A home from home for Wimbledon tennis stars [Press]

10 Jun , 2011  

Wimbledon homes for tennis stars

Have you had any inter­est­ing things left behind?’ Well, ten­nis balls, old train­ers, healthy food­stuffs; Joanna is strug­gling for some­thing note­worthy to say. ‘And some splen­did for­eign lan­guage adult magazines’, she fin­ishes with a tri­umphant flour­ish. I kick her under the table but the plaster cast on her broken leg is a sub­stan­tial con­struc­tion, cour­tesy of Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, and she feels not a thing.

We had picked up Reuters ten­nis cor­res­pond­ent Pritha Sarkar from the road­works dis­aster that is cur­rently Wimbledon Station and spent the day vis­it­ing the houses that would become home for the stars of the centre court. It didn’t help that Joanna’s leg was propped up on the dash­board of the Mini, or that I was doing the driv­ing for the first time in a few years.

A beau­ti­ful, sunny day in Wimbledon pho­to­graph­ing interi­ors for the web­site, pick­ing up keys, col­lect­ing details and chat­ting with the own­ers. Pritha is good com­pany, funny, know­ledgable, and the own­ers are happy to explain the ins and outs of mov­ing house for two weeks a year when the worlds greatest ten­nis play­ers settle into SW19. We stop for cof­fee at a café on Ridgeway for a stretch so Pritha can inter­view Joanna prop­erly and I leave them to get a news­pa­per. Returning after a secret cigar­ette, it’s all good. Lots of inter­est­ing facts & fig­ures, lots of ten­nis-lore, everything needed for a solid, inform­at­ive Reuters edit­or­ial, Players find home from home in Wimbledon, everything was going so well.

There are vain attempts to steer the con­ver­sa­tion to the less con­tro­ver­sial Squirrel Incident of 2009, but it is too late; Pritha smiles sweetly, ‘Oh dear, Joanna, what kind of magazines?’

Congratulations to Ben @theratandmouse for being the first to actu­ally put it in the title: Renting your home to a Wimbledon ten­nis ace, it’s all about the porn

© 2011 Ken Sparkes.

Pinup image by the won­der­ful Gil Elvgren, one of the best artists from the golden age of American illus­tra­tion.

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