Kate cheers Harriet Dart on to her first win at Wimbledon
British player Harriet Dart said she was not distracted by the Duchess of Cambridge watching her first ever Wimbledon victory.
Kate triggered a buzz among fans at the All England Club as she appeared on Court 14 at 11am on Tuesday to watch Dart take on American Christina McHale.
Dressed in a long white dress, Kate was flanked by British player Katie Boulter and British Fed Cup captain Anne Keothavong as she sat among spectators.
The duchess spent about an hour watching the action on court, just long enough to see Dart lose her first set.
Asked whether she had enjoyed the tennis as she left the court, Kate said: “Very much so”.
Fortunately for 22-year-old Dart, her performance improved and she eventually battled to victory after two hours and 19 minutes.
Dart, ranked 182 in the world, said it was “pretty surreal” to have the duchess watching her play.
Asked if the royal’s presence had affected her game she replied: “I don’t think so.
“I don’t even know at which point she left.
“Obviously I was just aware she was there at the start, as the chair umpire informed me.”
The British number four added: “It’s pretty cool to have royalty watching you.
“Such a privilege for me for her to get to see me play.”
Dart said she had not been aware of the photographers who flooded into the court to grab a shot of the Duchess.
“Hopefully she’ll come to many more of my matches,” she said.
Speaking after the match’s first set, Keothavong said of the duchess: “It’s brilliant to have the opportunity to sit there and chat to her and talk about Fed cup and British players and I guess just everything and anything about tennis.
“She was very interested to hear what my thoughts were and what Katie’s thoughts were on the game, she was clearly enjoying the tennis as well.”
Keothavong said she had also discussed the remarkable win of 15-year-old Cori Gauff, known as Coco, over Venus Williams on Monday.
“Yes we spoke about that and she was very impressed with Coco’s performance,” she said.
The Fed Cup captain said it was a “real honour” for Dart to have the duchess watch her play.
She said: “Before they started the match actually I’m pretty sure I caught Harriet’s eye looking over and smiling at the coin toss.”
A spokeswoman for the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC) said: “We are delighted that the duchess in her capacity as Patron of the AELTC was keen to see the full breadth of The Championships and we were pleased to facilitate a visit to watch play on the outside courts and to watch practice at Aorangi Park.”
Kate was seen speaking to another British player Johanna Konta earlier on Tuesday, before watching the tennis action from the Royal Box on Centre Court.