WIMBLEDON, England (AP) - With the Women’s World Cup just a few days away, some of the injured players on England’s national soccer team were treated like royalty at Wimbledon on Saturday.
Fran Kirby, Beth Mead and Leah Williamson were all in the Royal Box on Centre Court to watch some tennis on Day 6 - the traditional day when sports greats are invited to the All England Club. All three won the Women’s European Championship last year but will miss this year’s World Cup tournament in Australia and New Zealand because of injuries.
Another member of last year’s winning soccer team, Jill Scott, was also in the Royal Box. She retired from the sport a few months after England beat Germany 2-1 in the final at Wembley Stadium.
Plenty of tennis greats were among the guests Saturday, including Billie Jean King, Rosie Casals, Stefan Edberg and Sue Barker. But athletes and former greats from other sports were there as well, like gymnasts, field hockey players and rugby players.
Olympic great Steve Redgrave, a British rower who won gold medals at five straight Olympics, was also on hand.
The Royal Box is not just for royalty, but Kate, the Princess of Wales, did make her first appearance at this year’s tournament on Tuesday. She sat next to Roger Federer on a day the now-retired eight-time Wimbledon champion was feted on Centre Court.
David Beckham, a former England soccer great and the husband of former Spice Girls member Victoria Beckham, sat in the Royal Box with his mother on Wednesday.
Another former England soccer great, Gary Lineker, was in the box Saturday. Lineker won the Golden Boot as the top scorer at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico and now works for the BBC.
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