I never thought I’d see the day but my wild-card entry at Wimbledon finally came through yesterday. Apparently, there’d been a mix up between the LTA and the local clubs in the North West Division section 5(d) that caused several players who had been awarded wild cards to not be informed of their fortune and so they didn’t turn up.
Their fortune-turned-misfortune turned into my fortune when I got the call from the guys in the blazers at Wimbledon – probably the best tennis club in the world (notwithstanding the Carling claim of supreme ownership). I had to get onto court 32 at 7.30 in order to complete my first, first-round match against the Serbian thirteen-year-old, Slobodan Slobovitch.
Me at Wimbledon!
After so many years spent enviously watching all those bright young things slugging it out on the green and pleasant lawns of Jerusalem!
The best was yet to come. I turned up on time to find the 13-year-old loitering on court, clearly nervous at the prospect of playing a more seasoned campaigner. And he had every right to be nervous. Before long I was in the zone. The ball was as big as a football in my eyes and flying at the pace of a snail. I picked off every shot with ease. I played my best high risk, low percentage tennis ever. I was living in the moment. I was in the here and the now. I felt immortal.
It was all over before I realised it and I had beaten him 6-0, 6-0, 7-6 with the tie-break going to a massive 26-24 point game.
He was devastated. Afterwards, he slumped, a broken figure, on the side of the court. His father couldn’t console him, but both had the good grace to shake hands with me before we left the court at shortly after 9pm.
So, I am through to the second round, and due to play early tomorrow afternoon. It has been an amazing adventure so far and anything else in the future is a bonus.