Blessed with Hollywood looks and a 6ft2” frame, Stockport’s own Naomi Broady has been turning heads since her teens but not necessarily for the right reasons.
The 24-year-old made headlines seven years ago after a posting a picture of herself on Facebook posing provocatively in a minidress next to a condom machine in a nightclub toilet.
Girls might want to have fun but not when they are just 17 and receiving lottery funding according to the Lawn Tennis Association, who duly issued an angry response and dropped her from their programme.
Her property developer father sold the family home to fund her ambitions and Broady carried on alone, travelling without a coach to tournaments around the world.
The row even fractured the family, to the point Broady’s brother Liam, also a promising player, and his father are no longer on speaking terms.
CONTROVERISAL: Naomi posted the image of her next to a condom machine on her Facebook
It seems far too high price to pay for success but the guaranteed £43,000 she will bank for reaching the second round at the All England Club will still come as a welcome relief.
Broady produced a sensational comeback to beat Hungary’s Timea Babos – the world number 94 – 2-6, 7-6, 6-0 to reach a Grand Slam second round for the first time in her career.
It was a performance of resilience and determination, qualities Broady has certainly required in recent years. Indeed just 12 months ago she was on the verge of quitting the sport to become an au pair.
“It quite went over my head, the whole incident,” she said.
“It happened and I still to this day don’t particularly see what was the big deal. I wasn’t doing drugs, I wasn’t paralytic drunk on the floor. “It was just a stupid, jokey pose that looked horrible and I was only 17.
“It’s not really disrupted my tennis other than financially. With tennis, it’s for you to go on court and win, and no one else is going to change that.
“It’s not because you’re not funded that you can’t win a match.”
Broady will now take on former world number one Caroline Wozniacki – another player used to making off court headlines after her recent split from golfer Rory McIlroy – in the second round.
And she’s determined just to have fun.
“I’ve never played her but I can’t wait, hopefully they’ll give us a good court and it should be an amazing experience,” she said.
“She’s had an amazing career and I’ll have nothing to lose. I’m just looking to play well and, importantly, enjoy it and have fun.
“When you have tough moments in your career you need to appreciate days like this.”
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Main image courtesy of Yersinia pestis, with thanks.
Second image via Facebook.