The Princess of Wales has tested her mettle against tennis great Roger Federer for a behind-the-scenes look at the Wimbledon Championships, with Kate even appearing to score a point over the 20-time grand slam winner being caught on video. The pair were guests at a training session for some of the young hopefuls aiming to be chosen for the around 250 ball boy and girl roles during the championships running from July 3-16 in south-west London.
The meeting is included in a short YouTube video filmed at the All England Club and its indoor tennis centre earlier this month.
In the video, Kate showed off her tennis prowess as she took part in a doubles rally against the eight-time Wimbledon champion, in which she hit a low forehand to no return from Federer, who defeatedly confessed: “I think it was on the line”.
The Princess of Wales was put through her paces in the short YouTube video, as she learned all that it takes to be a ball girl or boy at the sport’s most prestigious championships.
Kate, who is patron of The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club which hosts the Grand Slam event, is seen being guided by a ball girl as she throws a ball to the serving Federer.
“With all the discipline and everything you’ve learnt, you’ll be able to take it into so many other parts of your life – things like confidence, and that feeling of pride with being on any of the courts is such a big moment.”
Federer said: “This is proper practice. I’m really impressed at how much effort and training goes into being a ball kid during the championships.
“I used to be a ball kid in Basel when I was nine or 10 and, as I have always said, once a ball kid always a ball kid.”
Each year, around 1,000 local schoolchildren aged 13 to 15 take part in training sessions at the club’s Community Tennis Centre in Raynes Park.
Those who eventually get to take to the courts at Wimbledon have completed several months regimented training sessions learning key skills such as how to signal ball changes, rolling balls up to the net and the correct techniques to bounce the balls to the tennis players.
The final group of boys and girls will include approximately 170 new participants, with around 80 returning from previous years.
Sarah Goldson, manager of the ball boys and girls squad, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Her Royal Highness and Roger Federer to Wimbledon to see and experience what it takes to be a BBG at Wimbledon.
“We’re really proud of the young people who dedicate so much time and effort to their role which plays an integral part in delivering a successful championships.”