Wimbledon, William and a Mexican Wave

June 29, 2011

Rafael Nadal is hurt. A physio and a doctor have arrived on court to inspect his left foot. I scramble to position myself directly across the court from his chair to capture what could be a crucial moment in the match. It is towards the end of a tense first set. Temperatures have only cooled slightly from a sweltering 33 degrees C (91F).

In my haste to capture Nadal’s injury I had left my original position with just a 300mm lens and Canon Mark 4 body, knowing I had to be agile as I joined a crush of photographers.

As I shot a few frames, I noticed out of the corner of my non-shooting eye his opponent Juan Martin Del Potro complaining that Nadal is wasting time. Engrossed in this unfolding tennis story, I try to ignore the crowd who are restless and trying to get a Mexican Wave going.

Then something clicks in my brain. A Mexican wave isn’t normally a big deal — but it is when British royal Prince William and his new wife Kate are in the audience.

Sure enough, as I swivel my camera to the royal box, the wave is sweeping towards them. I reach for the lenses that aren’t there because I left them at my original position and mutter a very un-regal curse. Thankfully, I still manage to capture William and the Duchess of Cambridge joining the fun, in their own awkward and out-of-sync style.

Photographing a Grand Slam isn’t just about shooting tennis. You must also tell the story of the match: look for celebrities (wait a minute, is that Jay-Z?); capture reactions from friends and family; and even chart the weather when rain (inevitably) comes or the sun sears.

But if you happen to be at Wimbledon — and probably no where else in the sporting world — you might also see a prince and princess do a Mexican Wave.

One comment

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I was delighted to see William and Kate at Wimbledon and fancy them taking part in the Mexican Wave! It’s a shame they are setting off to Canada (no offence to Canada!) as they will miss Murray’s next match. http://donjoykneebrace-uk.com

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