Virginia Wade reveals the key role the Queen played in her Wimbledon win

Virginia Wade reveals the key role the Queen played in her Wimbledon win

Virginia Wade reveals the key role the Queen played in her Wimbledon win

    Credit: PA Images

Credit: PA Images

Virginia Wade paid tribute to the queen as a “down to earth” person who helped her fulfill her destiny at Wimbledon.

In one of the All England Club’s most famous moments, the Queen presented Wade with the trophy in 1977 in one of only four visits she made to Wimbledon.

Wade also spent time with Her Majesty on her next visit in 2010 and treasures the bond between them.

She spent Thursday watching television coverage from her New York home and told the PA news agency, “I was completely exhausted at the end of the day watching everything.

“Not only is it a very sad thing, but also such an extraordinary historical story and all the stages of his life. It was very moving to watch. I think when someone dies when he’s older it’s a different kind of pain. It is very definitive.

“It has been a link with the past for so many years. The queen was simply an extraordinary person. I know it meant so much to so many people, but to me it really meant a lot.

“She was the extra motivation for me to get to the Wimbledon final and then win. I was lucky enough to be invited to Buckingham Palace in a very small group with the Queen. I was very lucky when Queen came to Wimbledon in 2010.

“We sat down for lunch at a small table. There was Roger Taylor, Ann Jones, Angela Mortimer. I think there were only eight of us. Roger was completely taken with her. He was so smart, just completely on the ball.

“Every meeting you have had with the queen has been memorable. I had quite a few handshakes and not saying anything, but it was really special to get to know her in a little way, to find that there was a real person on the other side and without airs and thanks.

“She was the most important woman in the world and she was totally down to earth. She had a definite sense of humor and was very warm, but I don’t think she put up with any nonsense. “

Their 1977 bout is the one that went down in history, as the queen celebrated her silver jubilee by presenting the trophy at the women’s final and Wade decided to receive it.

Wade was nearly 32 years old and had won the US Open and Australian Open several years earlier, but had never made it past the Wimbledon semi-finals.

“They closed registrations for Wimbledon about six weeks earlier and I was thinking, ‘I’ve never realized my potential at Wimbledon and I’m running out of time here,'” he said.

“Then I felt that the queen was coming and I literally said to myself: ‘I’ll be there. It could be my only chance and I’m going to win. ‘ So I had this fate in a way.

“It was a motivation because everyone gets very nervous in all these big events, so the determination has to overcome the trepidation.”

The footage of Wade receiving the trophy, his pink cardigan paired with the queen’s gown, has been shown numerous times since and remains one of the monarch’s most famous sporting occasions.

Wade, who remains the last British woman to win the title, said: “There was so much noise going on and singing from the crowd that I could only read her lips, which I think they said ‘Well done’. I said “Excuse me” because the first time I couldn’t hear, and the second time I didn’t feel much better.

“I know tennis wasn’t her favorite sport and it was a real honor for her to be there.

“It’s been very special for so long, but we’re running out of people with memories. People who said “Oh, my daughter was born that day” or “They gave us the afternoon off from school to watch.”

“It repeats so often, so it’s close to your memory. It is beyond an honor to be attached to her.

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