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The Queen Comes Calling at Wimbledon’s Centre Court…

Posted on June 24, 2010 by JA Allen

The Queen arrives at a 33-year absence from Centre Court at Wimbledon.

As if Andy Murray did not have enough pressure on his young shoulders, now he must worry about his bow to the Queen of England before his match gets underway on Centre Court.  There Murray will meet Jarkko Nieminen of Finland in the second round.

The Queen has come calling––her first visit in 33 years––to see young Mr. Murray and, some suspect, to pay her respects to this tournament that stands out as one of England’s finest events.  As a reluctant visitor, the Queen should serve as a good luck charm for the man from Scotland.

Along with the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen will stroll the grounds and meet tennis’ top players including the No. 1 seeds Roger Federer and Serena Wllliams––they will be on hand to lunch with the Queen.  Serena has been busy beating up on opponents and practicing her curtsy anticipating her luncheon with the Queen.

33 years ago on July 1, 1977, Great Briton’s own Virginia Wade valiantly made her way to the winner’s circle after securing the women’s single championship defeating Chris Evert in the semifinals and Betty Stove in the finals.

Virginia Wade of the UK won the Women's Singles Championship at Wimbledon in 1977.

Surely the added incentive of having the Queen on hand was enough to push Wade over the wall.  It was Wade’s third slam victory and it couldn’t have fallen more prophetically.  1977 was celebrated as the 100th anniversary of the tournament and the 25th anniversary of the Queen’s reign.  That a British citizen at age 32 should win the Championship amazed everyone.

The Queen will be sitting in the Royal Box to watch the Murray match but she will also see the lovely Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark as she challenges Kai-Chen Chang of China for a spot in the third round.

This match will be followed by the No. 1 ranked Rafael Nadal as he faces Dutchman Robin Haase.  All participants on Centre Court will feel an unfamiliar flutter of nerves as they enter with the Queen sitting in the Royal Box.

There is much speculation about the timing of the Queen’s visit.  Does if offer Murray that invisible ingredient that has been missing from his arsenal as he rails against history by being becoming the first UK winner of a Wimbledon Championship in 33 years?  Will meeting the Queen reward him his missing heart or replace his absent courage in the Big Moments?

Andy Murray and Jarkko Nieminen bow to the Queen before their match on Centre Court.

Murray scoffs that he is used to big moments and having luminaries sitting in the box watching him play but surely there can nothing quite as spectacular as having the Queen making a trip to Wimbledon to see Andy play tennis.

The Scot has been accused of being mentally weak when it comes to essential match-ups. It seems Murray retreats into defensive postures rather than striking out and being aggressive when it really matters.  “Play to win” must be his new mantra.

Many point to his slam losses against Roger Federer at the U.S. Open in 2008 and again at the Australian Open in 2010.  Both losses sent the Scot into a tailspin for months because he came into both finals playing incredibly well.

Federer, of course, still ranks Murray high on his list of potential slam winners, according the Scot a huge vote of confidence.  It stands to reason that Federer will hope that Murray waits in the wings at Wimbledon for a few more years––at least until the Swiss picks up his seventh and perhaps an eighth trophy from the All-England Club.

What is more, both Federer and Murray pray that Nadal will prove to be a one-slam wonder on the green lawns, although they secretly suspect Nadal will find a way to win again at Wimbledon!

Meanwhile, Murray makes his way through his match on Centre Court while the Queen watches, ready to see another victory, hoping for another Brit Championship––33 years later.

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