July 1, 2015 / 7:44 PM / 4 years ago

Milliners smile as bare-headed Dutchwoman wilts

LONDON (Reuters) - Many cultures boast an age-old proverb centered on learning lessons from a loss.

Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, Wimbledon, England - 1/7/15 Women's Singles - Holland's Richel Hogenkamp in action during the second round Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Tony O'Brien Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

“We learn little from victory, much from defeat,” the Japanese say.

China leans on the Confucian saying with a similar message: “There are 1,000 lessons in defeat. But only one in victory.”

The Dutch do not boast anything quite so pithy, but if Richel Hogenkamp takes anything from her swift second round exit on Wednesday, it may well owe much to a 1940s British advertising slogan: “If you want to get ahead, get a hat”.

On a day when Wimbledon sweltered, the 23-year-old Dutchwoman, thrashed by Maria Sharapova, was almost the only person in the arena with an uncovered head.

While line judges sported pristine starched white caps, and ball boys and girls wilted under kepis, Hogenkamp stood out from the crowd.

Her blonde pony-tail swung and her increasingly-reddening face glowed beetroot, while all around watched the action shaded by flat caps, titfers, boaters, cloche hats and cricket caps.

Perched on the back of heads, or positioned at jaunty angles, others sported swooshes and stripes advising people to do something, or deny the concept of impossibility.

Yet more hats sported national identities or boasted of holiday destinations, either real or imagined. Other styles harked back to earlier times.

Sharapova, a 6-3 6-1 winner, punched her shots from under a brilliant white visor, but Hogenkamp defiantly eschewed headgear.

It was the hottest day so far at the grasscourt tournament which started on Monday, with the thermometer hitting just over 34 degrees Celsius (93 Fahrenheit), and British meteorologists are advising no end is in immediate sight.

The St. John Ambulance charity which handles emergency calls at Wimbledon said it had treated 96 people on Monday and 173 on Tuesday.

While the conditions are tough for first-aiders, they are a milliner’s dream.

A spokesman for the official Wimbledon shop said it was “doing a roaring trade in hats”, and had seen a significant increase in sales this year, while independent traders in the area were counting their blessings.

“The sun is out, people are smiling, and I am selling hats like they are going out of fashion,” said Dean, who was selling baseball caps along with cold drinks from a makeshift stall on the approach to the All England Club.

“Long may it last — let’s make hay while the sun shines,” he laughed.

Editing by Ed Osmond

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