The first two weeks of July sees my home town of Wimbledon Village become host to the world's most prestigious tennis tournament. Since I was little, I have seen this championship grow and grow each year. Indeed I can remember wandering into the grounds after school and a being given tickets for Centre Court from departing guests or even tennis players such as the great Villas, Newcombe and more) They would usher me in to sit on the sidelines to watch. Sadly it has grown too much, for my liking anyhow! One has to beg steal or borrow to get tickets nowadays!
It is the most celebrated Grand Slam in the tennis circuit and the only one played on grass courts. Wimbledon is laced with history, and every tennis player in the world wants to win at SW19.
Nadal doing a bit of food shopping in local Bayley and Sage - I did offer to carry his food bags for him, part of our hospitality here in SW19!
The charm of Wimbledon is the friendly, discreet approach to the fortnight of incredible tennis. Players walk around freely and often visit the local shops, restaurants and supermarkets.
The atmosphere at Wimbledon is always electric, exciting and full of drama (sounds a bit like me!)
I caught up with USA doubles player Jamie Cerretani in Wimbledon Village for a chat.
Q: Jamie why doubles and not singles?
A; Good question. When I first started playing after college, I did ok in singles. I'm a serve and volley player, but i think that style of playing has fallen by the way side unfortunately due to a lot of factors, technology, speed of the courts etc. You don't see many serve and volley players anymore. I had more success playing doubles with my style of tennis so that helped me make the decision.
Q: What sacrifices have you made in order to pursue your career?
A: People call it sacrifices but I call it commitment. A non athlete or non tennis player would say it's a huge sacrifice as you don't get to spend much time with family or friends, but the time you spend with them is a little more special and precious, you appreciate more. So I think its more of a commitment than a sacrifice.
Q: To date what is the greatest accomplishment in your career?
A: Tough question! I think the work I have done giving back to the game is the thing I value the most. Giving back to kids and schools in Boston and charity, trying as much as possible to be a good example to younger players, for them to continue to believe in themselves and achieve their dreams. That's the thing I value the most. I may not be the best player or the most talented but I think when you really believe in yourself and have a passion for what you do and believe in that passion and are not swayed by other people's opinions and view points. I think that's a huge strength, I think that is one of the messages I have for anyone who is trying to achieve something special and wants to do something they believe in, whatever others think.
Q: What's the best and worst thing about tennis?
A: Winning and losing!! At this level that's why you play, it's because you love to do it but you are also working towards a goal. Not just winning or losing but all the things that come with that, your sense of accomplishment, feeling of a job well done. A means to an end, you've done the work and you reap the benefits of that hard work. The losing, you've done all the hard work and you still don't get it, but at the same time it is a blessing as it challenges you to get better.
Thank you so much Jamie and good luck! A lovely man with such a positive and kind attitude to tennis and to life.
With Jamie at one of his favourite restaurants in the village Thai Tho, owned by my lovely friends Adrian and Nicky Mills.
Just love Wimbledon during the tennis championships and always - A horse having a quick look at the goodies in a local shop.
Just love the The Ivy and its superb floral displays all year round.
Come feel the energy in Wimbledon!