Wimbledon has assured the maiden entry for tennis in space as Mats Wilander interviewed astronaut Drew Feustel live.
The All England Lawn Tennis Club celebrated a first of a kind at Wimbledon, collaborating with NASA to broadcast a live interview with astronaut Drew Feustel, currently aboard Mission 56 on the International Space Station.
Commander Feustel attended the Royal Box at The Championships 2017 alongside his wife Indira and fellow astronaut Tim Peake, and it was while watching tennis that he and Philip Brook, Chairman of the AELTC, came up with the idea to take something from Wimbledon with him aboard his six-month long mission, the All England Lawn Tennis Club has stated in a write-up on the official Wimbledon website.
The AELTC commissioned two bespoke gold coins, featuring the Mission 56 logo on one side, and The Championships logo on the other side, to be used for the coin tosses for The Championships 2019.
Feustel could be seen floating inside the space station during the live interview, conducted by Wilander and Celina Hinchcliffe on Wimbledon’s official live offering, the Wimbledon Channel.
Feustel shared his views on The Championships so far, his favourite players, what his tennis is like, while also giving a fascinating insight into life aboard the space station.
The AELTC also conveyed its thanks to Drew, his wife Indira, and the entire NASA team for helping to facilitate such a memorable experience.
A royal box invitee last year, Drew has always been a big fan and the fact that he still finds some time while venturing on his space mission shows his passion for the game.
Feutsel said “To me, Wimbledon is really about iconic tennis. It’s a great inspiration to watch tennis. To me, it’s an annual ritual to sit down and see the matches unfold”. The American astronaut is on a six-months-long mission.
When the American geo-physicist mentioned about his mission to the Chairman of the All England Lawn Tennis Club Philip Brook, the club decided to commission special coins for him to take to the space station. The coins that Feustel is carrying with him, will be used for the coin toss in the next year’s gentlemen’s and ladies’ Final at the All England Club.
Apart from the coins, Drew is also carrying some special small tennis rackets into space. He looks forward to returning these to the All England Club.