There have always been family ties binding Wimbledon together, right back to the 1882 men’s singles final between British brothers W.C Renshaw and J.E. Renshaw. But Wimbledon 2009 could be the biggest family reunion at the Championships ever.
The obvious first family of Wimbledon is the Williams’s. Venus Williams is the defending ladies’ singles champion and younger sister Serena won the Australian Open in January. Both are coached by their father Richard.
Yet there are family connections wherever you look. World number one and defending champion Rafael Nadal is coached by his uncle Toni. Five-time champion Roger Federer earlier this year married Mirka Vavrinec, a former professional who was beaten in the first round at Wimbledon in 2000 and 20001. The couple are expecting their first baby in summer – possibly during the Wimbledon fortnight.
Marat Safin and Dinara Safina are record-breaking siblings: they are the first brother and sister combination to have both held the number one ranking in tennis.
British hopes will be led by the Murray brothers Andy and Jamie. Andy has risen to number three in the world after reaching the US Open final last year while older brother Jamie was a mixed doubles champion here two years ago. Their mother Judy is a well-known tennis coach who is a highly visible spectator when her sons play.
At A Centre Court Celebration to test the new roof at Wimbledon on Sunday, seven-time winner Steffi Graf will play mixed doubles with her husband Andre Agassi, the 1992 champion. Their children are too young to compete at Wimbledon yet, but with a parentage that boasts 167 singles titles few would discount the next generation.
There’s also American twins Bob and Mike Bryan, sisters Alona and Kateryna Bondarenko and Agnieszka and Urszula Radwanska. At last year’s Wimbledon there were brother galore as twins Sonchat and Sanchai Ratiwatana featured in the gentlemen’s doubles, Christophe and Olivier Rochus, from Belgium, were in the men’s singles and Luke and Murphy Jensen took part in the men’s invitational doubles.
Also present last year were a husband and wife and a father and son. Robert Seguso took part in men’s senior doubles and his wife Carling Bassett-Seguso was in the ladies’ senior doubles. India’s Vijay Amritraj played in the men’s senior doubles while his son Prakash Amritraj lost in the second round of Wimbledon qualifying.
Perhaps the best family connection was pointed out by one of our Twitter followers: Britain’s Anne Keothavong played in the single’s event while her brother was a chair umpire, who was in charge of one of the men’s doubles semi-finals.