British tennis fans are starting to come to terms with Wimbledon being cancelled. With a number of classic matches to be shown on BBC this summer, British player, Olivia Nicholls, tells The Big Racket what her favourite Wimbledon memories are.
My earliest Wimbledon memory
Like most Brits, Olivia was a huge Tim Henman fan. She said: “I got to meet him at Wimbledon when I was about nine or 10 as a prize for winning the Robinson’s challenge. I loved watching him play when I was growing up!” Ah, good old Tim. How we will miss the comedy “Come on, Tim” shouts this year…
How Wimbledon inspired me
Wimbledon is the one event in the year where Britain becomes glued to watching tennis. For Olivia, she says witnessing history on Centre Court inspired her to become a professional tennis player. She said: “I was fortunate enough to get tickets for the 2004 Women’s singles final when Maria Sharapova beat Serena Williams at the age of 17. I was 10 years old at the time and I think being on Centre Court to watch this final was really inspiring.”
Seeing Sharapova defeat Serena is perhaps one of the rarest sights in tennis. It happened… honest!
What it’s like to play qualifying
The qualifying rounds allow aspiring British tennis players to have their chance at achieving their dreams and playing in the main draw of Wimbledon. Who can forget Marcus Willis’ run in 2016?
Played in Roehampton, Olivia finds qualifying a great event, commenting: “There’s a real buzz about the place. I was fortunate enough to play in 2018 and it’s one of my fondest tennis memories to date. I hope that if I keep pushing on and stay fully fit, I’ll get the opportunity to play in the main draw.”
My all-time favourite champion
“Roger Federer. I just love watching him play and the fact he is still playing now is quite extraordinary!” I’m sure Olivia is not the only person to have the Swiss as her favourite champion…
My top 3 Wimbledon matches
3. Andy Murray d Richard Gasquet (2008)
An epic five-setter saw Andy Murray recover from two sets down to reach the quarter-finals. Olivia recalls: “This was epic. Andy hit an unbelievable backhand pass to take the third set, and ended up in the stands. If you know, you know!
Oh we know, Olivia.
2. Andy Murray wins Wimbledon
After years of heartbreak, Andy Murray finally won his first Wimbledon title in 2013. Olivia comments: “I watched the match at my best friend’s house and the final game seemed to last a lifetime. We were both so tense but over the moon when he won!”
Ah, the fond memories of that hot summer’s day! This will surely be played on the BBC’s coverage this year.
- Rafael Nadal d. Roger Federer (2008)
Of course, it had to be that final. We all have our memories from this epic, which perhaps remains to be the best Wimbledon final of all time. Olivia agrees: “I didn’t move from the sofa for the duration of the match. I was absolutely gripped from start to finish! For me, it’s the greatest match of all time.”
We will never need an excuse to recall this, will we?
Thanks to Olivia Nicholls for sharing her Wimbledon memories! Here’s hoping it’s not too long before we can enjoy that tennis feeling again. Until then, stay safe folks!