Jennifer Gilby Roberts

Women's Fiction/Chick Lit Author

Lucy on… (Deleted Musings From ‘After Wimbledon’)

on January 4, 2014

Just a few paragraphs cut from the final version of After Wimbledon, where Lucy muses.

Lucy on… her career

I’m not a bad player.  I’ve won a few titles, made a reasonable amount of money.  I’ve won one grand slam – The Australian Open – when I was 23.  I’d been slowly climbing the rankings since I turned pro, getting further every year, and there I was: the champion.  Next stop, Wimbledon.

But I never made it.  That was my best year.  Second round at the French (always was useless on the clay courts), quarters at the US Open, fourth round at Wimbledon.  I never got any higher.  Though Christ knows I tried.

There are lots of things a champion needs: dedication, first-class coaching, incredible fitness, self-belief, mental strength.  All these things can be possessed by anyone if they put the work – and money – in.  But there’s one thing that can’t.  Talent.  That spark of brilliance.  You only get given so much.  And if it’s not enough, there’s sod all you can do about it.

I don’t have enough.  And now I have three decades of wear and tear to overcome as well.  There are too many other players – younger, more talented, less injury-ridden and more dedicated than I am these days.  It’s over.

~~~~

That’s how I won the Australian Open – luck.  I’ll be quite frank about that, to myself if no one else.  It was a bad tournament for the top players, so bad that virtually none of them were there.  Everything that could go wrong, did.  Glandular fever, a broken leg, a nasty dose of food poisoning, a positive drugs test, a pregnancy, an imploding marriage.  Close relatives dying in droves.  Suddenly, the underdogs were in with a real chance.

We took it.  By the quarters, all the seeded players were out.  The final was me and a Czech girl at only her second grand slam, who’d been playing brilliantly but went to pieces at the last minute.  I won.  I was the champion.

On paper.

Lucy on… Wimbledon

The number one event in tennis.  Grass courts, rain delays, curtseys to the Royal Box (only required now if someone from the Royal Family is there – criminal), full titles for the ladies (Advantage Miss Bennett), Pimms, strawberries and cream and umbrellas.

~~~~

All these years fans have gathered on the hill outside Centre Court to watch matches on the big screen and cheer on the players.  Its name changes for whatever player with (GBR) after their name is on Centre Court.  Henman Hill, Rusedski Ridge.  Once or twice it was even Bennett Bump, a name which in all honesty always made me cringe.  I wonder what they’ll call it for Sam:  Pennington Pouffe?

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