Author: Suse Coon

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Friday, July 3rd, 2009 at 6:32 pm
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A Summer Job at Wimbledon

Edinburgh graduate and keen tennis player, Frances Hendry, aged 23, is spending her fourth year at Wimbledon as one of 40 data-entry staff at the Championships.

Her job is to watch the tennis and analyse each shot played across some 600 matches for the two weeks of the Championships. IBM sends the captured data around the world in an instant, keeping on-site broadcasters, media and tennis fans everywhere up to date with all the latest scores and statistics. Detailed analytical reports for the players are also available as soon as the match has been completed.

That point by point detail means she really needs to know their drop shots from their volleys. Hendry, who has just graduated from Glasgow University with a joint honours degree in Business Management and French, was also a skilled junior tennis player and her knowledge and ‘feel’ for the game is very important.

“You need to have played up to at least county level,” explained Frances. “You put the information in between shots but the computer programme makes it really easy and we have a couple of days training beforehand. We sit in a booth high up where we can see everything.

“As a player myself I know how valuable it is to be able to see at a glance the key points in a match and to be able to analyse specific strengths and weaknesses, not only of my own, but also of my next opponent.”

During her studies Hendry represented the GB University team at the World University Games, as well as playing for her university team. “I knew both Andy and Jamie Murray when I was younger,” she says, “but I don’t play seriously now. I was on court for Andy’s match against Warwynka but I’m not scheduled to be on court for the semi or the final.  I’ll be on call though and I’ll make sure I am somewhere I can watch it.”

This is the fourth year that Frances has started her summer holidays with this dream job. It pays about £80 a day but can involve very long hours. Frances is lucky to have a friend she can stay with while in SW19. But contrary to what you might think, she isn’t on chatting terms with the stars. They are discouraged from speaking to the players or asking for autographs.

Later this year Hendry is starting a masters degree in Marketing at Napier University. She doesn’t see herself having time to play tennis seriously again but thought she fancied trying a team game like hockey.

Meanwhile, when you hear the commentators coming up with impressive statistics, you know it’s all thanks to Frances and her colleagues.

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