THERE was a time when Scottish accents were rare around Wimbledon.

When we would celebrate if one of our own simply managed to reach the first round, even if it was thanks to being given a wild card. When merely taking a set off a leading player in a heavy defeat was as close as it came to major success.

Changed days. Now, Scots have a big influence in British tennis, and are everywhere at the Championships. Andy Murray is most visible, of course, followed by his mother Judy, the captain of Great Britain's Fed Cup team, and his former coach Leon Smith, who captains the Davis Cup side.

But Scots are also involved in just about every non-playing aspect of the tournament, which over the fortnight requires the help of thousands of support staff, paid and voluntary. Stewart Fisher and Stuart Bathgate meet some of them:


THE RK Khanna Stadium may not quite have the tennis pedigree of Wimbledon or Roland Garros, but it was nonetheless the venue for one of the great moments in modern Scottish sporting history. It was there on the outskirts of Delhi, at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, that Jocelyn Rae and Colin Fleming won gold in the mixed doubles, in a final that ended at a minute to midnight, and was memorable, besides the result, for the swarms of outsized insect life that turned up, attracted by the floodlights.

SW19 is blessedly free of giant crickets and the like, but last week's heatwave was in some respects at least as trying as conditions as India, as Rae explained. "We only played one match in the heat of the day in Delhi, so even though it was very hot, the sun wasn't out," she said after she and Anna Smith had won their first-round women's doubles match. "It was a lot more humid.

"There's not much shade here. But we're lucky, we have a nice ball boy holding an umbrella up for us. That relieves us for a little bit."

Now 24, Rae has again been playing in the mixed doubles with Fleming - until they were knocked out on Friday - as well as in the women's with Smith (their involvement coming to an end yesterday morning). In the years after Delhi, Rae had to endure long spells on the sidelines because of a series of injuries to her feet, and for a time it seemed she might never again get the chance to make the most of her talent.

But since late 2013, she and Smith - who has had similar injury problems - have forged a largely promising partnership. They are the first-choice doubles partnership in the Fed Cup team and have enjoyed increasing success on the main WTA Tour, having won 11 titles in the past 20 months.

"This time last year we were coming in feeling a bit uncomfortable, not knowing many of the players," Rae said. "Whereas this year we feel a lot more comfortable with it. We play with most of the players here on the tour now, so we feel a lot more like we belong at this level.

"We believe we can be a pair to be reckoned with and have people not wanting to play us. I think we're starting that now, having had a good year. We get more respect now."

Born in Nottingham, Rae qualified to play for Scotland at the Common- wealth Games thanks, in two respects, to her father, Robert. Firstly, he is from Stirling, which made her eligible. And secondly, he wrote off to the Scottish authorities to let them know about his daughter.

"He brought me up to know my Scottish roots," Rae explained in 2010. "He has lived in Nottingham since he was seven or eight, but he's a big football fan and a real Scot. He sent an email to Team Scotland to see if I was eligible. Fortunately I was."

Rae still lives in Nottingham, though spends time each week training in Bath with Smith, who is just as convinced that their partnership will keep on getting better as they gain experience as a team. And, also like Rae, Smith has noticed the interest and respect they are now earning.

"We've had people coming up to us and saying well done, who probably wouldn't have done so before," the 26-year-old from Surrey said. "And we're practising with people we wouldn't have practised with before. So it's nice it's happening, but we want even more, and to keep going and get as far as we possibly can."

With the men's doubles having been made best-of-five sets, some male players - particularly those nursing injuries - have opted out of the mixed this year. But Fleming is one who is happy to keep on participating in both, and Rae, who has always been happy to confront big- serving men, believes playing in the mixed is good for her game. "I really enjoy playing with Colin," she said. "And playing against great players in the mixed at this level can only help you for the women's doubles."

Perhaps every tennis player sets out in the sport with the dream of becoming Wimbledon singles champion, but Rae has reconciled herself to the fact she must concentrate on doubles. "From my point of view, the whole injury thing with my feet was the worst thing that can happen. But I couldn't do anything about it.

"I think it's still amazing that we get to play the sport we love. Really, the last few months we've travelled on the WTA Tour, playing the best tournaments that I've ever played in week in, week out. So if it means we get to do that and still do well, it's better than sitting at home and not playing."


I'VE been coming here, as a parent at least, since 2002. That was when the boys first played in the junior event. The biggest thing for me is that in those early years it was all about the distraction and the hype. Everyone gets carried away, they can't quite believe they are there. You forget you are here to do a job. That was really the way it was for me the first year but luckily the boys were still very young. When they came back the second year they had learned.

My first visit to Wimbledon was around 1980 when I was a student and managed to get some tickets for Centre Court. I came down on the train from Scotland with three friends and stayed with my aunt, who lives in Woodford Green, north London. I was really excited but can't remember who we saw.

My mum was a huge tennis fan so when Wimbledon was on she pretty much sat on the sofa for two weeks and we didn't get fed. It was like "everything's in the fridge"; she didn't move. It was one of those things that if you can't beat them, join them. We used to just sit and watch with her. Wimbledon was her fortnight and everything else played second fiddle.

I competed in the qualifying for Wimbledon doubles, but it wasn't on site, and something that was called Junior Wimbledon, which was actually on the clay courts at the All England Club in September. A lot of them have gone now. But I never actually played in the junior event at Wimbledon.

When I was Scottish national coach someone like Alan Mackin would have been playing in the senior event but that was all and it didn't really involve me so much because he had his own coaching team. My involvement was to help him get funding from sportscotland, but he wasn't based in Scotland - most of the time he was out in Austria.

Andy's a member of the All England Club, and Jamie's a temporary member. I've been here with Jamie a few times, to play with Anton du Beke [Strictly Come Dancing partner] on one of the indoor courts.

I do love Wimbledon, and you see how much people love this place because they queue for days to be here. It is a really iconic place and it is hard to get in. Maybe that just adds to the mystique of it all, but in the early part of the tournament it is so busy up in the players' area because all the players are here and all of their entourages. It is quite chaotic. Maybe it calms down a bit towards the end of the first week and certainly into the second week. I get recognised much more now and on Thursday when I went to watch Heather Watson playing doubles I couldn't get near the court. I had to go into Court No 2 and stand on a chair on the back row and lean over. So that isn't exactly ideal. You are watching matches, doing your job as Fed Cup captain on the outside courts and people are coming up and wanting to talk to you all the time.

I used to really enjoy Wimbledon but find it stressful now. So much stress comes with the pressure and expectation that is on Andy and the fact that the spotlight is very much on us as a family. I don't know how he does it.


I HAVE my own consultancy in sports communications, press operations and event management. I'm from Kelso but based in Singapore. I work around Asia and in Europe as well. I've been doing that for almost nine years now.

This is my first year in this role at Wimbledon. Before that I was an honorary steward, from 2003, and I got that job having been at Loughborough University and having friends who were on the tennis circuit. I'd always wanted to come here and always wanted to work in sport. Then when the job came up this year I applied for it and got it.

There are four of us who look after all the female players - another four look after the men. We meet the players when they finish their matches, determine when they want to do their press, and what press requirements they'll do. Then once they've finished their cool-down we go back and take them to their interviews and follow them through.

Our average hours are from around 11am or 12 until the end of play, which is around 9pm. It's a juggling act, because you're looking after maybe 13 or 14 players a day, making sure you don't lose them and they don't disappear after their matches.

And it's keeping an eye on the scoreboard all the time, knowing when a player is going to come off court and where they're going to be. They're not always in the dressing rooms; some will go off to quiet corners, because they don't like to be found. They might be at the practice courts, or in the gym, or on the rooftop relaxation area, so we have access to all these places.

The players are good at coming to us. Most women are really punctual as well. They know it's part of their routine, so they're already prepared for it.

You might be surprised how good they are to work with. I've worked in different sports - with golfers on the LPGA Tour, for example - and they all understand the importance of their PR and media commitments. They know it's for their benefit.

This job is so different from what I used to do as an honorary steward because there I was outside all day, with the public and watching tennis. Here I'm inside all day and don't watch the tennis. But I like it because it's the other side of it.

It is busy and there's pressure on you, because people with deadlines are relying on you to get the players to them on time. You're in touch with the event, but in a totally different way. It doesn't matter to me who won the match, because you're looking after a player whether they have won or lost. Every day has been different.


THIS is my first year working at Wimbledon but I do the other tennis majors. I am basically here because Fox paid a billion dollars for the rights for the US Open golf, even though they were criticised for their coverage. That means we at ESPN lost it, and as I already do the Australian Open and the US Open, they put me on this instead.

The total ESPN commentary group here is probably something like 30 or 40 people. My immediate working group includes Fred Stolle, Jeff Tarango and Chanda Rubin, who won the mixed doubles here, while our main team comprises Chrissie Evert, the McEnroe brothers, Brad Gilbert, Darren Cahill and Cliff Drysdale.

I was sports editor for 10 years at Radio Forth, then had two years at Talk 107, before I got made redundant on Christmas Eve, 2008. I started Multimedia Sport, my own freelance company, within a week, and began doing freelance work for newspapers such as The Sun and the Sunday Herald.

I also wrote Believe, a Hearts book about the Vladimir Romanov era, and a book on Gary Mackay. I am currently working with Steve Nicol on his autobiography.

The Open at St Andrews in 2010 was the first thing I did for ESPN but my main involvement was with soccer. Their football is for the international market, which means it goes to Australia, the Caribbean and New Zealand, while the golf and tennis go into every household in America.

I first came here in 2003 and saw defending champion Lleyton Hewitt play, but I had never been on Centre Court so when I had half-an-hour to myself this fortnight I just sat on my own in there and took it all in. I know I'm lucky to be able to do what I do.

I was calling Heather Watson v Serena Williams on Friday night, and my commentary was available on the BBC red button at the finish of the match. My mum is a big Cliff Richard fan so I made sure he got some pelters just for her.

When I started at ESPN, I got introduced to everyone. One guy said 'Hi, I am Mario from Cordoba' so I said 'Hi, I am Mark from Penicuik'. He doesn't look anything like he used to in 1978, Mario Kempes!

I had met Derek Rae before because he had come over to do a piece on Romanov, and I saw him again in 2009 in Boston, when he said there was a chance he would be flying back to Scotland to do commentaries on football games every week for a year, so his job might become free over in the United States.

I had a screen test the day after I proposed to my wife in Central Park, then received an email saying I had got the job. That was in July 2010, and I started in the September.

I have a green card and will hopefully become a US citizen in 2018.


WE were originally invited down to Wimbledon by the previous IT director. My partner Audrey Denyer and I work together, we are directors of the company MAC Systems. We got a call out of the blue, asking us if we would like to come to Wimbledon for the weekend and we thought it was a joke.

We were told they wanted to upgrade their telephony and asked if we could help.

For 50 weeks of the year, the All England Club is an average-size business, then for two weeks of the year it is the centre of the universe. The challenge was how to upgrade the telephony to accommodate the world's press, broadcasters and photographers.

What we did was require the general population, media and broadcasters to order services, where before they would all have done their own thing. That process starts in September next year.

We are a telecommunications company from Carmunnock Road, Glasgow, and project managers who one day got invited to a golf event, and found it was a niche we could get into.

The philosophy for us is quite simple: no is not an answer. A tournament like this is going to proceed on a set date, year in year out, so we just have to understand the needs of broadcasters such as the BBC and ESPN.

In the last eight years we have seen a dramatic shift. In the old days a journalist would have had a fixed line telephone, now it is all about connectivity. The club have their own Wi-Fi, but we are involved in managing and running it.

All the hard work is done by the guys back in the office who start in September. The job now is really prevention, stand-by and managing a very professional group of guys.

I can't think of a better tennis tournament in the world than this and our job is to be invisible and just make sure everything works.