Annabel Croft says ‘competitive’ side will come out on Strictly

Annabel Croft has spoken out about the terrible time she faced in the weeks after her husband Mel Coleman’s death earlier this year.

The Wimbledon ace has revealed that she has cried every day since he died just weeks after he was diagnosed with cancer.

Speaking to The Mail on Sunday, Annabel also reveals that her devasting loss is what encouraged her to take part in Strictly Come Dancing.

She said: “It’s been a terrible, terrible time. There’s not been a day I haven’t cried.

“That’s why I think I’ll be able to distract myself with something absolutely wonderful.”

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She went on to say: “I think to be distracted and to spend time doing something so wonderful and beautiful and to be with amazing people… it’s really an amazing time.”

The 57-year-old also commented on how this will be a bittersweet moment as her husband, who was a big fan of the show and would often break down in tears whilst watching it, wouldn’t be there to cheer her on.

She said: “Mel always loved Strictly. He’d cry watching it, and I’m completely heartbroken he’s not here to watch with me.”

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Mel Coleman was a professional yachtsman. He married Annabel in 1992, and the couple have three grown-up children Charlie, Amber and Lily.

Annabel announced her husband’s shock death on May 26, releasing a statement that said: “My beloved husband Mel passed away peacefully on Wednesday morning after a short battle with cancer.

“My family and I are completely heartbroken and ask for privacy at this very sad time.”

Former tennis professional Annabel was just 15 years old when she became the youngest British player to compete at Wimbledon in 95 years.

In 1984, she was crowned the junior champion of the tournament.

But by 1988 and at the age of 21 Annabel retired from the sport, swapping the tennis courts for the TV studios as she became a regular pundit for BBC, Eurosport and Sky Sports.

Speaking about her decision to join Strictly, Annabel said: “I have always loved watching Strictly and can’t quite believe I’m going to be part of this magical show – swapping tennis balls for glitter balls and looking forward to finding some joyfulness in the process.”

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