Former British wheelchair tennis player Louise Hunt will be sharing her expertise while commentating at this year’s Wimbledon championships in the final week (from 7th July – 10th July).
No stranger to the commentary box, Louise made her debut covering the 2013 event. However, this will be Louise’s first involvement in her home grand slam since retiring from elite competitive sport in 2021.
Louise, who lives in Wroughton near Swindon, has enjoyed a successful global playing career and is one of Wiltshire’s most successful athletes.
She represented Great Britain at both the London and Rio Paralympics, and has won 13 senior singles and 41 senior doubles titles, with a career-high world ranking of 10. Her first senior title came in 2009. She made two Wimbledon appearances as a player, in 2015 in the doubles and the following year in both the singles and doubles event, this was the first year singles was held at the event.
Just like playing, a great deal of preparation goes into commentating at a grand slam event. She believes in doing her homework.
“I look at the past meetings and the stats for each player. Some of these will be sent to the BBC for us to use but I will also do my own research.”
When it comes to analysing players’ abilities, and their mindsets, Louise is well-placed to offer unique insights, making her a valued member of the commentary team.
“I’ve only just retired so I have played against most of the players who are still competing, we have been on tour together for years, so I know quite a lot about their games. I find that people like to hear about a player’s journey, so I can offer a mix of both performance and personal insight when I commentate on a game.
“In fact, recently, I was commentating on a match in Tokyo, and I was asked by my colleague who I wanted to win but I couldn’t say because both the players were my best friends and are going to be bridesmaids at my wedding this year! That’s how closely we can build relationships throughout our sporting careers,” Louise said.
Wheelchair tennis features at all four grand slam tournaments running alongside the able-bodied draw. There are 180 different tournaments on the tour, including the Masters and the Super Series.
Currently, only players ranked in the top 7 (plus one wildcard) of the ITF rankings qualify for the grand slams, although Louise is confident that the draws at these tournaments will expand to help the sport grow both in terms of participation and viewing audience.
Who does Louise tip for the women’s title this year?
“I really like watching KG Montjane from South Africa, shes certainly one to watch as she’s got a really unique and interesting game, but I can’t see anyone beating Diede de Groot from the Netherlands, she rarely loses!”
And does the thought of commentating on her home grand slam make her want to come out of retirement?
“No, I still play, but I am happy my competitive career is over. I can combine commentating with my other interests. I’ve always liked to have several things on the go, for example, I deliver talks to local different businesses and organisations as well as my work with the Youth Sport Trust and its ‘Beyond the Baseline’ programme.
“In this programme I use tennis as a tool to help build other skills in school age children such as confidence, communication and leadership. So, although I’ve come out of the sport, in one respect, I still love it and I am enjoy still being involved in it.”
This year’s Wimbledon championship will be held from 27th June to 10th July.