The Duchess of Cambridge is known to be an avid tennis fan.
And she enlisted a tennis champion to help her mark what should have been the start of Wimbledon finals weekend, as she asked Sir Andy Murray to share some tips with schoolchildren in London.
The duchess was joined on a video call by Sir Andy as a surprise guest last week, as she spoke to pupils at Bond Primary School in Mitcham, south London.
Kate, 38, joined a call with the children after their tennis lesson with All England Lawn Tennis Club head coach Dan Bloxham, and surprised them by bringing in Sir Andy.
Asking them to guess an important guest, she laughed as she said: “He... is a he. He plays tennis for Great Britain, he’s two time Olympic champion, he’s former World Number One.
“Can you possibly guess who this might be?”
She and Sir Andy greeted one another before they spoke to the children, with the champion answering questions from the children.
One asked why he became a tennis player, to which he said: “It was one of the few things I was good at.
“But I did it because I enjoyed it and I had fun doing it.
“I’ve been very lucky.”
He also credited his mother, tennis coach Judy Murray, and his brother, Jamie Murray, as people who helped him love the sport.
He also revealed he was “about seven” when he first played a tennis match, adding: “I didn’t really know the rules, or how to keep score at that age.”
Sir Andy admitted he felt it was “a shame” that Wimbledon had to be cancelled because of COVID-19.
Asked by Kate if he missed playing matches he said: “I think missing the big competitions, because I’m getting old for a tennis player, you never know how many opportunities you’re going to have left to play the biggest competitions.
“So missing Wimbledon this week is obviously a shame.”
They also talked about how he had found lockdown, and he said he had enjoyed “the first five or six weeks” because he got to stay home with his family and spend more time with his children.
He said: “We’re doing the home schooling which is difficult. It was difficult, but at times I really enjoyed it as well.”
Sir Andy, 33, said he had 10 weeks off playing tennis, but stayed in shape by riding a bike.
“I was going out on my road bike, which was something I’ve never done before, so that’s something kind of new that I learned I enjoy during lockdown,” he said.
“It’s quite important in these times to stay as active as you can because it is good for the mind as well.”
Sir Andy shared some tips at the end of the call, saying: “The most important thing is to have fun.”
He added: “If you’re enjoying it, you get more out of your lessons and your practising. Listen to your coach, that’s very important. That’s the two most important things at your age.
“If you’re competing or playing any matches, try really hard in them.
“But winning and losing isn’t the most important thing. Enjoying playing a sport and being active is the most important thing.
“If you do go on to choose it as your career, obviously the winning and losing changes a bit.”
The duchess told the children “enjoy your holidays” as they signed off.
Tweeting the video afterwards, Sir Andy said: “Loved dropping in on this, thanks for having me.”
Kate has previously visited the school to see the work of the Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative (WJTI), the All England Lawn Tennis Club’s community tennis programme.
Before Sir Andy joined the call, she spoke to them about how their tennis had progressed since she joined them in January 2018, as well as the benefits of exercise and their experiences during lockdown.
Kate is patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC) and usually makes several visits to the club in Wimbledon through Championships fortnight.
She watches matches, and gives out the trophies to the men’s winner and runner-up.
The WJTI provides free tennis sessions to school children in Merton and Wandsworth, the two boroughs which the AELTC straddles.
Wimbledon was cancelled for 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the duchess marked what should have been the beginning of the fortnight by voicing a video in which she told them it would be worth the wait.
Sir Andy competed in the Battle of the Brits tournament, organised by his older brother Jamie Murray. On Thursday it was announced there will be a second tournament, with female players also involved, at the end of July.