Wendy Smith has reflected on her unforgettable experience of witnessing Andy Murray make British sporting history by winning Wimbledon.
The 48-year-old line judge, from Needham Market, enjoyed the best view of the 15,000 capacity Centre Court crowd as the Scot ended a 77-year wait for a British men’s singles winner by overcoming Serbian number one seed Novak Djokovic in straight sets.
“It was a case of not quite believing that he had won it, but here we were witnessing it,” she said.
“Like Andy I was in total shock and it didn’t really start to sink in for some time, but thank goodness I was there to see it.
“When he won that last point he was right in front of me, the atmosphere was electric, the whole place erupted, the whole crowd were on their feet, you really had to be there to truly appreciate it.
“It was amazing to be on court when he was awarded the trophy and to also see him afterwards up on the balcony, it was a truly unforgettable day.”
For Smith — whose parents Mary and Mervyn live in Great Barton, near Bury St Edmunds — the day also held particular significance as she was also enjoying the incredible milestone of her 30th year as a line judge at SW19 and her seventh final, having first answered the call for volunteers for the role in the back of an old programme when she was just 15 years old.
Having maintained her grading throughout the years by adjudicating up to six matches a year around the country, the tennis enthusiast was once again delighted to have been part of such a prestigious event in what she sees as a privileged role and one she is keen to continue.
“Being part of that final was definitely the highlight of my career and one I can’t ever forget with it now being ingrained in British sporting history,” she added.
“Obviously during the match I have to stay impartial and professional, but when that last point was decided I was completely excited inside, I never thought he would do it so I was just shocked.
“I’ve seen him at the Olympics and also saw him lose the final last year, but thankfully this was a much nicer occasion.
“It was quite something to be there on court once again and those memories will be with me forever.
“I’m definitely still keen on carrying on being a line judge, it is a brilliant role to have and I love doing it.”