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The return of royalism?

Mark Hodgkinson
June 30, 2014
Eugenie Bouchard has attracted the attention of Justin Bieber © PA Photos

It's a few years now since players have been obliged to curtsy or bow to the Royal Box when competing on Centre Court. But you get the sense that Eugenie Bouchard, a 20-year-old Canadian who is just one fine Wimbledon away from superstardom, would be among those who would like tennis players to start showing a bit more deference to the royal family again.

Bouchard, who made it into the fourth round at the All England Club for the first time, would like to meet Princess Eugenie if she has a chance during this tournament or on a future visit. That's because Bouchard's parents were such ardent royalists that they named their twin girls after the children of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson - so Bouchard's sister is a Beatrice. A semi-finalist at this year's Australian Open and French Open - and a tennis player who attracted the attention of Justin Bieber earlier in the year - she appeared at her press conference at the weekend wearing a red kimono; it was a present from a Japanese television network.

Rent at £12,000 a week and rising

Such is the British obsession with house prices, the Wimbledon fortnight is now an opportunity to compare real estate values in London's SW19 postcode with property in the other three grand slam cities. One study has shown that, in the last three years, house prices have risen much more quickly in Wimbledon Village than they have elsewhere, with a 35 per cent increase. In Melbourne, meanwhile, prices have jumped 'only' 6.8 per cent, while New York has seen a 5.2 per cent increase and Paris just 2.4 per cent. Makes you wonder whether tennis players will end up paying substantially more for their rented accommodation in 2015 and beyond; at the moment, they pay up to £12,000 a week for the biggest houses - and with a minimum of two weeks per letting. Those numbers will only go up.

Fight like a lion... and get emotional

Alize Cornet, who defeated Serena Williams at the weekend, knows to keep the spectator happy. "It's important to have the crowd on your side, as they can be so powerful," the Frenchwoman told me once. "When you play a good shot, and you have the crowd yelling and screaming and going crazy, that's such a great feeling. To get the crowd on your side, you must share some of your positive emotions with them. If you have a good moment, show the crowd what it means to you. That helps them get into the match and to start supporting you. You also have to fight like a lion. The crowd want to see that you're giving your all. If they think you're not trying your best, they are not going to like it."

Mark Hodgkinson is the author of Lendl: The Man Who Made Murray. Hodgkinson is writing daily pieces for ESPN during Wimbledon

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