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28 October 2014

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Andrew Jarrett
Andrew Jarrett

Centre Court: Our Andrew takes charge

Andrew Jarrett is one of the few people in the Derbyshire tennis world who's made it to Wimbledon - but playing a few sets will be far from his mind as he takes on the role of tournament referee.

Wimbledon is a serious business. There are plenty of characters - most of them agreeable, others not so - some of them even have tantrums.

There are the courts - they need to befit the quality of the players who will use them.

There's the weather. Hardly predictable in our climate and probably the one thing that is certain to cause the organisers to throw schedules out of the window at frequent intervals.

And there are rules. Disputes, too, no doubt.

Briefing the team
Andrew briefs his team of officials

But one Derbyshire man has been thinking about Wimbledon 2006 for more than twelve months.

Andrew Jarrett, who played for the county and tasted Davies Cup tennis, took over as Tournament Referee from Alan Mills when last year's tournament ended.

And that means his word is final. Full stop. Game, set and match.

Last year, Andrew was in charge of the qualifying tournament at Roehampton. This year, it's whole different ball-game.

(Use the link top, right, to hear Andrew Jarrett in conversation with BBC Radio Derby's Colin Gibson)

He knows that the eyes of the world will now be on him: "As a referee you get called out for any and all types of incidents - some serious, some less serious.

"It's an event that's followed world-wide and the focus is on the major matches. We don't welcome major incidents, but if they happen we have to deal with them."

Belper-born Andrew acknowledges that some of the game's characters can be tricky to deal with but also welcomes their presence because he believes it's what many people enjoy watching.

John McEnroe questions an umpire's decision
John McEnroe questions a decision

But he says he doesn't fear strong, colourful characters within the game because things have moved on a long way from the days of players such as McEnroe and Connors: "I think that officiating has improved. We now have a code of conduct that has evolved over the years and I think that's helped the game so that we can actually concentrate on the tennis.

"I would hate to see the personalities of players destroyed by it but I welcome the fact that we can concentrate on what we're meant to be here for."

Every part of the tournament comes under the scrutiny of the tournament referee - the condition of the courts, the equipment, standards of umpiring - and even the players' clothing, which must come up to current standards.

Andrew's career in tennis started as a young boy growing and playing for his local club in up in Derby. It looks like it will reach one of its many crescendos on the centre court of Wimbledon!

last updated: 23/06/06
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