UK

Queen returns to Wimbledon after 33 years

  • 24 June 2010
  • From the section UK

The Queen has visited the Wimbledon tennis championships for the first time in 33 years.

She watched Britain's number one Andy Murray beat Finland's Jarkko Nieminen on Centre Court.

Security was stepped up and police were visible around the court.

On her last visit on 1 July 1977, Virginia Wade won the ladies' singles championship - Britain's only singles' title in 33 years.

Upon her arrival the monarch was met by the Duke of Kent, who is president of the All England Club, as well as chairman Tim Phillips, vice-chairman Philip Brook and chief executive Ian Ritchie.

The Queen toured the grounds of the All England Club, walking past Aorangi Terrace - better known as Murray Mount or Henman Hill.

Large crowds lined the St Mary's Walk avenue ahead of the Queen's visit.

Players past and present, including Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King and current champions Serena Williams and Roger Federer, met the Queen in the members' enclosure ahead of her arrival in the royal box on Centre Court.

And former champion Wade met the Queen again.

Federer said it had been a "big honour" to meet the monarch.

"After 33 years there is huge happiness that she should visit this year for the fans. I'm just so glad I got a chance to meet her," he said.

And record-breaking former Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova said the monarch was "lovely".

British tennis number one Elena Baltacha said meeting the Queen had been "amazing".

"I was so nervous beforehand but it was so nice, and opportunities like that don't come around very often. It was all pretty surreal but such a big privilege," she said.

And fellow Briton Anne Keothavong said she and other female players had spent a long time practising curtseys before meeting the monarch.

"It was all very pleasant and obviously a real honour to be part of that line-up," she said.

The group who met the Queen also included Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, Jelena Jankovic, Novak Djokovic and Andy Roddick.

Some of the players were invited to attend a lunch with the Queen where the menu included salmon, honey-marinated chicken and the Wimbledon staple of strawberries and cream.

Some ball boys, ball girls and club officials also met her.

She then moved on to watch 23-year-old Murray secure a place in the third round.

The Queen has only made two other trips to Wimbledon, in 1957 and 1962. The Duke of Edinburgh has made more visits however, in 1949, 1953, 1954, 1957, 1960 as well as 1977.

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