This weekend would have seen the finals being played at Wimbledon, a weekend usually attended by The Duchess of Cambridge – and often other Royals too.
To mark the occasion of what would have been, the Duchess, who is Patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, joined Scottish tennis champion Sir Andy Murray in a video call to students of Bond Primary School in Mitcham, south London.
Sir Andy conducted the call from his home, where he admitted that he and wife Kim were finding the homeschooling of their three children difficult, as well as finding creative activities to keep everyone entertained.
Meanwhile, the Duchess conducted the call from Anmer Hall, her home on the Sandringham Estate where she and Prince William have been for the duration of lockdown.
Game. Set. Match. 🎾
To mark what would have been the start of finals weekend of the famous @Wimbledon Championships, The Duchess of Cambridge was joined by surprise guest Sir @andy_murray, as she spoke to young tennis players from Bond Primary School in South London. pic.twitter.com/Nje9LGRXlH
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) July 10, 2020
The Duchess of Cambridge, who loves to dress appropriately for occasions when she can, wore a dress which features prints of tennis players on it! Maybe a future outfit for Wimbledon next year…?
Catherine previously visited Bond Primary School in 2018 to see the work carried out by the Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative. The initiative from her patronage sees coaches deliver free tennis sessions to school children in the boroughs of Merton and Wandsworth.
The royal call came at the end of a training lesson for the children with AELTC Head Coach, Dan Bloxham. She asked them about the time they spent in lockdown and if they had missed their friends during that time. The students told the Duchess of their new school regime of social bubbles, where they can only mingle with those in their own class and nobody else.
Catherine was told of the training the children had been doing and was shown one of the drills they carry out. She went on to interrupt the virtual visit to announce she had a special guest for them.
The Duchess 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.”
She asked the students to guess who it could be and gave them a few hints to help them, telling them the special guest was male and that he “plays tennis for Great Britain. He’s a two-time Olympic champion. He’s a former World Number One.”
One young pupil guessed “Andy Murray”, and he was correct!
The tennis player, who is having a very different Wimbledon Final weekend than normal, answered questions from the pupils – all budding tennis players themselves. He told them he was missing playing tennis matches and also being with friends and family but had found a new hobby in road cycling.
Kate herself took on the role of interviewer when she asked the tennis champion about his experience of lockdown and if he had kept up his training throughout it – Murray explained he stopped training for 10 weeks.
Andy spoke to the students about why he became a tennis player, his first tennis match and how he has comeback from setbacks. The tennis player stressed the importance of having a good family and good friends around to help him to keep ‘moving forward and working hard through setbacks’.
Asked by the Duchess as to whether he had any tips for the young budding tennis players, Murray told them that the most important thing was 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.”
He told them to try hard in competitions but that winning or losing was not what mattered at the end of the day. Andy said that “enjoying playing a sport and being active is the most important thing”. But he admitted that the winning and losing aspect does become a bit more important when tennis is your full-time career and not just a hobby.
Before saying goodbye, Catherine asked Murray if he had been missing matches. The champion player said that missing Wimbledon was a shame because he is “getting old for a tennis player – you never know how many opportunities you’re going to have left to play the biggest competitions”.
Murray, 33, said he would spend more time with family and friends once he has the opportunity to do so and the Royal agreed by saying: “And hopefully that time is relatively near as well”.
No doubt both were hoping to meet again in person this time next year!