It is a big day for tennis lover Archie Baker, aged 13, from South London. As a global audience of millions focuses on the Centre Court of Wimbledon, he will be at the net performing the all-important coin toss to decide which player will serve first – and perhaps seize the psychological advantage – at this year’s Ladies’ Singles final between Agnieszka Radwanska and Serena Williams.
Archie is representing Sparks, which is a leading children’s medical research charity dedicated to funding and championing pioneering research into a range of conditions affecting babies, children and mums-to-be.
Archie was born with clubfoot, a condition which leads to a deformity of the foot resulting in the child being unable to place the sole of the foot flat on the ground. He was diagnosed and given treatment at just five days old and had to wear a plaster cast for the first 10 months of his life before learning to walk with a cast on his leg at just 13 months.
When Archie was seven years old he had an operation to release the tendons in his left foot in order to stop his foot curving inwards and to prevent him walking on the outside of his foot only, rather than on the whole of the sole.
He was chosen by Sparks for his work in raising awareness of clubfoot, which affects about 1,000 children born in the UK every year.
Speaking about his opportunity Archie said: “I really love tennis so the chance to come to Wimbledon, meet the finalists, walk on Centre Court and toss the coin before the final is like a dream come true.”
Archie will be assisted in his on-court duties by Andrew Jarrett, Championships’ Referee, and the Chair Umpire. After the formalities, he will watch the match with his family, and their day includes lunch and tea in the Competitors’ Restaurant.