UCFB Sports Business & Sports Broadcasting student Ben Croft recently had the opportunity to attend the first day of this year’s Wimbledon. With the tournament in full swing we asked Ben for his thoughts on the importance of the event to the British sporting calendar and what makes attending day one so special…

How does Wimbledon compare to other major sporting events you have attended?

Wimbledon is very special, I’ve been very fortunate enough to go there for the last few years and it’s just amazing. The fact you can wander around the outside courts and watch matches between some of the lesser players but still enjoy it is brilliant. That’s the beauty of going on the first day like I did because all the players are still there so you are spoilt for choice. Luckily I got to see my two favourite players Federer and Wawrinka practicing which was fantastic. To see them up close makes you realise even more how good and dedicated these players are. It’s different from going to a football match. It’s not hostile at all and every player has that respect from the supporters. It’s a truly magical event and one I’ve followed since I was six years old. It seems to get better every year!

What do you think makes it such a special event on the British sporting calendar?

I believe it’s the tradition and history behind it. It’s a tournament that has been going for 150 years. There’s so many great memories that Wimbledon has thrown up in the past which makes it even more special. Even the protocols Wimbledon has, such as wearing white, players walking on and off court together, the royal box filled with star-studded sportsmen and women. It just has a really special feel and the players know how important the tournament is. I think it’s the tournament players enjoy the most and possibly the most watched tennis tournament in the world, so it has a very special and unique feel to it that I personally really like.

What did you learn from the event you could take into your UCFB studies? 

I will graduate in October, but I attended Wimbledon for the last three years whilst I was studying at UCFB. I’ve always been fascinated by the broadcasting side of sport so I like to look and see what the media get up to when they are there. It made me realise how lucky they are to work at such a prestigious and high-profile event. Plus, I see other aspects like event management that play a huge part in making the tournament so special for spectators.

What are tour predictions for this year’s Wimbledon?

Before the tournament I fancied Cilic to win the Men’s title. He won Queens and made the final of Wimbledon last year. He’s a very good player who has a good grass court game and I think this will be his year to claim his first Wimbledon title.

You can never rule out Federer and Nadal, what they’re currently doing in the game is astonishing. They’ve been rolling back the years and shared the last six grand slams, which no one would have expected at the ages of 36 and 32 respectively. It would be fitting to see them battle it out in another final, 10 years after the epic encounter which saw Nadal win in 2008.

In the Ladies’ draw, it’s wide open as it always seems to be. The top players always seem vulnerable to an early shock and that’s proven to be the case with Wozniacki going out in round two. You can never rule Serena Williams out, even if she has been out for over a year. Britain’s Johanna Konta could do well after making the semi-finals last year too.