Last Friday morning, Chris Quinn woke up in his London hotel room with a dilemma.
The Club Captain of Greystones Lawn Tennis Club had spent the previous day at Wimbledon, but was unsure whether he should use his tickets for the second day. After seeing both of the Ladies’ Semi-Finals on Centre Court the day before, Quinn had to catch an early-evening flight back to Dublin on Friday. He was unsure whether or not to travel to SW19 early in the day to watch some tennis on the outside courts.
In the end, he decided to travel out to the All-England Club, and it turned out to be one of the best decisions he ever made.
The Ladies' Invitation Doubles match on Court No. 3 between Kim Clijsters/Rennae Stubbs and Conchita Martinez/Andrea Jaeger was not one on the most high-profile matches of the day, but for Quinn, it gave him memories that will last a lifetime.
The Wicklow native was plucked from the crowd, and ended up briefly competing in the match, being on the opposite end of a Kim Clijsters serve.
Speaking to Balls.ie, just over 24 hours after his Wimbledon debut, Quinn explained how he ended up on the court after Clijsters jokingly asked the crowd where she should serve to Martinez.
There I was in my big, blue basketball shorts and my Green Lantern top and I just said ‘body serve’ and she said ‘who said that?’ My friend pointed at me, as most of the crowd did. She said; “well you come out then and take a body serve?’.
I remember walking out on court and thinking, ‘why am I not getting arrested?’. It just doesn’t happen at Wimbledon.
Quinn walked onto the court, but Clijsters handed him a white skirt, to keep up with Wimbledon’s dress code. The Wicklow native admitted, “I’m not a small guy, but I move around the court pretty quick for my size”, and had no issue putting on the shorts.
She was like; “are these going to go above of your knees?”. I just said; “yeah, no problem”. Life’s too short to worry about things like that. I got a chance to receive a serve off one of the best players in the world.
Clijsters’ serve was not at 100%, but Quinn admitted it was still faster than what he is used to at home.
She went easy on me, but it’s still a bit harder than I’m used to.
I came home from Wimbledon on Friday, and played a match in Carrickmines that night at 10pm. The men that were serving to me, were not even close to the pace that Clijsters was hitting.
Although his time on Court No.3 was short, Quinn got the opportunity to thank Clijsters, Stubbs, Martinez and Jaeger after the match.
They met us afterwards when they left the court. There were queues of people getting autographs. Clijsters found me in the crowd, and I got a picture with her. The four players were fabulous. It meant nothing to them, but it meant everything to myself and my buddy.
In the 48 hours since Quinn’s debut on the Wimbledon grass, his video has been viewed more than five million times, which has made him very popular at home.
My three daughters are amazed by what’s happened. My eldest is 17 and my youngest is 12. They’re as in much disbelief as I am.
In what will surely become a unique piece of Irish sporting memorabilia, Quinn admitted he hopes to auction the skirt for charity, but does hope to meet Clijsters on court once more.
I had a blast. Let’s see if a rematch happens. I think it’s only fair that I should serve the next time.
Thank you for going easy on me with the serve. You have made me a bigger hero to my 3 daughters who worship you BTW.
— chris (@chrisquinnirl) July 15, 2017