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Motherhood was always a dream and she says her life completely changed from the moment her eldest child, Amber, arrived. “From the day she was born I felt like I was on a high that I’ve never left,” she said. She is spending Mother’s Day preparing to lauch a yoga and tennis retreat with Amber – the first time they have worked directly together.
Annabel, 55, has long run tennis holidays around the globe, with husband Mel Coleman helping with the organisation.
Amber, 27, fell in love with yoga after her mother first took her 10 years ago. She has since become an instructor and mother and daughter are now preparing to work together on their mutual passions at a retreat in Portugal next month.
Annabel said: “The fact we are doing this tennis and yoga session together on the holiday is very special for me.
“I’ve hosted lots in the past but I’m absolutely thrilled to be working with Amber. We have done yoga classes together, but not a retreat.
“When you bring up a child you are always the one teaching them and they are learning from you. Then there’s a flip-over point and suddenly she’s teaching me.
“It feels very weird. I’ve been to some of her classes in London and I’m so proud of learning from her. I’m over the moon to be doing this with her and really looking forward to it.”
Amber added: “I feel incredibly lucky to be doing this retreat alongside Mum – it doesn’t really feel like work, despite the admin and organisation. It feels very unique and special that we can share our same passion points and what really make us both so happy every day.”
Annabel, who also has son Charlie, 26, and daughter Lily, 24, had always longed to be a mother. It was one of the reasons she gave for stunning the tennis world and quitting the tour, despite being the golden girl of the game.
“At that time, happiness depended on winning or losing,” she revealed. “I had been obsessed, but the relentless days of living out of a suitcase in a tracksuit holding a racket in my hand no longer made me happy.
“I’d been playing since I was nine and internationally since I was 12 – I had done nothing else in my life but hit tennis balls. Once I left I never looked back and life went in a very different direction very quickly. I left the sport, and while wanting children was not the only reason, it was one of the reasons. It was something built into me. That human instinct was very strong.”
Annabel married Mel in 1993, six years after they first met, and Amber was born the following year. Motherhood had its difficulties, she said: “Bringing up children felt like I was juggling one million balls.”
But Amber was also helping out from a young age – including with her mother’s fashion sense.
“Early on in my career when I was presenting for Eurosport, I think I became less attentive to my clothes. Mothers often give up.
“I remember walking out of the door and Amber was just 11 or 12. She said: ‘Mum, I don’t think those shoes go with the outfit.’
“I hadn’t looked in the mirror very much. I just didn’t have time. I looked in the mirror and saw that she was right.
“She then started to style me. She went through my wardrobe and picked out bits that went with other bits. She put things together.
“I got comments from people on set who were asking me who was doing my styling. I felt it had an impact on my career.
“Amber had an eye for it and I was stuck in the 1980s with my clothes. She forced me into more modern clothes. She did that for years.”
Annabel took Amber to her first yoga class when she was a teen – and she has never looked back. She now works as an instructor, including at yoga group Core Collective. Annabel said: “I remember, she came out of that first class and said, ‘Mum, I think I’ve found something I really love.’ She went in for yoga training herself. Amber has the same energy that I had when I was young. I can see this. She’s very organised.”
Amber added: “I remember Mum took me to my first power yoga class.
“I came out and said, ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve found what I want to do for the rest of my life.’”
She trained as a yoga teacher and now runs a range of courses, online, in the UK and abroad.
Mum and daughter’s joint course runs from April 21-24 at the 5-Star Pine Cliffs Resort in the Algarve. It involves six hours of hosted tennis lessons and drills across three days run by Annabel and her coaches, as well as twice daily yoga sessions starting with morning meditation.
Annabel said: “Yoga is good for mental health and for the body. The tennis will be for anyone.
“We want to appeal to people who want fun. Even if they have not played for a long time or at a high level, it is meant to be fun. This is a good mix with the stretch and spiritual side of yoga which Amber will do. We need a bit of this with all that is going on.”
Amber explained: “Mum and I are super active. I have the same energy as her.
“We are very close so we can have arguments. I’ve always been open with her. I tell her everything and I always get good advice from her.
“I’ve been to events where she’s been photographed and giving autographs. But her high-profile never fazes me. I don’t really see it.
“I’m immensely proud of her and at home she works very hard to make sure we’re okay.
“She does the cleaning, cooking, and is always very hospitable to guests.”
She continued: “We realised the world was opening up after Covid and we just wanted to do something to bring people back together through our love of tennis, yoga and wellbeing.”
● For information on the Tennis & Yoga Retreat email [email protected], call 020 7751 9042 or visit annabelcroftholidays.com. For resort information visit pinecliffs.com
* Follow Amber on Twitter on @ambercolemanyoga or on Instagram on @ambercolemanyoga
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