Stop that racquet! Olwyn calls shots at Wimbledon

3rd July 2009 at 01:00
Home economics teacher swaps classroom umpiring for keeping order in SW19

Olwyn roy, a home economics teacher at Inveralmond Community High School in Livingston, West Lothian, swapped the pressures of the classroom to officiate at Wimbledon this week.

Instead of checking the consistency of her pupils' souffles, she will have her eagle eye trained on the tramlines as one of the tournament's most senior judges.

Ms Roy has been officiating at the prestigious tennis championships for 25 years, after she spotted an advertisement for line judges in the tournament programme.

Since then, she has been chair umpire for junior matches and a line judge at some of the most exciting finals.

Last year, she was a line judge at the women's final, featuring Serena and Venus Williams; the year before, she officiated at the men's final between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

But she is unlikely to know until the day itself whether she will be involved in the finals this weekend.

Ms Roy follows Andy Murray's career with interest - she used to umpire matches when he played in under-10 and under-12 tournaments. "I could see his potential, but his behaviour wasn't very good then," she said.

As a player herself, she used to compete in local tournaments against Murray's mother, Judy, and she can understand players' frustration when a shot doesn't work.

"But it doesn't mean I'm any more tolerant." she said. "As a teacher I'm quite a disciplinarian, but as officials we have set guidelines governing what we tolerate."

Ms Roy said she was lucky that her headteacher, Bill Tevendale, believes her umpiring brings prestige to the school and is happy to give her a week's leave. Fortunately, Wimbledon only cuts into the last week of term; she realises that umpiring at some of the other big championships, such as the US Open, will remain a pipe dream.

Ms Roy believes the main barrier to Britain producing another champion is the lack of public facilities.

"Tennis is still regarded as a middle-class sport," she said.

"That's in contrast to places like France, where even the smallest village has a tennis court."

And what does she think of the chances of Scotland's man of the moment going all the way?

"Watching Andy Murray, I can't see anyone beating him this year, said Ms Roy.

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