Family’s pride and tears after Katie Boulter dedicates victory to her gran

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 (AP)
(AP)

Katie Boulter’s family on Friday said they were “incredibly proud” of the tennis ace’s stunning Wimbledon performance two days after her beloved grandmother died.

With Heather Watson, Cameron Norrie and Liam Broady also in the last 32, British fans celebrated the return of a feelgood factor at the tournament.

Boulter’s mother Sue, 57, and grandfather Brian Gartshore, 86, were watching on Thursday as she beat last year’s SW19 finalist Karolina Pliskova to reach the third round of a grand slam for the first time.

 (PA)
(PA)

The 25-year-old’s brother James broke down in tears on Centre Court as she paid tribute to Jill Gartshore, 83 - a regional tennis champion herself and a life-long Wimbledon fan.

In her post-match interview, British No3 Boulter dedicated the victory to Mrs Gartshore, of Leicestershire.

A family spokesman said: “It goes without saying they are incredibly proud and looking forward to her continued journey in this competition.”

 (PA)
(PA)

Former British No1 Sam Smith told BBC Radio 4’s Today Boulter’s grit “shows how well she copes on the biggest stage in tennis”.

Ms Smith added: “Katie showed us why after all these years of illnesses, injuries and now a lot of things swirling around off court, she’s a very special individual and tennis player. I don’t think many people could have come through in the way she did.

“This is one of the best Wimbledons I’ve seen in a long time.”

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

After the devastating defeats of 19-year-old Emma Raducanu, from Bromley, and Sir Andy Murray on Wednesday, the home crowd were left despondent.

British No1 Cameron Norrie, 26, will play big-serving American Steve Johnson, 32, on Centre Court this afternoon.

Around the same time, Heather Watson, 30, from Guernsey, battles it out against Slovenian Kaja Juvan, 21, on Court 1.

 (PA)
(PA)

On Saturday, Boulter faces France’s Harmony Tan, 24, who beat Serena Williams earlier this week, and wildcard Broady, 28, of Stockport, will need to dig deep against Boulter’s Australian boyfriend Alex de Minaur, 23.

On Friday morning superfan Heidi Watson, 51, from Bookham, Surrey, who has queued at every Wimbledon in the last 20 years, told the Standard: “It’s always sad when Andy [Murray[ goes out but Norrie, Watson, Boulter - they’re still in it.

“There is still a lot of British interest. A lot of people will go where the British are because the atmosphere is amazing.

Wimbledon 2022

“It’s worth queueing two nights for.”

Friends Ian Horton, 52, and Emma Cawley, 45, from Cardiff, said they were “gutted” Raducanu and Murray were out as they had hoped to see them.

Ms Cawley said: “Katie Boulter went through yesterday so there’s still loads of British interest. There’s a different buzz but it’s good.”

Mr Horton added: “We were gutted that Emma and Andy went out, we wanted to see them today but unfortunately, they’ve gone out.

“But we’re still really happy with the line-up. I’ll absolutely be backing the British players, you’ve got to.”

Spectators believe the cost-of-living crisis, coronavirus and unsettled weather are to blame for a lower-than-expected turnout at Wimbledon this year.

Total attendance at the Championships as it returned at full capacity for the first time in three years is down 11 per cent so far on the last comparable year, analysis shows.

 (PA)
(PA)

Some 153,193 fans poured into SW19 over the first four days of matches, with 36,603 on Monday, 39,450 on Tuesday and 38,520 on Wednesday and 38,620 on Thursday.

Wimbledon was cancelled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and returned in 2021 but with reduced capacity.

The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club organisers had expected 42,000 tickets to be sold daily this year.

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