Tennis is set to serve up a star-studded treat in Birmingham and then Wimbledon. So, what better time to ‘get personal’ with Kings Heath’s own former Wimbledon champion and proud Brummie, Ann Jones…
BEEN THERE DONE THAT
As a former tennis champion, I won eight Grand Slams including Wimbledon in 1969: three in singles, three in women’s doubles and two in mixed doubles. I’m vice-president of the All England Club and until two years ago was on the committee fulfilling various logistical roles from sorting out the order of play to making sure the ball boys knew what they were doing.
IT’S WHAT I DO
After I retired from tennis in 1970, I launched a career working with the Women’s Tennis Association and was chairwoman for the International Women’s Tennis Council for many years. I also worked with the BBC as a guest analyst which I loved. But I’m fully retired now so enjoy doing nothing other than snipping the dead heads off plants, running around after my grandchildren and walking my English setter.
WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE
At my time of life I haven’t got many ambitions. I’ve sort of done it all. Perhaps I should be going for an Open University degree or something, but I really haven’t got the urge.
Winning Wimbledon. I’ve also managed to put a few things right one way or another. I helped get women’s tennis going properly with decent prize money. I’ve affected change through committee roles and have lobbied various national bodies since I stopped playing, so that women’s tennis is now really something. I was instrumental in bringing tournament tennis to Birmingham in the form of the Birmingham Classic and ran it for years. Now I just trot along to the tournament, drink Champagne and watch like everyone else! It’s quite nice.
BIGGEST LESSON LEARNED
I wouldn’t mind doing it all over again with today’s money! Also, I’ve learned it’s very difficult to move a national body to make change, but we got there in the end.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BRUM
I was born in Birmingham and I’ve stayed here. It probably would have been sensible to move to London when I was on the committee at Wimbledon, but this is home. It’s changed hugely for the better over the years. It’s multi-cultural and multi-faceted. Yes, it’s a big city with the problems that come with that and there are areas that could be improved, but on the whole it’s a nice place to live with much to enjoy. The restaurant and theatre scene is thriving and you can do anything.
I try to keep fit. I walk the dog whatever the weather and I swim at the Priory a lot.