Before I start, I would like to talk about Off The Record—the charity that I represent. They offer free and valuable mental health counselling for children and teens up to the age of 25. Their website can be found at https://www.talkofftherecord.org/
We started this magical day by getting picked up in an official Wimbledon Range Rover Discovery! It was huge and it needed to be, because it was meant to carry massive tennis bags! I felt like Tennis royalty! Then we met up with Rachel—who took us around Wimbledon and gave us everything we would ever need. She also interviewed me when I went to Wimbledon for the first time. My Mum had never been to Centre Court. She was dazzled by the sight of it. We went around and I was first greeted by someone very special. Rufus, the celebrity hawk who has his own Twitter page and scares the pesky pigeons by the grounds. He was the eye in the sky and he was so cool! The head bird keeper (yes—that's a thing) told me to be like a twig. So he jumped onto me and was very confused. After 20 seconds of him getting off me, he decided to poop—but not on my clothes (thankfully)!
Then I had to take part in some really cool media interviews. Two were with Wimbledon and the other was with the BBC. It was no doubt a great experience to have. The woman with the blue polka dot skirt is Rachel by the way! I also had the privilege of helping the groundsman to put up the net and arrange the towels for the players! I also met Gerry, who was the referee for the final and he took me around Centre Court to give me instructions on what to do. He also gave me a few helpful tips on how to flip the coin! Then we had lunch. We were in a members' lounge, which was very nice. There was a very formal dress code. So dad had to wear a blazer and a tie etc. However, I didn't need to because I wore a OTR shirt!
Then, we headed back to Centre Court just before the match. Mum and Dad were taken to their seats and I was taken to the clubhouse to meet Gerry again. It was really funny as everyone was calling me "sir"! I was so scared to flip the coin and I was genuinely getting sweaty. For a coin! I was given a show around the clubhouse. Unfortunately, I was not allowed to take photos as it is prohibited.
The big moment. I was so excited but still scared. Then, they announced my name and who Off The Record is and how they had helped me. Gerry walked up with me on to Centre Court with everyone in the crowd clapping! The court burst into a very loud shout and I acted as naturally as I could. In the words of the infamous Madagascar Penguins I just "smiled and waved". But I will admit, I did smile a lot. But, then everyone looked in the opposite direction and it was at that moment I realised Djokovic is going to walk onto the same court that I am standing on. I am going to meet him. And first, Berrettini walked up and the crowd burst out, but the sound quite frankly deafened me when Djokovic walked on. I was in shock and I was so excited! First Berrettini walked up and was jumping up and down. We fist-bumped and it was so chill. Then, I met Nole and I had to act like this was such a normal thing. So, I said "Hey man! Wassup!" In hindsight, I should never have said that!
Berrettini was given the choice and he called heads. I used all of my previous knowledge. I thought of the days spent practising. The hours spent just continuously flipping. It had all led to this moment. I breathed and both Nole and Berrettini looked at me. They expected me to perform well. Then, I flipped the coin as well as I could. It spun and spun (and spun again) as though it was in slow motion. Each side—one with the face of Queen Elizabeth the other with the letters EP (Elizabeth and Phillip). Then, it landed. Heads. I had done it. I had done the impossible. No one thought I could, yet here I am. Telling the tale about how I had flipped THE coin. I had worked so hard for this and I did not let myself down. (If you haven't realised, I am being very sarcastic!) Berrettini decided to receive and there lies the beginning of a tale of the Final. Then, I took photos with the two and the biggest achievement was accomplished. Nole ruffled my hair. I have photographic evidence!
The rest is a blur but if there's one thing I want you to take away, it's that no matter who you are, you can struggle with mental health—and that you shouldn't be ashamed. Nor should you think you're alone. There are awesome charities, people and places such as school and Off The Record that can help you if you're struggling mentally. You are not alone.
Article by Sean, 8D