Hampstead tennis star Dart reveals Wimbledon memories and Graf as dream opponent
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Hampstead’s Harriet Dart should have been playing at the 2020 Wimbledon Championships this month, but with it postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, she has reminisced about the past.
The 23-year-old revealed her childhood memories of the competition, her dream opponent, her first appearance, and her experiences on the prestigious Centre Court.
“It’s the opportunity to play at the best place in the world. Wimbledon for me is the best time of year, I especially feel very comfortable on grass and just being able to play in front of the home crowd,” Dart told the Lawn Tennis Association.
“I really hope in the years to come I can play as much as I can. I’ve got pretty amazing memories of Wimbledon, it’s just so special and close to me really, I’ve been around it from such a young age so it makes it extra special.
“My mum was very friendly with the Keothavong family and I remember Anne took me into the players lounge which was so exciting because I could see everyone there and I was just nine-years-old so it was the biggest highlight of my life then.
“Also I used to be coached by a guy called Angel Gimenez, who was coaching Daniela Hantuchová at the time, so he invited me to Wimbledon when she had a match and I sat with him.
“When I think about that now, that experience for someone so young was just amazing.”
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The former Royal School student felt she was very prepared for her debut at Wimbledon, although she did reveal playing on Centre Court was a mix of emotions.
“Having played all the slams for a few years I think that definitely helped me and prepared me for what was to come in the seniors and when I did make my debut in 2018 I wasn’t completely all over the place,” added Dart.
“From knowing where the changing room is, knowing how long it takes from the practice courts to the changing rooms, it’s the little things that make you feel a lot more comfortable.
“I just focused completely on playing the competition rather than all the other things that can kind of get to you a little bit.
She added: “Being able to play in such an iconic place with so much rich history I think is so special and not many people get the opportunity to play on such a big court.
“I was just so excited when I was there. As much as I was super nervous as well at the same time, I tried to really take in the surroundings and use the British crowd because they’re awesome.”
Dart also admitted her dream opponent would be Steffi Graf due to her unique playing style and her achievements.
“Steffi Graf, I have watched highlight reels of her and she is just incredible,” she said.
“Obviously it would be an incredibly tough match, but I think it would be super exciting because she plays very different and has a very unique style, and she’s done so much for the game.”