Our Wimbledon diary brings you the fun and gossip from behind the scenes at The Championships 2019.
Mark Hodgkinson
July 12, 2019

LONDON, UK - British snooker player Mark Selby, one of only two people that Simona Halep follows on Twitter, has wished the Romanian "the best of luck" ahead of Saturday's Wimbledon final against Serena Williams. 

Passing a message to Halep via Net Flicks, three-time World Snooker champion Selby said: "I hope Simona can win the final. I am rooting for her and wish her the best of luck on Saturday." Selby, 36, who was offered some tickets but can't make it to Centre Court for Halep's first Wimbledon final, added a couple of emojis of encouragement to pass on to Halep: a smiley face and a flexed bicep. 

The only other person that Halep follows on Twitter is her former coach Darren Cahill. The connection between the Wimbledon finalist and the snooker player was made through Halep's manager, Cosmin Hodor, who is good friends with Selby. "I have no idea how you play snooker," Halep told the media after her semifinal win. "But I appreciate him. He's been in Romania a few times. Also I have a snooker ball signed by him. That's why I follow him." 

Snooker World No.6 Mark Selby in action at the 2019 Dafabet Masters in London (Getty)
Snooker star Mark Selby is friends with Simona Halep

OLYMPIA, Serena Williams's one-year-old daughter, has been exploring the All England Club over the past two weeks. In addition to spending time in the on-site crèche and joining her mother on the warm-down exercise bike the other day (in Serena's arms), Olympia has been enjoying walking about on the lush lawn outside the players' restaurant. 

Who could have imagined that Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck would play cameo roles at Wimbledon? ASHLEIGH BARTY, playing her first Grand Slam as WTA World No.1, dropped a number of Disney references into her media appearances as part of a game with her coaching team. Meanwhile, Serena Williams played a match this week wearing a plaster on her arm featuring images of the cartoon characters. Presumably, Williams had bought the Disney plasters for Olympia. 

While COCO GAUFF lost in the fourth round, she remains a talking point in the broadcast center at the All England Cub. On each of the four days she played, hers was the most watched match of the day on ESPN, the American broadcasters. Such was the interest in the 15-year-old American qualifier, who was the youngest player in the last 16 since Jennifer Capriati in 1991, ESPN's ratings were up 29 per cent during the first seven days compared to last summer. 

Read more: Coco Motion - Gauff's journey from qualifier to Centre Court star

As MARTINA NAVRATILOVA observes in her column previewing the final, Williams keeps the points short and her legs fresh on the Wimbledon grass. Just how short can be examined by looking at the official match statistics, which show that so far in The Championships, she has run 7,248.8 metres in her six singles matches. Halep, by contrast, has covered 11,781 metres, which is more than 60 per cent further than Williams. 

 

Each of the finalists will have their favoured Duchess in the ROYAL BOX on Saturday. Serena Williams will be supported by her close friend Meghan Markle, now officially known as the Duchess of Sussex. Kensington Palace announced on Friday that both Markle and the Duchess of Cambridge (Kate Middleton), who is the patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, will be in the crowd for the women's final. Halep told the media on Thursday how she hoped the Duchess of Cambridge would attend: "I like her," said Halep.