July 22 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
The eyes of eager tennis fans will be on a youngster from Suffolk today when she steps out on Centre Court at Wimbledon to get play under way.
Little Elle Robus-Miller, who trains at the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis (EBAT) in Ipswich, will perform the ceremonial coin toss with defending women’s champion Marion Bartoli, who has since retired from the game.
The nine-year-old will carry out the duty in the first of the day’s matches between last year’s beaten finalist, Sabine Lisicki, and Julia Glushko in the first round.
Elle, from Ipswich, was selected after the All England Club approached EBAT for a young player to perform the coin toss as a tribute to former British No. 1, Elena Baltacha, who lost her battle with liver cancer in May aged 30.
EBAT manager Jamie Friend said: “The trustees decided that we wanted to choose a player who would best represent EBAT at such a prestigious event, a player who always gives 100% every time they step on court, and that was Elle.”
As well as performing the coin toss, Elle, who is in Year Four at Murrayfield Primary School, Ipswich, will walk onto court with the players and meet the umpire.
She has also been given two tickets for the day’s matches on Centre Court where she will watch the action with her father Kevin Miller. He said: “Elle has been at the academy for the past two years.
“Bally visited her school to do a tennis roadshow and spotted her and she has been playing at the academy ever since.
“She had never picked up a tennis racket in her life until Bally went into her school and since then she has gone from strength-to-strength.”
It has been a whirlwind month for Elle after she travelled to Queen’s Club earlier this month for the men’s final and Rally for Bally event in Elena’s memory which saw tennis stars including Andy Murray, Heather Watson and Victoria Azarenka play.
He added: “Elle led on one of the men’s finalists before she walked on court with Heather Watson for the Rally for Bally fundraising match.
“She managed to get on court with Andy Murray and Victoria Azarenka for a hit as well.”
Mr Miller, who lives in East Bergholt, said he is “incredibly proud” of his daughter.
“She has worked so hard for what success she is enjoying now and I’m very proud,” he added.
“She can’t wait and is really looking forward to arriving for her first-ever time at Wimbledon.”