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Game Set and Match at Wimbledon
Sometimes, an invitation pops along that is simply irresistible, very much a money can’t buy experience that you have no hesitation in accepting. Such was my recent foray courtesy of Robinsons to visit Wimbledon that involved a guided tour by none other than Tim Henman himself and involvement from the fabulous Diversity, both Brand Ambassadors. It was a surreal day filled with knowledge, fun activities, great food and drink coupled with fabulous hospitality from the Robinsons Team. The Robinsons brand celebrates its 81st year of the anniversary of the partnership – certainly I remember as a little girl avidly watching the Wimbledon Tournament on television whilst always looking out for the bottles of Barley Water in the drink’s dispensers on court. Robinsons has also had a particularly long and fruitful relationship with Tim Henman who was signed up as the face of the brand back in 1998.
Our agenda was literally action packed with Tim Henman more than happy to answer any questions as we undertook our tour and sporting activities! First up was the tour around Wimbledon conducted by Tim and we couldn’t have started at a better place than Centre Court. The Court has a really intimate feel and you can imagine the intensity of emotion and electric feel amongst competitors and spectators. The lush surface is simply immaculate and the whole area resonates of tradition and sportsmanship. One of the questions posed to Tim was based on what he misses most about playing on the circuit and his response included stepping out on Centre Court – I can understand why, it really is a very special place, a sacred ground where Tennis is concerned. Conversely, Tim stated that one of his most nervous moments ever encountered was playing his first match ever in 1996 on Centre Court. The quintessential Englishness is further enforced by Rudyard Kipling’s legendary quote ‘If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, and treat those two imposters just the same’ inscribed above the entrance to the Centre Court.
Our tour also included the much-revered Trophy room, the splendid workmanship and sense of history was awe-inspiring irrespective of how much you love Tennis – the heritage conjuring up images of bygone eras with current and past masters of the sport duly remembered via the inscriptions on the gleaming metallic jewelled surfaces.
No tour would be complete without attending the press room where tears and cheers are captured in the post match diatribes. Sharing a winning feeling is great for everyone concerned but it must be one tough call when it comes to immediately analysing a match that has ended your participation in the tournament.
Next up on the agenda were items termed ‘challenges’ ranging from Ball Boy and Ball Girl challenges, returning a 100mph serve and practising topiary trimming……..I’ve heard of multi-tasking but would point out at this stage that the activities were not undertaken simultaneously!!! Now the request in advance from the company pertaining to my shoe size became clear – the all whites ruling extends to the practice courts where our physical activities were lined up and we were all given the works including some great tennis shoes that we were generously allowed to keep. This was, to put it bluntly SO MUCH FUN – warm ups (not like the professionals whose warm-ups normally compromise over an hour of preparatory exercise), ball games, return serves and a lot of jogging in between had everyone smiling, laughing and enjoying the sheer exuberance of the activity. Dan Bloxham, Head Coach of Wimbledon had everyone participating with a lot of humour and vibrant energy. I watched Tim Henman intently as he delivered some forehands – I’ve never seen a tennis ball rocketed with such controlled power at close quarters, it was an awe-inspiring spectacle that demonstrated the sheer athleticism, precision and fitness of professional players.
Back to the Robinsons VIP suite for some much-needed refreshments and sumptuous afternoon tea together with the topiary exercise and before you even ask, yes I even sampled some of the new flavoured Robinson’s squash that was deliciously thirst quenching.
wAs for me, I will be glued to my Television screen over the next fortnight applauding my favourites and watching scenes evoke etched memories of my experience at Robinson’s Exclusive Behind The Scenes Launch Event. My thanks are extended to everyone involved who exuded such warmth and fantastic hospitality.