Philip hopes he’s a smash hit at Wimbledon

Philip Lodge, Wimbledon line judge
Philip Lodge, Wimbledon line judge

Buxton’s Philip Lodge is off to Wimbledon - but he’s not there just to soak up the serves, sun and strawberries!

The 31-year-old is a line judge and is off to SW19 for the first time to play his part in the biggest tournament on the tennis calendar.

He says he was delighted when he was told he would be working at this year’s showpiece, which starts today (Monday).

He said: “I found out in February that I’d been selected for Wimbledon.

“I was very pleased and a bit relieved as well because I’d tried last year and was assessed but there was only a couple of slots so I missed out.

“So this year it was a relief to get it, because I’ve been working quite hard to impress people.”

The call-up to Wimbledon represents Philip’s proudest moment and he says he is relishing the occasion.

He said: “You get assessed in the lead-up to these things.

“There is a senior member of the Association of British Tennis Officials to keep an eye on you.

“You’re assessed all the time really.

“I’ve been to Wimbledon once before and I think that will help me because I know where everything is, in terms of a spectator.

“I’m there for ten days but you don’t know what might happen with other officials - I might get asked to stay an extra day perhaps.”

Philip says line judges are not informed of what match they are officiating on until the day itself, therefore he could be calling decisions on Andy Murray’s defence of his Wimbledon crown or an unknown prospect.

Despite this uncertainty he insists the job remains the same, regardless of the profile of the players out on court.

He said: “You just learn what match you’re doing on the day.

“I know what I’m doing and I’ve been waiting for this moment.

“It’s surprising how the top players have an ability to make a shot when they need to, but generally the pace of the rallies is quite similar to pro tournaments lower down.”

His biggest tournament to date is Eastbourne, which he was working at last week.

A member at Buxton Tennis Club since he was 14, Philip is fast approaching 40 tournaments and he says all his past experiences will hopefully ensure a smooth and successful tournament.

He added: “After starting out, if the assessors think you can hack it and you’re thick-skinned and have got good concentration, you get to work at Futures tournament level.

“That’s a good environment to get your teeth into it.

“Then, by the time you get to bigger events, it almost feels easy.”