Tuesday, 16 February 2016

No bundle of joy

This week several Australian tennis players were 'bundled out' of tennis tournaments.

That sentence is a curiosity and periodically words to those effect generate a bemused discussion in this country. I am traversing old ground by entering the conversation, but here goes.

'Bundled out'. A strange expression which is used over and over by sports commentators but only, it seems, under certain conditions.

First, we only ever seem to hear it used in relation to tennis. No one ever said that Ian Thorpe was 'bundled out' of a swimming event nor that Jason Day was 'bundled out' of a golf tournament.

Second, it seems you can only be 'bundled out' in the early rounds, say rounds 1 to 3, of a tennis tournament. No one ever said Lleyton Hewitt was 'bundled out' of the semi finals nor that Pat Rafter was 'bundled out' of the final. No, if you are going to be 'bundled out' it must be early in the tournament.

Third, to be 'bundled out' you generally have to be Australian. Neither Roger Federer nor Novak Djokovic, nor any other non-Australian ever seems to be 'bundled out'. They just lose or at worst are knocked out. As though they were boxers?

Fourth, you must always be 'bundled out'. Surely if you can be 'bundled out' then you should be able to be 'bundled in'. Yet no one ever said that Thanasi Kokkinakis or Nick Kyrgios were 'bundled into' the second round at Wimbledon.

So, if you can't be 'bundled in' then why do we say someone was 'bundled out'. Why not just say they were 'bundled'? The media could report that I was 'bundled' from the first round at Wimbledon. (I'm sure that I would be!)

It is all a bundle of 'tosh' really so I'll put an end to it with a photograph of non-Australian Rafael Nadal sadly 'bundled out' in the first round of the 2016 Australian Open.

(Source: AP)


  1. Now there's an expression I've never heard. Of course, I'm not an Aussie and I don't live in Australia, so that's probably why. :)

    1. I think it is an Australian peculiarity, wcs, and as I indicated the phrase is used regularly here to report tennis losses by Australian players.

  2. Not something I have thought about but yes, it is a queer thing this bundling out. If you take the word literally, the expression in regard to tennis doesn't make much sense. There is probably a now redundant expression of bundling someone away or off. Otherwise, aside from tennis there is very little bundling about, apart from that of our telcos.