After being granted a place in the historic tournament as a completely unknown wild card, Isle of Wight tennis hopeful Mickey Pickles arrived at SW1 this morning carrying a solid plastic racquet and a SwingBall set, the popular 80’s garden game.
In Wimbledon's illustrious 136 year history, never before has an entrant hailed from the Isle of Wight. Perhaps most remarkable of all, the 22 year old from Shanklin was only introduced to tennis just six months ago, when his uncle returned from the mainland with a racquet he'd found in a hedge. The racquet was initially dismissed as a queer device used by 'country-folk' to dice root vegetables. After receiving the racquet as a Christmas gift, Mickey never looked back.
When asked about his unusual training equipment and his preparation for the Grand Slam tournament, the part-time farm hand said: "There's only one racquet on the island, so most of my experience has come from trying to beat myself at SwingBall, plus I've read the 1979 issue of Tennis Today I found in the library".
The confident novice makes his first appearance on Thursday in a showdown with Serbian maestro, Novak Djokovic. "I've never heard of him before so I have nothing to fear" said Pickles. "I just need to stick with my SwingBall tactics; hit, duck, hit, duck, unravel. Hit, duck, hit, duck, unravel, and so on. I'll be just fine".