Friday, 20 June 2008
It has been a busy week for me! I’ve been umpiring at the Wimbledon Qualifying Tournament at the Bank of England Tennis Club at Roehampton, London. I arrived at the club on Monday expecting the same intense schedule as last year, 90 minutes on court and 45 minutes off. First day is always long because they try and get through all the first round matches. It was interesting watching these players as they tried to gain entry into one of the worlds most highly esteemed tennis tournaments. The nerves, the passion, maybe something I may never experience. There are only three rounds at qualifying and the winners of the third round qualify for the Championships. Yesterday (Thursday) was the ‘finals’ day and a lot was at stake for many of the players. We should be proud of the 20-year-old Chris Eaton from Surrey who blasted 31 aces to seal his spot in the main draw. It is a shame that the other Brits didn’t do well.
I went for a lovely meal at Pizza Express in Wimbledon on Wednesday night and bumped into two top players, Jelena Jankovic and James Blake. Officials are not allowed to show bias of any sort towards players which makes sense but I was out of uniform, haha.
Our own Scot, Andy Murray, has said he is fighting fit to start his challenge for the coveted Wimbledon trophy. Even though his mother, Judy, said in a BBC interview yesterday that he was probably not going to win the title this year. Hmmm, never say never, I’d say. I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t aim for the top but also understand that if we don’t reach that peak then it just means we have to keep struggling. Faith of any sort needs commitment and time.
You are probably wondering how I am settling into my Georgian Mansion? It is just lovely! My Polo Ralph Lauren Wimbledon uniform is hung up in my huge room in anticipation for the first day on Monday. Excitement and nerves, ah maybe there isn’t much difference between the players and the officials after all!
Good luck to all the players on Monday!