My Wimbledon: Lydia Fernandes and Steve Bishop

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I got told off afterwards because you have to keep a poker face, you’ve got to hide the pain

Line judges Lydia Fernandes and Steve Bishop share their behind-the-scenes memories of Wimbledon in the latest of our 'My Wimbledon' series

What are your earliest memories of Wimbledon?

Lydia: I was one of those crazy campers! We always used to camp overnight and then queue for hours. Tennis has always been a big part of family life – my dad played junior Wimbledon so I have always gone to Wimbledon every year – it’s a tradition. The queue is such fun – everyone has a great time. We all share drinks, play games together and you just go and chat to other people – it’s all very friendly.

Steve: My first Wimbledon I had tickets to Court One, quarter-finals day – Tim Henman was playing but it rained almost the entire day. There was two hours and one minute of play – enough to not get a refund! I spent my entire day in the kids’ zone with one of the coaches from my local centre.

And your first Championships as an official?

Steve: I remember it was 'wow!' As you walk through the gates and there is nobody else there, no public – there’s a wow factor. It’s amazing. This is my seventh year.

Lydia: This is my third year. Steve was one of my first team captains!

Do you remember what the first match you officiated was?

Steve: Feliciano Lopez.

Lydia: I don’t remember – something on the outside courts! I do remember on my second or third day Ivo Karlovic served at me and I got hit! I got told off afterwards because you have to keep a poker face – you can’t laugh or smirk – you’ve got to hide the pain! Unlike the players, a successful tournament for an umpire or line judge is presumably to avoid the limelight?

Steve: If you’re not being seen, you’ve done something right. If you’re drawing attention to yourself, you’re doing something wrong.

Lydia: Unless you make a call and HawkEye proves you right. I’ve had one – at Queen’s on Centre Court. I’ve not been ‘HawkEyed’ at Wimbledon yet!

Steve: It is a satisfying feeling. I remember I was overruled in a ladies' doubles match at the Olympics and the HawkEye proved me right.

How did you get into officiating?

Lydia: We are both players, both coaches and this was the next step really.

Steve: It’s a way of getting involved in the top level that unless you are a very good player you can’t get involved in.

Does it make you appreciate it from the other side when you step back on the court as a player?

Lydia: I still get a bit argumentative with the umpires!

Steve: I haven’t played for a few years but I reckon I would be a bit vile if I did!

Posted by: tennishead

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