Tennis

Capturing the stars of tennis

Updated 0953 GMT (1753 HKT) July 25, 2014
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Clive Brunskill wasn't always destined to become one of the world's foremost tennis photographers. As a teenager, when he told his dad of his ambitions to turn his passion into a fulltime career, the then 17-year-old was advised to put down his camera and pursue employment as an engineer.

Luckily for Brunskill, and the sports fans who enjoy his pictures, he ignored his Dad and has spent years traveling the world capturing moments of sporting history.

It's at the green surrounds of Wimbledon where Brunskill has become particularly renowned and, while you might not know his name, you will certainly recognize some of the pictures he has taken over the past three decades.
Watch Brunskill's interview with Open Court
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Having started out taking pictures of football matches in the park, Brunskill now travels on the tennis circuit.

While he admits to not being a huge fan of the sport, Brunskill holds a special fondness for the All England Club. "Tennis for me is a business. It is a way of making a living," he told CNN.

"Wimbledon is just special. Wimbledon is the best tournament in the world. The history when you go on to Centre Court ... it' special and all the players want to win.

"A lot of the other tournaments, yes they want to win, but Wimbledon is the one. For me, if I was a player, Wimbledon would be the toughest."
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images/file
During a long and varied career, Brunskill has worked on a wide range of projects. In April 1994, British band Blur released its hit album "Parklife," the cover of which was a photograph taken by Brunskill.

The album cover, showing two greyhounds in full flight, has become iconic, receiving recognition from the British Post Office.

"Even the British post office ran a first class set of stamps of the 10 greatest album covers of all time and that was one of them so that is kind of nice," he said.

"But it is a job. It is probably like asking a tennis player 'You did an amazing shot here - what do you think?' Well he has done it, it's his job.

"It's nice to have that and for people to say I love looking at your work. I suppose the biggest thrill for me is when I see a picture used in a magazine that I really like with my name on it.

"But they probably don't look at the name it is only other photographers because no body knows who we are."
Clive Brunskill Popperfoto/Getty Images
Compared to other sports like football, Brunskill enjoys the opportunities for artistic photographs that tennis presents.

"The only thing I think it's similar to is golf because golf has got that same sort of country club feel to it," he explained.

The lush green grass and ivy-covered Centre Court also make Wimbledon particularly easy on the eye, but the raft of rules at tennis' oldest grand slam present a unique set of challenges.

"It's one of the hardest ones to do because you are limited a little on space, whereas at other tournaments you can just walk into the crowd and shoot from the public seats and get your angles.

"It's just tradition here and you stick by the rules and you don't break rules."
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images/file
The speed and versatility on display during the Wimbledon fortnight also makes it an ideal subject for Brunskill.

"With grass court tennis it is different and fast and you get a lot more explosive pictures and the players do dive, they do fall," he said.

"Whereas with hard court tennis at the U.S. Open it's not the same. It's not as exciting to photograph as the grass court."
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images/file
Brunskill's status as sports photographer with Getty Images and his reputation within tennis means he has been able to build up relationships with the game's biggest stars.

The connections he has established with the likes of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray have been key to Brunskill's successful career.

"I've been very lucky to be involved with the likes of Novak, Rafa, Andy," said Brunskill. "They are such a nice bunch of guys now in the game.

"It's a really exciting time, photography-wise, to have Nadal, Djokovic, Murray and Federer all fighting it out for these grand slams. It's really exciting and that only makes for good pictures."
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images/file
Brunskill has seen numerous champions crowned during his many years covering Wimbledon, but none quite like Murray.

At the 2013 tournament, Murray ended Britain's 77-year wait for a men's singles champion by defeating Djokovic in straight sets.

The Scot's celebrations on court have since gone down in British sporting history, as have the images captured by Brunskill. But it wasn't all happy snapping for the photographers.

"I had waited 28 or 29 years of doing Wimbledon and never seen a British winner and never thought I would," admitted Brunskill.

"We just wanted him to finish somewhere where it was cool. And then finally he gets the winning ball and he spins the other way, away from all the photographers. No one got the picture and he went towards the journalists and everyone went 'What are you doing?!'

"I gave him a lot of photographs from the moment later on -- I said: 'You turned the wrong way initially.' He said: 'I just didn't know which end of the court I was,' because it was such a long rally. He turned probably thinking that was his family box."
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images/file
Eugenie Bouchard has enjoyed a breakout 2014 season, reaching her first grand slam at SW19. The Canadian played Czech Petra Kvitova in the title match, losing heavily 6-3 6-0 in under an hour.

Despite her drubbing, Brunskill insists Bouchard was the focus of the final.

"This new player, 20-years-old, the future of the game," he said. "I concentrated quite a lot on her, even though obviously when Petra won you shoot the match point.

"But I was also looking at Eugenie and seeing how she looked disappointed and her emotions through the match."
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images/file
And when the trophy presentation was complete at the end of the match, Brunskill found the perfect shot.

"I was trying to shoot a lot of her emotions," he recalls. " At the end there was a really nice picture where she walked off with the losers plate and her reflection is in the plate.

"She just looks sad. It was kind of a nice losing picture. But Petra played very well and she made some great pictures as well."
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images/file
It's not just at Wimbledon where Brunskill's snaps memorable moments.

After a fourth round win over Tim Henman at the 2001 Australian Open, home crowd favorite Pat Rafter let rip, literally.

"Rafter was taking the mickey a bit and he just walked up and just ripped his shirt. I just happened to capture it when all the fibers were breaking and it was back lit with the sun behind.

"Tennis Australia presented it to him when he retired -- that picture in a big frame. That was probably one of the nicest ones to take."
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images/file
During his long career, Brunskill has taken many pictures amateur photographers could only dream of. There is one image, however, that he admits he is unlikely to see.

"The perfect shot would probably be Roger Federer diving because I don't think he has ever dived in his whole career," said Brunskill of the 17-time grand slam winner.

"He has probably never had to because he is such a good player."

Watch Brunskill's interview with Open Court
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images/file