Farewell Tim…and Katie

SO, no Brits left at Wimbledon. At least in the singles.
Just a few hours before Tim Henman’s exit, British fans gathered out on Court 3, in the shadow of Centre Court.
Blessed with a distant view of the traffic on Church Road, it’s a show court in all but name, thanks to a small stand stuck on one side.
It’s here that spectators can get up close and personal with the players, who have to be escorted through the crowds to reach the playing arena.
First into these humble surroundings was British No 1 Katie O’Brien to play her second round match against Dutch No 31 seed Michaella Krajicek.
The last surviving British player in the ladies’ singles, you may remember Katie, 21, from the year she played at Wimbledon while taking her A-levels.

I sat beside her dad Phil, down from the family’s flooded village in Yorkshire to support his daughter. His only hope was that she did herself justice.
So you can imagine the agony he went through as she lost 6-0, 6-1, handing the game to her opponent with a series of unforced errors.

Katie’s brother James spent 10 hours on a delayed train from Leeds to get to Wimbledon, while sister Holly joined the overnight queue for a ticket into the grounds.
Like any other proud father, Phil, who once played football for Watford, took pictures on his digital camera and tried to raise his frustrated girl’s spirits.
“We knew it’s really tough at this level,” he said after her disappointing display.
“I think I actually probably beat myself,” Katie told me later, having secured her biggest ever pay day via a cheque for £16,325.
Although defeated today, thanks to her recent run of results she’s on course to eventually make the Top 100 in the rankings.
Katie backed tennis bosses threatening to cut support for British flops.
“The LTA have given all the players fantastic opportunities. I think some people just sit there and take it, don’t put in the hard work themselves.
“I realise this is the greatest opportunity I’ll ever have,” she said.
Henman also had a few words for British failures.
“I think for years we’ve been far too accepting of mediocrity.”

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