It’s well known that Prince William and Kate Middleton love sport – not only watching but also taking part in various sporting activities. They are renowned for their competitiveness, with tennis being a particular favourite of Kate who is patron of The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club – home of the Wimbledon championship.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are both keen tennis fans and are regular visitors to Wimbledon each year as spectators, particularly enjoying the finals. When it comes to playing, Kate attended Marlborough College in Wiltshire, where she excelled at all sports including tennis, hockey, netball and athletics.
William is also a keen player, as his late mother Princess Diana was an avid tennis fan and played often. When William was a pupil at Ludgrove School in Wokingham, which he attended from the age of eight, Diana would join him to take part in the annual parent-pupil tennis competition, instilling her competitive spirit in her son.
Princess Diana had even played an exhibition match at London’s Vanderbilt Racquet Club against women’s world number one Steffi Graf, on 10 June 1988, to celebrate the launch of the Women’s International Tennis Association’s European Office. The Princess of Wales partnered Vanderbilt Club director Charles Swallow in a mixed doubles match against Graf and Lord Willoughby De Broke.
With their background, it seemed inevitable that William and Kate were going to be tennis players themselves. During her visit to Wimbledon in 2016, Kate admitted to reporters that she found it “so frustrating” when playing tennis against her husband, as he was left-handed.
Many right-handed players say “lefties” are more difficult to beat and Kate Middleton seems to share this opinion! Among the famous left-handed players are Rafael Nadal, who has won more than 850 career matches, including ten victories in the men’s singles of the Roland Garros championship.
Prince William can’t help picking up a racquet whenever he can at public events. During his visit to Coventry War Memorial Park in 2014, to mark the centenary of World War I, he met local youngsters and joined in during an impromptu game of tennis on the local courts, despite the fact he was formally dressed in a suit and tie!
Early indications show that William and Kate’s son, Prince George, has already started playing tennis. Speaking to reporters at Wimbledon, Kate revealed that he already had his own racquet by the time he was two and that he was set to follow in his mum and dad’s footsteps as a keen player. She said he enjoyed playing tennis with William and was already showing signs he was going to be a left-handed player like his daddy, much to the delight of the Duke of Cambridge!
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