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Stars of sporting world out in force in Royal Box

Ilie Nastase shakes hands with Boris Becker in the Royal Box after being introduced on Centre Court.
by Sarah Edworthy
Saturday 30 June 2012

Sue Barker: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Centre Court – and in keeping with tradition on this middle Saturday, the chairman of the All England Club Philip Brook has invited guests from the world of sport and entertainment to the Royal Box.

First, four stars from the world of rugby union…

A lock forward who played for England and the British Lions before moving into the commentary box – and making a giant name for himself in Harry Potter movies…

A rising star who only made his international debut earlier this year but has already established himself as an integral part of the England team…

The current Harlequins and England captain, who last month was named the Premiership Player of the Year…

And a British Lion and triple Grand Slam-winning prop who has been a rock in the Wales pack over the past decade…

…Martin Bayfield, Owen Farrell, Chris Robshaw and Adam Jones.

And now for stars from the nation’s other summer sport. Three former England cricketers who served their country with panache and commitment…

A Yorkshire and one of England’s most successful opening batsmen, he’s now a famously straight-talking and eloquent analyst on Test Match Special…

An all-rounder who proudly captained both his county and his country in the late 1980s…

And an imposing fast bowler who is still England’s second-leading Test wicket-taker of all time…

Geoffrey Boycott, Chris Cowdrey and Bob Willis.

The present-day guardians of English cricket are not doing a bad job either…

Our current Test captain is one of only three men to lead England to Ashes series wins both home and away…

And a dashing run-scorer who spent a world record 36 hours batting England to victory in the last series against Australia…

And the England coach, who has been architect of some fantastic recent success, including rising to the top of the Test rankings last summer…

Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook, and Andy Flower.

Now I never thought I’d see these two in a Royal Box… Behave yourselves, boys!!

A British Lion, England’s most-capped scrum-half who was a key part of the 2003 World Cup-winning side…

And the king of spin, who played 42 Tests for England… Couldn’t field though…!

Who knows what will happen next – it’s my two captains [on the BBC quiz, A Question of Sport, hosted by Sue Barker]…

Matthew James Sutherland Dawson and Philip Clive Roderick Tufnell.

Sticking with showbiz, our next group of guests always hit the right notes…

A choirmaster who, with a little help from his friends, has delivered a Christmas number one and this memorable Jubilee anthem…

Gareth Malone and the Military Wives Choir, accompanied by their partners from the Armed Services.

It’s just 27 days until the Olympics begin in London – with the tennis gold medals being won right here on this famous court…

And our next two guests were instrumental in bringing the Games here and ensuring that they will run smoothly…

Sir Keith Mills and Sir Craig Reedie.

Now three Olympians who represented Great Britain with such distinction…

He performed in five Olympics. He is a former world, European and Commonwealth champion – and strictly speaking, he’s not a bad dancer either…

A dame who won not one but two gold medals at the 2004 Olympics in Athens – the first British athlete to do so since 1920…

And a woman who won the skeleton in Vancouver two years ago to become Britain’s first individual gold medal winner at the Winter Olympics for 30 years…

Mark Foster, Dame Kelly Holmes and Amy Williams.

This week we’ve seen some impressive performances from British players – and I’m delighted to welcome two people at the helm of our national teams…

Head of men’s tennis and Davis Cup captain Leon Smith.

And Fed Cup captain Judy Murray…Good luck today, Mum!

Now, a quintet who have graced this famous court on many occasions…

A two-time Grand Slam champion in singles, this born entertainer also won doubles titles at three of the four majors…

A tennis great who won a record nine women’s singles titles here at the All England Club, and an incredible 167 singles titles during her career…

A two-time Grand Slam winner who’s the only Frenchwoman in the Open era to have won the singles title at Roland Garros…

An Australian who 60 years ago won the singles, doubles and mixed doubles here at Wimbledon – and he remains the last man to have achieved that rare feat…

As a 17-year-old, he became the youngest men’s singles champion at Wimbledon, one of six Grand Slam titles that he won in a glittering career…

Ilie Nastase, Martina Navratilova, Mary Pierce, Frank Sedgman and Boris Becker.

Now let’s pay tribute to two world-class footballers who made their name with one club.

The first was one of Manchester United’s original Busby Babes, and later won the European Cup two years after lifting the World Cup with England in 1966…

Only one man has made more appearances for the Red Devils, and that’s one of the best wingers of his generation – and the most successful footballer in Premier League history…

Sir Bobby Charlton and Ryan Giggs.

And now to the most successful golfer of all time, an American who is quite simply a sporting legend. During a career that spanned more than 40 years, he won a record 18 majors, It’s the Golden Bear…

Jack Nicklaus.

Finally ladies and gentlemen, today is Armed Forces Day, established to honour the outstanding contribution made by serving and ex-members of the Armed Forces. Wimbledon has been privileged to have volunteer military service stewards since 1946 – and many here today have recently served on tours of duty, showing their professionalism and dedication in the most demanding of circumstances…

Ladies and Gentlemen, our Royal Box guests and members of the Armed Forces


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