Ex-footballer Alan Lee may be preparing for the new SkyBet Championship season with Ipswich Town but he will still have one eye on SW19.
That’s because throughout a career spanning nearly 20-years, the former forward has tried to combine his footballing prowess with a keen interest in tennis.
Even after being released from Huddersfield Town in May 2013 after three years at the club, Lee consoled himself by entering the Sellers International Open tennis tournament in Edgerton the following month.
Now 38-years-old, the former Republic of Ireland forward then called game, set and match on his time in West Yorkshire to join Mick McCarthy’s Academy Staff in Suffolk where he has remained ever since.
And although Lee’s physical approach on the football field may have curtailed his extra-curricular tennis activities, he still watches the game and, in particular, Wimbledon with intent.
During his time at Huddersfield Town, Lee quickly became a fans’ favourites for his battling displays and, as well as featuring in the club’s two successive League One Promotion final Play-Offs, scored nine goals in 80 league appearances.
The Examiner catches up with the Irishman ahead of Andy Murray’s quarter-finals clash against American Sam Querrey tomorrow morning for his view on this year’s Wimbledon tournament and, of course, Huddersfield Town.
So Alan, what do you make of Andy Murray’s chances of retaining the Wimbledon trophy?
Well he’s moving like I do these days – with a bit of a limp! He doesn’t look in great shape to be honest but if he can play his way through it then he’s got a good chance.
He has home advantage and the experience of centre court behind him plus the fact Rafa Nadal is out will be a real bonus.
Also, his body language has always been a little bit deceptive – even when he is doing well, it appears to be a little negative so perhaps there is nothing to worry about.
And Johanna Konta – has she got a real chance?
With Serena Williams not there, I don’t see anyone dominating – the women’s game is a lot more open.
She has a chance, and is certainly not a flash in the pan player, gradually coming up the rankings over the last few years.
Moving back to football, what do you make of Huddersfield Town’s achievements last season?
It’s wonderful for the club and the fans and I am absolutely delighted for them.
They signed a couple of exceptional players last summer, remained largely injury-free and had a bit of luck along the way, but they generally deserved it.
The chairman has always invested wisely and he’s got a great head coach, whom he has backed, and I think the key thing is that everyone is on the same page going forward.
And they got promoted via penalties in the Play-Off final as well – how does your experience with Town in the knockout competition compare?
You do not enjoy a single moment of it until the end when you are promoted and then you can celebrate - or go home dejected in defeat.
I remember when I missed my spot-kick in the 2012 League One Final against Sheffield United I walked back to the centre circle and just wanted the ground to swallow me up.
If the club didn’t get promoted in the end I think I would have quit football there and then - it meant so much to everyone.
I can’t think of anything worse than to be beaten on penalties – the despair and the shame of it.
It’s a great spectacle and a bit easier to watch if you are a bit removed from it, but looking at the camera cutting away to everyone – the chairman and the fans, no-one is ever enjoying the game.
It’s fantastic television but it’s horrible being part of it because there is so much riding on the occasion.
Do you think Huddersfield Town can escape the drop in the Premier League next season?
It’s really hard to get out of the Championship and survive in the Premier League but you look at the likes of Burnley and AFC Bournemouth so you know it can be done.
Town have spent a bit of money so far this summer but they’ve earned the right to do so and I think their recruitment process has not only been good but in proportion.
A good start is particularly crucial – there’s a tier of six or seven clubs with world class squads and Town will be looking to not only stay in the league but gradually build to be in that mid-table group just below bigger sides.
If the summer's tennis action has encouraged you to play, why not visit MyLocalPitch , a website supported by Alan where you can find places in the UK and Ireland to hire in order to play a number of different sports including tennis, squash and football.