16 MAY 1981, Page 31

High life

Ladies doubles


New York After six long, interminable months I am about to return to my ancestral country seat in Oxfordshire. This is the longest I have spent in one place since my mother was expecting me, and it has not been much fun. Last week, on the day Robert Sands died I happened to be, as usual, at Mortimer's and was talking on the telephone to an English friend, when I heard the news. Although I do believe one should never speak ill of the dead, I also believe one should always speak one's mind where murder and terrorism are concerned. So I did, and an Irishman, or one of those IRA sympathisers who are not necessarily Irish, tried to take the telephone away from me. So instead of a lousy hamburger he ate a rather used telephone that day.

But that is not the reason that I am leaving town. In spite of my Oxfordshire home I shall retain my Spartan accent, which is why some of the suddenly politicised muggers who cruise Third Avenue Irish bars looking for Englishmen have left me alone. The real reason I have been made to feel like a leper is — once again — the feminists. I went on a radio show last week and dared to speak out against feminists and lesbians. The reaction of the listeners was, to say the leasj, one of outrage. Barry Gray, whose show it was, tried his best, but the ladies ringing in were in no mood for explanations. They even found out where I live and began writing hate mail and delivering it to the door. It seems that to say that lesbian love can be attractive to men is what really affronts the militant lesbians.

The discussion began because of the Billie Jean King problem (or BJ King, as the wags refer to her since she admitted to having an affair with a girl and writing over 100 love letters). I believe that Ms King made it acceptable, even desirable, for a woman to compete and sweat. But I also know that the reason so many young players are accompanied on the tennis circuit by chaperones or by their mothers is that there are aggressive lesbians waiting to pounce. It is no secret that Martina Navratilova lives with Rita Mae Brown, the militant 'gay rights' leader. It is also no secret that Martina's parents recently left the United States for Czechoslovakia, openly accusing their daughter and America of being sick. There is also Bette Stove, an ex-Wimbledon finalist, who has become the mentor of Mandikova, a rising young Czech, and someone who really did not know her way around until Stove, the gargantuan Dutch woman, showed her. An English girl, Sue Barker, has complained about lesbians in the locker room, and apparently there is so much grabbing that a lot of the young American girls come to the tennis courts dressed for tennis, having changed in their hotel rooms.

About 20 years ago, I was playing in the French championships at Rolland Garros. There are no facilities for practice in Paris, the chauvinistic French making sure that only they can practise in their clubs. So Jack Frost, an American, and I bribed Mohammed, the locker room attendant, to leave the locker room open for at least half an hour after the stadium closed. A lady friend of mine, a three times Wimbledon champion, and one of the most feminine women ever to play the game, heard about this and began staying late and practising with an American girl. One day, hurrying to get dressed, I ran into the shower room and pulled the curtain. Behind it, unfortunately, was my friend, caught in flagrante with the American. The American tried afterwards to be nice so that I would not say anything; my friend never mentioned the incident. I don't think the story ever got out. After all, as Socrates said when the 30 tyrants tried him (in reality for preaching revolution) as a corrupter of youth, Ekastos afedronas aniki ston kathena. Or, in a loose translation — for any of you who failed Ancient Greek — whose bottom is it anyway?