Sport: Richard Thompson


You sound a bit out of breath.

I am. Just as you called I was walking in from a couple of sets of tennis. I play a few times a week. It’s great.

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Apparently your son Teddy is a good player.

He’s really good. He should be playing in these pro-am tournaments.

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Are you competitive?

Some people say I am, but I don’t think I am. I love playing with people who are better than me.

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You’re on solo tour this summer, is there a link between that and the solo nature of tennis?

Actually, in tennis I prefer to play doubles if I can. It’s just more fun, you tend to get more ridiculous things happening. And I love team sports too, cricket and football.

Do you miss the slap of leather on willow?

I still play cricket in the summer. We have supposedly a musicians’ team in the UK called The Sharps.

On to football: you’re a Chelsea fan.

Yes. Originally I’m a Celtic fan, but my son and his mates were fanatical Chelsea fans so I had to go to loads of games.

Your dad’s Scottish – is that the Celtic link?

Yeah, and I had a great-uncle who played for them. He was in their Cup-winning team of nineteen-twenty-something.

And you’ve coached ‘soccer’ in the States.

Yeah, that was when my son was five-to-fourteen. And it was great. Having an English accent was what qualified me to coach – that was about the only intro I needed: “Ah, you’re English. Great – you’ll do.” It’s a burgeoning sport here – three million kids are playing in the US, which is a lot.