Duchess of Cambridge tells fellow tennis fans Wimbledon will be 'worth the wait' in video message

Rebecca Taylor
Royal Correspondent

The Duchess of Cambridge has narrated a message on what should have been the first day of the Wimbledon Championships, telling fans the return to SW19 will be “worth the wait”.

Kate, 38, is a keen tennis fan and patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC), where the competition is held each summer, lent her voice to the short film as the club was uncharacteristically quiet.

Usually on day one of the tournament, fans would be queuing and even camping overnight to secure tickets into the grounds, while first round matches would be getting underway on all courts.

In the message, Kate said: “350 days, 14 hours and 12 minutes between the last ball hit and when the next was meant to be.

“Over the years, your support has shaped this historic event. No matter the time of day, nor the names on the scoreboard, you have always been there come rain or shine.

“This year, sadly though, things are very different, but we will bide our time until we sit on the edge of seats again, and celebrate again.

“So when the time is right and we open the gates, we will be back again and it will have been worth the wait.”

The Duchess of Cambridge presented the trophy to the men's winner, Novak Djokovic, in 2019. (Getty Images)

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The video featured archive footage of players and supporters at the iconic grass court tournament over the decades.

The annual fortnight competition was cancelled this year in April due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Fans were offered refunds on their ballot tickets, but will be able to purchase the same seats for next year’s event.

The 134th tournament will instead be staged from 28 June to 11 July, 2021.

Kate and her husband Prince William are regularly seen in the royal box. (Getty Images)

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Kate makes several trips to Wimbledon over the course of the fortnight, watching from the royal box.

She also meets ballgirls and ballboys, and junior players.

Last year was the first time she presented the men’s winner with the trophy, passing it to Novak Djokovic as he took the victory in 2019.

Previously it was the role of the Duke of Kent.

She revealed in 2017 that she had to miss the year that Andy Murray won for the first time, and became the first British man to win in 77 years.

Kate with Meghan and Pippa Middleton in the royal box after the 2019 Ladies final. (Getty Images)

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In 2013, she was heavily pregnant with Prince George and was under doctor’s orders not to attend.

But she wrote him a letter to send her congratulations and apologise for not making it herself.

Kate has taken her mother and her sister with her in previous years too, with fans keen to see what the women wear. The Duchess of Sussex has also been spotted in the royal box and in other seats, particularly attending to support her friend Serena Williams.