Tennis is where it all began for Sportside and how pleased we have been to see the professional game give the paying public such drama in the past week – from Novak Djokovic’s thrilling French Open final victory to Andy Murray getting all teary again after his first win on grass for a couple of years. It all bodes well for Wimbledon which is just a couple of weeks away now.
And of course, where there is Andy making headlines, his mum Judy is never far behind – and usually with some positive news for the grassroots game, such is her passion and dedication to the sport.
She has been promoting a new online tennis resource she developed for Education Scotland, supporting tennis coaches to deliver the game in a fun, engaging way to develop skills for children and young people aged 5 to 18.
She explained to the Independent: “We launched it with Education Scotland a few weeks ago. It is perfect timing, summer term when people are thinking about tennis and obviously coming up to Wimbledon.
“Obviously I want there to be a great legacy from Jamie and Andy’s success in terms of many more people across the country being able to play and taking it into the schools is absolutely crucial because it gives every child an opportunity.
“Very few state schools have tennis courts now and if teachers are thinking ‘we can’t do tennis’ then no, you can absolutely do tennis.
“I have created it so every school is able to deliver it. Teachers are the key and everything is adapted to whatever school space they have.
“I have always thought that to create more activity you have to create more workforce. This makes tennis accessible and affordable to many children across Scotland.
“I would love to see more champions coming out of Scotland but right now, I believe the starting point is stacking the grassroots.
“Success would be for many more children starting in schools and exiting into the local club and getting to play the game competitively through club teams and I would love to see many more school teams have a fixture list for tennis.”
Wimbledon, meanwhile, continues to out-do itself with promotional activity as it launched its latest campaign this week, celebrating the uniqueness of the Wimbledon fan – a passion, they rightly say, that goes beyond tennis. It is called ‘It’s a Wimbledon Thing’ and the promo video explains why perfectly.
No matter where they are around the world, Wimbledon fans take the traditions for which our tournament is known and loved, and make them their own and Wimbledon say the campaign is a tribute to them.
And after a locked down summer last year when these unique fans were denied the chance of either being at Wimbledon or watching the whole fortnight at home on TV, the timing could not be better.
AELTC Chief Executive Sally Bolton OBE said: “We are delighted to express our excitement and enthusiasm for Wimbledon 2021 through the launch of ‘It’s a Wimbledon Thing’.
“Last year’s cancellation provided a timely reminder of the immense passion that our fans have for Wimbledon, brought to life through the many different traditions they re-created, all around the world. This year’s campaign aims to put this fandom at the heart of our narrative, and we are really looking forward to everyone engaging with Wimbledon again, in whatever way you choose, when The Championships begins on 28 June.”
The campaign film was made by McCan London and is a montage of supporters all over the world enjoying the drama of the best tennis event in the world (yes, we may be biased).
By putting this campaign in the hands of supporters for the whole fortnight, Wimbledon is encouraging anyone and everyone, including players, to share their #WimbledonThing.
They have even done a collaboration with UEFA around EURO 2020, leveraging UEFA’s partnership with TikTok.
The AELTC also remains on a mission to reach younger audiences by launching a new series for children. Two new animated characters ‘Blade’ and ‘Bounce’ will introduce kids to Wimbledon with all its tradition and magical moments.
But despite all the incredible memories she has of the place, Judy insists she can’t wait to go when she is not on the emotional rollercoaster that has been watching her sons play there!
“When I say that to people they say, ‘oh, no surely not’,” she told the Independent. “I can’t wait to be able to go back and watch a match where I don’t care who wins or loses and it doesn’t give me that awful knot in my stomach, or the nauseous feeling or the heart attack that is almost about to happen.
“But Wimbledon is the jewel in the tennis crown and as a British player, of course you look forward to it, even though it brings unbelievable pressure and expectation.”
We will just be very happy to see ‘The Wimbledon Thing’ back in action this summer – we’ve missed you!