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01 July 2008
As the attention of the British public turns to tennis this summer, one University student will be at the centre of the action.
Eirian Jones, recently awarded an MPhil from the School of Welsh for research into the life and work of Ceredigion folk poet B.T. Hopkins, is umpiring at Wimbledon for the eleventh year running.
Having joined the Association of British Tennis Officials fourteen years ago, Eirian spent some time officiating at club tournaments and lower level events before receiving her first Wimbledon call for the 1998 Championships. Returning every year since then, she has been witness to numerous changes at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, including the new No. 1 Court and the introduction of umpire uniforms by Ralph Lauren.
With research from Cardiff School of Social Sciences recently advising that the Hawk-Eye system, used to supplement decision-making by umpires, should come with a ‘health’ warning attached, attention on the judgment calls made by Eirian and her colleagues will be closer than ever this year.
Eirian said: "Some days, the atmosphere on Centre Court is akin to a cauldron and it can be difficult to dismiss from your mind the millions of people who are watching all around the world on television".
Clearly enjoying her hobby in spite of the pressures involved, she added: "Despite the nerves, the odd bruise and trying to keep my uniform pristine for the two weeks, I couldn’t miss this annual experience".
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