Youngster who lost father to cancer performs Wimbledon ladies’ final coin toss

Rebecca Jones.
Rebecca Jones.
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A 12-year-old girl who lost her father to a brain tumour has performed the coin toss at the Wimbledon ladies’ final.

Rebecca Jones stepped out on Centre Court watched by an estimated worldwide audience of 1.2 billion.

She performed the pre-match ritual to decide who will serve first between finalists Venus Williams and Garbine Muguruza.

Shortly before her big moment, Rebecca said: “I am quite nervous right now, I don’t want to mess up. I just have to take the moment and enjoy every second of it.

“I really like Venus Williams, she’s such a legend, so it would be amazing for her to win at 37.”

Rebecca, whose father died in 2016 following a four-year-illness, was chosen by BBC Children in Need to perform the coin toss.

Two charities - The Brain Tumour Charity and Princess Alice Hospice - supported Rebecca and her family through the bereavement.

The London schoolgirl said: “After my Dad was diagnosed, I think Katy, my sister, was struggling a bit expressing when she was sad or needed someone to talk to.”

She said counselling helped them become more confident, adding: “It made us be able to express our opinions more.”

Children in Need was nominated by the Wimbledon Foundation to choose the youngster.

Rebecca said: “When I heard I’d been chosen, I just felt so happy. When I walk onto court, I think I’ll be a mix of nervous and excited.

“It will be an amazing opportunity to be next to the amazing players that are in the final.”

Before the match, Rebecca and Katy helped the groundsmen prepare the net for the final, and laid out the players’ towels.

Play started at 2pm to see who will be this year’s champion - America’s Williams, bidding to become the oldest woman in the Open Era to win Wimbledon at 37 years old, or Spain’s 23-year-old Muguruza, who is fighting to claim her second Grand Slam title.