I Work For...The LTA: It's my perfect match

ANNE CARR-HILL IS PA TO JOHN CROWTHER, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE LAWN TENNIS ASSOCIATION

I've loved tennis since the day my parents arranged lessons when I was aged eight. My family are mad about tennis, we've always watched every match we could and I began going to Wimbledon as soon as I was old enough to join the queue. I also remember playing tennis during a school tournament with a girl called Clare Wood who completely thrashed me, though she was four years younger - she went on to be Britain's number one female player. I used to go autograph hunting in Eastbourne and saw Sue Barker, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova among others - but my all time favourite was Henri Leconte because of his looks and his entertaining tennis.

The first time I went to Centre Court at Wimbledon was when I won tickets for the men's final. People offered me lots of money for them. But it felt so special to be sitting in the sunshine, opposite the Royal Box, surrounded by an excited crowd and television cameras.

I always knew that I wanted to work in sports through secretarial work hadn't occurred to me. I began working for an events organiser, but after five years in the job, applied for a wonderful-sounding position with an international sports company involving liaison with players, the media, and lots of travel. It was only when I was invited for an interview that I discovered it was the Lawn Tennis Association, and that the ad had made the job sound much more glamorous than it was: but I didn't mind. I was just over the moon to be working for a sporting organiser as PA to the chief executive.

People always say to me "but what do you do when Wimbledon isn't on?", and I have to explain that through Wimbledon is a two-week tournament, my job actually takes up 52 weeks a year. During the tournament we decamp to our new offices at Wimbledon itself - we used to be based in Portakabins, but when the new Number One Court was built we moved in to our own offices deep in the complex.

When John became chief executive, he was completely new to tennis, having previously run Vickers Defence Systems, and was chosen for this role because of his business skills. But he promised us that within six months we'd all assume he had worked within this field forever, and he has been true to his word.

Most of us working here play tennis and some are ex-professionals. John's tennis was a bit rusty when he started, but he's been taking lessons ever since, and I am partnering him in the LTA's tennis ladder so we will soon know what standard he's managed to reach.

It's a shame most tennis fans tend to pick up their rackets when Wimbledon's on and throw them back in the cupboard once it's over. But the LTA is trying to change the game's profile, encouraging people to see it as an all-year, accessible sport.

My work shifts from secretarial work to being given the responsibility of accrediting all international visitors from the nations affiliated to the International Tennis Federation. I very much enjoy meeting such a wide range of people, many of whom are very friendly, occasionally bringing us gifts specific to their countries - strange alcoholic concoctions, clothing more suitable for a beach than a British climate, and lots and lots of chocolate.

But I recently had a very embarrassing situation when I was asked to make out a pass for a gentleman and his wife, and, assuming that his details were unchanged, copied the passes from the previous year, only to discover that he had divorced and remarried in the interim. The new wife was not amused at being given the name of her predecessor.

During the tournament I become very popular as everyone erroneously assumes I can get them tickets. Of course I do dash out from time to time and see the odd game, but I have to be careful as once I start watching a match, it's impossible to tear myself away. Similarly I have to keep track of John to make sure that he doesn't get so involved in a match he forgets his meetings.

Wimbledon provides an ideal occasion for business deals because everyone whose anyone in the sport is present. During the fortnight we get asked a variety of questions like: "Who will be playing in the final?" or "When is it going to stop raining?'

When I'm not at Wimbledon, I'm based at the LTA's head office at Queen's Club: my duties include dealing with John's correspondence, organising his diary, taking minutes at meetings, and arranging travel for the business trips he makes after British players progress at tournaments around the country and occasionally overseas.

I've just come back from maternity leave and I now find myself rushing back home to see my son at the end of the day. Just as my parents encouraged me to play tennis at an early age, my husband and I hope to introduce our son to it as soon as he can hold a racket, but we certainly won't be tennis parents from hell.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Summer nights: ‘Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp’
TVBut what do we Brits really know about them?
Arts and Entertainment
Dr Michael Mosley is a game presenter

TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

    Orthorexia nervosa

    How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
    Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

    Lady Chatterley’s Lover

    Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

    Set a pest to catch a pest

    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
    Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

    The dark side of Mexico

    A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

    Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
    A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

    A nap a day could save your life

    A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
    If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

    If men are so obsessed by sex...

    ...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

    Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
    The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

    Rolling in the deep

    The bathing machine is back but with a difference
    Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

    Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

    Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border