Jodie Burrage gets special practice partner a year on from Percy Pig incident

Jodie Burrage gets special practice partner a year on from Percy Pig incident

Jodie Burrage had an unusual practice partner on the eve of Wimbledon – Percy Pig.

The 24-year-old is yet to win a singles match at the All England Club but she was involved in one of the most popular stories of the tournament last year when she offered the Marks and Spencer treat to a ball boy who was feeling unwell.

“I don’t really know why it was such a big story,” she said. “He just wasn’t feeling great, I tried to help him out a little bit. I feel like anyone would have done the same thing. For some reason it kicked off. Hopefully no one feels ill on court this year. It was a bit mad.”

Burrage’s act of kindness earned the attention of Marks and Spencer, and the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton had an unusual visitor last month when Percy Pig turned up for a hit.

“We had a two-hour session,” said Burrage. “It was good fun. We tried to play, actually Percy was better than I thought he was going to be.”

So could the British number two be Percy Pig’s official representative at Wimbledon in the future?

“I’d love that,” she said gleefully. “My mum is a massive fan of Percy Pigs as well, and my physio. My physio is probably Percy Pig’s biggest fan. So, if they ever do something like that, I’d love to be.”

Burrage will not be able to help out any similarly stricken ball kids this year, though, adding: “I’ve had them the last few weeks, they are one of my favourite sweets, but they’re not in my bag. My nutritionist had a firm ‘no’ on that.”

The Percy Pig incident meant a disappointing first-round loss for Burrage was rather forgotten, and she is hoping it can be third-time lucky on Monday when she takes on American Caty McNally.

“I played her at the US Open last year,” said Burrage. “I’ll be watching that match back. She’s a tough opponent and actually on the grass she’s going to be really dangerous. I’ll enjoy the challenge.”

Burrage has enjoyed a strong grass-court campaign, reaching her first WTA Tour final in Nottingham and climbing to 108 in the rankings, and she will try not to put too much pressure on herself.

“It comes with experience,” she said. “It would be great if I could go on, play my best, win, everything be happy.

“There’s going to be some ups and downs in the match like there always is. All I can do is go out there, fight and give my all.

“If it’s my day, it’s my day, and if it’s not, it’s not. I’ll try and come back next year.”