The Duchess of Cambridge served up an ace surprise for schoolchildren this week when she introduced them to Sir Andy Murray. Kate was making a virtual royal visit to a primary school ahead of what would have been finals weekend at Wimbledon.
READ: 17 photos of the royals having an ace day out at Wimbledon
WATCH: The Duchess surprises schoolchildren with guest appearance from Sir Andy Murray
After chatting to young tennis fans from Bond Primary School in Mitcham, South London she told them: "I've got a very important person here that's going to come and join us, that would love to meet you guys and might be able to share some tennis tips as well with you. I'll give you a few clues and see if you can guess who this special guest might be. So he ... is a he. He plays tennis for Great Britain. He's a two-time Olympic champion. He's a former World Number One... Can you possibly guess who this might be?"
One boy guessed correctly, calling out "Andy Murray!" and the former Wimbledon champion appeared on screen to join the call.
Kate, who is patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, would normally have spent this weekend in the royal box at Centre Court, watching some of the world’s greatest players battling it out for the Wimbledon title.
But instead she dialled into a call with the school from her country home Anmer Hall and turned interviewer to ask the sportsman about his life – and training – in lockdown. The father of three said he had found the first five or six weeks manageable, but admitted that as time passed, it became harder to find ways to keep his children entertained.
"We're doing the home schooling which is difficult," he said. "It was difficult but at times I really enjoyed it as well."
Unable to play tennis for around ten weeks, he stayed fit through cycling, revealing: "I was going out on my road bike which was something I've never done before, so that’s something kind of new that I learned I enjoy during lockdown. It's quite important in these times to stay as active as you can because it good for the mind as well."
MORE: Andy Murray expresses heartache after Wimbledon is cancelled
The children got the chance to ask Sir Andy questions
Kate told him: "There's lots of budding tennis players here at Bond Primary School as well. Have you guys got any questions you want to ask Andy?"
The pupils and their coaches asked about his career and Sir Andy told them how important the support of his family and friends had been.
"And Andy, have you got any tips for these guys if they want to take up tennis a bit more professionally?" asked the Duchess.
“The most important thing is to have fun," he replied. "If you're enjoying it, you get more out of your lessons and your practising. Listen to your coach, that’s very important. That's the two most important things at your age. If you’re competing or playing any matches, try really hard in them. But winning and losing isn't the most important thing. Enjoying playing a sport and being active is the most important thing. If you do go on to choose it as your career obviously the winning and losing changes a bit."
He also described missing his disappointment over missing this year's big competitions, saying he was "getting old for a tennis player".
"So missing Wimbledon this week is obviously a shame," he added. "I've missed the travelling...missing seeing friends like everyone else. Family, I've not seen my mum and dad for a few months so I’m looking forward to seeing them again hopefully very soon. There's been some challenges but I guess sometimes when you go through difficult moments like this you learn to appreciate the things you maybe took for granted sometimes? I'll definitely make sure I spend more time with my family and friends when I get the opportunity."
"Exactly," the Duchess replied. "And hopefully that time is relatively near as well."
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Kate during a previous visit to the school in 2018
Kate visited Bond Primary School in person in January 2018 to see how the Wimbledon Junior Tennis initiative, the AELTC’s community tennis programme, delivers free coaching sessions to children in the London boroughs of Merton and Wandsworth.
During the call she watched youngsters practising some of the drills after being told they had been "on fire" in training that day.
Watching them running quickly on the spot, she said: "Fantastic! That's very important for your footwork isn't it?"
She asked if they had missed doing lots of physical exercise during lockdown, adding: "It's really hard isn't it, to keep that self-motivation going. It's very impressive you've kept that training going."
The Duchess also praised the sportsmanship on display at the annual tournament, saying: "I think tennis is brilliant for that, especially Wimbledon."
While this year's competition was cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the AELTC has instead run ‘Wimbledon Recreated’, a campaign to promote Wimbledon, tennis, and sport through archive matches.
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