Wimbledon official Wendy Smith admits this year’s
Championships at SW19 will have to go some way to match her experience in 2013.
The Needham Market-based line judge played her part in an unforgettable final almost 12 months ago, when Andy Murray ended a 77-year wait for a British men’s singles winner.
Her seventh final also served to bring the curtain down on her 30th year of officiating at the All England Club.
And ahead of the next marker of the British summer getting under way on Monday, she is relishing the prospect of donning her famous gold-buttoned blazer once again for whatever may unfold this time around.
“Hopefully it will be repeated again — it will take something to beat it, but you never know,” she said of the chances of Murray defending his Wimbledon crown and her being there again. “You always hope you will be there at the latter stages, but it is all down to your marking during the Championships.
“It is funny really as it is one of those sort of things where, yes, you feel honoured to be there, but you do not really get that buzzing feeling until you walk through the gate on the morning.”
The 49-year-old, who will be a line judge during the main singles competitions during the first week and umpiring in the juniors event during the second, feels the appeal of this year could be the fact so many names are in the frame for the trophies.
“Every tournament is different and with the Williams sisters losing their last tournament and the Djokovic, Nadal and Federer dominance being caught up, it is wide open,” she said. “It would be nice to see Andy do it again, but I do not think personally he is playing the same quality of tennis as he was last year, after picking up a back injury after Wimbledon.”
She added this year’s Championships will have emotional significance, particularly for herself, following the death of Suffolk’s former British number one Elena Baltacha of liver cancer aged 30 only last month.
“I knew her as I had umpired a lot of her matches from right when she first came on the scene and it was a real shock to everyone involved in tennis and it will be quite a poignant Wimbledon with that in mind,” she said of the Ipswich-based player, who retired in November.