NZ Woman's Weekly

Kerre McIvor: A late date with tennis gods

It’s not often I’m up late these days. When I say late, I mean late for me. I have a radio show from 8pm to midnight and some might consider working until midnight to be staying up late.

Certainly my early-to-bed, early-to-rise friends consider running a late-night radio show to be an epic feat of physical and mental endurance – but then they’re generally tucked up in bed with their husbands and iPads by 9pm, so they don’t know how much fun the dark end of the day can be.

I’ve always loved working nights. On talkback it brings out the more, shall we say, interesting characters of this world. Interesting is good.

There’s also an intimacy about night-time I love. When I’m talking to people, they’re at home or in bed or, occasionally, in the bath. Which is a bit weird. I get all sorts of mental images when gentlemen callers – and they are always gentlemen callers – tell me they’re phoning from the bath.

In the daytime the radio is often just background noise and everyday life takes precedence. At night it’s dark and quiet and that’s when a voice on the radio can be a comfort.

When I get home, I usually spend an hour or so winding down, catching up on emails, talking to my daughter in London via Skype or reading, but generally by 1am I’m sleeping the sleep of the truly virtuous. And if I’m out at a party, 1am seems to be my magic shutdown time. No matter how fabulous the eighties soundtrack, never mind the quality of the champagne flowing, by 1am I’m starting to wind down like a robot that hasn’t had its batteries charged.

As the husband and I head home, I look through the cab window with sleepy-eyed wonderment at the young people who are only just heading out to make a night of it and will revel until the sun breaks.

But recently I did my first all-nighter since my twenties. And it was easy. When you have two good-looking young men at the top of their game, putting on an extraordinary display for you, well, that’s something worth hanging around for.

To be fair, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer weren’t putting on their impressive athletic performance just for me – there were millions of viewers around the world watching the Wimbledon men’s final.

It was scheduled for 1am New Zealand time and I knew if I recorded it, I wouldn’t get around to watching it. I’d hear the result and once I knew who’d won, it would ruin it for me. So at midnight I told the husband to hand over the remote and remove himself from the prime television-viewing chair.

He looked at me in shock. The number of times I’ve taken possession of the remote in our 17-year relationship could be counted on one hand.

“I’m staying up to watch the tennis,” I announced.

“It may be Roger Federer’s last chance for another Wimbledon title and I want to be there to see it.”

The husband went off to bed like a lamb, leaving me with a front-row seat to one of the best tennis matches I’ve had the privilege to watch. The game went to five sets, Djokovic prevailed and I collapsed into my bed just after 5am.

No all-nighter in a club or bar has ever given me that much enjoyment. I saw every move from two of the best players in the world, slept until midday and had a marvellous Monday. You couldn’t do that if you worked days.

As well as reading her column, you can listen to Kerre on Newstalk ZB, Monday to Thursday, 8pm to midnight.

Take a look at Kerre McIvor: Pardon my French here.

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