Pippa Middleton's Wimbledon preview has been published in July's issue of Vanity Fair. It's full of nostalgia and tips to get the tennis palate watered for the third Grand Slam of the year, which begins June 24.
So how does Britain's most famous little sister fare in her first dispatch as a contributing editor for the American magazine? Let's just say the unforced error count outnumbers the winners. But, hey, Maria Sharapova won most of her matches at the French Open that way, so it's not an entirely failed strategy.
Here's what we learned from Kate's kid sister, the self-proclaimed former tomboy, who likes to celebrate a particularly enthralling day at Wimbledon with a scone.
• In the ongoing debate between whether it should be called "Henman Hill" or "Murray Mound," it seems Pippa is decidedly on Team Murray. She's all about the now. Also, when you've sat in The Royal Box while a guy watered the Centre Court ryegrass with his salty tears, you'd probably be inclined to give him some land to make him feel better about himself.
• Her exclusive interview with Roger Federer turned out to be a mundane five-question Q&A. We'll have to debate which is the more hard-hitting question: "What does breakfast consist of?" or "Is it true that the winner of the men’s and women’s championships have to dance together at the Wimbledon-ball after-party?"
• Pippa does her readers right in her Court Report, as she provides some interesting Wimbledon trivia that a general tennis fan might actually find illuminating. Rufus the Hawk, the special strawberries from Kent and Rudyard Kipling all accounted for. That said, it reads like a FAQ you'd find on the Wimbledon website. Useful but snoozy.
• Pippa is at her best in her Five Shapshots, finally giving one the sense that she's actually gone to Wimbledon and truly enjoys it. The detail about the delayed cheering from Murray Mound would only strike you if you've been there.
• I honestly can't tell if this description of a day at Wimbledon is really going to convince Americans that this is an event worth attending.
I know it’s clichéd, but there’s nothing better than watching the dramas unfold on the court whilst eating juicy strawberries and sipping Pimm’s No. 1 Cup. (Roughly 200,000 glasses of the stuff get glugged during the Wimbledon fortnight.) If I’m feeling greedy, this is followed by a post-match debriefing over a classic cream tea: scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, and buttery white-bread finger sandwiches (crusts off) filled with thinly sliced cucumber, tomato, or smoked salmon with plenty of salt and pepper. Bath buns—round, rich, lemony sweet rolls topped with sugar crystals—are another favorite.
Juicy strawberries? Scones? Smoked salmon? Is this Wimbledon or Whole Foods?
• Let us now turn to Pippa's "Rising in the Rankings" feature, which is her version of "ones to watch" at Wimbledon. First, color me shocked and fairly impressed that Pippa (or her ghostwriter) is even aware of Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic, 20, who has spent the year quietly moving up the rankings, to No. 39. The same goes for Alexandr Dolgopolov, though selling his familial connections over his exiting brand of tennis may have been a misstep.
Second, much like Wimbledon itself, Pippa is keen on giving props to more Brits than any American would actually care for. Laura Robson and Heather Watson? Check. Oli Golding and Kyle Edmund? At this point, Golding isn't even in the main draw. Does Pippa have the inside scoop on the four remaining Wimbledon men's wild cards up for grabs?
Third, Grigor Dimitrov makes the list, and Pippa feels compelled to tell her dedicated readers that he's "easy on the eye for the ladies!" Show, don't tell, Pippa.
• All joking aside, this anecdote about her father's run-in with Tim Henman is pretty great:
I was at Wimbledon with my dad watching Tim Henman and Pete Sampras play. We were sitting quite close to the players’ court entrance. When Tim Henman walked onto the court, the crowd cheered him, and as he neared our seats my dad mistakenly yelled, “Come on, Pete!”That was embarrassing.
This goes out to every person who's found it hilarious to yell, "C'mon Tim!" whenever a Brit is playing, even to this day.
• Pippa's "insider tips" for first-time Wimbledon-goers: Print out directions, get there early and don't bail on a Rafael Nadal match. Got it. What would we do without your sage advice, Pippa? Tennis players litter Forbes' 100 list