Once again I'd sent my tennis ball wayward and I had to apologise for almost hitting someone minding their own business on the court. Only this time that person was Roger Federer. Yes, THE Roger Federer – the seven-time Wimbledon-winning, Grand Slam wins record-smashing, world number 2 tennis great.
To make the situation even more ridiculous, the person waiting for me to finally get a ball to him was UK number 3, Kyle Edmund. I blame Nikecourt Club for letting me loose on these unsuspecting pros. It was the launch of their ten day tennis event, which aims to dispel preconceptions that the sport is a bit stuffy and elitist. With a bright pink and blue court, they've certainly done away with traditions.
Before we were unleashed on Kyle and Roger, coaches from the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) equipped us with some racket skills in a masterclass. In my case, this mostly meant carrying mine whilst running after the balls I'd failed to hit. With a few drills and a lot of embarrassing misses, I did eventually hit some balls, there were a few strays but I at least got them over the net. I also got my first taste of Fast Tennis, a shorter, quicker game aimed at attracting new players to the sport.
After an hour of practice, it was time to put what we'd learned to the ultimate test. The court was warmed up with a quick rally between the two pros, then it was our turn to step in. Nervous, I thought I'd 'work my way up' from the UK number 3 to the world number 2 – not really an easy introduction. That's when I watched my serve, in slow motion, head towards Federer and narrowly miss his Wimbledon-ready legs.
Luckily, it was such a slow ball that stopped dead before it hit him and he was pretty cool guy – happily hitting balls to a stream of excitable amateurs, waiting when the ball didn't make it back over the net and taking an epic selfie with everyone.
|Credit Nike and Roger Federer (!!!)|
I obviously need a bit more practice, so it's great to hear the Nikecourt Club is open for the next week. Every session is free but places are going quickly, so book here now!