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You Cannot Be Serious! Tales of a Wimbledon Umpire

13th August 2019

With only days until the Wimbledon season commenced we welcomed former Wimbledon Umpire, Alan Hayes MBE, to The Guildford Institute.

Over 50 guests enjoyed a glass of Pimms and some strawberries and cream before settling in to enjoy tales from behind-the-scenes at Wimbledon from Alan’s 25 years as umpire and line judge.  

Born and educated in Scotland, Alan’s ‘obsession’ with tennis started in 1955 when he watched Hoad, Rosewell, Gonzallez and Sedgeman play at Dundee ice rink. He has played tennis most of his life and was excited to join the team at Wimbledon in 1988. During his time there, he officiated as a line judge on 6 finals including Becker v Sampras and Agassi v Ivanisovic.

Alan’s professional career was in the prison and probation service and in 2005 he received the MBE from her majesty the queen for his work in developing services for victims of crime.

Alan relayed fascinating stories of life as an umpire including dealing with John McEnroe and his outbursts and Boris Becker sneaking some physio work on a toilet break!

He looked at the art of ‘grunting’ which many disapprove of but has become more of an issue over the years, with the BBC even creating a ‘gruntometer’!

He also looked back at the many personalities on court including one of the most entertaining and funny players, Mansour Bahrami, also known as ‘The Court Jester’.

Alan noted impacts of technology advancements over the years including the retractable roof, prolonging play within minutes in poor conditions and the ‘Hawk-Eye’ line call system, now widely accepted by players, delivering pin-point precise judgements for the world to see in mere seconds.

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