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Educating stuff: Unusual hobbies

Visitors to the Education Department in January
by Ngaire Hewitt
Tuesday 22 January 2013

The second installment of 'Educating stuff,' a new blog from Wimbledon's Education Department, touches on a new addition to the collection, and some unseasonable Wimbledon weather...

Sitting down to write this latest blog from the Education Department I’m thrilled to see that our predictions of Aussie Open success for Murray and Serena are still holding true with both advancing to the Quarter Finals down under. In addition our hope that this new blog would coincide with a new bog has also been realised with work almost complete on shiny new facilities for visiting students and teachers!

With Christmas stockings sadly now long-forgotten the Museum has just successfully acquired a late, and rather splendid, present for its collection; a tennis racket and bag once owned by Fred Astaire. Following a quick trawl of images available on the internet it would seem that Astaire was equally at home dancing on the baseline as he was the ballroom, although sadly for a man immortalised in celluloid we have yet to discover any film footage of him playing tennis.

Today’s players seem to be just as keen on unusual hobbies that have absolutely nothing to do with their day job. Following on from the startling news that Novak Djokovic had purchased the world’s entire supply of donkey cheese (an expensive delicacy it would seem with the stuff retailing at more than £300 per pound!) we now have the launch of a new brand of confectionary by Maria Sharapova. Inventively named Sugapova the sweets are described ‘as a premium candy line that reflects the fun, fashionable, sweet side of international tennis sensation Maria Sharapova’. I think my favourites would have to be the tiny tennis-ball shaped ones! One player who has just ruled herself out of an alternative career is Venus Williams who declared that she would only be found with the likes of Andrew Castle and Tim Henman in a court-side commentary box if she completely ran out of money – ouch!

Those who have visited the Education Department in January to explore the grounds with us- including a chance to gaze upon our snow-covered commentary boxes- have certainly clocked up the air miles to do so, in the last fortnight we have welcomed students from Argentina as well as students from two different universities in America. Our group on Thursday 17 January were also students from the United States and judging by the photo I took of them next to a frosty Court 18, I’m guessing these guys are finding it far colder here than at home! Just 24 hours later the same court was covered in snow as witnessed by students visiting from the Wimbledon School of English.

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