to Sky Sports and you'll see, or rather hear, what I'm talking about. There the former England cricket captain Nasser Hussain invariably plays the role of comedy punch bag, despite a fine career in the game. The problem for Nass is that when you're in the "comm box" with the likes of Sir Ian Botham and Michael Holding, you are unlikely to win a "show us your medals" contest. At Wimbledon, John McEnroe plays the Beefy part: the alpha male with the record to match.

Henman needs to team up with the Super Brat fast and find another ex-pro to goad before it's too late. Come on, Tim.

Jon Bernstein, former deputy editor of New Statesman, is a digital strategist and editor. He tweets @Jon_Bernstein. 

This article first appeared in the 04 July 2011 issue of the New Statesman, Afghanistan