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A Day in the Life of a 'real' Tennis Journalist

Chris Doerr, Bromley Cricket Club Coach, took a week off from coaching at Plaistow Lane to experience life as a reporter as he was offered some work experience at the Times. As well as posting a few articles, Chris was offered an amazing opportunity to go to the Aegon International and shadow the tennis correspondent, Neil Harman.

During Chris' time in Eastbourne, he was given a press pass and therefore had access to pretty much everywhere on the grounds. As well as brushing shoulders with players like Daniela Hantuchova and Marcos Baghdatis, he was present at many press conferences that included two former World No. #1s. Below are a selection of the articles he wrote:

My Day as a Times Reporter at Aegon International

This week I took a little time out from my usual work to experience what it is like to be a proper journalist at The Times in London. Apart from loving every minute of it, I was offered an opportunity to go to the Aegon International in Eastbourne on Tuesday, June 19th. Not bad ay.

I shadowed Neil Harman, The Times tennis correspondent. Harman has been covering tennis since Wimbledon 1982. He started of at the Daily Mail as a tennis and football correspondent and been at The Times for some time. He is arguably the best in the business of what he does and so shadowing him was unbelievable.

Eastbourne Media Centre

My day started out getting my press pass done. Having never had one of these before, I ran into a few embarrassing problems. I did not know whether to smile or not and so, I ended up giving some half ridiculously stupid smile and I kept showing it to people the wrong way round.

I met Harman in the media centre and before we had a little walk around the courts. Eastbourne was a very small but yet sweet place to watch the tennis. It was not overcrowded although seating was nothing but folding chairs that people hung on to like a German with a sun lounger.

After discussing everything from how he got into the game to umpires onto Steve Darcis, he was a fan of the Belgium after meeting him at Davis Cup, I was left to go onto Court 1.

Istomin was playing Llodra which turned into a bit of boring match as Llodra looked like his mind was elsewhere. However, sitting in the press seats was good fun and I did get some respectful looks as I sat down. If only they knew I was on work experience. I was in the same row as Istomin's Mum and Coach. I was amazed at the amount he looked to her, something I try to discourage my players from doing.

The day carried on as I spent time around the courts and in the media room. We both wanted to see the British girls play, Laura Robson and Heather Watson, so we watched Robson fight back very well to win. Then another experience arose that I did not think would happen.

The Press Conferences with Robson, Wozniacki and Roddick

After watching Robson win and grabbing another sandwich, Harman started getting his story together which would be highlighted by Robson's win despite the top three seeds in the WTA event going out.

I was then introduced to many press conferences. The conference room was a kind of like a cross between an old church and a cinema with chairs leaving a corridor in the middle and a bright light shining on the players.

Robson gave quite a funny interview in which she fooled one reporter who stated 'her website' said she would now crack the top 100. Robson replied simply with, "I don't have a web site. I only have a Twitter." I'd never heard someone 'mug' someone else off so politely.

Wozniacki was in next. She had just lost but answered questions very professionally which was great to see. One reporter tried toget a rise out of her by asking her whether her boyfriend, Rory McIlroy, was the cause for bad performances. Her reply of, "No," firmly put the reporter in his place.

I was very intrigued to see the media not wanting to speak to some players, especially as these relatively unknown players had beaten some top seeds.

My last press conference, sadly because I wanted to speak to Gasquet as he lost, was with the legend of press conferences. Andy Roddick.

Despite laughing before with a mate that I should ask a question that would really annoy him, I decided against it after realising that it was not the place or the time due to his match being stopped early as Qurrey had back/neck issues.

His most interesting comment came when he said that, "you can't really replicate match situations in practice," as he responded to a question of coming to Eastbourne. I thought it was funny because Wozniacki and Murray seem to believe the opposite.

It was a great day and an incredible experience. I hope you enjoyed reading about my great day. I went on to to visit Wembley FC and speak to Terry Venables, David Seaman and some other legends due to their involvement with the club.

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