I can’t sing Judy’s praises enough – what a great girl to spend my time with. She has a wonderful sense of humour and, makes me feel like the world’s funniest man.
The real treat, however, is getting out of the training room and onto the tennis court. I love the sound of my own voice, but when we’re rehearsing it’s my voice, my voice, my voice, and I start to bore myself. I can’t imagine how she must feel at the end of each day.
The tables are turned on the tennis court and she is an excellent coach – always positive, she fills me with confidence – which is what I try to do on the dance floor for her. I mean she’s not trying to be ballroom world champion and I’m not training for Wimbledon, but we’re enjoying our time practising and we’re both improving. I’d probably say my tennis is better than her dancing, but she might disagree with that!
On the dance floor Judy is a bit of a maverick – she’s happy to shout and scream and fly and leap. She is outrageously fun and has entered into the spirit wholeheartedly, which is probably not what most people expected of her.
A bit like Ann Widdecombe, with whom I danced a few years ago, she is known for doing a serious job and wasn’t in the public eye to win friends or popularity contests.
I had only ever seen her in the box at Wimbledon and, understandably in that situation, she was focused and intense. That’s what she was there to do as a mum and a tennis coach – not to worry about her public image and persona. So I guess all our perceptions of her were based on that, which is rubbish really and turns out to be totally wrong.
Now we’ve got to see her speak and express herself, we know she’s a gentle-natured, fun girl. A pure joy.
Strictly Come Dancing is on BBC1 this Saturday (15th November) at 7.00pm