Wimbledon Fortnight will be a slightly strange experience for Midhurst’s Alan Chalmers this year – it’s the first one in four decades he has not been involved in.
He retired last year after 40 years working on Wimbledon’s Centre Court as the steward whose responsibility was looking after the seating arrangements for many hundreds of the world’s written press and the competitors and their guests.
With four complete change-overs per day for the matches, this role involved an intimate knowledge of every tennis-writing journalist, competitor team member and relation, and the occasional high-level celebrity who gravitated up to Centre Court to watch the matches.
His first year saw Frank Sinatra as a guest, and since then he has gossiped with Peter Ustinov, Ali McGraw, Larry Adler, Lewis Hamilton, David Beckham, Kate Middleton’s family and many more.
Tennis enthusiast as he is, though as a player mainly of real tennis, Chalmers was present on Centre Court for every match from 1976 to 2015.
From Bjorn Borg to Novak Djokovic, from Virginia Wade to Serena Williams, Chalmers has accommodated, guarded and got to know well all their friends, coaches, and families.
Wimbledon fortnight begins next Monday and ends on Sunday, July 10.
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