Whitby tennis fan’s excitement mounts for trip to Wimbledon

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At the start of the year I was looking over my bucket list, specifically item number 9, See tennis matches at Wimbledon.

Ever since my parents acquired a grainy black and white television in the 60s, I have longed to experience the atmosphere, and marvel at those magnificent specimens of fitness and rippling muscles.

I submitted my application for the public draw and couldn’t believe it when I was offered two tickets for court one on July 12. The excitement is mounting and I’m reminded of my own tennis experiences.

About 40 years ago a work colleague, a huge tennis fan, always booked Wimbledon fortnight as her annual leave.

The rest of us were very envious because a) she must be an All England Club Member to acquire so many tickets, and b) that she could afford to do so.

She returned to work full of all the matches she’d seen, adding to our envy. She appeared so knowledgeable that I became convinced she should have played tennis professionally.

One year someone in upper management of the hospital decided we should have a tennis tournament between wards and departments.

I used to play for my school, so put my name down and who better to partner me but my colleague. I thought she would be thrilled to showcase her expertise so I was somewhat disappointed when she declined, blaming an ongoing shoulder problem that the rest of the department had been completely unaware of.

I was then approached by a paediatric nurse who wanted to play, so now I had a partner.

I wasn’t very confident having not played for years, but nurse was very reassuring. Our first match was against the Coronary Care Ward. I arrived on court in a pair of jeans, T- shirt, borrowed racquet and plimsolls.

My partner looked magnificent in full McEnroe attire complete with red head band, sweat bands on each wrist, buttock skimming shorts and expensive looking racquet and tennis shoes, we were surely onto a winner.

I served first and managed to get up to the net to smash the return between the gap of our opponents, things were going well.

I was running around all over the place with the sound of instructions from nurse ringing in my ears.

I soon began to realise that he hadn’t hit a single ball, nor was he ever likely to as he had never played the game and had no idea of the scoring.

We lost of course, if only my work colleague had been able to play, things could have been different.

Later, through departmental whisperings it became known that my colleague couldn’t play tennis either, not only that she had never set foot in Wimbledon, she spent the whole of her annual leave glued to the television in her parent’s lounge.

Anyway, next week (weather permitting) I will be cheering and clapping at Wimbledon, and when I return home I shall cross item number nine off my bucket list.