Fame, threat and match

Say it loud and say it proud: Robert Dee is the “worst professional tennis player” in the world.

It took a judge to say it first, but now we can all say it without fear of financial ruin.

Dee versus the world began after newswires picked up the story of a 54-match, straight sets losing streak. This, said many, made Dee the worst professional player in the world.

Furious at having his professional reputation tarnished, Dee served up more letters than Federer has aces, demanding apologies and damages from just about everyone he could find.

Fearing spiralling libel costs, most – including Reuters, which coughed up £250,000 in legal costs – backed down and Dee paraded cheques and apologies from frightened newspapers on his own website.

Until today, when the Daily Telegraph won a High Court ruling backing the paper’s right to call Dee the world’s worst (see story).

Mrs Justice Sharp ruled that Dee did indeed have the dubious honour of the worst record on an ATP tour over a three-year shot on the circuit.

That “world’s worst” characterisation was simply a “consequence of his unprecedented record of defeats”, she said.

Looks like that’s now 55 defeats.