May 19, 2010 / 12:17 PM / 9 years ago

Wimbledon appoints first "Championships Poet"

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - The grand old dame of Grand Slam tennis now has its very own poet laureate.

The Wimbledon logo is seen on an umbrella at centre court as rain delays the quarter-finals match between Roger Federer of Switzerland and Mario Ancic of Croatia at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London July 2, 2008. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Wimbledon, in collaboration with The Poetry Trust in Britain, has appointed its first “Championships Poet” to capture the flavor and fervor of the oldest of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments and the only one played on grass.

British poet Matt Harvey, who is a regular contributor to BBC radio and a lifelong tennis fan, intends to create a poem-a-day about all things Wimbledon: from umpires to ball boys and ball girls, strawberries and cream to the unfolding drama of the matches and players.

“It’s an honor, and I’m acutely conscious it’s the only time I’ll come first in anything at Wimbledon, unless you count the queue for strawberries,” Harvey said in a statement.

The poems will be available online and there will be audio podcasts — featuring Harvey reading his latest verses and sharing behind-the-scenes observations on the Wimbledon and Poetry Trust websites.

Harvey will also keep a blog and interact with tennis fans on microblogging Web site Twitter. During the tournament, which starts on June 21, he will also give impromptu live performances to the famous Wimbledon queue as people wait to enter the grounds of the All England Lawn Tennis Club in southwest London.

Harvey’s first poem in the series, “Grandest of Slams” is already available on the Poetry Trust website at and contains such stirring lines as:

“Where tough tennis cookies have cracked and then crumbled in

Top seeds have stumbled, have tumbled, been humbled in


Reporting by Paul Casciato; Editing by Steve Addison

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