A comment in last night’s Wimbledon quarter-final between Andy Murray and David Ferrer has prompted complaints to the BBC from fans who believed it was anti-gay.
Veteran Wimbledon commentator Andrew Castle had been discussing Frenchman David Ferrer’s performance in the fourth and final set of his match against Andy Murray.
Serving, the Frenchman was leading Murray 40-15 in the third game, though he would later lose the match to the Scot at the end of that set.
Castle noted that after Murray returned a ball into the net, Ferrer had delivered “three manly points”, and that there were now “a couple of game points, with just a little bit of moisture in the air”.
Several alarmed viewers who took to Twitter or complained directly to the BBC last night believed Castle had said there were “three manly points, now a couple of gay points, with just a little bit of moisture in the air”.
You can listen to the comment on BBC’s iPlayer service by clicking here.
According to the rules of tennis, Ferrer had been in a position to enjoy two ‘game points’, where a single shot won by him would have given him the points needed to win the game. There would have been two of these opportunities before Murray caught up to equalise the scores at 40-40, or deuce. Ferrer did win the point.
But with the comment coming after the reference to “manly” shots, some believed Castle was suggesting Ferrer would be about to make two “gay” shots, inferring this was the opposite of “manly”.
One complaint called it an “outrageous example of hate speech”.
On Twitter, one tennis fan wrote: “WTF is Andrew Castle talking about – “A couple of manly points, followed by some gay points” – on #Wimbledon commentary!??!”
Another, closer to the mark, added: “Good to know it wasn’t just me who heard Bouncy say “3 manly points from Ferrer, now 2 gay points” (he meant game points, I’m sure!)”
The Murray-Ferrer match lasted three hours and 52 minutes, with the ambiguous comment from Castle, who has commentated on men’s singles at Wimbledon since 2003, coming near the end.
It is not the first time a comment in Wimbledon 2012 has been misheard.
During Saturday’s match between David Ferrer and Andy Roddick, fans thought they heard BBC commentator David Mercer exclaim “You little bastard!” at the ball as it skipped over the net.
He had actually said “You little rascal!”, but the sound of the crowd’s applause deceived many viewers’ ears.