The Duchess of Cambridge had some virtual tennis time with young pupils. < The Duchess of Cambridge, who is the Patron of the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, was joined by surprise guest Sir Andy Murray, as she spoke to young tennis players from Bond Primary School in South London.
The call took place last Friday and was released today to mark what would have been the start of finals weekend of the famous Wimbledon Championships. In June last week, The Duchess of Cambridge narrated a video to mark what would have been the Wimbledon opening.
In January 2018, The Duchess visited the school to see the work of the Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative, the AELTC’s community tennis programme, in which coaches deliver free tennis sessions to school children in the boroughs of Merton and Wandsworth.
This year’s Wimbledon Fortnight was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The AELTC has instead run ‘Wimbledon Recreated’, a campaign to promote Wimbledon, tennis, and sport through coverage of archive matches. The AELTC has focused Wimbledon’s efforts on supporting those most affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic at a local, national and international level. In addition to £1.2m in donations from the Wimbledon Foundation to local and national charities tackling the crisis response and recovery, the AELTC is also delivering hot meals to the local community, distributing strawberries to local hospitals, providing towels to the homeless through the charity Crisis, and tennis balls to clubs across the country through the LTA.
AELTC contributed to the Player Relief Programme and wheelchair tennis fund established by the governing bodies of world tennis and a coaches fundraising scheme. From AELTC,
The AELTC is pleased to announce that, following consultation regarding our insurance cover for cancellation, we are now in a position to allocate prize money to the 620 players whose world ranking would have enabled them to gain entry into The Championships 2020 by direct acceptance into the Main Draw or Qualifying event.
From an agreed total of £10m, the AELTC will distribute the prize money in lieu of The Championships 2020 with regard for the circumstances of this year and in the spirit of the AELTC’s prize money distribution in recent years.
Based on the world ranking, 224 players who would have competed in Qualifying will each receive £12,500; 256 players who would have competed in Main Draw Singles will each receive £25,000; 120 players who would have competed in Main Draw Doubles will each receive £6,250; 16 players who would have competed in the Wheelchair events will each receive £6,000, and four players who would have competed in the Quad Wheelchair events will each receive £5,000. Players will only receive payment for one event.
The AELTC has also recognised the significant impact of the cancellation and the absence of income from The Championships on the officiating community, without whom we would be unable to stage the event. As a result, the AELTC has worked with the LTA, the governing body for tennis in Britain, to provide a payment to the LTA licensed officials who would have worked at The Championships this year, and also a number of International Officials, all highly skilled individuals who are vital to the success of The Championships.
At the beginning of the call, Duchess asked kids about what sort of training they have been doing. The instructor told Duchess that the children had been “on fire” in training that day. One child showed her the drill that they had been learning. Catherine seems to enjoy her time teasing the kids cheekily before introducing the Tennis ace. She said,
I’ve got a very important person here that’s going to come and join us, that would love to meet you guys and might be able to share some tennis tips as well with you. I’ll give you a few clues and see if you can guess who this special guest might be.
So he … is a he. He plays tennis for Great Britain. He’s a two-time Olympic champion. He’s a former World Number One… Can you possibly guess who this might be?
One Tennis fan kid guessed it correctly and said, “Andy Murray”.
During the video call, the former Wimbledon Champion, Sir Andy Murray, shared his experiences of playing tennis growing up, some vital tips to better their game, and how he’s managed training over the last few months. The Duchess turned into an interviewer and asked some really interesting questions starting with asking Andy about his experience of life during the lockdown to which Andy said,
I found the first five or six weeks okay, it’s fun being home with family as obviously normally do lots of travelling. After five or six weeks I start to find it a bit harder to find things to do really for the kids like to stay so creative with ideas and games. We’re doing the homeschooling which is difficult. It was difficult but at times I really enjoyed it as well.
Talking about his training session, Andy Murray told the Duchess and kids that he learned road cycling during the lockdown to stay in shape as he was unable to play tennis for 10 weeks. Handing over the question round to school kids, Catherine said, “There’s lots of budding tennis players here at Bond Primary School as well. Have you guys got any questions you want to ask Andy?” Kids asked him how he started playing tennis, whether he remembered his first tennis match and comebacks from difficult times. Andy told them about his childhood games and the importance of family and friends support.
Then Duchess asked Andy about tennis tips for kids, “‘And Andy, have you got any tips for these guys if they want to take up tennis a bit more professionally?” Andy said, “The most important thing is to have fun. If you’re enjoying it, you get more out of your lessons and your practising. Listen to your coach, that’s very important. That’s the two most important things at your age. If you’re competing or playing any matches, try really hard in them. But winning and losing isn’t the most important thing. Enjoying playing a sport and being active is the most important thing. If you do go on to choose it as your career obviously the winning and losing changes a bit.”
Andy asked the kids about their lesson and training sessions. Duchess asked him about whether he is missing playing matches, Andy said,” ‘I think missing the big competitions because I’m getting old for a tennis player. You never know how many opportunities you’re going to have left to play the biggest competitions. So missing Wimbledon this week is obviously a shame. I’ve missed travelling that’s one of the things I really enjoyed doing over my career, going to see different parts of the world, cities and stuff. Also, I am missing seeing friends like everyone else. Family, I’ve not seen my mum and dad for a few months so I’m looking forward to seeing them again hopefully very soon. There’s been some challenges but I guess sometimes when you go through difficult moments like this you learn to appreciate the things you maybe took for granted sometimes? I’ll make sure to spend more time with my family and friends when I get the opportunity to.” Duchess replied, Exactly, And hopefully that time is relatively near as well.
The Duchess of Cambridge is known for wearing outfits that represent the occasion. Today she took her sartorial diplomacy to another level. To mark the Wimbledon Finale week, The Duchess of Cambridge debuted a green HVN Maria belted printed silk crepe de chine midi dress. Thanks to Caroline Parr for the id.
The $775 Tennis print dress is described as, “Introducing our new longer length Maria Dress, hitting just above the ankle and perfect for both day and night. With cuffed sleeves, satin piping, and an optional belt, the Maria is all about the details.”
The designer behind the masterpiece Harley Viera-Newton says she creates each of HVN’s designs based off of styles she wants and can’t find from other brands. Cut from fluid silk crepe de chine, this ‘Maria’ dress is patterned with tiny tennis players and has an elegant length that hits mid-calf. It is currently available on Net-a-Porter and in Mini style on HVN.
Catherine paired the dress with her Monica Vinader Siren Earrings
The Duchess of Cambridge wore a purple and green Wimbledon bow during the call. The Wimbledon club’s patron, president, a committee of management, vice presidents, and four members of executive staff can wear the bow.