Court circular; Tuning in to the sounds of the Championships

Click to follow
The Independent Online
For the past four years visitors to Wimbledon have been able to enjoy the sounds as well as the sights of the All England Club.

Radio Wimbledon, broadcast from a Portakabin behind Court 13, is on air for the duration of the Championships - supplying traffic and travel information as well as keeping those queuing up to date with latest scores.

Executive producer Larry Hodgson is in charge of the 15-strong team which produces continuous coverage from 8am to 10pm.

He says: "The station was started by the All England Club for three reasons. To help people get here, keep them informed once they are here and help them get home."

Larry has a year-long brief to prepare the station for the Championships but the rest of his staff only assemble at four o'clock on the afternoon before Wimbledon begins.

"It is a state-of-the art studio so no one has got time to be trained with the technology - everyone must know what they are doing," Larry says.

Reporters wander round the outside courts watching matches and chatting to spectators while listeners are also kept up to date with world news and other sporting events.

Everything runs smoothly until it rains. Larry reveals: "We have plenty of quizzes and music up our sleeves for when there's a rain delay and we also go out celebrity spotting in the hospitality tents. Luckily, celebrities being celebrities, they are quite happy to talk to us."

And although the station is supposed to reach a radius just five miles from Centre Court, conditions mean it can be picked up further afield.

"Taxi drivers tell us Radio Wimbledon can be heard near Buckingham Palace," Larry says. "It would be nice to think the Queen tunes in - but unfortunately she doesn't like tennis."

One of the

best-loved of all

Wimbledon's competitors, Ilie Nastase, was witness to one of the best matches of this year's tournament when he watched Boris Becker's epic struggle with Cedric Pioline on Court No 1 yesterday

Where Britannia still rules

"British tennis players are so superior that they cannot find anyone to play except themselves.

"This is regrettable and it would be good for the game if one or two foreign players could give our players a run for their money. Alas that is not so."

The words above appeared in the columns of The Times newspaper - have they gone stark raving mad?

Well, I couldn't possibly comment on that, but funnily enough the words were true - they were printed 100 years ago when Britain ruled more than just the lawns of SW19.

Nowadays, of course, the statement could easily be reversed and not raise a single eyebrow.

However, British players still hold one record. Even though

we haven't managed to produce a male champion since Fred Perry in 1936, there have still been more British men's singles champions than any other nation - 32. The United States, however, are creeping closer with Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras' recent exploits helping them up to 27 champions.

Snap shots

Do you recognise the tennis player pictured here? If you do, you can win a bottle of fine port by phoning 0891-252630. Three winners will each be sent a bottle of Quinta do Noval 10-year-old tawny port, delicious chilled for the summer. Your call will cost about 25p. The winners will be selected at random from all the correct entries received before 4pm today.

We regret the competition does not extend to the Republic of Ireland. Normal Independent competition rules apply.

Yesterday's snap shot was of Brenda Schultz-McCarthy and the three winners are: Dave Carter of Stantonbury, Milton Keynes; William Gower of Wellow, Bath and Mrs N Door of Lingfield, Surrey.

Comments