Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Anne Is the Ace Up Hackney's Sleeve

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Anne Is the Ace Up Hackney's Sleeve

Article excerpt

Byline: Jack Lefley and Shekhar Bhatia

ANNE KEOTHAVONG hopes her path from the parks of Hackney to Wimbledon's show courts can inspire inner-city youngsters to pursue their sporting dreams.

As the 25-year-old British No 1 launches her Wimbledon campaign today she recalls how her route to SW19 began on the graffiti-scarred concrete courts of east London.

Keothavong said: "I don't think there have been too many top British players from the inner city. I think I'm the only one who learned to play at a local park rather than a tennis club."

Keothavong was meeting Austrian Patricia Mayr in her firstround match on Court 4 today.

Last year she was knocked out in the second round after putting up a brave fight against eventual champion Venus Williams.

But the All England Club is a world away from her early experiences. She said: "I first started with short tennis at the Michael Sobell [sports centre] in Islington. My brother went so I just tagged along. …

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