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Remembering Dan Maskell

To commemorate the life of BBC sports commentator Dan Maskell and to combine the milestones of 30 years since he passed away, as well as the 100th Anniversary of the Centre Court at Wimbledon, for which Maskell is most remembered, the Dan Maskell Tennis Trust has created the opportunity for those who have memories of him, or those who have benefitted from the Trust, to leave their tributes and messages on the charity’s website.

Oh, I say! Dan Maskell

Maskell was best known for his many shrewd and perceptive commentaries and stock remarks of, “Oh I say!” used when an outstanding shot was admired, “quite extraordinary” described an ecstatic reaction and “a dream of a backhand” reflected his unfading appreciation of the game and all part of his recognised repartee.

His popular presence during the tournament became an integral part of Wimbledon, as are strawberries and cream.

For sixty-two years, from 1926 until his retirement at the end of 1991, he never missed a single day’s play at The Championships.

Maskell was the BBC first tennis commentator for the Seoul Olympic Games in 1988 when tennis resumed as an Olympic sport after being dropped from the competition after the 1924 Games.

His final broadcasting assignment, before retiring in 1991, was covering the Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Men’s Singles final featuring Michael Stich and Boris Becker when Stich broke Becker’s streak of 3 successive Wimbledon singles titles by beating his compatriot in three straight sets, 6-4 7-6 6-4.

To support the Trust, contributors are asked to consider making a donation after leaving their messages to help the Trust to continue the support it offers to disabled tennis players.

To read the full article on Maskell, click HERE

The Dan Maskell Tennis Trust Donation Book – Remembering Dan Maskell is a wonderful opportunity to remember the ‘Voice of Wimbledon’ and to celebrate the charity named after him.


French Open champion Iga Swiatek wears the Ukrainian national colours as ribbons on her cap in support of the invaded country

© Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Iga Swiatek’s charity drive for Ukraine

Poland’s World No 1 Iga Swiatek has teamed up with fellow-tennis players Agnieszka Radwanska, Elina Svitolina, Sergiy Stakhovsky and Martyn Pawelski for a one-day special event to raise funds for people affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

‘Iga Swiatek & Friends for Ukraine’, scheduled for 23 July in Krakow, will feature a mixed doubles match and a set of singles between Swiatek and compatriot Radwanska, both matches to be umpired by Ukrainian Svitolina.

“For months I have been working with my team on a charity initiative for Ukraine to support those who suffer because of the war,” French Open champion Swiatek said in a statement on social media on Wednesday.

“There will also be a special guest representing Ukraine — former [Ukraine] football player Andriy Shevchenko.”

Swiatek, who is on a 36-match winning streak, has been vocal about her support for beleaguered Ukraine, which was invaded by Russia in February, sporting a blue and yellow ribbon on her hat in recent months.

Supporting Becker

Boris Becker, who is languishing at  HMP Huntercombe in Oxfordshire on fraud charges, is getting a lot of moral support from colleagues at Wimbledon.

Novak Djokovic, the reigning Wimbledon champion, invited Becker’s son, 28-year old Noah, and partner, Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro, to sit in his Centre Court player’s box.

“I haven’t been communicating directly to him, but I’ve been communicating to him through them, Djokovic said. “Noah and his younger brother Elias are going to visit Boris, I think, in the next few days, for the first time since he went to prison.

“I’ve just been trying to give support to people around him, his closest people, his family members, because I consider Boris really a family member, someone that I greatly appreciate, respect, and care about.

Becker, a prominent member of Djokovic’s team for 3 years between 2013-2016, has also received support from Sue Barker, John McEnroe and Andrew Castle.

“We’ve been through a lot together during those three years of collaboration,” Djokovic added. “Our relationship dates back even before that.

“Of course, after we finished our professional relationship, we always stayed close, him with my team, with my agents, with my family.

“It breaks my heart to see what’s happening to him. I can only imagine how hard it is for his family members. So, of course, this is a little gesture of friendship to invite them.”

McEnroe and Barker came under fire for pledging similar support for Becker, a convicted criminal, during a live broadcast at Wimbledon 2022.

“Boris, we love you,” McEnroe said on Monday. “We miss you, man.”

Fellow presenter Barker then added: “We do indeed.”

One Twitter user wrote: “Stop presenters mentioning Boris Becker. We pay taxes in order to buy [a] license fee [and] he avoids it and it’s rubbed in our face.”

The German, who became the youngest men’s champion at the age of 17, worked for the BBC from 2002 until being convicted in April of charges under the Insolvency Act.

He is expected to be deported to Germany to serve the end of his sentence.


A sign posted outside Wimbledon

© Getty Images/Julian Finney and The Sun

Anti-sex posters threaten police action at Wimbledon

Local residents have warned frisky tennis fans against having sex in public outside the famous All England Tennis Club.

Apparently residents in the wealthy surrounding streets have campaigned every year for stricter control on fans entering and leaving the venue, which has resulted in stricter controls on the famous Wimbledon ticket queue, where fans sometimes camp for two days to get the best seats in the house.

This year Wimbledon released a 19-page document titled ‘A Guide to Queuing’ in which patrons have been told loud music, excessive alcohol consumption and anti-social behaviour ‘will not be tolerated’.

As part of the efforts to appease residents, the club tells fans in the document: “We would request that everyone in The Queue respects both Wimbledon Park and local residents.

“Anti-social or inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated, and will result in the confiscation of your Queue Card and removal from The Queue.

“Confiscation of a Queue Card by the Stewards, Security officers or the Police constitutes a refusal of entry to The Championships’ Grounds.”

Despite all those measures, the tournament has had no success in stamping out the annual tradition of fans getting well acquainted with each other in the surrounding woodland areas outside the grounds so local residents have now taken it upon themselves to police fans’ sexual adventures with posters being posted around some streets stating ‘sex parties will not be tolerated’.

“Game Sex and Match NO THANKS,” one sign says.

Kim supports Dame Deborah

Andy Murray’s wife Kim shared her support for Dame Deborah James at Wimbledon by wearing a ‘Rebellious Hope’ T-shirt earlier this week.

Seated next to her mother-in-law, Judy Murray, who she greeted with a hug, Kim, 34, paired the tee with jeans and bracelets, wearing her wavy hair down.

Dame Deborah, aka Bowelbabe, who died this week after her battle with bowel cancer, released her ‘Rebellious Hope’ T-shirts in May.

She partnered with In The Style for the line, with 100% of the profits going to the Bowelbabe fund for Cancer Research UK, which has raised more than £1million for the fund.

The T-shirts retail from £15 to £18, with 100% of the proceeds – a minimum of £7.08 per top bought – going to her fund.

The Bowelbabe fund, which has raised more than £6million, is raising money for areas of cancer research that Dame Deborah was particularly passionate about, with the description explaining that it will ‘fund clinical trials and research into personalised medicine for cancer patients and support campaigns to raise awareness of bowel cancer.’

Sting operation

IBM staff discovered a swarm of bees settling around a floral display on the roof of the Broadcast Centre but Wimbledon has a solution for everything, which includes a beekeeper on speed dial for such a dilemma.

The insects were humanely relocated.

Wimbledon confirms Official Stringer

Babolat has become the Official Stringer of The Championships, expanding on a long-term relationship with Wimbledon.

The French tennis, badminton, and padel equipment company has been the Official Supplier of Tennis Shoes for Wimbledon since 2013, and has since expanded into racklets, tennis bags, accessories and more.

In celebration, Babolat has unveiled a new collection of Wimbledon-branded products, which includes a stylish range of rackets, bags and shoes.

Made for performance but with a classic style, the items pay homage to both brands’ long history in tennis: Wimbledon is currently celebrating the centennial anniversary of Centre Court, while Babolat has been a racquet innovator since its founding in 1875.


BBC commentator Catherine Whitaker is calling for a change to the all-white rule at Wimbledon

CatherineWhitaker.com

 

Players debate pressures of wearing white

Women players have been voicing concerns about being forced to comply with the all-white clothing requirements at Wimbledon, even while being on their periods.

The All England Lawn Tennis Club has a traditional dress code of all-white clothing, which does not take into consideration the impact periods, and the fear of having menstrual blood show up on a skirt, could have on a player’s mental state.

“I would like to see it change,” tennis broadcaster Catherine Whitaker told The Telegraph. “If they had a clothing policy that affected men in the way that it does women, I don’t think that particular tradition would last.

“I cannot imagine going into the biggest day of my life, with my period, and being forced to wear white.”

During Paris, China’s Zheng Qinwen revealed she had been suffering from stomach cramps as a result of her period during the entirety of her match against Isa Swiatek.

“Yeah, the leg was, yeah, it was also tough. That compared to the stomach was easy, yeah, the most bother me today to I cannot play my tennis is stomach was too much painful,” Zheng Qinwen said.

“But I really give my best on court, it’s just, it’s tough, yeah. it’s just girls, girls things, you know. I wish I can be a man on court, but I cannot in that moment when I say, I really wish I can be man that I don’t have to suffer from this.”

In response, Whitaker tweeted: “I live in fear of getting my period during a week when I’m presenting on TV. And that involves no strenuous physical activity, policing of my toilet breaks (unless working with a very diligent floor manager) or requirement to wear white. It’s time to talk about periods.”

Four-time Grand Slam champion Kim Clijsters approved, tweeting: “Yes yes yes!”

While 18-time Grand Slam champion Chris Evert showed her support too, adding: “There were big matches I lost because I was tripping over my feet because of my period. Not one to make excuses, but wish I’d talked about it.”

Former tennis player Monica Puig also chimed in, saying: “Definitely something that affects female athletes! Finally bringing it to everyone’s attention! Not to mention the mental stress of having to wear all white at Wimbledon and praying not to have your period during those two weeks.”

Petra Kvitova, however, has come out in support of Wimbledon’s policy requiring all players to wear white whilst competing at the championships.

The Czech, who won the title in 2011 and 2014, has spoken in favour of the rule, despite some other female players expressing their concerns due to health reasons.

In a recent interview with The Times, Canadian Player Rebecca Marino said such a situation is her ‘worst fear’, while Heather Watson and former player Renee Stubbs have also spoken out about it.

“I know it’s not really comfortable for girls playing in white when they have periods,” Kvitova commented earlier this week.

“On the other hand, I think that we [as players] can manage it somehow, as well. We do have a lot of options about it, as well. It’s very unusual that you get it [your period] during the match. It can happen, of course.”

Spanish fourth seed Paula Badosa was another player to speak about the uniform rule.

“I think it’s nice and it’s traditional. It’s always different,” she said. “I think grass courts, as well, it’s a different part of the season. It’s nice like that, I think, to play like this. One or two weeks per year, it’s always nice and unique.”

This year there has been a small adjustment made to the policy with players allowed to wear blue and yellow ribbons in support of Ukraine.

BreakPoint App

Wimbledon is serving up ‘BreakPoint’, a new app that comes complete with the chance to win real-world prizes.

Throughout The Championships fans have a chance to compete in BreakPoint to win loot including sports goodie bags with swag from the Wimbledon Online Shop, with the grand prize for the first and second-place winners winning a pair of tickets to either the Gentleman’s or Ladies’-final at the 2023 Championships at Wimbledon.

To start climbing the leaderboard, simply register and login at MyWimbledon. Save your score to keep coming back again and again.

Any ’80s or ‘90s kid will recognise the brick-breaker gaming format—but this version comes with a tennis-focused twist.

Each ‘court’ (or game level) contains a different array of bricks to smash through with your skilled serves and flawless forehands.

Simply tap to serve, and then use your finger or cursor to move your racket along the base of the screen and volley the ball back and forth. The goal is to break all the bricks on your opponent’s side of the court.

As gameplay advances, things get a little more challenging, with new types of bricks, ‘surprise’ items on the court, and more challenging conditions like wind, sun glare, or rain.

The app experience is captivating and intuitive, with cute animations and fun tennis facts sprinkled throughout.

BreakPoint is available for iOS and Android, as well as online.


A plan to replace the ball boys and girls at Wimbledon with dogs failed because the four-legged fetchers refused to give the tennis balls back to the players.

ManyPets

Wimbledon ball dogs fail to make the grade

Poorly behaved dogs foiled a plan to have the trained animals replace ball boys and girls at Wimbledon this year.

ManyPets, a pet insurance company, conducted a trial at London’s Wilton Tennis Club in which a group of dogs underwent extensive training to simulate the role of ball boys and girls.

While the dogs successfully fetched the tennis balls, a problem arose when they refused to give back their new toys without a treat.

“Our players did find themselves in a game of tug-of-war,” Martin Schiller, the club coordinator, said. “We had a stash of treats on the sidelines to offer up as a bit of encouragement which certainly did the trick.”

Steven Mendel, a co-founder of ManyPets, thought that Wimbledon would be the perfect setting to introduce the concept of dogs as ball boys and girls.

“We thought this was a great opportunity to give pets in the UK an opportunity to do what they love the most, which is to chase after balls,” Mendel told BBC News. “The love of pets and their balls and Wimbledon all brought together.”

Mendel maintained that the dogs performed along a spectrum ranging from ‘spectacular’ to ‘something veering towards chaos’ during the trial.

“It’s fair to say that we’re a work in progress and have a long way to go to be ready for next year,” Mendel said. “But we’re optimistic.”

At the Wilton Tennis Club, the dogs partook in speed and agility tests. They also learned how to high jump over the nets and run the length of the court, mirroring the actions of ball boys and girls.

Mendel also noted the dogs that did return the balls, did so with plenty of slobber, another element of the trial that needs remedying.

A final appearance?

Feliciano Lopez admitted this is likely to be his last Wimbledon after a straight-sets defeat to Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp.

The 40-year-old became the oldest man to play a singles match at Wimbledon since 1975 and afterwards said he probably wouldn’t be back.

“Seems to be difficult for me to play another one unless I try to get back in the top 100 which is very difficult,” he said. “This is life.

“I have a great family and I will have plenty of things to do,” added Lopez, who balances his competitive play with his duties as the Madrid Masters Tournament Director, a combined clay court event held every May.

Tallinn to host a WTA tennis tournament for the first time

The Estonian capital, Tallinn, is to host a WTA tournament for the first time, with the WTA 250 Tallinn Open to be held at the end of September and both Anett Kontaveit and Kaia Kanepi have agreed to participate.

The qualifying matches will take place on 24 and 25 September, and the main draw matches from 26 September to 2 October.

The WTA 250 Tallinn Open will be held at the Forus Tennis Centre in Tondi.

The week before, the WTA 500 will take place in Tokyo and the WTA 250 in Seoul while immediately after the Tallinn Open, the WTA 500 will start in Ostrava in the Czech Republic.


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1 Comment

  1. Heather Dempsey

    Dan Maskell was a complete gentleman and it was a privilege to listen to him commentate at Wimbledon each year. His comments of it being ‘a peach of a shot’ just said it all to us. He can never be bettered and he spoke with such knowledge of the wonderful game of tennis and he had impeccable manners. It was never the same when we had no more wonderful Dan and we still miss him each year.

    The only person who comes close these days is John McEnroe who is a brilliant commentator and has such tennis wisdom and knowledge through his own personal experience. His only fault being he perhaps talks a bit too much at times but we forgive him always as we know he speaks the truth!

    Sue what are we going to do without our wonderful Sue Barker. She has always been there over the years and again with such depth of knowledge of the game. Sue do you have to retire this year – Clare Balding is excellent too and has all the facts and figures to hand but not the personal experience of playing the game.

    I was an LTA Wimbledon umpire in the past and I adored my time working there. Exciting and challenging and this just being a very small part of my life but so memorable and like the wonderful Dan Maskell and his many ‘oh I say’.

    Reply

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