With all eyes on the final matches at Wimbledon this weekend, another big player on the British tennis scene is also making news.
Nick Brown, a former British professional tennis player and coach for now-retired British tennis star Tim Henman and other top players, listed his historic home in the South Cambridgeshire village of Little Abington last Friday for £2 million (US$2.6 million).
“It’s the perfect family home,” said Richard Freshwater, director of Cheffins, the brokerage handling the sale. “It’s 20 minutes from Cambridge, it’s 20 minutes from Stansted Airport.”
Mr. Brown and his wife, Nadia, have lived in the house, which is known as The Old Vicarage, for 20 years. They have done lots of work on the former vicarage over the years, including converting the former stables into an annex that serves as a guesthouse/pool house and adding a gym building with a hot tub and sauna.
Along with the six bedrooms, the 4,081-square-foot house on Church Lane has three full bathrooms and three partial bathrooms.
“It’s close to the center of a thriving picturesque village,” Mr. Freshwater said. “Little Abington is the quintessential English village, with a school, post office, stores and a gastropub.”
Mr. Brown caused a sensation at Wimbledon in 1991 when he was granted a wildcard. Ranked No. 591 in the world at the time, he faced the 10th seed and previous year’s semi-finalist Goran Ivanišević in the second round and beat him in four sets, to the delight of the British crowd. He eventually lost in the third round to France’s Thierry Champion.
He had won the British Under-21 championship in 1980 and the national senior singles championship three years later in 1983.
Mr. Brown is also head tennis coach at Cambridge University and regularly serves as a commentator on tennis for EuroSport, a pan-European television sports network owned and operated by Discovery.
His Church Lane house has origins dating back to the Queen Anne period in the early 18th century, Mr. Freshwater said. It is English Heritage Grade-II listed, meaning that permission would be needed to make any changes to the property.
The house has a mix of architectural styles encompassing both the symmetry of the Georgian period and gothic features from the early 19th century. It is approached from a long gravel driveway with remotely controlled electric gates, Mr. Freshwater said. “It’s very private, all nestled at the end of a secluded drive.”
Original architectural details include a timber-paneled entrance door, built-in bookcases, two staircases, bay and casement windows, archways, and open fireplaces with wood mantels and surrounds.
There are two main reception rooms on the first floor. The kitchen has a four-oven Aga cooker, granite counters, a marble tiled floor and French doors out to the gardens.
The former stables have been converted into a separate annex with a central vaulted reception room with wide and tall windows that overlook the adjacent heated outdoor swimming pool with an electric retractable safety cover. The annex also has a large bedroom, a small kitchenette and a shower room that has direct door access out to the terrace surrounding the swimming pool.
The 2.56-acre grounds include a substantial front lawn, a range of mature trees, and landscaped gardens with flowers and shrubs that slope gently down to the River Granta, which forms the southern boundary of the property. And of course there is a tennis court on site.
The eastern boundary of the garden is formed by a mature hedge that provides a complete screen from a public footpath leading down into the village and to Abington cricket ground.
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