Last summer, on the eve of Wimbledon, former British number one and current BBC tennis pundit John Lloyd revealed his prostate cancer diagnosis – and tipped boyhood club Wolves for promotion to the Premier League.
One year on, the 63-year-old, shared the latest chapter of his prostate cancer story during another action-packed tournament at SW19.
And among the topics of discussion was the Molineux men’s ascent back into the top-flight.
Essex-born Lloyd, who has supported Wolves since the age of eight, admitting their iconic old gold shirt was a major factor, watches all the club’s games despite residing in America for most of the year.
A good pal of the late Baroness Rachael Heyhoe Flint, who would entertain him at Molineux when in the West Midlands, Lloyd correctly predicted the club’s success last year.
And he is tipping them to make a mark amongst English football’s elite in the 2018/19 campaign.
“It was a great year last year,” he said. “I live in America now so now I can get every single match on TV and now we’re back in the big league where we belong.
“The astute buys that the manager did – and it looks like he’s purchasing again – are the first since we’ve gone up.
“There’s been a couple of times when we’ve gone up and I was concerned about how long and whether we’d stay there because we didn’t have the buying power.
“But I look at the team now, even without any new acquisitions – which I’m sure there will be – and I still believe we’ll end up half-way. I don’t have any relegation worries at all.”
In boss Nuno Espirito Santo, Lloyd believes the Molineux supporters have a man to take them to the next level, after his immediate success last term.
He added: “The manager took over and started gelling players and got the backbone of the solid defence and starting buying players that were Premier League class from the start.
“Diogo Jota, Ivan Cavaleiro and Helder Costa – that front line is up there Premier League-wise and with that solid backbone, midfield and very good goalkeeper, I couldn’t see a weakness.
“The only thing you’re always concerned about at the start is how foreign players will last in the English winter, but once Willy Boly was putting in the bone-crashing tackles and enjoying it immensely then there was no doubt in my mind.
“We’re not going to have any relegation worries, I really believe that. Even without the acquisitions, I think we’ve got too much in our team so I have only positive thoughts about next season.”
Wolves success on the pitch was matched by a positive year health-wise for Lloyd, who hailed the support of friends and loved ones as well as many on the tennis circuit in the past 12 months.
“Since my diagnosis, people on the tennis circuit have spoken to me about prostate cancer and in fact, some people didn’t know about it,” says John, who went public with his prostate cancer for the first time in an exclusive video interview with Prostate Cancer UK last year.
He had been feeling fit and healthy before a routine blood test in 2016 showed that his PSA level was higher than normal. A biopsy later revealed that he did indeed have prostate cancer. He had successful surgery, but is urging men across the country to learn from his experience and go for regular check-ups – even if they don’t have any symptoms.
“I’ve spoke to a lot of people and quite a few have said it’s something they don’t check because they haven’t had any symptoms. I’ve said: guess what – I haven’t had any either,” says John.
“I’ve told them to just get a test once a year. Whatever your doctor's suggest – just get it done.
“A lot of people have looked at it and are worried about it. I’m always very positive about the reactions to it and what happened, so that gives them a little bit of encouragement to actually get it done and not be scared of the consequences in case there was a diagnosis they didn’t like.”
“When you get people that have a public platform in the media to get the message out and they’re prepared to do it, it just helps the cause,” John says.
“As much as I don’t like to hear that someone has it, I also think of the positive side – their message is going to help more people.”
During a sun-baked fortnight in SW19, Lloyd has been focused on serving up more expert punditry from courtside, but admits he has an eye on something else – the hereditary risks associated with prostate cancer.
“I don’t think enough has been said about it,” he says. Because of John’s diagnosis, his son is two-and-a-half times more likely to get the killer disease himself.
“My son is aware of it now. It’s something that’s part of life for a male now – it’s just something you have to get checked.”
And as for Wimbledon?
“It’s the most important tournament of the year for a tennis player,” says John, who won back-to-back mixed doubles titles there in 1983 and 1984.
“Every year I go there and never know what’s around the corner – new stars, older ones trying to hang on. There’s always such a buzz in our sport when Wimbledon comes up.”
Many people are unaware that prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. For the first time, the number of men dying from prostate cancer every year has overtaken the number of women dying from breast cancer, making prostate cancer the third biggest cancer killer in the UK. One man dies from prostate cancer every 45 minutes.
For more information about Prostate Cancer UK’s work in football, including how to get a Man of Men pin badge to wear with pride, go to www.prostatecanceruk.org/football