Advantage Philip

Robert Philip, the Daily Telegraph‘s often acerbic columnist, quite enjoys taking these sort of things head on.

Oh, how he enjoyed resurrecting all the 25-year-old jokes about Deadmonton when he was in the Canadian non-city in 2001, his criticism prompting the affronted hosts to fly him around the place by helicopter with the mayor, an item that somehow warranted 10 minutes on local TV news (and no, it wasn’t a particularly slow news day. In Edmonton, every day is a slow news day). Philip, as you’d expect, used the whole charade as an excuse for another, even more critical column at his hapless hosts’ expense.

Well, after having the best part of the week to relish the latest opportunity for sangfroid to present itself, in today’s paper Philip lets fly at a previously self-satisfied Florida newspaperman who had earlier derided reports that Jimmy Connors was about to become coach to Andy Roddick (pictured).

Philip writes today:

This news inspired much scoffing in certain quarters, especially in the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where the newspaper’s resident tennis expert, Charles Bricker, was clearly miffed at being scooped by the Brits. Under the headline “Connors-Roddick? Get Real”, Mr Bricker reported from Paris: “I nearly choked on my morning croissant when I saw this one.

“When I got to the grounds, I looked up Roddick’s Miami agent, Ken Meyerson, who had already heard about the story and wasn’t certain if he should laugh it off or hit the damage control button. Actually, there was no damage. It was one of those stories you throw at the wall to see how long it will take to slide to the floor. ‘There is nothing to it. Absolutely nothing,’ said Meyerson, who is closer to Roddick than Andy’s iPod.”

Philip even revels in some of the criticism his paper had received: “That has to be the dumbest rumour to come out of the British tabloid press in quite a while”, one Floridian had written to his favourite tennis writer (tabloid? the Telegraph?! Honestly… whatever next?).

Philip concludes:

I considered air-mailing Mr Bricker a carton of croissants to make up for the one on which he so “nearly choked”. On reflection, however, I think I’ll send this proper Charlie a large slice of humble pie.

Game, set and match to Philip.

To read the rest of Philip’s column today, including his assessment of the dominance of Tiger Woods, click here.