© Ella Ling

Miami 2012 - Wozniacki

Five things about tennis and royals


Five things about tennis and royals

Prince Albert of Monaco invited Novak Djokovic to the Palace this week. Perhaps the two will be reacquainted on Sunday? Ever since Prince Albert succeeded his father Prince Rainier in 2005, he has only ever presented the trophy to one man, Rafael Nadal.

The Queen throws some tennis shoes at Prince Philip. On a post-coronation tour of Australia in 1954, “tensions surfaced” during a stay in a chalet. “On that particular Sunday afternoon, the Queen was due to be filmed looking at some kangaroos and koalas for a feature film titled The Queen in Australia,” the royal biographer Robert Hardman has written. “Out dashed Prince Philip, with a pair of tennis shoes and a tennis racket flying after him. Next came the Queen herself, shouting at the Prince to stop running and ordering him back.”

We are soon approaching the Pippa Middleton part of the season. That’s the French Open and then the pre-Wimbledon tournament at Queen’s Club, where she is believed to be a member. Pippa (“globally recognised, especially from behind” noted Time magazine this week, which also described the Middleton sisters as “avatars of aspiration”), also attended last November’s Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

Caroline Wozniacki’s tennis education was partly funded by Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark. When Wozniacki was a child, the heir to the Danish throne was so convinced by her talent that he gave her money to help cover her training and travel expenses. It is unlikely that he imagined, when he handed her that cheque, that she would ever go on to become the world number one. “The Prince had heard that I had talent and could become a good player, and when I was 13, he helped me by investing in my career,” recalled Wozniacki, who has occasionally returned to the royal palace to play tennis with the prince.

Will Kate Middleton present the prizes at the All England Club? Almost inevitably, there has been speculation that the Duchess of Cambridge, who likes her tennis, will be asked to present the prizes at the Wimbledon Championships. Last summer, the newly-wed Duke and Duchess sat in the Royal Box to watch Andy Murray annihilate Richard Gasquet.

Murray could hardly be blamed for arriving with a geography teacher’s facial fuzz – he would have shaved if anyone had told him that the royals would be there, and that he would be meeting them afterwards. His bow was, technically, an improvement on the one he performed the year before in front of the Queen. When the Queen popped into the tennis in 2010, it was her first visit since Virginia Wade won the 1977 title; her grandson and his wife are seemingly much more interested in the sport.