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How a school tennis coach helped Garbiñe Muguruza win Wimbledon

Mathew James had the Credit: ITV News

A tennis coach from Somerset whose dreams of becoming a champion were dashed by two hip operations has helped Garbiñe Muguruza win the Wimbledon Title.

Mathew James coaches at Millfield School in Street, but for the last two summers he's volunteered as a hitter to help some of the biggest stars in tennis warm up.

What is a Wimbledon Hitter?

Being a Wimbledon hitter can be tough - they have to take what the world's best players can throw at them as they perfect their killer serves.

You wait around to see if any competitors want a practice partner - but the wait can certainly pay off.

Mathew helped Garbiñe Muguruza practice - before she went on to win the title. Credit: PA

Garbiñe Muguruza's team spotted Mathew's talent, and organised multiple practices with the player as she progressed through the championship.

Mathew says he almost became her "lucky charm":

He ended up being invited into the winning box to watch his practice partner smash her way into Wimbledon glory.

Mathew James in the player's box with Garbiñe Muguruza's team. Credit: BBC Sport

And after it was all over, the newly crowned Women's champion marked his help with a high-five:

Credit: BBC Sport

They were really nice, they invited me to dinner after she'd won, and we went to a Spanish restaurant in London.

I don't speak any Spanish, so it was quite difficult to join in the bigger conversations, but it was a really nice evening.

– Mathew James

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He was even offered a place to stay after the celebrations.

Mathew James was a promising young player himself, but injury and operations put paid to any Wimbledon dreams.

So, is this the next best thing?