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Return to Wimbledon?

Experience on Centre Court spurs tennis player’s amibitions

Dominic Inglot Jim Daves

Dominic Inglot sprinted across the grass on Centre Court at Wimbledon, lunged to reach a passing shot and returned the ball past the outstretched racquet of his opponent. The stands erupted, with legions of fans cheering his victory.

Only it was Peter Colt, not Dominic Inglot, they cheered.

So it goes in show business. Inglot (Com ’09), tall, rangy and fair-haired, had been hired to be the on-court stand-in for actor Paul Bettany, who was playing a tennis pro named Peter Colt in the movie Wimbledon.

That was five years ago, but the experience still motivates Inglot, who grew up in London and attended Wimbledon matches as a boy. “That’s hallowed ground. Even members aren’t allowed to be on the grass. So to spend months on there—I’ve already spent more time on there than Pete Sampras.”

As he spoke, another source of motivation played on a television in the Boar’s Head Sports Club, where the team practices. The screen showed Somdev Devvarman (Col ’08), who won the NCAA singles championship last spring, battling Marin Cilic in the finals of the Chennai Open in India in January.

“I think it motivates everyone to see how well he’s doing recently,” Inglot says.

Inglot plans to join Devvarman in the ranks of pro players after this season, but his immediate focus is on making the most of his final stretch at UVA. A captain of this year’s team, he entered the season ranked No. 43 in the nation in singles and, with Michael Shabaz (Col ’11), No. 27 in doubles.

Known for his big serve, Inglot wants to improve his movement on the court and strengthen his mental toughness. The latter was preached by his father, who played professional soccer in his native Poland.

“Sometimes I wish that I had listened to my dad more,” Inglot says. “I was a stubborn little teenager who thought he knew it all.”