Ahead of the start of the 201 Wimbledon Championships next Monday, the Duchess of Cambridge has spoken of her love for the sport of tennis in a new BBC documentary.
Sue Barker: Our Wimbledon celebrates 90 years of Wimbledon coverage on the BBC and sees Sue Barker travel around the world to find out what it is about Wimbledon that inspires so many and turns even the unlikeliest people into tennis fans for two weeks each summer.
The Duchess of Cambridge became the patron of the All England Tennis Club last year and is a known tennis fan, playing avidly herself and regularly attending the Wimbledon final. In the documentary, Kate said: “I have watched Wimbledon, that was very much part of my growing up.”
She also recalled queuing for hours to get into the tournament in the days before she became a member of the Royal Family because “being able to go into Wimbledon and be part of an amazing atmosphere is special.” Since marrying Prince William in 2011, Kate has been a regular face in the Royal Box at centre court.
Kate’s open and honest comments also included disclosing some secrets of her parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, who, like their eldest daughter, are great tennis fans. Recalling an unintentional gaffe at a previous Wimbledon, she said: “My father is not going to appreciate this, but we were walking past Tim Henman and had just seen Sampras play. My dad said ‘Hi Pete’. I was mortified.”
Kate also revealed her mother’s not so secret crush on current world number five tennis ace Roger Federer, saying: “I was really taken by Agassi and Sampras, Ivanisevic and Steffi Graf. Those are my first memories. Roger [Federer] is my mother’s heartthrob. I don’t think she will mind me saying that! I think he probably knows that too.”
Speaking to the question at the heart of the documentary – what is it about Wimbledon that captivates us? – Kate said: “It inspires young people including myself. Every time Wimbledon is on I am thinking ‘Yes, I could do the same’ and get out the racket. Sadly, not the same results.”
Sue Barker: Our Wimbledon will be on BBC1 this Sunday 2 July at 5.20pm and the Wimbledon Championships run from Monday 3 July until Sunday 16 July.