Annabel Croft, the ex-tennis sensation, is participating in Strictly Come Dancing 'to rediscover joy' following the passing of her husband

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Annabel Croft, the ex-tennis sensation, is participating in Strictly Come Dancing 'to rediscover joy' following the passing of her husband
For its 21st season, Strictly Come Dancing is returning.

Celebrities, including comedians, actresses, broadcasters, and sports personalities, compete against one another in the popular reality series, Glitterball Trophy, as they do each year.

However, ballroom dancing greatness isn't the only thing former tennis champion Annabel Croft is aiming for.

Croft, 57, has stated that she is also looking to “find some joy” after losing her husband of 30 years, investment banker and professional yachtsman Mel Coleman, to cancer earlier this year.

"I think, what an amazing time to try and find some joy, and just to be thrown into something to take your mind off things," she said in an interview with the Evening Standard.Croft was born in Farnborough, Kent, on July 12, 1966. He has two siblings: Louisa, a younger sister, and Simon, an elder brother. SheerLuxe was told by her mother that she was an extremely energetic youngster who would often tire all of her playmate buddies due to her excess energy.

She has previously discussed her mother Susan's tennis playing days, referring to the game as her "obsession." She stated, "I'll always be grateful to her for that," adding that she had on a family vacation to Marbella when she was nine years old and had never played tennis before.

After "letters from the Lawn Tennis Association started coming through the letterbox" three years later, urging her to practice at the Bisham Academy tennis center, Croft emerged victorious in the national tennis tournament despite being a complete outsider. She competed for Great Britain in the important Wightman Cup, which pitted England against the United States, as well as in competitions throughout Europe.Croft made history by becoming the youngest player to compete at Wimbledon in 95 years at the age of 15. Croft stopped playing professional tennis at the young age of 21, despite having a bright career and being ranked in the top 25 players in the world. She claimed that a run of defeats at important competitions and the loneliness she felt while traveling were the reasons behind her choice.

She said to The Scotsman, "I was really lonely and started thinking I'd chosen the wrong path." "I was certain that I wanted to marry and start a family. In my mind's eye, I saw myself continuing to fight until I was at least thirty years old. I just lost it.

Not long after her retirement, Croft was chosen to take Anneka Rice's place on Channel 4's Treasure Hunt, beginning a television career that would eventually mend her relationship with tennis.In addition to presenting shows and participating in reality shows, Croft began her career as a tennis reporter, analyst, and anchor for prestigious networks like Sky Sports. She still hosts the BBC's and Radio 5 Live's coverage of Wimbledon today. She also serves as a tennis analyst for Eurosport, covering the French and Australian Opens.

In addition, Croft has starred in BBC One's acclaimed documentary Famous, Rich, and Homeless, when she spent nine days living destitute on the streets of London "to improve understanding of those sleeping rough." Croft has a lengthy television history.

"I fear that when I observed them seated on the pavements, I initially thought it best to keep a safe distance from them," she remarked. "It would have been, 'See how young you are, with two arms and two legs, asking for money. Why do you not rise and labor like the rest of us? I never considered the possibility that these individuals might be orphans or that they may have experienced maltreatment in foster care.Croft met former Americas Cup and Admiral's Cup yachtsman Coleman while recording a BBC show about yacht racing with Eamonn Holmes and the late Peter Skellern, at the same time she was thinking about giving up tennis.

We met through one of the yachtsmen named Mel, who had returned from the Americas Cup in Australia, she said. They married after six years together.

Together, Croft and Coleman gave birth to three grown children over the next thirty years: a son named Charlie and two daughters, Amber and Lily Rose. In Croft's honor, they opened a tennis academy and used the COVID-19 lockdowns to transform an old DPD van into a mobile home.

She declared in May 2023 that Coleman, 60, had passed away following a brief fight with stomach cancer.